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  • 2006 1st QUARTER NEWS
  • RACING NEWS INDEX

  • December 2005

  • (12/26) - Panther Racing is searching for some sponsorship to stay in business. With the withdrawal of Chevrolet and the reduced sponsorship dollars from Pennzoil, more money is needed or this IRL team could fold. They are planning an auction at the end of January to sell off some of their extra equipment. Doug Boles, co-owner, says “We have enough equipment at Panther Racing to run three entries full time in 2006. It does not make good business sense to keep all of that inventory here when we can sell some of it and sharpen our focus on a quality one car effort. Many major corporations are looking at reallocating their assets based on the current economic climates.”

    The auction can be found on-line at Key Liquidators

    Formed in late 1997, Panther remains one of the most successful teams in the Indy Racing League’s history, with 15 race victories and two championships. The currently employ drivers Tomas Scheckter and Tomas Enge.

  • (12/24) - Wow, the new announcement that Fernando Alonso, 2005 Formula One World Champion, would be driving for McLaren in '07 was quite a shock.

    First off, young Alonso is with a quick team already. McLaren hasn't won a championship since 1999. When things are all working correctly, McLaren Mercedes probably had the best car, but they didn't win the championship because too often their cars were breaking down. In racing, I will always choose the lucky ones over the good ones. McLaren has definately been unlucky in 05. Alonso shouldn't switch before McLaren has shown they've turned it around.

    Secondly, McLaren already has two of the best drivers around - Raikkonen and Montoya. Do they think Alonso is more talented than those two?! He may be as good, but he's definately not as experienced. I think he's just been lucky. Perhaps Ron Dennis prefers lucky to good as well.

    But why announce it now?! What will this do to Alonso next season when he knows he is racing against his future team? Will Renault lessen their support of him? And at McLaren, there is already plenty of competition between Kimi and Juan Pablo, who needs more? You've got to assume that the boy on his way out will be the Columbian. This is bound to mess with his mind all of next season. Look what Villeneuve did when he heard BAR was going to let him go - he dropped out of F1 immediately and didn't finish the last race of the year.

    Perhaps Ferrari will get their act together again and it won't even matter! Oh well... time will tell. It should be interesting for us fans next year.

  • Austin Woodham

  • (12/22) - Pay attention to this name as you may be hearing a lot about him in the decades ahead. Austin Woodham is now 12 years old and he is being inducted into the Quarter Midget Hall Of Fame as one of the greatest drivers in the sports history!

    Woodham joins Ryan Newman as Hoosiers to receive the honor. Woodham compiled an astounding 200 feature wins, four national titles, six track championships and 14 track records over a five-year period in Quarter Midgets. He is planning to move up to 600cc Mini-Sprints next year.

  • The Three Andrettis

  • (12/22) - Michael Andretti, 43, has decided to get back into the race car after retiring in 2004. He will compete in the 90th Indy 500 next May. He will be driving a black and orange car and he thinks it will be #1.

    His son Marco, 19, is moving up to Indycars from the Infiniti Pro Series in '06. Perhaps this is the reason Michael if giving Indy another shot. Maybe he can better help his kid if he's actually out there racing. Michael and his father Mario race against each other in Indycars for around a decade. Of course Mario raced much longer than most drivers; I think he was 54 when he retired.

  • (12/18) - Michelin Tire company has announced rather angrily that they will be dropping out as one of two tire suppliers to Formula One after next season. They say the management of F1 has decided to prevent the teams from having a choice of tires to choose from, that the tire is a very important part of a race car and that this will result in reduced competition.

    F1 management replied that the competing teams have asked to have just one tire supplier and that they were going to force the issue in 2008. They claim having just 1 tire supplier will result in lowered costs and be more fair. Then for good measure they threw in a barb about the 2005 U.S. grand prix.

  • (12/16) - A.J. Foyt Enterprises has hired Felipe Giaffone as driver in 2006. A.J.'s grandson, who drove for him the past two years in the IRL, has moved to NASCAR's Busch series.
  • (12/16) - Toyota is withdrawing from the IRL. They were supposed to continue their engine support through next year. Chevy dropped out this year also. Apparently the IRL has decided to switch to a one-engine formula as a cost savings measure. Consequently, next year all Indy Cars will be powered by Honda.

    This brings up a question - "Will there finally be a foreign Pace Car in the Indy 500?" The pace cars have always been provided by American car companys, but next year the only participating car manufacturer will be Honda.

    Over their three years (49 races) of competition in the IndyCar series, Toyota won one manufacturers' championship with Scott Dixon taking the drivers' title in 2003. Toyota powered cars to 17 race victories and 22 poles.

  • (12/15) - NASCAR's Jim Hunter said that Jeff Gordon, Little E, Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler "showed a "lack of respect for the history and tradition of the sport" because they didn't show up to NASCAR's December award show in NYC. Umm... Jim Hunter who? In a similar attack, NASCAR president Mike Helton wants to strip them of their bonus money for not coming to his party.
  • (12/11) - The IRL has forced or conned the "I.R.L. Crew" into dissolving. I suppose they thought they could either do a better job of running it, or they thought they could make a couple bucks.
  • (12/10) - F1 TEAM CHANGES FOR 2006 - Honda bought all of the business interest in B.A.R. and this week renamed the team "Honda Racing F1 Team".

    Williams F1 has switched from BMW to Cosworth power. Their new 20 y/o driver, Nico Rosberg, is the son of 1982 F1 champ Keke Rosberg.

    Sauber has switched from Ferrari to BMW power.

    Jordan F1 was purchased and renamed "Midland F1". They will be using Toyota power.

    Red Bull purchased another team - Minardi. They changed the name to "Scuderia Toro Rosso".

  • (12/10) - Red Bull reports that American Scott Speed and Vitantonio "Tonio" Liuzzi will be the drivers for Scuderia Toro Rosso.
  • (12/10) - A new evaluation by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis (HCRA) estimates that the use of cell phones by drivers may result in approximately 2,600 deaths, 330,000 injuries, and 1.5 million instances of property damage in America per year. HCRA website

    They suggest that a complete ban on non-emergency cell phone use by drivers would save something around $43 billion annually.

  • (12/10) - Bryan Herta renewed his contract to drive for AGR for another year. Tony Kanaan was already under contract for next year. Dario Franchitti needs to resign, then AGR will search for a 4th driver to replace outgoing Dan Wheldon. One possible choice is Marco Andretti who won all of the road course races in the Infiniti Pro Series last year.
  • (12/10) - Ryan Briscoe was let go by the IRL's Target Chip Ganassi Team. On Wednesday Briscoe popped up at the wheel of a Toyota F1 car in Spain. The test was useful for both parties as Toyota needed someone to drive because Olivier Panis is currently out of action because of illness and it will do Briscoe no harm at all to be seen in an F1 car. Briscoe is trying to get a drive next year in Champ Cars, aiming to move to PKV Racing to replace Jimmy Vasser.
  • (12/10) - NASCAR said Wednesday said it had reached an eight-year agreement that splits its race programming among four U.S. television networks starting in 2007.

    The new deal with the Fox, Speed, TNT and ESPN/ABC networks represents an increase over Nascar's current six-year, $2.4 billion pact with NBC, Fox and others that expires after 2006. A source familiar with the situation valued the new deal at $4.48 billion over the eight year term.

    The final 17 Nextel Cup races will be broadcast on ABC or ESPN, the networks tha broadcast Indycar. With the shortening of the IRL season, ABC now conveniently has the IRL season ending Sunday September 10 and the NASCAR Chase beginning the following Sunday, September 17.

    ABC's NASCAR coverage begins Sunday July 23 at Pocono and the IRL package doesn't end until 7 weeks later, there are only two weekends that the IRL and NASCAR races occur on the same day and those don't occur at the same time. ABC, by starting their NASCAR coverage with 17 races remaining, will also broadcast the Indianapolis Brickyard 400 August 8 and Bristol August 26, two of NASCAR’s highest rated races, and neither conflict with an IRL race date.

  • (12/4) - The two-times World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb wrapped up his perfect season in WRC this year by winning the 2005 Race of Champions at the Stade de France. The Scandinavia team won the Nations Cup in the event.

    Entry List:

    BENELUX: Christijan Albers (HOL/F1) + François Duval (BEL/WRC).
    BRAZIL: Felipe Massa (F1) + Nelson Piquet Jr. (GP2/A1GP).
    FINLAND: Marcus Grönholm (WRC) + Heikki Kovalainen (GP2).
    FRANCE: Jean Alesi (DTM) + Sébastien Loeb (WRC).
    TEAM PLAYSTATION FRANCE: Sébastien Bourdais (Champ Car) + Stéphane Peterhansel (Rally-raid).
    GERMANY: Bernd Schneider (DTM) + Armin Schwarz (WRC).
    GREAT BRITAIN: David Coulthard (F1) + Colin McRae (WRC).
    SCANDINAVIA: Tom Kristensen (DEN/Endurance) + Mattias Ekström (SWE/DTM).
    UNITED STATES: Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) + Travis Pastrana (X-GAMES).
    Wild card entries (competing in the individual Race of Champions only): Dani Sordo (SPA/WRC) and Dan Wheldon (GBR/IRL)

  • (12/4) - Bernie Ecclestone, who runs Formula One, said Friday that he sold part of his stake in the car-racing series to the British buyout firm CVC Capital Partners amid a threat by auto companies to set up their own competition.

    CVC also acquired the 48 percent stake held by Bayerische Landesbank of Germany, Ecclestone added.

    CVC in July raised €6 billion, or $7 billion, to create one of Europe's biggest buyout funds.

    Ecclestone, a British billionaire who used to control 25 percent, will remain chief executive of Formula One. Financial terms were not disclosed.



  • November 2005

  • TOP DRIVERS OF 2005
    By Kurt Van der Dussen

    At long last the racing season is over and it's time to rate the top 10 drivers from across the sport.

    And it shouldn't take a lot of brainpower to figure out that Tony Stewart deserves to be the Driver of the Year.

    And not just because he won his second NASCAR Nextel Cup title. In the most competitive series there is, his final stats were five wins, 17 top-fives and 25 top-10s. He scored the most points in the regular season and the most in the Chase.

    But he also finally won the war against himself. Moving back to Columbus probably was worth more than all that counseling.

    No. 2 in turn has to be Indy Racing League champ Dan Wheldon. He won the title in overpowering style with six wins, including the Indianapolis 500. That's right, Dan, not Danica, won Indy for you casual readers.

    No. 3 is F1 champ Fernando Alonso. He ended Michael Schumacher's world championship streak at five. He wasn't F1's fastest driver and didn't have the fastest car - Kiki Raikkonen was and did - but he was solid and consistent in becoming the youngest world champ.

    No. 4 is Carl Edwards who as a Nextel Cup rookie won four races and finished third for the title. He also made a run at the Busch title as well. This kid is a likely future multiple Cup champ.

    No. 5 is the afore-cited Raikkonen, who was the F1 season's brightest star even if Alonso won the title. He tied Alonso with seven wins and lost two or three others and the title to sheer rotten luck. He must be the favorite for the crown in 2006 and the measure of his ability is that Ferrari lusts to sign him to succeed Schumi when he retires, perhaps in 2007.

    No. 6 is Greg Biffle, who led the Cup series with six wins and had 15 top-fives and 21 top-10s. He looks likely to add a Cup title to his Craftsman Truck and Busch titles in the future.

    No. 7 is Steve Kinser. Ho-hum. All he did was win a 20th World of Outlaws title, and at an age when very few drivers are even strapping into a car, much less winning races. But he'd better look over his shoulder because son Kraig already is his most formidable challenger.

    No. 8 is Max Angelelli, a driver most of you never have heard of. But he's the champ of the fast-growing and very competitive Rolex Sports Car Series, and his driving style is so aggressive rivals call him Max the Axe.

    No. 9 is young Sebastian Bourdais. He won his second straight Champ Car title - a crown of modest value, to be sure. But he also won an IROC race and no less than Mark Martin says a Cup team should sign the young Frenchman because he could cut the mustard in NASCAR. Why the Renault F1 team has not signed him is baffling.

    Finally, No. 10 is Jimmie Johnson. Yes, he failed for the third straight year to win the Cup. But he's the only guy in position to win it the last three years, too. And his four wins included another Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte, while his 22 top-10 finishes were second only to Stewart.

    As for Danica Patrick, if a female driver ought to be on the list, it would be British lass Katherine Legge, who won three races in the tough Formula Atlantic series from which Bobby Rahal plucked Patrick last winter for fame and fortune without having won so much as one race.

  • (11/29) - The 2005 IRL Champ and Indy 500 Winner will remain in Indycar next season. Rumors circulated since May that Dan Wheldon might move to Formula One in '06.

    However, Wheldon will be driving for Chip Ganassi Racing next year.

    Naturally, the question arises why Wheldon would leave a winning power-house team like Andretti-Green. He claims that he was ready for a change and that he did not find the right situation in F1, so he has signed with Ganassi.

    Ganassi has not had their normal good luck this past year. They are not resigning Ryan Briscoe and they will run a two-car team next season.

  • (11/22) - Sad news today for single guys across the country. Danica Patrick has gotten married. The 23-year-old driver and physical therapist Paul Hospenthal, 40, wed Saturday in Scottsdale, Ariz
  • (11/21) - The NASCAR Nextel Cup season has finally came to an end. We bid adieu to Ricky Rudd and Rusty Wallace as they retire. Mark Martin's great season has changed his mind about retiring - he finishes the season in 4th place. Jeff Gordon finished outside the top 10! The championship came down to the last race this year. While the Indy 500 winner, Dan Wheldon, won the Indycar championship, the Brickyard 400 winner, Tony Stewart, won the Cup championship.
  • (11/17) - Toyota F1 is through with French tires and are moving to Japanese Bridgestones next season.
  • (11/17) - Red Bull's F1 team says they will be hiring renowned engineer Adrian Newey this February after his contract expires with McLaren.

    In the mid eighties Newey was chief designer for MarchF1 and then technical director for Leyton House. In 1990 he moved to Williams and the cars he designed between 1990 and 1997 for the Grove outfit won four drivers' titles and five constructors' championships.

    Newey then joined McLaren and produced cars that won the constructors' in 1998 and gave Mika Hakkinen two consecutive drivers' titles in '98 and '99. He was nearly enticed to join Jaguar -- which was taken over by Red Bull -- in 2001 but shortly after Jaguar announced his signing, McLaren retaliated by stating that Newey was staying put.

  • (11/12) - Al Unser had to have a tumor removed from his liver this week.
  • (11/12) - Kurt Busch got pulled over near Phoenix raceway and got a reckless driving ticket. He may have lucked out as the police's breath tester was broken. Doh!

    Update: Rousch Racing has consequently suspended him from driving in the last two races of the year. Kurt moves to Penske Racing next year.

  • (11/12) - Champ Car champ Sebastien Bourdais thought he would get into F1 via Renault, since it is a French company and he is French. Alas he has found that they don't want him and apparently rejected his request for a F1 test. Alleging that Renault president Patrick Faure knocks French drivers to justify his policy to hire foreigners, Sebastien Bourdais said: "They've done enough bad-mouthing about me... They should stop having fun demolishing all the French drivers."
  • (11/12) - 2005 Indy winner Dan Wheldon accepted an invitation to compete in the Race of Champions on Friday, Dec. 3 at the Stade de France in Paris.

    In the Race of Champions, Wheldon will represent the IRL against top drivers from all of the world’s other major forms of motorsports – Formula One, World Rally, NASCAR, sports cars, Champ Car, GP2, Rally Raid and DTM – in a unique event. Drivers will compete on an asphalt course in France’s national soccer stadium before more than 60,000 fans, driving a Citroen Xsara WRC car, Porsche 911 GT3 sports car and Race of Champions off-road buggy in heat races.

    The heats will eliminate drivers until two drivers square off in a race to determine the champion. Race of Champions drivers also will compete for the Nations Cup, representing their home country.

    Other drivers scheduled to compete in Paris are Formula One stars David Coulthard and Felipe Massa, four-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon, World Rally champions Sebastian Loeb, Marcus Gronholm and Colin McRae, motocross champion Travis Pastrana, Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais, Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, DTM and former Formula One star Jean Alesi, GP2 standouts Heikki Kovalainen and Nelson Piquet Jr., DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom and Rally Raid star Stephane Peterhansel.

  • (11/7) - BAR bested the Formula One land-speed record during runs at the Mojave airbase in California. They reached a speed of 258 mph!
  • (11/7) - Pedro de la Rosa won Montoya's charity gokart race in Columbia today. Ten F1 and Indy Car drivers competed in two heats, with the winner having the best average. Juan Pablo won the first heat and Vitantonio Liuzzi, who will be driving for Toro Rosso in '06, won the second.

    IRL drivers Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon and Roger Yasukawa competed as did F1 drivers Christian Klien, Christijan Albers and Antonio Pizzonia.

  • (11/5) - The IRL has changed its testing rules for 2006. The number of test days will be reduced from 12 to 8. If a team has more than one entry, those other entrys will have to share the testing days afforded. This may help level the playing field somewhat between big teams and smaller ones. Also, the teams will be able to choose when and where they test for the 3 private test days allowed.

    In a move to bolster support for the Infiniti Pro Series, the IRL will award an extra test day for every four IPS races that an IRL team competes in so that a team could earn up to 3 extra test days. However, the IPS driver must perform half of the testing duties in the IRL car on those extra test days.

  • (11/2) - IRL Champion Dan Wheldon said last weekend that he had not yet signed a deal but has been in talks with F1 teams as being a test driver next year, leading to a possible ride in '07.
  • (11/2) - The IRL racing team of Super Aguri is trying to raise a team to compete in Formula One next year. Aguri Suzuki says he will have Honda power and he is in talks with F1 driver Takuma Sato, who has been ousted from his BAR race seat by Rubens Barrichello. He has not announced who his sponsors would be and the FIA would have to approve the team.
  • (11/2) - NASCAR is testing a new boxier car design that is less aerodynamic in hopes of slowing cars and making it easier to pass in the Nextel Cup. This car design may be introduced in '06 or '07.






  • October 2005

  • (10/26) - NEW FORMULA ONE QUALIFYING RULES
    An exciting new "knockout" qualifying format will be used to determine the starting lineup for the 2006 United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and for the rest of 2006 Formula One season.

    Pending final approval from the FIA World Council, the one-hour qualifying session will be split into three parts on the Saturday of each Grand Prix weekend. Each of the three parts will contain multiple drivers on track simultaneously turning as many laps as they want, a change from the single-car, one-lap qualifying system used from 2003-2005.

  • All 20 cars will turn laps at any time during the first 15 minutes of the session. At the end of the first 15 minutes, the five slowest cars drop out and fill the final five grid places.
  • The 15 remaining cars then will turn laps in the second 15-minute session. At the end of that session, the next group of the five slowest cars drop out and fill 10th through 15th places on the grid.
  • The final 20-minute session will feature a dramatic shootout between the remaining 10 fastest cars to decide pole position and the starting order for the top 10 grid places.
  • An element of suspense and pit strategy remains entwined in the new qualifying format as the top 10 cars must qualify with the amount of fuel with which they plan to start the race.

    In other pending rules changes, the rule limiting a driver to a single set of tires for qualifying and the race will be dropped, and in 2006 drivers will be allowed to change tires but will be limited to seven sets (28 tires) of dry-weather tires during the weekend.

  • (10/17) - I was watching Monday Night Football and they started talking about Danica Patrick! She's still a hot topic.
  • (10/16) - What happens when little Danica disrespects you? She complained about Jaques Lazier being responsible for her wreck during the final IRL race of the year yesterday. The media is looking hard for a story on her scoff at Lazier after she reportedly wacked him lightly in the head on their trip back from the wreck in an emergency vehicle and said "What were you thinking?!" Lazier was reportedly angry and later scoffed back to reporters that she's weak.

    Patrick, who came away from the crash with a sore left elbow, and Lazier, who was not injured, came together and both spun and slammed hard into the wall. Each blamed the other for the crash that set up the dramatic finish. It looked like Lazier did drift up and into Patrick's rear tire.

    "That's not the way I wanted to finish my season," Patrick said. "I was on my radio all day about him. He was all over the track even when he was running by himself. No wonder he jumps around from team to team. Needless to say, I'm pretty frustrated."

    Lazier said Patrick was the one at fault for continually pinching his car down in the corners.

    "She didn't want to give me any room," Lazier said.

    Running a pink paint scheme in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness didn't change Target/Ganassi Racing's luck because Lazier's crash was unofficially the 28th of the season for the team. Steve Chassey, an insurance executive who raced Indy cars in the 1970s and '80s, estimated Ganassi's crash damage tab for the season is higher than for the entire Champ Car World Series field.

  • (10/16) - Dario Franchitti won his second race of the IRL season at Fontana, in the final race of the season. Franchitti is the first driver to win the race from pole. He dedicated the race to Greg Moore who died at this track in a CART race in '99.
  • (10/16) - I had to stay up Saturday night till 3 a.m. to watch the Chinese Grand Prix! Fernando Alonso won his 7th race tying Kimi Raikonnen for 7 wins this season! Kimi finished 2nd, but Alonso's teammate Fisichella finished 4th helping Renault edge out McLaren for the Manufacturers trophy.

    This was Peter Sauber's last F1 race as team principal. He is handing off control to BMW who gained majority control of the stock. Sauber was in Formula One for 13 years.

  • (10/15) - Dario Franchitti won the pole for tomorrow's IRL race at Fontana (their last). I was playing X-boxe's IndyCar 2005 tonight and I noticed the announcer on it didn't know how to pronounce Dario's last name - Ha.
  • (10/15) - Honda announced they will continue their role as an engine supplier to the IRL through at least 2009.

    Honda Performance Development (HPD) president Robert Clarke said, "We welcome competition but understand we may be the only ones involved," once Chevrolet leaves after tomorrow's Toyota Indy 400 and Toyota itself departs after the 2006 campaign. We are prepared to supply the entire IndyCar Series field [with leased engines at the same fixed cost to all teams] and feel it is crucial that everyone is supplied equal equipment. Our relationship with Ilmor (who assisted Honda and HPD in their initial entry into the League) has been mutually beneficial. It ends at the close of the 2006 season but we are in discussion to continue our agreement with Ilmor."

  • (10/15) - Red Bull has announced that once it completes its takeover of Minardi on November 1st, the Italian squad will then be known as Squadra Toro Rosso. The name is Italian for Team Red Bull.

    The driver complement was also confirmed, although not to which teams they will be assigned. David Coutlhard has already signed for the Red Bull team and the others are Christian Klien, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed and Neel Jani.

  • (10/11) - Panoz is going to begin making chassis for Champ car in 2007. The series currently uses just Lolas. The new Panoz DP01 chassis will be smaller than the current Lola tub in both length and width andweighs 165 pounds less. Panoz also makes a chassis for the IRL, but the Champcar monocoque will be different, as it uses a different engine (turbo).
  • (10/8) - Delphi Corp., the nation's largest auto supplier, filed for bankruptcy today, which is expected to result in plant closures and layoffs, is one of the largest in U.S. history. Probably bad news to Scott Sharp whose main sponsor is Delphi.
  • (10/9) - A.J. Foyt IV, 21, is quitting his grandpa's IRL team and switching to NASCAR Busch racing where he'll drive next year for Ray Evernham. Grandpa Foyt said ""He wants to do this, he's figured (the opportunity) out for himself, and it's time to let him hear things from someone else." Foyt Enterprises has not yet named a replacement driver for the IRL team.

  • Dan Wheldon and Team Andretti Green
    won the IRL Championship and the Indy 500 in 2005

    2005 Champ

    with a Honda-powered Dallara

    2005 Champ

    Danica Patrick beat out Ryan Briscoe, Tomas Enge and Paul Dana for 2005 IRL Rookie Of The Year. She also won Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honors after she finished in 4th. The diminutive racer drives for team Rahal Letterman Racing. Her car was a Honda-powered Panoz. This rookie's popularity sky rocketed after the Indy 500 and she appeared on many magazine covers and television shows, often overshadowing the other drivers. She finished in 12th place overall in the IRL and had 3 poles this season!

    Rookie Champ


    September 2005

  • (9/29) - Champ car canceled its planned Korean race for next month. It got cancelled last year as well.
  • (9/28) - Ken Unger, 3rd in command of the IRL after Tony George and Brian Barnhard, announced he is leaving the company at the end of this season. Apparently it is over the new reduced 2006 race schedule that he prepared.
  • Dan

  • (9/25) - Dan Wheldon clinched the 2005 Indy Car Championship today at the Glen. One more race to go - Fontana, the last time the IRL will be going there. Wheldon has had a stellar year so far, winning Homestead, St. Pete, Japan, Indianapolis, Pikes Peak and Chicago.

    Danica Patrick clinched the Rookie of the Year honors.











  • Alonso
  • (9/25) - There is finally a second F1 World Drivers Champion in the 21st century! Fernando Alonso drove his Renault to third in Brazil wrapping up the championship. He finished behind the McLarens. At age 24, Alonso is the youngest man to win the F1 title.

    In the driver's interviews after the race, I was surprised to hear Alonso say, "I think I came from a country with no traditions in Formula One and, you know, I fought alone, basically, because I had no help from anyone for all of my career. I arrived in Formula One thanks to the results in my previous categories and thanks to my sponsors and now I think this title is the maximum I can achieve in my life, in my career, and it is thanks to three or four people, no more than that." A little different than the average winners interviews where they thank their team and family, etc.





  • (9/16) - The Unsers are opening a Unser museum in Albuquerque, N.M. The grand opening of the 13,000- square-foot facility will showcase the family's contributions to racing is today. It is located at at 1776 Montano NW.

    Says Al sr, "Between the three of us - Bobby, Al (Jr.) and I and (nephew) Johnny Unser, we could probably fill three museums. We'll pick certain items that will showcase racing - like the Indy room and Pikes Peak - and then two other rooms that will be made up of different cars like hot rods and street rods. Then there's a place called Jerry's Garage, which will honor my father because he's the one who got us going in this."

  • (9/15) - ABC has pressured the IRL into drastically changing its schedule. They wanted a tighter schedule and they've gotten it. Eight weeks have been squeezed out. They wanted the IRL to drop Japan, but the race is important to Honda, so it stays on the docket. Pikes Peak has tentatively been dropped from the IRL schedule since it has no safer barrier and due to a management problem. The IRL has raced there since 1997 and attendance was up this year.

    A suitable date was not found for Phoenix International (good riddance!) or California Speedway and they've been dropped.

    2006 IRL SCHEDULE

  • (9/15) - Ryan Briscoe's car got airborn at Chicago and he flew into the fence where his car was shredded like lettuce in a big fireball. Luckily his Panoz tub stayed intact. Dave Brown, who is the fire and safety coordinator for the team and who drives Commander One, the primary rescue vehicle explained the brutality of the impact and what actually happened to Briscoe during Tuesday evening's Autosport Radio show here in Indianapolis.

    He said the accelerometer in Briscoe's helmet registered in excess of 150g's on impact and "that much force against the shoulders is bound to cause breakage and Ryan also sustained damage to his T1 and T2 discs" in the lower back. These injuries were in addition to concussion, singed eyebrows and bruises to both of his knees.

    Brown expects Ryan Briscoe to be sidelined for a minimum of 6-8 weeks, which would take him out of commission for the balance of the season, which resumes next weekend on the Watkins Glen International road course.

  • (9/15) - Since they are out of The Chase, Earnhardt and Gordon have already begun restructuring for 2006, replacing crew chiefs for the first Chase race. Earnhardt will be reunited with his cousin Tony Eury, Jr., and Gordon -- with Robbie Loomis serving as a consultant for Chase-contender Jimmie Johnson before heading to Petty Enterprises next season -- will get a head start with Steve Letarte (former car chief on the No. 24) for a possible full-time run in 2006.
  • (9/11) - Kimi Raikkonen won the Belgian Grand Prix for the second straight year Sunday, keeping alive his distant shot at the title while denying Fernando Alonso a first chance to become Formula One's youngest champion. One thing is for sure, Michael Schumacher will not be winning his 6th consecutive championship. The last time Schumy lost a F1 Drivers Championship was in 1999 to Mika Hakkinen.
  • (9/11) - Jack Roush has all five of his NASCAR Nextel Cup teams in The Chase!

    DRIVERS IN NASCAR CHASE
    1. Tony StewawrtJoe Gibbs RacingChevy
    2. Greg BiffleRoush RacingFord
    3. Rusty WallacePenske RacingDodge
    4. Jimmie JohnsonHendrick MotorsportsChevy
    5. Kurt BuschRoush RacingFord
    6. Mark MartinRoush RacingFord
    7. Jeremy MayfieldEverham MotorsportsDodge
    8. Carl EdwardsRoush RacingFord
    9. Matt KensethRoush RacingFord
    10. Ryan NewmanPenske RacingDodge

    10th place Ryan Newman is only 45 points out of first place.

  • (9/11) - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be featured on National Geographic Channel’s new show “MegaStructures” premiering at 8 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday Sept. 13.

    The show, which features the “greatest buildings and machines ever created,” according to the National Geographic Channel Web site, will be rebroadcast at 11 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 13 and at 5 p.m. Wednesday Sept. 14.

  • (9/10) - Was Ryan Briscoe's 1.163-mile advantage over Danica Patrick in qualifying for Sunday's Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean too good to be true?

    Apparently the Indy Racing League's scrutineers found a "post-qualifying technical infraction" for all three Target Chip Ganassi Racing team cars and threw Briscoe, Scott Dixon and Jaques Lazier to the rear of the 23-car field.

    No precise explanation was given concerning the infraction involved.

    The disqualification gives Danica Patrick her third Marlboro Pole Award in the 15th race of the 2005 season, tying her with Tomas Scheckter for most poles in a rookie season.

    Just call Patrick the lucky lady; her first two poles came when qualifying was rained out and the grid was based on the combined practice times.

    Teammate Buddy Rice starts alongside Patrick and all other qualifiers move up one spot in the starting lineup.

    Interestingly, the person who has the pole position for the Infiniti Pro Series race at Chicago is Sarah McCune. This is her first IPS race! This weekend the IRL has two women on the pole. Wow.

  • (9/10) - Morris Nunn has pretty much seen it all and done it all in motorsports. Nunn has worked with and/or owned Formula One teams, done the same in Champ Car and the Indy Racing League and now, well, maybe it might be time to play a bit more golf with wife Kathryn, who had her own successful 2004 Menards Infiniti Pro Series squad.

    Five years after opening Mo Nunn Racing, Morris decided closure was the best route for him and held a two-day auction to rid himself of the accoutrements of his most recent incarnation. Never the sentimentalist, everything went. The team's final campaign came during this year's Indianapolis 500 as a collaborative effort with Fernandez Racing and that team's co-owner Adrian Fernandez.

  • (9/10) - Williams F1 team is going to switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tires in 2006 so we can look forward to seeing them actually competing in next year's U.S. Grand Prix.
  • (9/10) - Paul Stoddard has decided to sell his Minardi Formula One team to Red Bull, who already has a team. Red Bull has not confirmed drivers for the so-called "rookie" team but rumour has it that Tonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed will take the race duties at whatever Minardi becomes, while Christian Klien will partner David Coulthard at the already established team. The idea is for the two squads to operate independently of one another and be in direct competition with each other.
  • (9/8) - IMS is again considering holding a motorcycle race on the road course. They are interested in Superbike World Championship and MotoGP, a pair of European-based series that use many F-1 tracks.

    The earliest a motorcycle race could be held is 2007, although a more likely scenario is 2009 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the track's opening, which, coincidentally, was a motorcycle race.

  • (9/8) - Scott Speed received a contract extension through 2006 and was promoted to test driver and top reserve for the Red Bull F-1 team, which means the 22-year-old Californian will practice on Fridays at events next year but not compete in the Sunday races.
  • (9/8) - Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) has received approval from its owner (NHRA) to install the SAFER barrier on the oval track.

  • To RACING NEWS INDEX

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