Saturday, June 24, 2006

Open-Wheel Racing's Orgy Week-End

Fernando Alonso takes the checkered flag at British Grand Prix, his fifth win in eight races this season. Photograph by: DARREN STAPLES, REUTERS

In North America, these are the auto racing week-ends we live for.

What with F1 in Montreal at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, ChampCar at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, and the IRL "flying" at one of NASCAR's more famous venues, the Richmond International Raceway in Virginia; how does one get any of the "honey-do's" done?

Excerpted snippets fron the F1, CCWS and IRL websites -

F1 - Canadian Grand Prix - Sun, Jun 25 12:30PM (EST)

A pretty low-key opening day in Montreal, with Midland’s Tiago Monteiro the only man to experience drama, as he tangled with the infamous ‘wall of champions’. And once again it was BMW Sauber’s third man Robert Kubica at the top of the times .
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Kubica heads opening Montreal session
F1 - 23 June 2006

Practice for the Canadian Grand Prix got off to a quiet start in Montreal on Friday, under grey skies and windy conditions on the Ile Notre Dame.

Robert Kubica set the best time, for BMW Sauber, with a lap of 1m 16.290s. That compares with Jenson Button’s 2005 pole time of 1m 15.217s and Kimi Raikkonen’s fastest lap of 1m 14.384s.

Nobody else pushed particularly hard, with Anthony Davidson 1.916s down in second place for Honda on 1m 18.306s ahead of Alexander Wurz on 1m 18.941s for Williams. Right at the end they were joined by Michael Schumacher, with 1m 18.994s for Ferrari.
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CCWS - Cleveland Grand Prix - CBS - Race Live, Jun 25, 2:30pm (ET)

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS UPENDS FORSYTHE DUO WITH LAST-LAP SURPRISE TO LEAD FIRST DAY OF CHAMP CAR QUALIFYING IN CLEVELAND
CCWS - June 23, 2006

CLEVELAND - Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford points leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) had a great seat to watch a slugfest between Forsythe Championship Racing drivers Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and A.J. Allmendinger (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), but when the dust had settled, it was Bourdais that stepped up to throw the battle-ending blow.

Portland racewinner Allmendinger and defending Cleveland champion Tracy swapped the first-day pole five times in a furious qualifying session at Burke Lakefront Airport today, but instead of locking up the front row, the Forsythe duo ended their day looking up at the two-time defending series champ. Bourdais blistered the 2.106-mile circuit in 56.851 seconds (133.359 mph) on his 15th and final lap of the day to lead the first round of qualifying.
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Wilson ended up fourth with a top time of 57.312 seconds (132.286 mph), putting him one position ahead of last week's polesitter Bruno Junqueira (#2 Hole In The Wall Camps Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). Nelson Philippe (#4 CTE Racing-HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) continued his recent run of strong performances with a sixth-place finish, stopping the clocks at 57.779 seconds (131.217 mph).
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The final grid for Sunday's 105-lap 25th anniversary Champ Car Grand Prix Presented by U.S. Bank will be set by Saturday's final qualifying session, which takes place from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
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IRL - SunTrust Indy Challange - 8 p.m. (EDT), ESPN2

Castroneves awarded pole after qualifying washed out; Sharp second
By Dave Lewandowski - indycar.com - Friday, June 23, 2006

RICHMOND, Va. – Helio Castroneves said his mother told him to appreciate every gift he received. Years later, that includes pole starts in the IndyCar Series.

For the third time this season, the series points leader will start from the pole after rain curtailed qualifying after 10 cars had made attempts. The field for the SunTrust Indy Challenge presented by XM Satellite Radio (8 p.m. ET June 24 on ESPN2, IMS Radio Network affiliates, XM Satellite Radio Channel 145 and www.indycar.com) was set on combined practice speeds from earlier in the day. The thunderstorm also postponed the final practice session until 2 p.m. (ET) on race day (check out live Timing and Scoring on indycar.com).

Castroneves topped both pre-qualifying practice sessions with quick laps of 173.029 mph (15.6043 seconds in the first) and 173.472 mph (15.5645 seconds in the second). Delphi Fernandez Racing’s Scott Sharp will make his first non-Indianapolis 500 front-row start since Kentucky 2001 after a quick lap of 172.712 mph in the second session.

“I’ll take it,” said Castroneves, who also started from the pole at Watkins Glen (practice speeds) and Motegi (points because all cars didn’t have equal practice time). “I’m not upset that we didn’t qualify. Every time you have a chance to start on the pole position without going qualifying it’s a blessing in disguise.”

It is Castroneves’ seventh consecutive top-5 start this season and his second pole start at Richmond International Raceway (2004). He was midway through his first warm-up lap in qualifying when he spotted two raindrops on his visor. Obviously, he immediately stepped off the throttle.


The starting position was especially pleasing to Sharp, whose team switched to the Dallara chassis from the Panoz before the season-opening race March 26.
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Sam Hornish Jr. (172.561 mph) and reigning IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon (172.492) will occupy the second row. Wheldon was the provisional pole sitter (173.991 mph) when rain cloud engulfed the facility.
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Rookie Marco Andretti (172.068) and Panther Racing’s Vitor Meira (171.972) will share Row 3, while Tony Kanaan (171.950) and Kosuke Matsuura (171.802) are in Row 4.

The Nos. 5 (Buddy Lazier) and 14 (Felipe Giaffone) cars would not have made qualifying attempts. Lazier’s Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4 in the first session. The team will have the back-up car prepared for the race. The A.J. Foyt Enterprises team changed the engine and multiple other components after a plume of smoke was visible after eight laps.

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I guess the "honey-do's" will just have to wait!

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