San Jose Grand Prix - Day 3

san jose grand prix
san jose grand prix
san jose grand prix

Sebastien Bourdais scores fifth Champ Car World Series victory of the season, dominates a wild day on the streets of San Jose - Sanjosegrandprix.com.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (July 30, 2006) – It was a little bit street party, a little bit street fight and a whole lot of Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) on a sunny Sunday in San Jose as the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford hit the 1.443-mile downtown street circuit in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Bourdais led 69 of 97 laps today to score his fifth win of the season, outlasting Cristiano da Matta (#10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and his RuSPORT teammate Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) to win the Canary Foundations Grand Prix of San Jose Presented by Taylor Woodrow in front of a weekend crowd totaling 155,934.

Frustration in San Jose - ChampCarworldseries.com.

San Jose, California - July 30th, 2006 - Despite a promising start that saw Forsythe drivers Paul Tracy and A.J. Allmendinger line up second and third on the grid, frustration ensued as Tracy encountered brake problems that sent him into a runoff area. He had contact with Alex Tagliani as he tried to get back underway, ending his day. An altercation ensued in pit lane between the two drivers as Tagliani confronted Tracy about the incident.

Allmendinger had to fight his way thru the field after making an unscheduled pit stop to repair wing damage that he suffered at the start. He managed to climb up to the third position before he was penalized for allegedly entering a closed pit lane just moments after Tracy's incident and fell far down the field but battled back to a seventh-place finish.

Brief Sharkspage recap of the action on the track:

Allmendinger ran into the back of Bourdais at the hairpin on Lap 1. Will Power runs into Servia who hits Junqueria. Junqueira out. Tracy called for an illegal start, ordered to flip spots with Sebastien Bourdais for first. Will Power given a drive-through penalty, drops to 14th.

Clark passed Ranger on the inside of the hairpin. Legge bumped Ranger on the hairpin, has to pit as a result of a cut tire. Clark passes Da Matta on the hairpin for second place. 3rd full course yellow, Legge into the barrier on turn 6. Bourdais first pit stop, 9.6 seconds. Tracy picks up a place out of the pits into third.

Tracy complains that Dan Clark is leaking onto the track, video of smoke coming from the car. Clark drops out one lap later with a broken gearbox and kicks his tire in frustration.

4th full course caution, Tracy loses brakes into turn 6 and heads into the run-off. Spins a 180 and re-enters track directly in the path of Alex Tagliani, who runs into the back of Tracy. Both cars out. Announcer "That is the dumbest thing I have seen Tracy do in years". Tagliani confronts Tracy near the pit once, after a second confrontation, punches are exchanged.

Bourdais pits and changes from red Potenzas to the stiffer blacks, remains in first. Allmendinger pit violation, sent from third to back of field, Lap 57. Servia dives under Zwolsman at the hairpin. Da Matta contact with Legge. Note from announcers, the Tracy-Tagliana crash is the 7th major wreck for Taliani this season.

Bourdais passes Zwolsman on the outside of the main straightaway heading into the hairpin. A healthy dose of push-to-pass was probably used. Ranger pushed into the wall by Legge on Lap 82, out of the race.

Sebastien Bourdais [Newman/Haas Racing] finishes first after 97 laps with a 1:38:00.168 time, and 85.991 average speed, Cristiano da Matta [RuSport] second with 1:38:06.854 and 85.893, and Justin Wilson [RuSport] third with 1:38:08.268 and 85.873.

San Jose Champ Car Notebook Sunday - SpeedTV.com.

SJGP photo galleries: Motorsport.com, Champ Car World Series, San Jose Mercury News, flickr Leduardo, flickr Mishael, flickr OPG 4759.

Youtube also has a number of videos from the San Jose Grand Prix event: drifting exhibition from jy116, big crash on Turn 6 during the Forumla Atlantic race from timvracer, and of course David Lee Roth at the Discovery Meadow. Here is a video of Sebastien Bourdais's post-victory donuts posted on vimeo.com by Mike Lee of The Feeder.

MD80891's blog on the Sporting News summed up the Champ Car race on Sunday perfectly: San Jose Grand Prix In Review.

So there you have it. 5 lead changes between 4 drivers in 97 laps. A hand full of cautions caused by drivers leaning on each other, running over each other or improper look out. One ugly altercation between Tagliani and Tracy. Gutsy passing in the hairpin brake zone where you go from 180mph to 28mph instantly.

All on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. It just does not get much better than that.

2006 San Jose Grand Prix race results - Sunday, July 30th:

1 (1) S. Bourdais, 1:38:00.168
2 (4) C. da Matta, 1:38:06.854
3 (12) J. Wilson, 97 1:38:08.268
4 (11) N. Philippe, 1:38:11.227
5 (10) M. Dominguez, 1:38:12.315
6 (6) W. Power, 1:38:13.125
7 (3) A. Allmendinger, 1:38:13.456
8 (5) O. Servia, 1:38:16.088
9 (14) C. Zwolsman, 1:38:16.626
10 (0) N. Pastorelli, 1:38:21.748
11 (16) J. Heylen, 1:38:25.528
12 (15) K. Legge, 1:38:26.064
13 (8) A. Ranger, 1:21:21.540 (Contact)
14 (13) A. Tagliani, 52:52.017 (Contact)
15 (2) P. Tracy, 50:17.412 (Contact)
16 (9) D. Clarke, 48:32.149 (Mechanical)
17 (7) B. Junqueira, 2:30.740 (Contact)

[Update] Tagliani, Tracy bury the hatchet, Tracy apologizes for pit-lane collision that knocked fellow Canadian from race - Globe and Mail.

[Update2] Here are the two Sharkspage videos from the Champ Car SJGP, one from turn 6 Market onto Balbach (where Tracy and Tagliani crashed), and a second is the rolling start of the race on Almaden in front of the main grandstands (taken from the 9th floor of the Crowne Plaza). If you missed the fight between Paul Tracy and Alex Tagliani, view the video here.

[Update3] Champ Car Or Championship Boxing? - Offwing.

[Update4] Raphael Matos Dominates San Jose Champ Car Atlantic Event in Flag-to-Flag Victory, Rookie Captures First Victory of Promising Season - Motorsportsblog.com.

San Jose Grand Prix - Day 2

san jose grand prix
san jose grand prix
san jose grand prix

Sebastien Bourdais powers to his fifth Bridgestone pole position of the 2006 Champ Car season, leads qualifying for San Jose event - Champcarworldseries.com.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (July 29, 2006) - The newly-revamped street course that winds through the center of San Jose has been vastly improved over last year, with the repairs and changes yielding times yesterday that were nearly five full seconds quicker than those of a year ago. Times fell even lower in today's final round of qualifying for the Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San Jose Presented by Taylor Woodrow - but the man at the top of the order gave a repeat performance from last year's inaugural Champ Car show.

Defending San Jose winner Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will start Sunday's 97-lap race from the pole as he did a year ago, taking his fifth Bridgestone Pole Position of the season and the 23rd of his career, setting a new track record of 48.989 seconds (106.040 mph) around the 1.443-mile street circuit.

Champ Car Press Conference from San Jose with Sebastien Bourdais, A.J. Allmendinger and Paul Tracy - Champcarworldseries.com.

[Q] Tell us a little bit about race strategy for tomorrow, obviously without showing your cards. You talked about it, there's been a lot of incidents, a lot of off-track kind of things. Long race tomorrow, hot race tomorrow. A lot of potential for mistakes. How do you balance sitting back waiting for mistakes and staying out of trouble with desire to win the race?

[A.J. ALLMENDINGER] I mean, I think it's a bonus starting up front as far as I am. The biggest key I think we all agree is to get through turn one. It's going to be a tough corner to get that. From then on, hopefully you have a great balance and if you're able to do that, you can just kind of pace yourself. Obviously, Sebastien gets through turn one leading, he's going to be the one setting the pace. You kind of go off of him, see if you have the car to stay with him or to try to pass him, just try to figure it out. That's really what it comes down to.

As we saw last year and throughout this year, everybody's got so aggressive and such a lot of speed right now, it's hard to kind of just lay back and just run a decent pace. You have to almost be pushing a hundred percent all the time. It's going to be a tough race tomorrow, but I'm really looking forward to it. I think we have a great car to at least have a chance to be on the podium if not win the race.

The biggest news story of the day on Saturday might have been a slight break in the weather. Already 10-15 degrees cooler than the 100+ temperatures in San Jose a week before, a number of clouds came in to make all-day race viewing possible. Fans still opted to gather around the Almaden straightaway and hairpin, the Park Ave turn onto Market street, and on the backside of the Marriot hotel in a refuge from the sun.

On Friday, Champ Car unveiled its new 2007 Panoz DP01 body that will be used during the 2007 season. The Panoz body will be more economically affordable, it will spur new enteries into the Champ Car field, and its narrower body will allow for more passing on the track. A video clip of the press conference to announce the new body is available on champcarworldseries.com.

Santa Clara University grad Jennifer Field won the 2006 Miss San Jose Grand Prix title Saturday night. Photos galleries are available on the faceofchampcar.com website. Field will head to Mexico City in November to participate in the end of the year "Face of Champ Car" contest.

Drivers digging track improvement, light rail bumps no longer launch cars - San Jose Mercury News.

The early opinions on the improvements to the downtown San Jose track were mostly positive after Friday's practice session and provisional qualifying, which was won by Paul Tracy.

"It's 200 percent better than last year," Tracy said. "The track is very smooth and so are the train tracks. You don't even feel them anymore. It's still pretty slippery because it's new pavement. But it's still a 200 percent improvement."

The Mercury News also posted a video of a lap around the track with Gail Truess of the all-women Champ Car Pace Car team. Compare the track in that video with this 2005 video around the course posted by a fan. The marketing of the San Jose Grand Prix this year was good, but all you need to do is post video from a ChampCar camera view of one lap around the track. 160 mph on Almaden would go a long way in viral marketing.

One more note on cars and video. The latest craze is new and used car retailers posting their own video online [wheelztv, cartv.com, vehixtv.com, etc]. While these are not exactly an episode of Top Gear, a few of the clips are entertaining.

Map of the 2006 course in downtown San Jose. An informal poll of local restaurants from Friday: 2 reported more customers than a year ago, 2 scaled down staff in anticipation of smaller crowds but were seeing more business, 1 reported less traffic than last year.

Saturday, July 29th Champ Car Qualifying results:

1 S. Bourdais, 48.989
2 A.J. Allmendinger, 49.264
3 C. da Matta, 49.659
4 P. Tracy, 49.810
5 O. Servia, 49.813
6 W. Power, 49.867
7 B. Junqueira, 49.887
8 A. Ranger, 49.962
9 D. Clarke, 50.161
10 M. Dominguez, 50.215
11 N. Philippe, 50.312
12 J. Wilson, 50.341
13 C. Zwolsman, 50.435
14 K. Legge, 50.473
15 J. Heylen, 50.838
16 N. Pastorelli, 51.628
17 A. Tagliani, 0.00

San Jose Grand Prix - Day 1

san jose grand prix
san jose grand prix
san jose grand prix

The San Jose Grand Prix returned for its second run this weekend. The first order of business was to take a look at the track improvements designed to make the race more competitive. The chicanes were gone, the cars did not launch off of the light rail tracks, and track widths and extended runoffs were noticeable improvements.

The San Jose Mercury News and the Wave Magazine lead the local previews for the race. The Merc published wall-to-wall articles and a pre-race guide: Course improvements offer chance to pass, No joke: Cedric the Entertainer in racing, Female racer, Legge, facing double challenge.

The Wave Magazine also published a 2006 San Jose Grand Prix race guide. The Wave picked Sebastien Bourdais, A.J. Allmendinger, Justin Wilson, Alex Tagliani and Andrew Ranger as the five racers to watch this year. Bourdais won the first 4 races of the season, is the defending S.J. winner from 2005, and won the overall Champ Car title in 2004 and 2005. A.J. Allmendinger is the local driver who won 3 of the last 4 races after joining Team Forsythe. Justin Wilson is third in the point standings coming off a win in Toronto.

NBC-KNTV11 built an elevated on-track studio high up on the final turn heading into the main straightaway. KNTV also has a special San Jose Grand Prix section on their website with photo galleries, articles, video, and will air a live post-race simulcast after the final race on Sunday.

Friday, July 28th Champ Car Qualifying results:

1 P. Tracy, 50.156
2 S. Bourdais, 50.160
3 A.J. Allmendinger, 50.246
4 D. Clarke, 50.278
5 A. Tagliani, 50.373
6 O. Servia, 50.388
7 N. Philippe, 50.440
8 J. Wilson, 50.504
9 B. Junqueira, 50.587
10 C. da Matta, 50.734
11 M. Dominguez, 50.861
12 A. Ranger, 50.925
13 C. Zwolsman, 51.004
14 K. Legge, 51.329
15 J. Heylen, 51.591
16 N. Pastorelli, 52.344
17 W. Power, 0.00

2005 flashback: photo gallery from the race (flash required), two videos of Historic Stockcars and Champ Cars driving over the light rail tracks on Almaden.

[Update] There was considerable controversy heading into the Grand Prix this year. Two issues were a $4 million subsidy the race received, which drew criticism from certain circles. Another issue was the formula and rationale used to determine the benifits the city of San Jose received from hosting the race. The San Jose Mercury News published a thorough look here.


Landis regains Tour de France yellow jersey on L'Alpe d'Huez

Tour de France

Team Phonak's Floyd Landis regained the yellow jersey on the Alpe d'Huez on possibly the most difficult mountain stage of the Tour de France Tuesday. Landis finished 4th, behind young rider Franck Schleck, but put enough distance between himself and Oscar Pereiro to reclaim the top spot. Landis leads Pereiro for the overall classification lead by 10 seconds.

The BBC has a profile of the Gap to L'Alpe d'Huez Stage 15 here.

A stage 15 report, an interview with Team Phonak coach Robbie Ventura, and a Floyd Landis profile are available on OLNtv.com. Landis won the 2006 Tour de Georgia, and the inaugural 2006 Tour of California. Past Tour of California coverage is available here.

Renowned cycling photographer Graham Watson is posting live Tour updates and photos on his website grahamwatson.com. His L'Alpe d'Huez photo gallery is available here.

Zinedine Zidane's Legacy

Will Zinedine Zidane's legacy be this, or this?

Top Ten 2006 World Cup links

With the celebrations just starting to wind down after Italy's fourth World Cup title, here are the top 10 links that made watching the games a little more enjoyable.

1. The official FIFA World Cup 2006 website powered by Yahoo offered numerous photo galleries, videos, articles, and provided non-stop coverage of the tournament under withering global internet traffic. The Yahoo servers withstood an estimated 4 million page views per day.

U.S. Soccer gets an honorable mention for the top spot based entirely on the Studio 90 behind-the-scenes talkshow. With a production value that must have dipped into the tens of dollars, host Neil Buethe interviewed the players, covered press conferences, and sampled different sides of Germany.

2. The BBC posted video game animation of every goal scored in the World Cup, although it looks like they used an Atari 2600 to pull the graphics from. Half of England dialed up the BBC for their football news, but Mexico and the USA were the top two World Cup surfing nations online.

3. The Zidane World Cup video game.

4. The Deutsche Welle television program airs formal German political and economic reports in a fashion similar to the McNeal/Lehrer newshour. The first week and a half of the World Cup, DW-TV abandoned the normal script for part of the show. They handed a roving reporter a microphone and tried to place him in front of the largest group of soccer fans they could find. Each night the enthusiastic, and some would say inebriated, soccer fans would work hard to foil any live television report from the street.

DW-world.de offers English versions of many of Deutsche Welle's articles and features.

5. Newspapers jumped on the blog bandwagon for the World Cup. The best media soccer blog was World Cup 06 by the New York Times. One of the few newspaper blogs to have a blogroll and link to articles outside of the home website, the NYT soccer blog was a catch-all for news that the highlight shows missed. Very well done.

6. I am convinced that Italian defender Marco Materazzi, the head butt-ee, is the living personification of all that is wrong with international soccer. This video from Mutoni's Musings on Materazzi's football credentials bolsters my theory. Materazzi has a history of questionable play.

After all the talk about Zidane vs Materazzi in overtime, how many people have you heard bring up Fabio Cannavaro planting his shoulder into the head of Thierry Henry during the first few minutes? Any doubt that he was just playing a solid positional game evaporated when Cannavaro tried to shoulder check Henry again in the head later in the game, only to miss him completely. This photo followed the second confrontation.

7. This video was originally created by the Guardian for the 2004 European Championships. Online, it turned into a spoof of Italy training for the 2006 World Cup. Not too far off.

8. You were annoyed by a particular World Cup announcer, so you muted the volume and found an audio feed online. Then you started wandering to the nether regions of the television dial to sample the goal celebrations on Univison and Barbara Bermudo's much celebrated football-inspired wardrobe. You may think you went out of your way to sample a slice of global football coverage, but you are not Rafat Ali of Paid Content.

Rafat dialed into the BBC for live video of the World Cup, only to run into the BBC block of all non-UK IP addresses. After writing a story earlier about P2P TV piracy in China, he downloaded the Chinese software, installed it, and found a usable feed that synced with his ABC-HD broadcast.

It took Rafat 30 days to figure it out this year, it may take the Chinese government 4 years to find a way to block it for the next World Cup in South Africa.

[Note: complaints about the ESPN television crew were numerous, impassioned, and slightly amusing.]

JP Dellacamera/John Harkes was the go-to broadcast tandem in my opinion, with Adrian Healey/Tommy Smyth a close second. Marcelo Balboa brought enthusiasm, and a long history with U.S. Soccer and the MLS. He receives the benefit of the doubt from most soccer fans. There is no excuse for selecting Dave O'Brien as your lead announcer.

More here.

9. Former Earthquakes photographer John Todd and several other photographers shot the World Cup from every conceivable angle for internationalsportsimages.com.

Other impressive photo galleries were posted by Getty Images, Icon Sports Media, and Corriere.it.

Getty Images also has a new sports blog from their photographers point of view, and a highlight preview video.

10. Offwing.com. From DC United vs Celtic FC coverage, to Zidane analysis, to an indepth analysis of soccer helmets, Eric is a must-read when it comes to Major League or International soccer.

Offwing's World Cup coverage can be found here.

That is more than 10 links. My apologies. If you want more, click here.


The Contender Season 2 premieres on ESPN with boxing double-header

Contender Sergio Mora

The second season of The Contender kicked off on ESPN with a double-header on Tuesday. Cornelius Bundrage won a speculative 5-round decision over Michael Clark based on a late knockdown in the fifth. Noberto Bravo defeated Rudy Cisneros in 5 with a split decision.

Sixteen Welterweights will be split into two teams and will compete for an appearance in the finale Sep. 26th in Los Angeles. After the first two episodes, Team Blue is up 2-0 on Team Gold.

[Update] Sergio Mora, the Contender season 1 winner, is in negotiations for a fight with middleweight champion Jermain Taylor according to Dan Rafael of ESPN. Mora is first scheduled to be a part of a Contender special card at Arco Arena in Sacramento on August 25th.