Thursday, May 31, 2007

Talking (Re: spinning) About Politics

Last week on his blog Carter Wrenn, after noticing President Bush’s low approval ratings in North Carolina, had this to say about one of our latest polls…

…none of this seems to be helping Hillary, Obama, or John Edwards. When the Democratic pollster asked, “Are you more likely to vote for the Democratic ticket if John Edwards is the nominee” – 33% of the voters said Yes. But more, 46%, said no. (It was worse for Obama and Clinton.)

In other words 52% of the people disapprove of the job President Bush is doing. But, curiously, a lot of them are less likely to vote for the Democratic ticket if the candidate is John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama. That logic seems to be odd. But maybe there is an explanation. Voters face a double negative. A Hobson’s choice. And they’re saying to themselves, President Bush hasn’t done a good job, but, let’s face it, it could be worse.

That’s some serious spin.

In the exact same poll voters say they will vote for the Democratic presidential candidate over the Republican, 47%-42%. That’s a FAR cry from claiming North Carolinians think the Democrats could be worse than Bush.

Maybe Tar Heel voters would like a generic Democrat better than one of the top three contenders—that’s possible. But that reminds me of my earlier contention with the N&O who I think made a similar misinterpretation.

WEST: Western Elite StockCar Tour June 2 at ACMS

SIEMENS Transportation Group Western Elite StockCar Tour

SASKATOON, SK - Four time CASCAR Western Series Champion, Kevin Dowler of Edmonton, Alberta has confirmed his participation in the inaugural Siemens Transportation Group Western Elite StockCar Tour race, the Affinity 125, on Saturday June 2nd at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway. Dowler will be one of between 20-25 drivers expected to be on the track Saturday.

Other notable drivers include:

¨ 2006 CASCAR Sportsman, one time CASCAR Western Series Champion, Dan Shirley #46, Saskatoon, SK
¨ Nitro Nick Allen #21
¨ Todd Nichol #6, Edmonton, AB
¨ Paul Savoie #95, Saskatoon, SK
¨ Devon Brown, #51, Rosetown, SK
¨ Scott (24) & Chris (48) Dennis, Edmonton, AB
¨ Scott Kessler, Calgary, AB
¨ Trent Guest #45, Medicine Hat, AB
¨ Ben Busch #49, Prince Albert, SK

Other divisions racing on Saturday include Street Stock, Thunder Stock and Sport Compact Mini Stock.

PMRA heads back to Cayuga for Round Two

Courtesy Bruce F. Mehlenbacher

CAYUGA, ONTARIO (May 28, 2007) – With a successful opening round in the Pro Modified Racing Association Tour at Toronto Motorsports Park recently, the PMRA will be back at TMP in Cayuga, Ontario for event two in the five-race 2007 drag race series.

The first event of our season hosted a record number of Pro Modified teams”, said Bruce F. Mehlenbacher, Director of Operations for the PMRA. “And having the 10th different winner in 10 races since the PMRA series started three years ago I think says a lot for the uniformity of our teams and a solid level of competition.”

The Third Annual KC Auto Family Day Spectacular - PMRA Challenge presented by Paul Wolf Electric & Lighting Supply Inc., Sylvania, and Independent Electrical Distributors will be held on Saturday, June 16.

The PMRA series expects to see the return of series regulars and principals in the 2007-Point Series sponsored by Wix Filtration Products, Valvoline, a division of Ashland Inc., Uni-Select, and Moen Incorporated.

Sam Andreacchi, Matt Guenther, Gary Irving, Ike Maier, Gary Mater, and Scotty Wildgust all started their PMRA career on the Kohler Road quarter-mile strip at the first event on Victoria Day weekend. Established PMRA teams including Bruce Boland, Dave Earhart, Rob Laperriere, Joe Lilienthal, Mark Mitchell, Larry Sinke, and 2006 Champions Kasey Janzen and Joe Boniferro are all expected to return.

“We should see a few teams out for the first time this year,” added Mehlenbacher, referring to Raymond Commisso driving for Ralph Andreacchi, Jerry Bowles, and Mike Stawicki from Medina, New York driving the G-Force Race Cars 1967 Camaro.

Other new Pro Modified teams may show up at TMP to take part in the series, such as the last-minute entries of Billy Farmer of Maryland and Massachusetts’s John Russo with Canadian “Super Star” tuners Carl Spiering and Al Billes who competed in the recent event.

Joining the PMRA at Toronto Motorsports Park will be the CAN-AM Stock/Super Stock Series. This popular grass-roots drag series that features competitors from Ontario and Michigan, was formed in 1996, and continues to grow each season.

Qualifying for the Third Annual KC Auto Family Day Spectacular - PMRA Challenge presented by Paul Wolf Electric & Lighting Supply Inc., Sylvania and Independent Electrical Distributors will begin Saturday afternoon with the eight quickest teams returning for the final eliminations under the lights on Saturday night at Toronto Motorsports Park in Cayuga, Ontario on June 16.

For information contact Toronto Motorsports Park call (905) 772-0303 or visit online at

Now in its third year of operation, The Pro Modified Racing Association (PMRA),, has enjoyed strong fan popularity and will present some of the best in Pro Modified racing for 2007.


Courtesy Mosport

(BOWMANVILLE, ON – May 28, 2007) Dads will be in for a real racing treat when the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series makes its much anticipated Mosport debut, along with the Grand-Am KONI Challenge, as part of the Father's Day Doubleheader, June 15, 16 & 17.

Filling out one half of the doubleheader weekend are the powerful stock cars of the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, which will take to Mosport's demanding 4 km, 10 turn road course on Sunday (June 16) in the Mosport 200, presented by Canadian Shield Anticrime Response Corporation.

Many of the drivers competing in the new Series are Canadian stock car veterans who know Mosport's road course well. They include the likes of D.J. Kennington (St. Thomas, ON), Don Thomson, Jr. (Ayr, ON), last year's pole-sitter J.R. Fitzpatrick (Ayr, ON) and race winner, Kerry Micks (Mt. Albert, ON). Former Champ Car racer, Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, QC, is scheduled to make his first road course start in Canada’s NASCAR series this Father’s Day weekend.

Rounding out the other half of the twinbill are the high-performance sports sedans of the U.S.-based Grand-Am KONI Challenge. With 400 km championship races in both the ST class, which features agile and quick Acuras, BMWs and Mazdas, and the powerful Mustangs and Porsches of the GS class, Dad will be entertained with first-rate racing action all weekend long. The GS race is set for Saturday, while the ST race is on the Sunday schedule.

RACELINE RADIO: Erik Tomas's 'Tomas Tales'

Raceline Radio:

Formula One fans will want to check out the guest schedule first this week! One-on-one interviews with Formula One drivers are extremely rare, especially a driver as huge as this one.

Because the postings used to get more than a few hits every week and thanks to those who clicked, but I have to release officially: there will no longer be any more “Coming up this Week on Raceline Radio” bulletins on the website: Canadian Racing On Line.

Raceline Radio has been “banned” from accessing the site. It was a decision taken by site management based on completely false and groundless accusations. It’s certainly their website and they can administrate it any way they like, but after a very unpleasant experience, this show will stay as far away from this website as possible from this point forward.

Dario Franchitti is a very deserving Indy 500 winner. He’s very much like his fellow Scottish hero, Jimmy Clark. Quiet, unassuming, without bombast, who’s deadly fast and precise. Very genuine too. I remember speaking with Dario live on air after he won one of the ChampCar ( CART ) races in Montreal. His voice sounded rough and when I asked why, he admitted that he had his visor up during a yellow and had accidentally swallowed a fly! He made himself hoarse trying to hack up the dirty invading insect! I laughed for days over that one. Dario is that kind of guy. You like it when good people prosper.

How do we prevent chaos in this sport? Enforce the rule book. It’s that simple, but it’s alarming how rules in that book are bent, stretched, maligned and distorted for any number of reasons.

At the local/regional track level, most of the “rubberization” of the rule book is based on car-count-fear. That if your tech guy finds someone’s engine illegal, he’ll get mad and leave and not come back and you’re down a car. The turn-around usually comes the Monday or Tuesday after race weekends with whining and crying on the phone and the track owner and promoter eventually giving in. Not this time.

Merrittville Speedway, St.Catharines Ontario, where I announce every week, is sanctioned under the DIRT banner ( now called DIRTCar ). Since buying the organization from founder Glen Donnelly, the crew from Tulsa Oklahoma, who also own the World of Outlaws Sprints and Late Model Series, let it be known early ALL tracks’ tech inspectors will come into line with stringent enforcement of the rule book and cheaters will be penalized to the fullest extent of the law.

NASCAR’s been doing the same thing this year you notice.

Recently, a popular local driver who doesn’t run Merrittville on a regular basis, placed in the top 3 in a 358 Modified feature. As is the usual practice, the top 3 finishing Modifieds get checked. Turns out the visiting driver, who’s a headliner at another speedway nearby, had illegal cylinder heads on the motor. Already guilty, the crew refused to turn over the illegal heads for confiscation, as is written in the rule book. Too bad. The driver is a good guy. Did he know the heads were illegal? Doesn’t matter. They were in violation of the rules. It is the team and driver’s responsibility to bring a legal car to the race track and to race and finish in a legal car. Period.

DIRTCar suspended the driver for a number of weeks to howls of protest that Merrittville was “picking” on this driver. Track management took abuse, even physical abuse over the ruling. How sad. They were only doing their job.

Merrittville is only doing something every track and sanctioning body should be doing, enforcing their rule book. It keeps racing from spinning out of sight cost wise, it actually helps keep car counts healthy and we’ve already written about Merrittville’s highly successful crate engine program for their Sportsman Division.

When drivers intentionally cheat for the purpose of enhancing their performance for larger shares of the purse, the hammer should come down, and at Merrittville, it has. Hurray from here!

I applaud my bosses at Canada’s longest operating dirt track for having the guts to do what’s right, and DIRTCar for enforcing their rule book. Lessons should be learned. You cheat, you’re gone! No exceptions!

And one final thought on motorsport websites. I have to laugh when I see notices that they’re starting up accompanying “Radio Shows”. Funny, I thought for something to be called a “Radio Show” it had to actually BE on the radio, over the air. Am I missing something? A webcast and a radio show are not the same thing. They might be in content, but not in transmission.

What’s YOUR opinion? Drop me an e-mail! Any suggestions? Opinions? Comments? Better ideas? Keep the E-Mails coming for The Raceline E-Mail Bag! The address: . Do you agree or disagree with the commentary?

Until next time, talk to ya’ll on Raceline Radio! ET

Coming Up: Sunday June 3rd, 2007

A preview of the June 10 th Formula One Canadian Grand Prix with TEAM 990 Montreal’s resident racing expert Shaun Starr…

We talk up the brand new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series with series TV staffer Todd Lewis….

Plus lots more fan commentary from The Raceline E-Mail Bag.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

OSCAAR: Heading to Kawartha on Friday Night

FRASERVILLE, ON - The OSCAAR Outlaw Super Late Models return to action this Friday, June 1st, making their first of two appearances this year at Kawartha Speedway. The 4/10 mile oval in Fraserville is one of the faster tracks on the schedule and with high banks and extra racing room always provides for good 2-wide racing action.

Last year saw mother nature throw a curve ball at the oval outlaws. In their first appearance in ’06, the rain came just after the heat races were in the books and the feature had to be called off. As a result, a twin 35 lap double feature format was arranged for their second appearance. That event saw the #61 of John Fletcher charging through the field in both races to capture a pair of checkers and walking away with a boat load of points. The #22 of Glen Watson came home second overall in the event, in what was a sign of things to come from the rookie campaigner.

Two weeks ago, the season opener at Flamboro Speedway saw Watson have his turn showing Fletcher what the back end of the #22 looked like. That team will be looking to do more of the same, and everyone knows the #61 team will be strong and looking to continue last year’s success. It’s shaping up to be a good dogfight at Kawartha.

Throw in TJ Woolsey, Rob Clarke, Shane Maginnis, and any other number of cars that are capable of taking home the checkers on any given night and you’ve got yourself a race. We haven’t seen yet what Jeff Hanley has to show come feature time. Will one of the rookies step up and steal one? Come on out to Kawartha Speedway, Friday, June 1st. Spectator gates open at 5pm, the fun begins at 7pm.

By George Strang / from

Scotia Speedworld: Engine set to roar

Halifax, NS (May 30, 2007) – The engines will roar at Scotia Speedworld Friday, June 1, as the Weekly Racing Series kicks off the season. Grandstands open at 5:30 pm with Bandolero cars starting at 7:00 pm.

Exciting racing action for the whole family, including the C&R Auto Supply Sportsman, Hobby Stocks, Legend cars, the Miller Tire/BF Goodrich Thunder & Lightning cars and the Bandolero cars. This is the first full weekend of points racing, as May 20th was rained out. The drivers and teams are pumped and ready for action.

All of our 2006 divisional champions are back to defend their titles led by Craig Slaunwhite in the C&R Auto Supply Sportsman, Kyle Butler in Hobby Stocks, Scott MacLean in Legend cars, Tim Webster in Miller Tire/BF Goodrich Thunder cars, Russell Smith Jr. in Miller Tires/BF Goodrich Lightning cars and D.J. Casey in the Bandolero cars. The entire field of cars will be looking to dethrone each of the 2006 champions.

From Ken Cunning / Scotia Speedworld

HD Partners Acquisition Corporation Announces Proposed Acquisition of NHRA Pro Racing from the National Hot Rod Association

Santa Monica, CA (May 30, 2007) — HD Partners Acquisition Corporation (“HD Partners”) (AMEX: HDP, HDP-U, HDP-WT) and the National Hot Rod Association (“NHRA”), the world’s preeminent drag racing organization, today announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which HD Partners will acquire all of NHRA’s professional racing assets, including the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing series, together with a broad set of rights to commercialize the NHRA brand.

Upon consummation of the transaction, the acquired assets will be held in a wholly owned subsidiary of HD Partners named NHRA Pro Racing. The NHRA, which will remain a non-profit 501(c)(6) corporation, will retain all its non-professional racing, safety and educational activities and continue to be the sanctioning body for all NHRA racing activities, including the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Eddy Hartenstein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of HD Partners, said, “We are extremely excited by this truly unique sports media and entertainment opportunity, which provides an ideal platform for our management team to leverage their skills and expertise in creating and marketing compelling entertainment experiences and building strong brands. NHRA President Tom Compton and his team have done a remarkable job positioning the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing series as one of the country’s top motorsports events. We see tremendous opportunities in working closely with Tom, who will become President and CEO of NHRA Drag Racing, to take the sport of drag racing and the overall NHRA experience to the next level.”

Wally Parks, Founder of the NHRA, said, “Today’s announcement represents a monumental milestone in the 56-year history of the NHRA. By virtue of the agreements we have reached with HD Partners, we are positioning the NHRA POWERade Series for great future growth and success, while at the same time are assuring the long term vitality of the NHRA.”

Upon closing of the transaction, Eddy Hartenstein will serve as Chairman of NHRA Pro Racing, and Tom Compton will assume the role of President and CEO and be a member of the Board. Robert Meyers, HD Partners’ current Chief Financial Officer, will become the Chief Financial Officer of NHRA Pro Racing. Peter Clifford, currently Executive Vice President and General Manager of the NHRA, will become executive director of the NHRA, as well as a consultant to NHRA Pro Racing.

Dallas Gardner, Chairman of the Board of NHRA, said, “This transaction provides the best opportunity for NHRA to fulfill its core mandate to protect, preserve and promote the sport of drag racing. It provides long-term financial stability to the NHRA, an unhindered opportunity for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series to flourish and grow, and an important strategic and long-term relationship between the NHRA and NHRA Pro Racing.”

Tom Compton, president of the NHRA, said, “While we have made tremendous strides over the last eight years growing the professional side of the sport, today’s announcement is the next logical step in the evolution of the sport of drag racing. This new relationship brings with it access to investment capital, additional expertise, relationships and complimentary skill sets to assist the current management team to drive key initiatives to accelerate the growth of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.”

Under the terms of the agreement announced today, HD Partners will acquire:
· The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and all professional NHRA drag racing assets and opportunities, including NHRA’s existing television broadcast agreement with ESPN;
· An exclusive, worldwide, perpetual license to the NHRA brand for professional drag racing activities; · Broad and extensive rights to commercialize the NHRA brand, including: o Exclusive professional racing and “Official NHRA” sponsorship and licensing rights; o Exclusive media exploitation rights in broadcast television, home entertainment and new media; o Exclusive merchandising rights relating to both professional racing and the stand-alone NHRA brand; · Four NHRA-owned race tracks, an additional long-term track lease in Pomona, California and the NHRA headquarters building in Glendora, California; and
· A video and photo archive chronicling the history of drag racing, which includes more than 20,000 hours of video and film.

The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series currently consists of 23 national events held at locations across the country. These multi-day events, which can draw as many as 125,000 spectators over three or more days, provide fans, racers and sponsors a unique ability to interact with each other through access to the racer pit area.

In addition, NHRA’s Nitro Alley display and interactive area located at each national event provides fans with a race-related entertainment experience, including the ability to get behind the wheel themselves in motorcycle and funny car simulators. All 23 national events are aired exclusively on ESPN2.

The NHRA will receive approximately $121 million in total consideration, consisting of approximately $100 million in cash, approximately $9.5 million in HD Partners common stock and the assumption by HD Partners of approximately $11.5 million in debt and liabilities. In addition to retaining its non-professional racing activities and sanctioning role, the NHRA will continue to offer its membership program and publish its weekly publication National Dragster. The closing of the asset purchase and related transactions is subject to stockholder approval, regulatory clearances and other customary closing conditions.

HD Partners will file a Current Report on Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which more fully describes the transaction.

In connection with the proposed acquisition, Morgan Joseph & Co. Inc. served as financial advisor to HD Partners and Latham and Watkins LLC were HD Partners’ legal advisors. Duff & Phelps, LLC provided a fairness opinion to the HD Partners board of directors.

A nationally recognized investment banking firm provided a fairness opinion to the NHRA board of directors in connection with the transaction and Morrison and Foerster were the NHRA’s legal advisors.

Crosstabbing across regions

A few days ago BlueSouth commented:

"The writer of the other kos diary asked the question, "why split the data up by area code?"

My thought was just that it is easier since you are dealing with IVR, but I know you pull your lists from voter records, so why not congressional districts? The other writer seemed upset by it for some reason, to me it really doesn't matter, since a cross tab is a cross
tab, but it has made me curious."

Good question. We split it by area code because it is easy. We can and do make geographical cross tabs in other ways, like Congressional districts, especially if a client wanted it.

I personally like using area codes because it splits the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte into distinguishable regions, where congressional districts do not. Also, with only 6 regions each cross tab is somewhat statistically significant, but with 13 regions, for example, the significance would decrease significantly.

Talking of Sons-of-Drugs…

Just when we thought that drug companies had given up on some of their more blatant life-cycle management tricks, snubbed by stingy payors who now know their left-handed from their right-handed isomers, out come Sanofi-Aventis and UCB with news of US approval for their new anti-histamine Xyzal. The Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog was quick to make the link—which the companies’ press release somehow omitted—and proclaim Xyzal as son-of-Zyrtec, which, incidentally, will lose patent protection in September.

Not much new drug company behavior there, then. But WSJ’s timely outing of Son-of-Zyrtec reminded IN VIVO Blog of another, somewhat more unusual Son-of-Drug story that you might just have missed.

Remember Lilly’s problematic Xigris, whose market performance has been as disappointing as the pre-launch anticipation was sizzling? In case you don’t: Xigris came to market in 2001, the first ever treatment for severe sepsis, after years of top-notch protein science and engineering inside Lilly, with many hearts and minds at stake.

Xigris is a case study of, simplistically, how too much innovation can backfire (just as too little can, also). Particularly since Lilly appears (with that wonderful thing called hindsight) to have launched the drug in too broad a population, which led to the brand image being tarnished by cases of serious bleeding. Lilly ain’t giving up on Xigris—there's too much money under the bridge for that. It's busy seeking biomarkers to find out which patients can benefit most. “We’re in invest mode” on Xigris, sum up Lilly executives.

But—and here, belatedly, is the point—Lilly was (after some persuading) quite happy to part with son-of-Xigris, theoretically a better-designed molecule, for not very much money and no claw-back to speak of. The Big Pharma last month quietly licensed the Phase I candidate to a relatively unknown Canadian biotech called Cardiome. Unknown, perhaps, except for the fact that Cardiome's CMO is Chuck Fisher, the man behind Xigris’ development and approval at Lilly.

The deal is somewhat personal, in other words. It's Fisher’s chance to make good what, to put it frankly, went bad within Lilly. He had a job persuading his own board to agree to the deal, even though Cardiome paid just $20 million up front and up to $40 million in milestones (which don’t start until 2009) for all possible indications (and there could be dozens). It’s a risky, if relatively cheap, bet for Cardiome: the drug’s father has proved an expensive failure, and although Cardiome is testing Son-of-Xigris for cardiogenic shock in the first instance, that's still a tricky indication with no pre-clinical models.

Still, if Son-of-Xigris does make it to market one day, in anything, it will be interesting to compare its development and approval path within a small, focused biotech with that of its father, who was brought up in Big Pharma: nature vs nurture. As we’ll suggest in the next issue of IN VIVO, the Xigris family of drugs may just be better suited to biotech. Certainly Fisher reckons he can do a better job marketing Xigris’ offspring than Lilly could.


EDMONTON, AB – The $100,000 Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series touches down at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway this Saturday night. “It’s been close to 7 months since our last stop there (September 9th),” indicates NPP tour announcer Gord Craig, “after last month’s rain out, drivers have been itching to finally go racing on their home track.”

For two competitors, calling Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway the ‘home track’ is a little bit misleading considering home for them is on Vancouver Island.

Jason Beaulieu (Campbell River, BC) and Darrel Midgley (Sidney, BC) are sitting first and third in points heading into this weekends event. For only the second time in the 7 year history of the N.P.P. Series, a driver out of British Columbia is leading the point’s chase.

“It’s still very early in the season,” says Beaulieu who drives the All Weather Windows sponsored #46 Dodge, “the only way to go now is down and I don’t want to do that. Just keep this car up at the front and race clean. There is really nothing more a guy can do.”

Beaulieu, who won the inaugural event in Drumheller, Alberta, two weekends ago, intends to run the full NPP season in 2007. The past three seasons he has only been able to compete in about 4 - 6 race events a year. “It’s a great bunch of guys and a fun class to be a part of.”

On weekends away from the NPP Series, Beaulieu also races an open wheel dirt modified in Washington State. BC’s Darrell Midgley is sitting in a familiar position in the point standings. He’s currently third.

“It’s been one of my better season starts ever,” says Midgley who had a second (heat race) and a third (Feature) in Drumheller. Midgley has finished third in the NPP point standings twice (2004 & 2006) “It was a battle just getting into the top three those times,” says Midgley, “this year I hope to try and run a near perfect season. Be consistent, win a few and you just never know.”

A competitor from British Columbia has never won the NPP Series championship in its 7 years existence. Hoping that streak continues is Whitecourt Alberta’s Kevin Wheeler who enters this weekend’s race in second. “Looking at the more experienced drivers around me in the standings I’m pretty happy. I know I’m lucky to be where I am but that’s part of racing.”

Wheeler ended up in two final lap incidents in Drumheller which included spinning across the finish line with defending Series champion Dwight Kennedy. “That was quite the battle Dwight and I had.”

Kennedy ended up being disqualified for an illegal pass moments before the finish line dramatics. The disqualification handed the second place finish to Wheeler plus second in the standings.

“Were ready to go this weekend,” says Wheeler in the Trapper Auto Parts #3, “the momentum is there it’s up to me to keep it going.” The race in Edmonton is the second NPP Series race of the season.

Not only are Series points on the line, it’s also the first NPP Late Model event for Castrol Raceway track championship points.

From Gord Craig / NPP Tour announcer

New Around Here

My name is Carrie. I am one of two interns at Public Policy Polling this summer. I grew up in Raleigh and go N.C. State, majoring in History. I first became interested in politics in high school during the months preceding the war in Iraq. It concerned me then and has since. I am also particularly interested in environmental and sustainability issues. I have recently come across the WakeUp Wake County group and think they present a much needed message in our community.
During the 2004 political season, I volunteered with several local campaigns-Grier Martin and Erskine Bowles. I look forward to this internship giving me a look at another realm of the political world, that of public polling.

Polling poses problems for reporters

A summit of manufacturing officials organized by the North Carolina Chamber (formerly NCCBI) met in Greensboro this week. As part of the summit the NC Chamber released a poll of about 300 North Carolina manufacturers.

Here is how the News and Observer described the results

“45 percent said the N.C. economy was not on the right track; 43 percent said it was. 48 percent said the cost of doing business in the state was the same as elsewhere; 14 percent said it was worse and 25 percent said it was better. Asked whether they would consider leaving the state, 77 percent said no.”

Here is how the Winston-Salem Journal described the same findings

“About 45 percent of the 300-plus poll participants said that the state's economy is on the wrong track, 43 percent said that it was on the right track…. About 67 percent of the poll participants said that state and local taxes on businesses are too high, and 53 percent said that high taxes are a direct deterrent to growth.”

Without seeing the entire poll it’s hard to know whether the results were positive or negative for the state’s economy. From what was reported it seems pretty mixed. But the WSJ coverage paints a far dimmer picture than the N&O’s article.

I don't fault the WSJ for their coverage of the poll; the entire article is fair to both “sides.” But this example highlights a problem that limited newspaper or TV coverage has with polling. There are too many questions in a poll to write about all the findings. But often times you need to see the complete results before you can grasp the real truth behind the numbers.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

T.O. SUN: Paul Tracy close to signing with RCR to participate in the Montreal Busch Series race

Dean McNulty has the story here. According to the piece, Canadians Ron Fellows, D.J. Kennington, J.R. and Andrew Ranger are either confirmed or looking for a ride for the event.

NCATS: Micks takes tenth in new NASCAR series

NELLES CORNERS, ONTARIO – Driving the Beyond Digital Imaging Ford Taurus, Kerry Micks finished tenth in Cayuga Speedway’s Dodge Dealers 200 Saturday night, the inaugural race in the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. It was not the finish Micks was hoping for, especially after leading in the race.

“We worked our way into the lead by the halfway point in the race before getting turned around,” said the disappointed stock car racing veteran after the 200-lap race. “That led into a chain reaction of bumps and bruises that sent us flying into the infield."

Micks, the 46-year old driver from Mt. Albert, Ontario started the race in ninth position and worked his way to the lead by the halfway point in the race.

“I got into Jeff Lapcevich during the race, which I’m sorry about,” explained Micks. “It was a misjudgment on my part and I certainly did not mean to take him out.”

“We have a primary sponsorship agreement with Beyond Digital Imaging for the first three events of the season,” added Micks. BDI is Canada's leading digital printing company an official partner and licensee of NASCAR in Canada. "It takes a considerable amount of financing to field one of these race teams. When we secure a sponsor for the rest of the series I’m confident we can take them to the winner’s circle."

Don Thomson Jr. won the Dodge Dealers 200 followed closely by Mark Dilley in second. Peter Gibbons was third.

The next NASCAR Canadian Tire Series event of the season, The Father's Day Doubleheader Weekend presented by Canadian Shield Anti-Crime will take place Saturday and Sunday, June 16-17 at Mosport International Raceway, located 100 kilometers east of Toronto on the 2.5-mile, 10-turn road course in Bowmanville, Ontario.

For information about Mosport tickets and camping, call the Mosport Hotline at (800) 866-1072 or visit online at

Beyond Digital Imaging (BDI), Canadian Detailing Services, Cathcart Trucking and APX Racing Gear and Incentives Inc. sponsor Micks Motorsports.

From Bruce F. Mehlenbacher

Thanks to the Barrie Examiner

Steve Hardy from the Barrie Examiner just flipped me a note to say that our press release on Mark Dilley's second-place finish at Cayuga Speedway on Saturday night has been posted on their website. I almost fell over when I saw it was the main story on the site. Thanks Steve!

Their main page is here. The link to the story is here.

Genzyme Buys to Build in Oncology, Again

In a move reminiscent of its 2004 acquisitions of ImPath and Ilex Oncology, Genzyme is taking out Bioenvision, its biotech partner on the drug clofarabine, for $345 million in cash. The buyout is the Big Biotech's first move to create a global oncology business--Bioenvision launched the drug in Europe last year, where it is sold as Evoltra--and its first acquisition since its hostile takeover of Anormed last year for $580 million. Evoltra sales over the past nine months in Europe were just over $9 million.

The price represents a 50% premium over the 20-day average price of Bioenvision's shares, and is the latest in a long string of acquisitions of biotech development/marketing partners: see Genentech/Tanox, Lilly/Icos, Shire/New River, Amgen/Abgenix, etc. We expect more of these ally-to-buy scenarios: sometimes having a partner is just too expensive.

Genzyme's share of clofarabine comes via Ilex, which it bought for $1 billion in stock in February 2004 as an early step in building its oncology presence. The drug is marketed as Clolar for pediatric acute lympoblastic leukemia (ALL) since its FDA approval in December that year. The companies are aiming to expand the drug's remit into adult indications such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Genzyme chairman and CEO Henri Termeer noted on a call a few moments ago to discuss the deal with analysts that the companies expect roughly $600 million in peak sales from clofarabine, and stressed the efficiencies of combining Genzyme's and Bioenvision's efforts under one global clofarabine program.

While You Were BBQing

For those of you struggling to keep up after a beautiful holiday weekend, here's a quick roundup of recent news and health care goings on ...

  • Whatever you think of Congressional oversight of FDA, this news out of China suggests there are harsher ways to deal with failure to lead a food and drug regulatory body. The New York Times is reporting this morning that Zheng Xiaoyu, who headed China's Food and Drug Administration from its foundation in mid-1998 until 2005, was sentenced to death today after pleading guilty to corruption and accepting bribes.

  • Via Reuters, analysts are wary that GSK's Avandia problems will hurt the regulatory chances of Sanofi-Aventis' Acomplia/Zimulti. We think rimonabant's chances were pretty slim to start with, but agree the current climate isn't helping the French drugmaker.

  • Speaking of Avandia, the recent turmoil might mean serious trouble for GSK's long-term safety study Record. Patients are dropping out of the 4,450-patient trial in the wake of the NEJM study, says the NYT, and GSK is worried about whether it can complete the trail, which is scheduled to run through 2008.

  • Via the recently redesigned Pharmalot, FDA has called out companies whose time-released cough and cold medicines incorporate the substance guaifenesin. Good news for Adams Respiratory Therapeutics, the only company with FDA approved drugs that contain the substance. Adams was up 10% on Friday on the Nasdaq. See the letter from FDA here, and the new sleek and sexy version of Pharmalot here. Looking good!

Monday, May 28, 2007

NCATS: Dodge-sponsored Avenger driver Mark Dilley finishes second in the Dodge Dealers 200 NASCAR race at Cayuga

(L to R) Mark Dilley (2nd), Don Thomson (1st) and Peter Gibbons (3rd) were the podium finishers in Saturday's Dodge Dealers 200 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Cayuga Speedway Park.

BARRIE, ON – In the weeks leading up to the Dodge Dealers 200 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Cayuga Speedway Park, Dodge-sponsored Avenger driver Mark Dilley had a goal in mind. His desire was to enter the record books as the winner of the first Canadian NASCAR stock car race of the modern era, as a bookend to his winning the last-ever CASCAR race last September at Kawartha Speedway.

On Saturday night, the Barrie, ON racer came up one position short in his quest, finishing second to Don Thomson Jr. following 200 laps around the 5/8-mile Hamilton (ON) area speedway. But given the chaotic nature of the race – which saw Dilley lead laps 46 to 98 before being relegated to the back of the field following an incident with competitor Kerry Micks – second-place in this prestigious race was a welcome accomplishment for the driver of the #9 Dodge / Mobil1 / Exide / MOPAR / Leland / Wild Wing / CRS Dodge Avenger.

“It was pretty crazy, that’s for sure,” said Dilley, just prior to the podium presentation. “One of the things I feel badly about was getting into Kerry [Micks]. That was my fault. I just drove it in way too hard. Then we got sent to the back and we had some different issues. I was spun around and that may have been a bit of a payback, but I kind of deserved it and I’ve got no problem with that.”

While deep in the field, Dilley and his crew worked to improve the handling of their Dodge Avenger for the final portion of the race. “We came in and could only take two right-side tires during our first stop because of when the caution happened and how far back we were. Then when we did make the stop for the two left-side tires, the set just didn’t match up. We came in after that and made an adjustment and then the car was good at the end.”

Back on track, Dilley carved his way through the pack and benefited from the attrition that removed several of the other top cars from contention. Running fifth with 15 laps to go, the #9 Dodge moved to third after a late-race caution. From there, Dilley took second from eventual third-place finisher Peter Gibbons with five to go and set his sights on race leader Thomson.

The red-and-white Avenger was able to pull alongside of Thomson’s car on the backstraight during the final lap and almost had a nose underneath on the exit from turn 4, but it wasn’t to be. At the wire, Dilley came home second just 0.126 of a second behind Thomson.

“I’m just really happy about the way things went today,” Dilley continued. “Our team works really well together and everyone performed under our new Crew Chief Rino Montanari. I’m also very happy about the performance of our new Dodge Avenger and proud to be the top-finishing Dodge team in the Dodge Dealers 200. We appreciate the support of the Dealers for our racing efforts and we’re glad we could put on a good show for them today. Everyone at Dodge is on a mission to win races and championship and we’re happy to be part of the team.”

CAYUGA NOTEBOOK: During qualifying for the Dodge Dealers 200 at Cayuga, Mark Dilley’s #9 Dodge-sponsored Avenger posted the seventh-fastest time (21.081 seconds). MOPAR-powered Charger driver DJ Kennington earned the pole for the race with a time of 20.785 seconds… The next NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race takes place on the Father’s Day weekend (June 16-17) on the road course at Mosport International Raceway.

Prepared by Inside Track Communications // For more information about the #9 Dodge team and its sponsors, visit . For more on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, including complete race results, reports, point standings, event schedules and upcoming broadcast times for races on TSN, see


BRANTFORD, ON - A late race spin spoiled an otherwise impressive run by Brantford’s Doug Brown in Saturday’s Dodge 200 at Cayuga Speedway.

It was the first race of the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series’ season for the veteran competitor and his first in his new Mopar-powered Dodge Charger sponsored by Haldex Limited.

Brown started eighth in the 23-car field and raced with the leaders throughout the first 180 plus laps of the 200-lap event taking the lead on lap 106 through 111 then slipping to second behind Appin, Ontario’s Jason Hathaway before regaining the lead again on lap 113 until eventual winner Don Thomson Jr. caught and passed him on lap 122.

Unfortunately, late race contact with several cars while trying to pass former open-wheel star Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, Quebec forced Brown to the rough infield grass and created an electrical short in the car with just 12 laps remaining. The crew worked feverishly to detect the problem while the frustrated driver sat helplessly behind the wheel. He was credited with a fourteenth place finish.

“I must have run over some debris or bottomed out in the infield when I got spun,” Doug reported following the race”. “There was no power right after I got back on the racing surface”.

Following Don Thomson of Ayr, Ontario in his Home Hardware Monte Carlo across the finish line on Saturday was the Dodge of Barrie’s Mark Dilley and the Monte Carlo of Series-sponsor Peter Gibbons of Stouffville, Ontario.

Despite the letdown, Doug Brown was surprisingly upbeat when reviewing his efforts.

“It sure wasn’t the results we’d hoped for but it was the most comfortable and confident ride I’ve ever had at this track”, he confided. “The car handled extremely well, the Leitch-built engine was strong all day and I really believe we can give a strong performance for our sponsors in each of the remaining eleven races.”

The Haldex/NAPA Autopro Dodge was quick off the hauler with Brown recording third quickest time in the pre-race practice sessions. “I just couldn’t get the right grip on sticker tires in the two-lap time trial session to better my time,” he added when explaining his eighth-place start.

Doug sits 13th in the early season points’ standing as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series heads to the next event at Mosport International Raceway on June 16-17 – a test that is expected to draw an added number of drivers anxious to test their racing skills on the historic 10-turn road course.

HB Motorsports is pleased to have Haldex Limited as its Title Sponsor with NAPA Autopro supporting team programs through its role of Major Associate Sponsor role. Bicknell Racing Products; World of Graphics; HurryPrint Imaging Centre; WIX Filters; KWIC Internet; Gates Canada; BOC Gases; Brochures etc; Leitch Performance Engines; Strodes BBQ & Deli; and BrentZone Graphics are also valued members of our Associate Sponsorship Marketing team.

Prepared by Ken Spencer // Marketing and Media Relations, HB Motorsports

NCATS: Fastline cars taken out in series opener at Cayuga

NELLES CORNERS, ONTARIO (May 28, 2007) – The Dodge Dealers 200 at Cayuga Speedway held Saturday night, the inaugural race in the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, was not a good event for Fastline Motorsports, as both cars were taken out of contention in wrecks.

Team driver Jim Lapcevich placed 15th, while partner Jeff Lapcevich took 18th spot in Saturday’s 200-lap race on the Cayuga oval. Jim Lapcevich, driving the #25 EMCEA Transport – Tim Hortons Fastline Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo was set for a solid top-five finish before being wrecked with only 13 laps remaining.

It was the same scenario for Jeff Lapcevich when he was sent into the turn three wall backwards on lap 148 in the #23 Tim Hortons - EMCEA Transport Fastline Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

The brothers Lapcevich started the first stop in this year’s NASCAR Canadian Tire Series tour side by side after qualifying 14th and 15th in the first ever for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio.

Don Thomson Jr. won the Dodge Dealers 200 followed closely by Mark Dilley in second and Peter Gibbons in third.
The next NASCAR Canadian Tire Series event of the season, The Father's Day Doubleheader Weekend presented by Canadian Shield Anti-Crime will take place Saturday and Sunday, June 16-17 at Mosport International Raceway, located 100 kilometers east of Toronto on the 2.5-mile, 10-turn road course in Bowmanville, Ontario.

For information about Mosport tickets and camping, call the Mosport Hotline at (800) 866-1072 or visit online at

Tim Hortons, EMCEA Transport, Springer’s Meats, Troy Cove Marine, Mr. Lube and B & J Electric sponsor team Fastline,

From Bruce F. Mehlenbacher // Director of Public Relations


STONEY CREEK, ON – The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series held its first-ever race, on Saturday night at Cayuga Speedway Park. And even though he was involved in a crash that relegated him to 20th-place in the final results, Stoney Creek, Ontario racer Ron Van Es demonstrated that he will be a driver to watch all season.

After recording the second-fastest time during the combined afternoon practice sessions, Van Es put his Star Van Systems / Ingersoll Rand / Marshall’s Truck & Trailer Repair Chevrolet Monte on the inside of the second row for the start of the 200-lap race around the 5/8-mile Cayuga oval.

From the drop of the green flag, Van Es was quickly into second-place and within a few laps had reeled in race-leader and five-time Canadian national stock car champion Don Thomson Jr. Lap 17 saw Van Es drop to the inside of Thomson and take the lead. The youngster ran comfortably at the front of the pack for 10 laps, until a caution flag slowed the field.

Van Es was outmaneuvered by the wily veteran Thomson during the ensuing restart, but ran in the top 6 for almost the entire first half of the race. But on lap 98, disaster struck when Van Es ploughed into the spinning car of Kerry Micks (who had tangled with Mark Dilley) as Van Es attempted to avoid the melee by cutting low into the infield grass. The #11 Chevy sustained heavy damage to the right-front, ending Van Es’ hopes for a top finish.

As disappointing as it was to see his strong run come to an end due to an accident triggered by others, Van Es took it all in stride, while taking heart in his accomplishments during practice, qualifying and the first portion of the race. Van Es credits his newfound success to a change in his engine program during the off-season.

“It was very encouraging to be second fastest in practice and qualify third for the race,” said Van Es, after the race. “Our crew chief Alex Nagy has always given me a good handling car, but we kind of let him down with the complete package. This year, switching to Peter Gibbons’ motors, I think we have the final piece of the puzzle to allow us to compete in the top 10.”

In a day filled with several highlights, Van Es was most excited about passing Don Thomson Jr. for the lead. “When I was able to close up on his bumper and I realized I could take the lead because our car was handling a lot better than his at that point in the race, I went for it and was able to make the pass stick.”

Van Es continued, “I got out front of him and just started to try and conserve brakes and tires. I stretched it out for a couple of laps, but then a caution came out. On the restart, Donnie used a veteran move on me. I’d never restarted in the lead before, so I learned a lesson from him that I can use the next time.”

And while frustrated by the lap 98 crash that cut short his day, Van Es was glad to demonstrate what he can do behind the wheel of a racecar. “To be able to do so well in qualifying and early in the race, it felt really good for myself and my crew. They’ve been with us for a couple of tough years, so to see the smiles on their faces really made me feel good.”

Ron Van Es would like to recognize the support of his crew and crew chief Alex Nagy, as well as that of Ron’s father, Andy Van Es. The team is also proud to be associated with Star Van Systems and Ingersoll Rand, and offers its gratitude to Marshall’s Truck & Trailer Repair who were on the #11 car for the Cayuga race. Van Es Racing is looking for additional marketing partners for their NASCAR Canadian Tire Series program.

The next event for the Star Van Systems / Ingersoll Rand Chevrolet Monte Carlo team is on Father’s Day (June 17) at the legendary Mosport International Raceway road course.

CAYUGA RACE SUMMARY: Don Thomson Jr. won the inaugural NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race, at Cayuga Speedway. The Chevy driver took the lead from Ron Beauchamp Jr. on lap 187 of the 200-lap chase and came home in front of Mark Dilley and Peter Gibbons. Former Champ Car open-wheel racer Andrew Ranger was fourth in his NASCAR debut. A total of 23 drivers and teams participated in the race, which was slowed 18 times for a total of 84 caution laps and included 17 lead changes.

Prepared by Inside Track Communications. For more information about Van Es Racing, contact Jolene Convery at Van Es Racing at (800) 263-4884. For more information about the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, visit

Weather Cuts Short Indy 500 - Franchitti Wins

By Speedracer

Dario Franchitti benefitted from the elements and an inspired pit strategy to win the 2007 edition of the Indianapolis 500. The race was marred by numerous incidents and a three hour rain delay but did feature some exciting racing. Marco Andretti had a strong run until he was involved in a scary incident nearly getting completely airborne and crashing out of the race.

His father, Michael, was a non-factor as was 2005 winner Dan Wheldon. The Penske boys, Sam Hornish Jr. amd Helio Castroneves, had a quiet run but both finished in the top-ten after polesitter Castroneves had a fuel rig problem at his first stop, dropping him back down the field.

The much maligned Danica Patrick also had a strong run that was betrayed by her 8th place finish. She had two memorable passes on both Marco Andretti and Wheldon and was running as high as second in the race and looked on course for her first ever podium in the series.

But it was Dario Franchitti's day as he became the second Scot, joining the late, great Jim Clark, to win the prestigious Borg-Warner Trophy.

*Author's note: Shame on my co-blogger for complaining about being treated to a soaking wet Ashley Judd frolicking in the rain. Shame on you. As an aside here's more Ashley Judd because anyone on this blog already knows what an Indy Car looks like.

McLaren Under Investigation for Team Orders

By Speedracer

McLaren is facing possible sanctions for employing team orders in the wake of comments made by team boss Ron Dennis and rookie driver Lewis Hamilton after the team's dominating one-two finish at the weekend's Monte Carlo Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso won with Hamilton finishing second, slowing towards the end of the race and pitting out of sequence.

"I was fuelled to go five or six laps longer than Fernando, and they stopped me after only three laps," said Hamilton. "I caught Fernando but it is extremely difficult to overtake here and I was told over the radio to take it easy."

"I make no excuses for instructing the racing drivers to slow their pace after the first stop and to affect our strategy based on probability of safety cars," said Dennis. "And whatever other cars can threaten us as a result of the safety car being deployed."

Team orders were banned after a spate of embarassing incidents involving the Ferrari team culminating in the disastrous 2002 Austrian Grand Prix where Rubens Barrichello slowed his Ferrari metres from the finish to gift teammate Michael Schumacher the win. Race analysis - McLaren flying high

By David Tremayne (Photo Courtesy

With an 18 point haul following a crushing 1-2, and Ferrari only taking home seven points, it was small wonder that McLaren left Monte Carlo with their tail up. The silver arrows had been expected to go well round the Principality, but few had expected the rout that Ferrari encountered.

Winner Fernando Alonso was so excited about his MP4-22 that he said the thing he enjoyed even more than winning Monaco for the second consecutive time was driving every one of the 78 laps. You don’t often hear somebody say that these days.

McLaren’s score as they head for the North American leg of the championship is 76 points, while Ferrari is 20 behind. It’s hardly a disaster, but in what promises to be a very tough fight the Scuderia needs to turn the tide soon.

To read the rest of David’s article visit

NCATS: Aggressive Night of Racing Scores Top 10 for Hathaway in Dodge Dealers 200

Nelles Corners, Ontario- The first round of racing in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series was full of heart pounding excitement at Cayuga Speedway with Team 3 Red/EHR's driver Jason Hathaway piloting his #3 Snap on Tools Dodge Charger.

It was at this 5/8 mile track in 2006 that the Team claimed a hard fought 5th place finish. The Team 3 Red/EHR team prepared their car well and were hoping to build on the momentum that they had built up in the 2006 CASCAR Super Series season.

Under the direction of newly appointed Crew Chief Giulio Montanari the team practiced in the two hour testing session on Saturday afternoon. Battling an afternoon of rain showers, the Team struggled in practice and posted a 19th place qualifying position for the 200 lap event.

The excitement got underway quickly under the lights of Cayuga Speedway in the Dodge Dealers 200. With Duane Swinkels in the tower above the track spotting, Jason avoided getting tangled up in numerous incidents caused by some aggressive moves made by cars in the field.

Caution flew on the field on lap 21 for the 2nd of 18 times in the event and the Team brought Jason down pit road to fuel the car and make a chassis adjustment. On lap 33 Jason was spun out on the front stretch. He recovered and brought his car to the attention of his team to check for damage and fell one lap down.

With minimal damage done to the car and some smart driving Jason was able to take advantage of a new NASCAR procedure instated for lap cars on lap 67 and was granted a "free pass" recovering the lap that he was down. At the half way point, Jason had made his way from the back of the field up to 8th place. The restart on lap 112, placed Jason in 2nd and he challenged for the lead spot, when he crossed the line on lap 113, Jason as leading the field.

Fresh tires on a number of competitors relegated Jason back to the 11th spot by lap 165. The Team strapped on a new right front tire on the #3 Snap on Tools Dodge Charger during the 15th caution of the night on lap 177 and put Jason is a key spot to make a move toward the front. With some great driving and the help of his spotter, Jason powered his car to the team's first top 10 finish of the 2007 season finishing 7th.

Jason was pretty happy with their first race of the 2007 season. "After a disappointing qualifying effort we planned on adjusting the car during the race. We got caught in a couple of tough spots tonight, but in the end the cautions allowed us the opportunity to tweak the car throughout the night. Giulio and the guys worked great getting me in and out of the pits tonight and I am pretty happy with our results for our first race!"

In his first race with Team 3 Red/EHR, team crew chief Giulio Montanari was also pleased with the end result of the team's effort. "The guys worked well tonight. We just kept adjusting and adjusting on the car and Duane tried to keep Jason out of trouble on the track. There was a lot of beating and banging going on tonight and this team and the #3 Snap on Tools Dodge really persevered. We are proud of our efforts tonight and start the season off with a top 10 finish for our sponsors.

Based on the results of the first race, Jason Hathaway and Team 3 Red/EHR sit in 6th place in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series points standings with 5 bonus points for leading a lap in the 200 lap exciting event.

The second round of racing in the 12 event schedule will take place at the road course of Mosport International Raceway for the traditional Father's Day weekend June 16th & June 17th.

Team 3 Red/EHR is proud to be associated with their great sponsors and supporters. Team 3 Red/EHR thanks Snap-on Tools, Super 8 Motels, Advantex Freight Forwarders, Fast Eddie Racewear and Choko Motorsports, Briggs & Stratton, Castrol, Napoleon Fireplaces & Barbeques and Xilarate Sports Fluid and Praxair. For more information on our sponsors please visit our website at

From Jamie HakonsonTeam 3 Red/Ed Hakonson Racing


May 27, 2007. Don Thomson Jr. and the entire Home Hardware team were excited to be part of the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series (NCATS) as action got underway at Cayuga Speedway with the inaugural 200 lap event. They were thrilled with the results afterwards.

Thomson and the Fitzpatrick Motorsports team were on their game right from the start of the days action and during practice The Home Hardware Chevrolet was among the fastest competitors. “We didn’t need to run a lot to know what we had” said Thomson. “This is a new car and we thought it would race well”. Thomson would display the speed of the Home Hardware car during qualifying with the fourth quickest lap.

As the green flag waved on a new era in Canadian motor sports Thomson and the Home Hardware Chevy made their presence felt right away, taking their first lead of the race on lap two. “I wasn’t trying to be aggressive but the spot was their so I took it” said Thomson. “We wanted to settle in and run a bit and see how things went, we just did that mostly from the front”.

As the laps ticked away and after several caution periods occurred the Home Hardware Team made their first pit stop for left side tires and adjustments. “The car was a little bit tight in the early going” said Crew Chief Sandy Hamilton. During another yellow flag period the team made a second stop for right side tires.

In the second half of the 200 lap feature Thomson and the Home Hardware Chevy would take the lead on four separate occasions waging some wonderful racing battles with the top competitors of the series. Thomson would take the lead on lap 187 looking to close out the victory. A significant incident taking some time to clean up resulted in a green, white, checkered finish. Thomson would hold off the competition on the two feverish laps and claim victory in the first ever NCATS race. “I just tried to be patient” said a very excited driver afterwards. And this time it really paid off.

During the off season the owner of Fitzpatrick Motorsports John Fitzpatrick was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. He is continuing his recovery at home and his message to his team prior to this race was to go out and win and bring the trophy and and the money home. “We absolutely did that” said Thomson after the race dedicating the victory to their team owner. “This one if for him, he means so much to all of us”.

The next event of the NASCAR Canadian Tire series will take place at Mosport International Raceway in mid June. The NCATS will run a twelve event schedule on ovals, road courses and temporary street circuits across Canada. Each of the twelve races will also be broadcast on TSN. For information about the NCATS including schedule, results and more, log onto

Prepared by Todd Lewis, TL Sports & Entertainment

Media Critics Corner

For whatever reason the Associated Press has been reluctant to write about or cite our poll results in their articles. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because we are a Democratic polling firm or our IVR methodology. But I think they are missing out, especially because the other major print and television outlets in North Carolina don’t seem to have any problem publishing our results.

Here is an example where they missed out:

In an article last week concerning Brad Miller contemplating running against Elizabeth Dole they cited the Elon Poll for Senator Dole’s approval rating. However, they misrepresented the data, saying the rating was among “North Carolina voters” when, in fact, the poll was of all adults not just voters.

That Elon Poll was also conducted in mid-April. Only a week and a half ago, PPP released a poll with an approval rating of Senator Dole among likely voters. In my opinion, our results were more timely and more relevant to the article.


May 27, 2007. The opening round of the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at Cayuga Speedway was full of highs and lows for the Milwaukee Electric Tools Chevrolet team with John Ryan (J.R.) Fitzpatrick behind the wheel. Unfortunately the end result was a lower than the team was worthy of.

The Fitzpatrick Motorsports prepared Milwaukee Electric Tools car has been one of the quickest on track from their first laps of the season at pre season test sessions and that trend continued for round one of the series at Cayuga Speedway. “The car is great” said an enthusiastic J.R. Fitzpatrick after practice. “We’ve got lots of speed and it handles really well”.

The Milwaukee Electric Tools Chevy was quick in qualifying as J.R. Fitzpatrick held the provisional pole for much of the session. He was bumped back to second late in the running, but another blow struck as J.R. was moving the the Milwaukee Electric Tools car in tight confines onto pit lane. A brake line was sheared on the left front. By rule during an impound race such as this, as soon as the team began work on the car, they surrendered their starting spot and were forced to fall to the back of the field. “It’s disappointing” said Fitzpatrick. “I was moving the car to where the officials wanted us and we have this problem. But the car is so good we’ll be competitive”.

J.R. Fitzpatrick and the Milwaukee Electric Tools Chevy was one of the fastest cars on the track right from the drop of the green flag on the 200 lap event. J.R. disposed of cars quickly and efficiently and moved back into the top-ten and would battle with the leaders for position. Several other difficult circumstances would eventually play out and frustrate the Fitzpatrick Motorsports Team.

After a routine pit stop for tires and adjustments, J.R. is ruled to have stopped the Milwaukee Electric Tools Chevy outside of his pit box and penalized by being put to the end of the longest line. “We had the car to go fast but things like this worked against us in this race” said Fitzpatrick. “That and some of the aggressive driving, we had the toe knocked out on our car just twenty laps in. Then we got bumped again, shuffled out of our position in the top five and it made it worse. This is one of the most aggressive races I’ve seen” he concluded.

Unfortunately for the Milwaukee Electric Tools team their misfortune was not over yet. More contact would damage the centre link of the car and finish their night early. “The centre link looks like a banana, that’s how hard guys were racing out there.”

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series racing season resumes in mid June at Mosport International Raceway on the challenging road course. More information on the series can be obtained by visiting All twelve races will also be shown on TSN.

Prepared by, Todd Lewis, TL Sports & Entertainment


May 27, 2007. Ron Beauchamp Jr. and the Mopar Parts Team embarked on the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series opening event, the Dodge Dealers 200, at Cayuga Speedway and were on their way to a great finish. But competition and the concrete wall got in the way.

Team Mopar worked hard to prepare the Dodge Avenger for the opening event and continued to fine tune the handling through the afternoon practice session. “We were trying to get the nose to plant firmly” said the driver. “Coming off the corners if we could get that right we had plenty of horsepower”. Beauchamp would qualify for the 200 lap event mid pack in tenth spot.

When the green flag waved for the Dodge Dealers 200 and a new era in stock car racing in Canada Beauchamp and the Mopar Parts Dodge Avenger were off like a shot. “The car was great as soon as we took off” said Beauchamp. “We were up fighting for the lead before we had 50 laps in and that was where we wanted to be”.

The Mopar Parts Dodge would continue to run up front waging battle with several other to cars for the top three positions until they decided to take advantage of one of the many caution periods throughout the race to change tires, top off with fuel and make some handling adjustments.Chris Couvillion and the Mopar Crew made two efficient pit stops to complete the service that would take them the rest of the race distance.

For the balance of the race Ron Beauchamp Jr. moved the Mopar Parts Avenger skillfully through the competition and took the lead for the first time on lap 122 and maintaining that position for 23 laps. Moving through the final stages of the Dodge Dealers 200 the competition level increased significantly, Ron Jr. would battle with the best in the field and take the lead on two more occasions.

Following a late race caution period with only a handful of laps remaining, Beauchamp and the Mopar Parts Avenger were fighting hard for a position on the podium. The two cars came together first on the back stretch, the out of turn four and rode the concrete wall together along the front straight before coming to a halt in corner one. The race was over for both, their cars damaged beyond repair.

“It started on the back” said a frustrated Ron Beauchamp Jr. afterwards. “He was pinching down on me and I couldn’t go any lower, so as we came out of turn four I was battling for some space, next thing I know we’re riding the wall all the way into corner one. With so few laps to go, there has to be some give and take, we both could have had a good finish, now neither of us finishes and we’ve got a wrecked race car. That was a hard hit, one of the hardest I’ve had in quite some time, I’ll really feel sore tomorrow” he concluded.

Competition resumes for Team Mopar in The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at Mosport International Raceway in June second of twelve events from coast to coast that will consist of ovals, road courses and temporary street circuits. For the complete schedule, results and other information log onto You will also be able to watch all twelve races this season on TSN.

Prepared by TL Sports & Entertainment


May 27, 2007. Brad Graham and the Full Throttle/Challenger Motor Freight/Logel’s Auto Parts team had worked hard to prepare a new race car for the challenges of the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. It looked like their hours of effort in preparation would be rewarded with a solid finish at the Dodge Dealers 200, the first ever series event at Cayuga Speedway. However contact would end their day early.

The Full Throttle Dodge team worked hard on handling through the practice sessions of leading up to the opening round of the season. Graham was disappointed with his qualifying time, only 17th fastest but felt the car was improving. “These guys have worked really hard and we did struggle with the set up, but I was confident that we were getting closer and that the Full Throttle Dodge would be a fast car for the race”. Graham was correct in his prediction.

While Brad needed to be patient early on, the Full Throttle Dodge continued to improve as the laps clicked away in the Dodge Dealers 200. “With our starting spot we knew that pit strategy was going to be important and while some of the other cars came in we stayed on track. The car was starting to come to me as we went on and pretty soon we found ourselves up near the front”.

As the car improved and other competitors cycled through pit stops Graham was soon in the top five. The race was littered with caution periods, and just past halfway Graham and the Full Throttle Dodge would restart from a yellow situation in second spot. However their fortunes would turn quickly. Bumped from behind Graham and the Full Throttle Dodge were spun in corner one. “That was unfortunate, but we had to pit anyway so we made the best of the situation” said Graham.

The Full Throttle Team Dodge would make their first stop for service. They followed that up with right side tires and fuel to take them the distance. “At that point we had fresh tires and the car was handling pretty well so we set out for the front again” said the driver.

Graham and the Full Throttle Dodge were charging back through the field and were back inside the top-ten, up to eighth, when misfortune struck again. “We were battling for position and got bumped in the left front and just because of the way it hit the spindle broke” said a frustrated Graham afterwards. “It’s a shame because the Full Throttle/Challenger Motor Freight/Logel’s Auto Parts Dodge was the best it had been all day. We were going to have a good finish”.
Brad Graham and the Full Throttle/Challenger Motor Freight/Logel’s Auto Parts Team return to action for round two of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at Mosport International Raceway in mid June. For more information about the series log onto And to keep up with the team go to All races will also be broadcast on TSN.

Prepared by Todd Lewis, TL Sports & Entertainment


May 27, 2007. The first ever event in the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, The Dodge Dealers 200, at Cayuga Speedway started out perfectly for DJ Kennington and the Castrol Dodge Crew, however a mechanical failure would bring their day to a premature end.

The Castrol Dodge team began the day with solid practice times and was among the quickest participants through the entire practice session. “The car felt good when we tested at Cayuga a couple of weeks ago, and it was solid again” said the Kennington.

Throwing down the gauntlet Kennington put in a blistering qualifying lap time of 20.785 seconds or an average speed of 108.251 mph to take pole position in the first event series event. “It was a great lap” smiled Kennington afterwards. “Everything hit just right and we had the starting position we wanted.”

As the green flag waved on the Dodge Dealers 200 Kennington lead the field of 23 cars into corner number one and emerged out front and looked to settle into an even pace early in the race. However after only one lap into the race things began to unravel for the Castrol Dodge team. “I knew something was wrong right away” said the Castrol Dodge driver. “The car was all over and I could barely hang on. Once we got to pit road and the guys had a look we knew how serious it was”.

Crew Chief Dave Whyte and the Castrol Crew diagnosed it was a broken trailing arm on the right rear of the car. Serious enough that the Castrol Car was pushed behind the pit wall for lengthy repairs. Showing their “no quit” attitude the team worked feverishly to make repairs and though they were many laps down Kennington did return briefly later in the race. “We just wanted to show everybody how fast this Castrol Dodge was said Kennington later. “It was just an unfortunate mechanical failure that really cost us a top finish in this first ever. Now we’re going to be hungrier than ever for the next race at Mosport, and track where we’ve had some success”.

The NASCAR Canadian Tire series resumes with round two of the season on the Fathers Day weekend at Mosport International Raceway. The rest of the season will feature events from coast to coast in Canada including stops at the best ovals in the Country along with temporary street circuits in Edmonton and Trois Rivieres. Look for more information all season at All twelve races of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will also be broadcast on TSN.

Prepared by Todd Lewis, TL Sports & Entertainment

Trident Racing's Promising Cayuga Run Cut Short

Montréal, Québec (May 28, 2007) - Richard Durivage's maiden start in the 2007 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Presented by Sirius Satellite Radio, Saturday night's Dodge Dealers 200 at Cayuga Speedway Park, Ontario, may have ended 50-laps shy of the checkered but taking the green flag earlier in the evening marked a small victory for the Québec-based outfit.

A week before the opening round of the 12-race series, Trident Racing's #18 Chevrolet Monte-Carlo looked like it might have to sit out the season-opener as team boss Richard Durivage was faced with the challenge of sourcing a new crew-chief. Showcasing the same determination he displays in business and behind the wheel of a race car, the 38-year-old from Montreal endured a busy seven days to ensure he wouldn't miss out on a historical evening for Canadian stock car racing.

With a complete pit crew successfully assembled by the week's end, Durivage headed to the 5/8-mile oval track situated just outside Hagersville, Ontario for Saturday's first ever NASCAR Canadian Tire Series event. Given the drama of the week before, Durivage was satisfied to have made the grid and would start the 200-lap race from 23rd with pole going to D.J. Kennington in the #45 Dodge entry, his lap time of 20.785s (108.251mph) edging out last season's final CASCAR Champion, J.R. Fitzpatrick for the Bud Pole Award.

In the race itself a top-ten finish was looking good, Durivage comfortably remaining on the lead-lap, before an electrical short-out in the #18's radio control box resulted in NASCAR black-flagging the Québec racer on lap 150. With no line of communication between driver and spotter, Durivage was forced to retire on safety grounds, the team opening the season with a 17th place classified finish.

Five-time CASCAR Champion Don Thomson Jr. collected the first win of the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series era, the Ayr, Ontario native beating Mark Dilley to the checkered by 0.126 seconds in a race that boasted sixteen lead changes amongst eight drivers.

"Well we've kicked the season off pretty much where we left it last year at Cayuga," reflected Durivage. "We're seventeenth in the points which considering what we had to go through to get here in the past week isn't too bad. I think a top-ten finish was on the cards but it wasn't to be. Overall I think we put on a good show for the fans, everything was very professional looking and it was a great race. I can't wait to go to Mosport now!"

From Stuart Morrison Public Relations

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Coca-Cola 600: Photo Gallery by Dave Franks

The top three finishers in tonight's Coca-Cola 600 were: Casey Mears, J.J. Yeley and Kyle Petty. If the race was a horserace, you could purchase all the gold in Fort Knox if you nailed the trifecta for this one.

Thanks to Dave Franks who just called from the Media Room at Lowe's to say that he uploaded some shots for your viewing pleasure.

I get no respect... I tell ya.... I win the Indy 500 and all they can talk about is my wife

Dario Franchitti won the Indy 500 today.

The headlines on stories reporting the news say, "Judd's hubby Franchitti wins Indy 500".

It's probably only fitting that the mainstream media found a way to write about a woman in their post-Indy 500 stories, given the inordinate amount of space it dedicated to also-rans Patrick, Fisher and Duno prior to the race.

What does it say about a series / event that the only way it can garner attention is to play off the celebrity of the athletes' wives and the novelty participants?

NCATS content during the Coca-Cola 600 broadcast on TSN

There was a segment during a CC600 caution in which TSN did a 2-minute feature on NASCAR Canadian Tire Series driver Brad Graham, promoting the driver and the series. Nice.

Then a commercial came on selling tickets for the Grand Prix of Edmonton. The first three-quarters of it was about the NCATS series being there. At then end... as an afterthought... it mentioned that the ChampCars will be there, too.

NCATS: Cayuga Photo Gallery #2

Here are some more shots from the inaugural NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race, held Saturday night at Cayuga Raceway Park.

In one of them, you can see the smile on Andrew Ranger's face, following his fourth-place run. Andrew had a blast in the race and is 100% convinced that he made the right move by changing his career path to stock cars. Everyone is hoping he does well because his participation in the series benefits everyone. His excellent attitude is another reason that people are pulling for him. As I left the track at 11:30, the last person I saw was Ranger - still smiling - helping to put away chairs at his team's hospitality area behind the main grandstand.

The combination of the new NASCAR sanction and Ranger's presence contributed to the biggest media turnout at Cayuga since the NASCAR Canada Day Shootout several years ago.

NCATS: Cayuga report

HAGERSVILLE, Ontario (May 26, 2007) – Don Thomson, Jr. collected one of the biggest wins in Canadian stock car racing history in the Dodge Dealers 200 at Cayuga Speedway Park. The event was the first ever for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio.

Thomson, Jr., out of Ayr, Ontario, was determined to win this race. "I wanted to win this race ever since it was announced," he said. The event came down to a green-white-checker finish and the winner was able to hold off a hard charging Mark Dilley by 0.126 seconds at the finish line.

Bud Pole Winner D.J. Kennington led the first lap but was off the pace before turn one as a result of a broken rear trailing arm. It would not be the night's only lead change.There were 16 lead changes among 8 drivers with Thomson, Jr. leading the most laps with 77.

Peter Gibbons finished third followed by series newcomer Andrew Ranger. Derek Lynch crossed the line in fifth place. John Gaunt, Jason Hathaway, Joey McColm, Kent Nuhn and Kerry Micks rounded out the top 10.

The NASCAR Canadian Tires Series is back in action next on June 16 and 17 on the roadcourse of Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario.

At Cayuga Speedway Park
Hagersville, ON
Lap length: 0.625 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (4) Don Thomson, Jr., Ayr, Ontario, Chevrolet, 200 laps, 54.381 mph, $5,050.
2. (7) Mark Dilley, Barrie, Ontario, Dodge, 200, $3,140.
3. (12) Peter Gibbons, Stouffville, Ontario, Chevrolet, 200, $2,640.
4. (11) Andrew Ranger, Roxton Pond, Quebec, Ford, 200, $1,825.
5. (13) Derek Lynch, Warksworth, Ontario, Dodge, 200, $1,625.
6. (18) John Gaunt, Barrie, Ontario, Dodge, 200, $1,580.
7. (19) Jason Hathaway, Appin, Ontario, Dodge, 200, $1,540.
8. (16) Joey McColm, Ajax, Ontario, Dodge, 200, $1,500.
9. (20) Kent Nuhn, Williamsford, Ontario, Pontiac, 200, $1,460.
10. (9) Kerry Micks, Mt. Albert, Ontario, Ford, 195, fuel pump, $1,420.
11. (10) Ron Beauchamp, Jr., Windsor, Ontario, Dodge, 194, accident, $1,175.
12. (5) Scott Steckly, Milverton, Ontario, Dodge, 194, accident, $1,140.
13. (2) J.R. Fitzpatrick, Cambridge, Ontario, Chevrolet, 191, steering, $1,100.
14. (8) Doug Brown, Brantford, Ontario, Dodge, 188, accident, $1,075.
15. (14) Jim Lapcevich, Grimsby, Ontario, Chevrolet, 187, suspension, $1,055.
16. (17) Brad Graham, Glencoe, Ontario, Dodge, 185, $1,035.
17. (23) Richard Durivage, Jr, St. Eustache, Quebec, Chevrolet, 150, electrical, $1,015.
18. (15) Jeff Lapcevich, Caistor Centre, Ontario, Chevrolet, 148, accident, $995.
19. (21) Bob Merrifield, Belle River, Ontario, Dodge, 142, suspension, $975.
20. (3) Ron Van Es, Stoney Creek, Ontario, Chevrolet, 135, suspension, $930.
21. (6) Dave Whitlock, Petrolia, Ontario, Dodge, 90, motor, $915.
22. (22) Bryan Cathcart, Peterborough, Ontario, Chevrolet, 65, fuel pump, $890.
23. (1) D.J. Kennington, St. Thomas, Ontario, Dodge, 45, handling, $2,375.

Race Statistics
Time of Race: 2 hours 17 minutes 55 seconds
Margin of Victory: .126 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: D.Kennington (108.251 mph, 20.785 seconds)
Caution Flags: 18 for 85 laps.
Lead Changes: 16 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders: D.Kennington 1; D.Thomson,Jr. 2-16; R.Van Es 17-26; D.Thomson,Jr. 27-45;
M.Dilley 46-98; K.Micks 99; M.Dilley 100-105; D.Brown 106-111; J.Hathaway 112; D.Brown
113-121; D.Thomson,Jr. 122-145; R.Beauchamp,Jr. 146-160; D.Thomson,Jr. 161-164;
R.Beauchamp,Jr. 165-181; D.Thomson,Jr. 182-183; R.Beauchamp,Jr. 184-186; D.Thomson,Jr.

Standings: 1. D.Thomson,Jr., 190; 2. M.Dilley, 175; 3. P.Gibbons, 165; 4. A.Ranger, 160;
5. D.Lynch, 155; 6. J.Hathaway, 151; 7. J.Gaunt, 150; 8. J.McColm, 142; 9. K.Micks, 139;
10. K.Nuhn, 138.
From NASCAR / photo by ITMN

Saturday, May 26, 2007

NCATS: Don Thomson wins the inaugural NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race

HAMILTON, ON - Don Thomson won the season opening Dodge Dealers 200 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Cayuga Speedway on Saturday night. Mark Dilley finished second, ahead of Peter Gibbons.
The race featured 17 lead changes among 8 drivers and was slowed 18 times for a total of 84 laps. There were 23 cars in the field. Andrew Ranger made his second appearance in Canada's top stock car series and came home an impressive fourth.
I'll post more photos and news on Sunday.

NCATS: Cayuga practice Photo Gallery - May 27, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

Will Warburg Pincus Fight?

Now this will be interesting to watch.

The news that Advanced Medical Inc. is pondering a counteroffer to Warburg Pincus’ bid to acquire Bausch & Lomb adds a whole new wrinkle to this already intriguing deal. And it threatens to once again turn private equity investing into a public spectacle.

This isn’t how Warburg Pincus generally operates. The largest and most experienced big-money investor in health care (we mulled over including "arguably" but we don't think there is an argument), Warburg Pincus tends to move fairly quietly in the medical device sector.

The First Rule of Private Equity ...

Deals for companies like Wright Medical and Tornier happened quietly over a long span of time with Warburg Pincus’ principals spending a great deal of time coaxing the deals into existence. Or if an auction was established—as was the case with American Medical Systems—Warburg was usually the only significant bidder. (Each link will bring you to detailed In Vivo accounts of the deals, which demonstrate Warburg Pincus' doggedness to get a deal done.)

We don’t know what happened on the front end of the Bausch & Lomb deal. No doubt, Bess Weatherman, who heads the device group, moved with the same adroit skill demonstrated in the past. But Bausch & Lomb is a public company, so you're never going to get a deal done quietly.

But now Warburg Pincus may have a fight on its hands.

It’s important to note that Advanced Medical—while suggesting Warburg’s offer undervalues B&L—is only pondering a bid. There are legitimate questions as to whether the company can put together a cash-only offer to compete with Warburg’s.

But, as other reports state, they may not have to go it alone. No doubt, there are enough private equity groups out there that might be willing to team up with someone who knows the market like Advanced Medical management. As far as we see it, that’s the only way Advanced Medical will be able to put up a fight. (Read more this in our upcoming June issue of In Vivo.)

There’s no question Warburg Pincus can give the fight right back—and win. But at what cost? Warburg Pincus always has worked best out of the public spotlight, so it could opt to drop the deal and go back to finding the deals that no one else knows about. Or it might have already valued in this sort of struggle into its initial bid, which only offered a 5.7% premium over the May 15 closing price of Bausch & Lomb stock.

We'll guess that Warburg Pincus will see this one through and get the deal done. First, it can. Second, it may have to. With all the attention private equity is getting these days in newspapers, talk shows, Congress and (gasp) blogs, we wonder whether those days of the quietly closed deals are gone.