No U.S. F1 race, no U.S. driver?

July, 25, 2007
Formula One no longer has an American event, and it appears F1 won't have an American driver much longer. Scott Speed's days with the Scuderia Toro Rosso team are numbered.

Toro Rosso bosses Gerhard Berger and Franz Tost are looking at Champ Car driver Sebastien Bourdais and BMW-Sauber test driver Sebastien Vettel to replace Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Bourdais is trying to win a fourth consecutive Champ Car title before making the move to F1 next year, but Vettel could replace Speed soon if BMW-Sauber gives him his release.

Speed, a 24-year-old California native, has not scored a point in two F1 seasons, but Michael Schumacher would have a tough time scoring a point for this team. Speed's best finish this year was ninth at Monaco.

It's hard to tell how good Speed could be on a decent team, but he may not get that chance. Since F1 doesn't have a U.S. race, no one in F1 feels the need to hire an American driver.

• Something about competing in a straight line seems to work for NHRA Top Fuel driver J.R. Todd. He ranks fifth in the Top Fuel standings and has two victories this season.

But Todd also is quite the bowler. He got some NHRA buddies together at a Seattle bowling alley last week and showed them how it's done. Todd rolled eight consecutive strikes to start one game.

"But I choked at the end and finished with a 259," Todd said.

He also said that wasn't the best score of his life. If this racing thing doesn't work out, pro bowling looks like a good option.

• Qualifying for the 16-car show is no gimme these days in the NHRA Funny Car class.

John Force qualified for every NHRA event for 20 years before his streak ended this season at 395 races. But Force isn't alone in failing to make a show this season. No Funny Car driver has qualified for all 14 events.

"It used to be you could just show up and pretty much know you would qualify," said veteran Funny Car driver Del Worsham. "When I started in 1991, if you attended all the races you could guarantee you would finish in the top 10 in the standings. Now you can attend every race and still finish 21st."

• Scott Dixon would become the first IndyCar Series driver to win four consecutive races if he wins at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 5.

Two other drivers had a chance at four in a row in the past. In 1998, Kenny Brack started 10th and finished fifth at Texas Motor Speedway in his quest at a four-for-four run. In 2005, Dan Wheldon fell short when he started eighth and finished sixth at TMS.

The 2-mile oval at Michigan isn't one of Dixon's favorite tracks. He's winless in four outings at Michigan, and his best finish was fifth in 2003. He finished 16th last year and 19th in 2005 at MIS.

Terry Blount

ESPN Staff Writer



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