Paul Tracy's Unusal Formula a Winner

Paul Tracy utilized an admittedly unusual formula for taking home the victory at the Cleveland Grand Prix Sunday. Goes something like this: Crash + Replace front wing + Splash of fuel + Crash again + Replace front wing again + Another splash of fuel + resume race on lead lap at back with full tank = WIN.

Odd - yes but sometimes you just win in spite of yourself!

Then there's second, Doornbos was sent to to pit lane for a drive through an wound up second.

All of this makes me think that the others missed out on the perks of crashing and penalties. Perhaps Jani, who took third, could have won if he would have bolcked or something.

Still in all it was a good race filled with enough action that being correct on any early race predictions was going to be unlikely.

The start was super, I'm really liking this standing start thingy.

The crowd looked good from what I could see on TV.

Coverage was not up to my liking, in one case just as they came back from commercial I'm sure I saw a spin at the rear and never heard anything about it.

With Bourdais a DNF the points lead is tightened up, a sign of things to come????

Bring on the Mt.

Saturn Astra To Come Soon

Saturn Astra To Come Soon
By Ryan Thomas

In an effort to revitalize the Saturn brand, General Motors looked in the direction of the continent of Europe. With the help of its Opel brand, General Motors has so far successfully reinvented Saturn. The Outlook and the Aura are just the early offering from Saturn with European influence. Come fall of this year, General Motors will introduce a rebadged Opel Astra as the Saturn Astra in the United States auto market.

According to General Motors, in order for the European Astra to be accepted in the United States, it has to be both attractive in appearance and very driver-friendly. The first criterion, of course, is to ensure that the Saturn Astra can attract the younger generation of car buyers. The second attribute is to makes sure that upon test driving the Astra, potential car buyers would have a hard time walking away from the car.

The hatchback is designed with European styling cues. The trapezoidal headlight configuration and the wide open air intake grill accentuate the front end of the Astra. Sporting the Saturn emblem on its narrow grille accents the gentle slope of its hood. According to General Motors, the Astra will be available as a three-door hatchback, a five-door hatch and yet another three-door hatch but given the Sport Hatch classification.

According to the manufacturer of the Astra, these are built at General Motors’ assembly facility in Antwerp, Belgium. Both the three-door and the five-door hatch versions of the Astra share the same platform with a 102.9-inch wheelbase. Oddly though, the three-door hatch is longer than the five-door version by 1.5 inches. There is also a difference in ride height as the three-door hatchback is 0.6 inches lower than its sibling says General Motors.

Powering the Astra in Europe and possibly in its introduction in North America is a 1.8-liter Ecotec in-line four-cylinder engine. Fitted with Saturn head gaskets and other engine parts, it can produce as much as 140 horsepower. Torque output is rated at 129 lb-ft at 3,800 revs per minute.

The engine can power the Astra to 60 miles per hour from a standstill in just 9.5 seconds. Top speed according to General Motors is 129 miles per hour. As far as gas mileage rating, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is yet to test the Saturn Astra. In Europe though, the Opel Astra is given a gas mileage rating of 38.7 mpg on combined city and highway driving. For pure city driving, the Opel Astra gets 28.5 miles from a gallon of gasoline.

Since Saturn is sure to produce a Red Line trim for the Astra when it hits North American dealerships, it is expected that a more powerful engine will be made available for the Astra. It is speculated that the Saturn Astra Red Line will be equipped with a 1.6-liter gasoline engine with an output of 178 hp. Another candidate for the Red Line trim is the engine used on the Vauxhall VXR and the Opel OPC versions of the Astra. The power plant is a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with a power output of 237 hp.

According to General Motors, the Saturn Astra will replace the Saturn ION in Saturn's lineup. The Astra will join the redesigned Aura, the Vue, the all-new Outlook and the convertible Saturn Sky in Saturn's 2008 model year lineup.

Ryan Thomas is a native of Denver, Colorado. He grew up in a family of car afficionados. He now resides in Detroit where he owns a service shop and works part time as a consultant for a local automotive magazine.You can also visit Saturn head gaskets for more information.
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Car Financing; The F&I Department

Car Financing – The F&I Department
By Jeff Neilan

OK, you’ve finally gotten through the front end part of buying your car. You have worked hard done some tough negotiating and feel like you have negotiated a good and fair deal on your car purchase and trade-in. Now it’s time to head into the dealer’s F&I (finance and insurance) department and go through the formality of signing the financing paper work on the back end of the deal.

You may have noticed a couple of terms: front end and back end. I used these terms to illustrate a point to you. From a car dealer perspective there are two distinct parts (profit centers) to each deal. The front end of the deal is the new car price, your trade in, any dealer add on’s that they got you to buy with your new car, etc. All of this, most everyone is indeed familiar with. The second part of the deal, the back end, is not a place to let your guard down. The back end is the F&I department. The F&I manager is every bit as responsible for making sales numbers and profit margins as everyone else at the dealership and they are sales people NOT financial advisers and their purpose is to help maximize the profit on the deal.

Don’t assume that you are going to be offered the best possible interest rate you can get by the F&I manager. Quite the opposite! Adding a point or two (or more) to your contract interest rate above what you qualify for is a serious profit maker for the dealer.

Also keep in mind that all of your hard work negotiating your deal on the front end has been by in large verbal and perhaps a handshake. True, as a result, you may have a signed buyers order or worksheet that the salesperson and or manager have signed off on, but it is in the F&I department where all of this gets put into contract form.

Stay focused. Some dealers and salespeople may even imply that in order for the deal to get approved, you have to finance through their finance department. You don’t. In fact, if you have done your homework and found a better financing offer, you should take it. At the very least, you know what numbers you qualify for, and as such you should ask the car dealership to try to better what you already have.

Read the contract. Sound so basic, but most people don’t. Don’t just assume that everything that you negotiated with the dealership on the front end will make its way to the back end of your car deal. If you’ve had a long day negotiating to get the price you want, don’t give it all back in the F&I department by getting lazy at this very crucial time.

Without question, the single biggest mistake car buyers make is failing to prepare. That, and setting your expectation that car buying and the negotiating process within can take at best several hours to accomplish. Know that you are going to be at the dealership for a while can help you stay energized and focused. Do your homework. Know your credit score. Get your financing pre-approved and see if the dealer can beat what you already have. Be familiar with all the areas of potential sales and profit that the dealer can potentially land. Know what extras (if any) you will and will not pay for. Make sure the contract in the F&I department reflects all the negotiations that you have worked to accomplish before hand. Then, finally, remain on your toes and don’t drop your guard once in the F&I department.

New Car Negotiation, Price Quotes, and Finance Advice
Car Buying Price Negotiation
Used Car Buying Tips,

Jeff Neilan worked for many years in the automotive industry as a salesman,
finance manager, new and used car manager, and sales manager. With Jeff's working knowledge of car dealerships you'll find his articles on getting your best car deal insightful and rewarding when purchasing your next car.

Portland Good Portland Bad - Portland Gone?

Starting with the good, the standing start was awesome. Everyone got away, no one stalled and and turn one was clean. I say bring on the standing starts!!!!

Newman Hass (L) won their 100th race after a dismal weekend that saw Sebastian struggle in both practice and qualifying then go on to win.

No yellows the entire race but then Portland in known for a dearth of yellows, still it was nice to see everyone except Legge finished without fuss!

Rookie Doornbos on the podium again.

The ESPN/ABC coverage was really pretty good, at least an improvement over what we have seen in the recent past.

And the bad, how did Wilson give up such a big lead to lose this race........unbelievable.

Why did Kat spin and stall on the next to last lap?

Oh and the weather - yuk. Race day was without rain but the Saturday rain and Sunday rain prediction might have just scared off the race day crowd.

So how big was the crowd, I would be surprised if there were 20k for the race. Mucho empty seats!

Will the poor showing scare off any future promoters, have we seen the beginning of the end of CCWS at portland?

2008 Buick Enclave Has Arrived

The 2008 Buick Enclave has arrived in the showrooms! Everyone has much anticipated its arrival and its finally here. GM has finally given a vehicle for Buick to compete even if it competes with other GM brands.

The GMC Acadia has been a super seller and the Buick Enclave should see great results as well. The one that I have seen personally has leather, heated seats, 2 sunroofs, DVD, and several other little bells and whistles and lists for $39200 which is actually comparable on price to its GMC sister vehicle. Stop in your local Buick showroom and take a look at this 3 row crossover GM jewel!

Car Insurance; Does A Red Car Cost More?

On numerous occasions I have had customers tell me, I do not want a red car because the insurance is more!

I have asked several insurance agents this question and they say there is no validity to this. This myth may have come from the old sports car days when red was a popular color. If you have a sports car that happens to be red, yes the insurance may be a little more. There may be some insurance carriers that view red in a different way, but the agents I talked to said it was not true.

If you have a red car that costs more on insurance let me know. If you know the reason people have this perception, also let me know because I do not have an answer to this car insurance question.

My feeling on the subject would be that a red car would be less on car insurance because it is more visible, but I really do not know. I have also heard that silver is less on insurance. I believe it has more to do with your driving record, type of vehicle, age, gender, etc.

Auto Insurance Company; What To Look For?

What To Look For In An Auto Insurance Company
By John Hasson, Jr.

Since almost all the states require that you have auto insurance, the question should not be whether you want it, but what you want your policy to cover. Indeed there are many decisions, but they do not have to be difficult ones to make if you know what you are looking for. Once you know what you want, then it will be much easier to find a company that can give you that for the lowest price.

How To Decide What You Want
You must decide what all your personal needs are such as a teenager in the house who also drives, but needs to be covered as well. Then make sure the policy will cover everything on the list.

How Much Liability Coverage Should I Get?
You also must decide how much liability coverage you want (paying for damages that you cause to another person on the road). There are two parts to liability coverage: bodily injury and property damage to the other person. Since liability insurance is the main reason to get insured in the first place, it is strongly recommended that insurers insure themselves well above the minimum requirement of the state. It is a good idea, in this area, to go as high as you feel you can because if you are unable to pay all the damage costs, first your assets will probably go to help pay for it, then you will just be in mounds of debt. You could get lucky and maybe they would have insurance for the underinsured (you) and maybe their attorney wouldn't go after you, but don't count on it.

How Much Collision Coverage, If Any, Should I Get?
One should assess the value of one's car first before deciding on collision insurance. Is your car old anyway and on its last leg, or is it brand new? How much are you willing to pay out of pocket should anything happen? If your car was totaled, would you rather pay out of pocket and/or risk your insurance going up, or would you rather just buy a new car? You should only get collision coverage if you feel a need to keep your car and repairs from such an event would be much more than staying insured, thus requiring the help of your insurance. It is important to note that collision insurance will insure no matter who is at fault, generally.

What Other Types Of Coverage Should I Consider?
Comprehensive auto insurance means exactly that, it is all comprehensive (it includes just about everything else that could go wrong with your car). For example, if your AC broke, it could cover repairs for that, or if your car got stolen it would cover for that as well. It will also (typically) cover for extended medical expenses of anyone injured in the accident, salary lost during that time, and funeral expenses. That is the one thing about life, full of endless possibilities, so if any of these coverages are important to you, then you should get the comprehensive coverage plan.

Now, if you really want to protect yourself well you can also get insurance for the uninsured as well (or underinsurance for those who are underinsured). So, that basically means that your insurance will cover what they were supposed to cover, them being at fault, but because they have no insurance, you will get covered with no hassle. This is important to have if you are worried that someone will hit and run. If they are able to get away without your knowledge of their driver's license or anything, then there won't be much you will be able to do about it.

How High Should My Deductible Be? Your deductible is how much you must pay out of pocket before your insurance will help you. The higher your deductible, the lower your monthly payments (your premium). So, if you are not very accident prone, perhaps a high deductible would be good for you, as high as you feel that you could pay yourself. If you are still struggling with what you want your deductible to be, think of this scenario: You get in a fender bender by running into the friendly pole over by your gas station, and it is $500 to fix. Would you rather pay out of pocket? Or go through your insurance risking that your rates will increase. How about if it was $1000 to fix? Now how about $1500 to fix? Now $2000 to fix? The highest number you would want to pay out of pocket for should be your deductible.

How Can I Save Money On My Insurance Plan?
As talked about above, the higher the deductible, the lower your premiums, which can save you a bundle of money. That is a good way to save money and still be able to keep your good coverage. Even if you up your deductible to $500 dollars, your premium will be much less. If you are worried you will not have that extra $500 on hand when you need it, it is probably a good idea to keep it in your emergency savings in a high interest bearing account. In fact, keep your entire deductible in there, and then if you ever need it in a pinch, you will have it. It will save you tons of money in the long run.

Teens If you have teens that you need to cover, cover them with your insurance plan. Do not cover them separately, it will be much more expensive. Same thing with their cars. List their cars alongside yours.

Another way to save, or -- not waste your money, is to be sure you are not overcompensating in your coverages. For example, if you already have good coverage in your health insurance to cover for your personal injuries no matter what the cause, then in an auto accident you would have coverage for your injuries already through your health insurance. Therefore, you would probably be ok just having the minimum requirement in your auto insurance for your own personal injuries. You would probably be surprised all that your home insurance would cover too, so be sure to look at the coverages you already have closely before making definite decisions.

Bulk Buy
Now, you may want to consider getting your auto insurance with the same company that you get your homeowners insurance with, or another insurance, because lots of times they will let you get your insurances for less if you purchase more than one through them. Always remember that if a company does not work out to your satisfaction, you can always change your policy or change companies altogether BEFORE it is time to renew your policy. You can change things any time you feel the need, you never need to wait.

How Can I Be More Certain That This Company Is A Good Company?
Customer Service is always an important aspect (of any company for that matter!), and a good one to test out! Think of a crazy or absurd question, then call their customer service and test it out! Or, any question for that matter! If you are on hold for an hour, then they probably do not provide good service.

Body shops are another good place to look. Managers there have to deal with auto insurances all the time. Ask them which are the best to work with! I am sure they would have some recommendations for you to make their lives easier! They would know which insurances try to get away with replacing parts with cheaper parts to save themselves money, and which would have parts replaced back to their original quality.

Word of mouth is always a good way to find good companies too, experiences from other people, whether on forums online or from friends. You can compare quotes online at
FoxQuotes provides competitive insurance quotes online. You fill out a simple form and compare quotes. FoxQuotes also provides helpful articles for choosing your insurance and live chat when available.

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