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Thanks for visiting our News Bits page - news snippets from the world of Auto Racing.  Please visit our Rumors page for all the scuttlebutt.  If you have some news, or can supply more information about one listed here, e-mail us with as much supporting information as possible and we may post it.  User agreement & disclaimer. Newer rumors supercede older ones of the same topic.  Go to our forums to discuss any hot news.  

DATE News (chronologically 7/11/00 to 7/16/00)
7/16/00

Zanardi seen visiting all top teams in Toronto  Alex Zanardi was seen in the hospitality areas of all the top CART teams at Toronto.  It's evident he is keeping his options open as to who to drive for in 2001.

7/16/00

Paul Tracy tribute to Greg Moore  Paul Tracy is doing his own tribute to fallen fellow Canadian Greg Moore by wearing this new helmet design for this weekends Toronto race.

7/16/00

Martinsville Speedway improvements   Just as construction is being completed on suites and retaining walls at Martinsville Speedway it has started again in the grandstands.  The speedway has begun installing metal seats with backs on the concrete bleachers on the track’s front straightaway. Handrails also are being installed in the aisles of the Richard Petty, Goody's and NAPA Towers.  "Fans will see a big difference in both appearance and comfort inside the track when they return for the NAPA AutoCare 500," said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell.  Full Story

7/15/00

CART Driving 101 provides drivers and cars for CHAMPS  CART Driving 101 - "The Official Driving Experience Of Championship Auto Racing Teams" has been granted a contract to provide its authentic purpose-built Champ Cars to the film production of an untitled racing production, starring Sylvester Stallone. As the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series moves to Canada for this weekends MOLSON INDY Toronto event weekend, CART Driving 101 will begin its participation in the film's production, thereby revising its summer 2000 schedule at California Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. CART Driving 101 President and CEO, Robert Lutz, says "I am proud to be involved in the film's production, to be directed by Renny Harlin. If you saw the last film Stallone and Harlin did together, 'Cliffhanger', you understand how it will be an action packed, intense film".  The world-renowned actor and filmmaker and his production team will utilize a Champ Car storyline, with a planned 2001 theatrical release date from Franchise Pictures to be distributed through Warner Bros.  CART Driving 101 will not only be supplying thirteen Champ Cars for the film production, but will also be providing the training of its lead characters and stunt drivers.   This movie will be the ultimate action adventure in a setting that is known throughout the world: This spectacular sport of open wheel auto racing. With the combination of great action director, Renny Harlin teaming back up with Sylvester Stallone and also Burt Reynolds, Kip Pardue, Stacy Edwards, Til Schweiger and Gina Gershon, Franchise Pictures is looking forward to an exciting movie making and movie going experience.  Editor's note - one of the cars blew an engine today, dropping oil on the track just before the real Champ cars took to the track.  At least we know they are pushing the envelope.  We had a chance to attend the CART Driving 101 school.  Full Story

7/15/00

Sylvester Stallone added to CART All-star team selection panel  Sylvester Stallone becomes the 2nd celebrity to be named to the 2001 CART All-star team selection panel.  He joins musician Lenny Kravitz and other motorsports journalists to the panel that each year  names the best CART drivers.  The overall winner gets the Mario Andretti trophy.

7/15/00

Tommy Kendall back in CART broadcast booth  Covering the Toronto race for the Canadian Global Sportsline will be Chris McClure and former driver Tommy Kendall. Don Martin and Lori Belanger, both of Global Sportsline, will be the co-hosts. Allan Davis and Todd Lewis will cover action in the pits. 

7/15/00

Tony Kanaan update  Regular Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing driver Tony Kanaan strapped himself into a race car today for the first time since sustaining a broken left forearm and four broken ribs on his left side in a qualifying session accident June 17 at Detroit’s Belle Isle. He drove 100 laps in a go-kart on an oval track in Indianapolis this morning under the observation of Dr. Terry Trammel of Methodist Hospital. He took a break to be examined by the doctor, watched the CART.COM live timing and scoring broadcast of today’s qualifying session on his computer, then headed out to drive another 100 laps. Kanaan plans to continue driving the go-kart daily until arriving at Michigan Speedway for next weekend’s Michigan 500 – where he scored his first career Champ Car victory last year. He is scheduled to undergo a test run in his #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes on Thursday, after which he hopes to be cleared to race by CART’s Dr. Steve Olvey. 

7/15/00

Buddy Rice qualifies 4th in Toronto  Buddy Rice, driver for DSTP Atlantic, will start from the second row for tomorrow's CART Toyota Atlantic race at Toronto's Exhibition Place, part of the Molson Indy Toronto CART FedEx Championship weekend. Despite a brush with the wall early in the session, Rice's fastest time of 1:07.442 (93.680 miles per hour) came on his final lap of the 30-minute session resulting in fourth overall.  "I brushed the wall on the back side and popped the left front tire, which put us back just a little bit," said Rice, who won from the fourth starting spot at Homestead earlier this year. "After that, it was hard to get a clear lap. The car was best late in the session, but we only had enough time left for two green laps. We definitely have a good car for the race. We'll make a few changes tonight, see where we're at in the morning warm-up, and go from there."  Rice and DSTP set the second fastest time earlier today in practice (1:07.285). 

7/15/00

Toronto announces record Saturday crowd  Today's attendance of 52,535 for the Toronto Molson Indy was a new record.  Friday's attendance was announced as 42,849.  That's a total of 95,386 and race day hasn't even arrived yet.  As we stated on numerous occasions, CART is very successful when it brings the racing to the people.  One can only imagine what New York City, San Francisco or Montreal would draw.

7/15/00

Bobby Rahal quotes from Toronto  Bobby Rahal had his usual Saturday meeting with the press today in Toronto.  Here are the highlights of what he had to say:

  • "The schedule should be completed by next week. It will be 22 races"

  • "We are trying to minimize the 3-races-in-a-row problem as much as possible...I'd like not to have any of those, but there will definitely be a minimum of them."

  • "Job 1 is the schedule. Job 2 is selecting the right (TV) network in each specific country that has a commitment to this sport." (as opposed to, for instance a pan-Europe network.)

  • "I have been an absentee owner (team owner) since taking over. The operation of CART has taken every minute of my time. An air of communication that has not existed here before...I'm learning to be a good listener."

  • RE: Indy-"I'm not washing my hands of it...but we have attributes that are unique and special. We need to build on those attributes."   Ed Donath

7/15/00

CHAMPS filming big hit in Toronto  What generated the most excitement during this fairly routine morning practice session in Toronto? Sylvester Stallone and Burt Reynolds were shooting scenes for CHAMPS in what is always one of CART's most crowded paddocks. The huge security "bouncers" really had their hands full keeping fans back far enough to complete the shoot before the Champ Cars had to be brought back in. Finally, the Hooters Girls were flat-bedded in to another part of the paddock area. That worked! 

7/15/00

Dario Franchitti thinks European races great for CART  When interviewed on RPM2Night yesterday, Dario Franchitti said he thought CART adding two European races to next year's schedule would be a big boost to the series.  Dario, being from Scotland, would like nothing better than to be able to race in front of his hometown fans so-to-speak.

7/15/00

CNN Online chat with Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell 
Mauricio Gugelmin
Monday July 17 at Noon
Mark Blundell
Tuesday July 18 at Noon

7/15/00

Tony Kanaan to start driving again  Tony Kanaan will start driving a go-kart this week in preparation for his planned return to the Champ Cars next week in Michigan, site of his first win last year.   Kanaan has been working hard on his rehabilitation program for weeks in Indianapolis and will drive under the supervision of Dr Terry Trammel.  "Dr Trammel is going to run me for 100 laps around a tight oval course to see how everything responds," Kanaan said.  "The big concerns obviously, are the strength in my left arm, which feels great, and my ribs. I've driven with broken ribs before, and this first couple of races (Michigan and Chicago) are on ovals, so it shouldn't be as much of a problem as it would if we had to go to Mid-Ohio or Road America.  "I've got my fingers crossed that Dr Trammel gives me the green light to race."  Greg Moore drove with a hurt wrist at Fontana last year.  Don't come back until you are ready Tony!

7/15/00

Dodge tests at new Kentucky Speedway

 
New Dodge underwent extensive testing at the new Kentucky Speedway

7/15/00

Pictures from Rockingham announcement


Photos courtesy of Rockingham Motor Speedway

7/14/00

Toronto: Franchitti on Provisional pole Franchitti, who won here last year, turned a lap of 58.877 seconds (107.308 mph) to just edge Juan Montoya (58.897s.). Helio Castroneves is third, followed by Andretii, de Ferran and Vasser. Six drivers manage to break the one-minute mark.  Whereas Ford's dominated the morning practice, Andretti was the only Ford driver to crack the top 10 when it really counted.

7/14/00

Toronto: Fittipaldi fastest after 1st practice session Ford drivers dominated the 1st practice session at Toronto this morning, taking 5 of the top 6 fastest speeds.  Christian Fittipaldi had the fastest lap this morning with a speed of 107.347 MPH and a lap time of 58.856 seconds. Kenny Brack was second at 107.267 MPH and Adrian Fernandez reached 107.236 MPH for third.  Points leader Roberto Moreno was 4th, followed by Gil de Ferran and Michael Andretti.

7/14/00

Audio from Rockingham Press Conference (Real Audio format)
Mr. Ron Haylock - Chaiman, Rockingham Motor Speedway 2 minutes 10seconds 
Mr. Peter Davies - Managing Director, Rockingham Motor Speedway 6 minutes 12 seconds 
Mr. Ron Dickson - President Forsythe Racing Inc. 3 minutes 18 seconds 
Mr. Bobby Rahal - President & CEO, C.A.R.T Inc. 7 minutes 14 seconds 
Mark Blundell - About Rockingham & ChampCar Racing 1 minute 53 seconds 
Questions and Answer Session 14 min 2 sec 

7/14/00

Ernie Irvan to host fishing show  One of NASCAR'S 50 Greatest Drivers, Ernie Irvan will host the popular Fox Sports Net fishing show "On The Pole". Irvan will begin taping the popular fishing series, later this month on the banks of North Carolina's Lake Norman. The first show, with Irvan as host, is scheduled to air on Sunday July 23rd.  " I am very excited about this opportunity," Irvan states. " I've been calling all my racing buddies and asking them to come fishing with me." Ernie will personally be inviting guests like Larry McReynolds, Ken Schrader and Michael Waltrip, Marc Reno, and Randy La Joie to join him on the show. " On The Pole" combines two of America most beloved pastimes in one unique show. The common bond between the sport of fishing and NASCAR Racing are explored in this exciting outdoor Television series. The heart pounding battles of the racetrack are contrasted by the serene sounds of the outdoors. Viewers are invited to kick back with Ernie Irvan and enjoy a day of fishing in the heart of NASCAR county. 

7/14/00

Lausitzring no more!  Did anyone notice that the press release on the CART race in Germany next year stated that the Lausitzring will be renamed to "Eurospeedway Berlin Brandenburg."  C'mon folks, couldn't you just stick to Eurospeedway?  That's what happens when government money is used to build a race track.  The Politicians want a say in things.  Let's hope it was a typing error, and they meant to say Eurospeedway near Berlin and Brandenburg.

7/13/00

CHAMPS no more!  2nd UPDATE   First CHAMPS, then RPM, then DRIVEN, and now.......CART has just informed us that the moviemakers have decided to change the name of the movie back to 'CHAMPS.'    Too bad, we kind of liked 'DRIVEN'.   7/11/00 - Hold the presses.  We are now told the name of the movie will likely be 'DRIVEN'.  7/8/00 - They have decided to change the name of the CART movie from CHAMPS to RPM.  We guess RPM is a little more catchy.  And to spice it up more, look for Estella Warren (center) to possibly do a little bed hoping, we assume between bad-guy Til Schweiger (in Target suit) and good-guy Kip Purdue (in Motorola suit).  The bulk of the at-the-track filming will be wrapped up in Toronto next weekend.  After that it will be mostly studio filming with a few track shots here and there through the end of the season.

7/13/00

DID YOU KNOW?  A driver can shift 3 to 5 times faster with the shift-without-lift technology currently in use on Champ cars.  Without it, a good driver takes 100 (absolute minimum) to 200 milliseconds to complete each shift, and longer as the race wears down and he gets tired.  With it the driver takes 30 to 50 milliseconds, and that number stays the same throughout the race.  You do the math.

7/13/00

Dan Wheldon looking to move up to Champ Cars in 2001  Dan Wheldon, the 22-year old Briton who is the reigning US F2000 Champion and currently second in the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, has welcomed last night’s announcement at Planet Hollywood in London that the brand new Rockingham Motor Speedway oval circuit in Northamptonshire, England will stage a round of the 2001 CART FedEx Champ Car World Series on September 22nd next year.  Speaking from Toronto where Wheldon will contest another Toyota Atlantic race this weekend, he said:  ‘The announcement of a CART FedEx Champ Car race at Rockingham next year is fantastic news!  ‘Having been born only miles away from Rockingham, I am determined to move up into Champ Cars next season and be on the starting grid for the inaugural Champ Car race on my ‘home’ circuit.  ‘I send my congratulations and best wishes to everyone at Rockingham on this momentous occasion.’

7/13/00

DID YOU KNOW?  CART driver Gil de Ferran lived with a family in Wisconsin as an exchange student from Brazil and as part of his chores, milked cows on their dairy farm? You do now.  Tomas Tales

7/13/00

Bill France meets with maker of soft-wall manufacturer   This past Friday, our Mark Cipolloni (a big proponent of soft walls since 1996) republished his article on Safer Walls after the death of driver Kenny Irwin at New Hampshire.  In it he discussed a new 'soft wall' system that is the only wall of its type approved by the FIA. It helped get the attention of NASCAR.  Yesterday, the IPS barrier was featured extensively on an RPM2Night story on soft walls.  Antonio Ferrari, President of the firm who sells the barrier, met with Bill France Wednesday to discuss using it on some NASCAR tracks.  CART is also looking at it.  Hopefully, this will be the first major step by a USA sanctioning body to endorse a soft wall for oval tracks.  Too bad it took two tragic deaths in two months for folks to realize maybe something needs to be done.  'Softer Walls' - their time has come!

7/13/00

European races on Saturday's   Assuming the announced dates of September 15th and 22nd, 2001 are correct for next year's Germany and England races, our hat's off to CART for making certain that the races are on Saturday, with Sunday being left open as rain dates.  Running a race on a Monday in Europe would likely be a disaster.  Instead of September 15th, the day before the Italian GP, we would have thought September 30th, when F1 is in the USA rather than Europe, would have been a better date.  Maybe the German promoter will fly all the F1 journalists from Italy to Germany on Friday night to cover the CART race, and then back to Italy on Saturday night in time for the Italian GP on Sunday.

7/12/00

Jan Magnussen looking for Champ Car ride   A reader writes - "Jan Magnussen wants to return to Champ cars and hopes racing in ALMS will give him some good exposure.  He also speculates that Don Panoz will field a Champ Car team in the not too distant future, and he hopes that might be another way back in."

7/12/00

Live Chat with Mark Blundell  Join Mark Blundell in a live chat Thursday July 13th at 4:30 PM on TSN.ca   You can submit your questions here.

7/12/00

Renault gets famed designer back  The man responsible for the successful Renault F1 engines of the late 80's and early 90's, Jean-Jacques His, has rejoined Renault as they make another assault on F1 in 2001.

7/12/00

Mo' Space  According to Public relations spokesman for Mo Nunn Racing Laz Denes, "there will be no second car until possibly late in the year."  "We don't have the manpower, the equipment or the space to add a second car at this time." But the team is working to rectify at least part of that equation. Nunn is shopping for real estate on which to build a new facility. Currently his team is housed in the cramped quarters of the former Pac West building on Gasoline Alley in Indianapolis. Lori Lovely

7/12/00

Musical engineering chairs  Not all the rumors floating around the paddock focus on next year. When Pac West Research and Development engineer Guillaume "Rocky" Rocquelin showed up for the Cleveland race in place of engineer Steve Clark, the rumor mill generated stories of dismissals and a revolving door on the engineering office. The truth is much simpler. According to Tom Hollett, Pac West is merely rotating its new engineering staff in an attempt to find the right driver/engineer combination. No dismissals. No revolving door. Just a bit of musical chairs until they "plug in the right people with the drivers," Hollett says. This is the first year at Pac West for both Clark and Roquelin, who remain under the supervision of Technical Director Alan McDonald.  Lori Lovely

7/11/00

Minardi to lose Ford engines  It looks like Ford will be unable to supply engines to the Minardi team next year and they may have to run a customer Peugeot engine.

7/11/00

Christian Fittipaldi, Michael Andretti & Mario Andretti in AOL Live Chat
Hey CART fans!   Wednesday, July 12 at 7:00PM ET  join Newman/Haas Racing stars Christian Fittipaldi and Michael Andretti in a LIVE chat to talk about their upcoming CART FedEx Championship Series race, the Molson Indy, in Toronto on July 16. Racing legend Mario Andretti will also be joining the chat to talk about his illustrious career and recent competition in the 24 Hours of LeMans.   AOL members may participate in the chat by going to AOL Keyword: AOL Live. A promo will be there tomorrow afternoon. For members that do not have AOL, they can try AOL for free by going to here.

7/11/00

Ford teams test low boost at Chicago   AutoRacing1.com has learned that some of the Ford teams experimented with running just 34 in. of boost last week at Chicago.  The current limit is 40 in.  We are told the test went very well and the results have been turned over to CART for evaluation.  Cosworth-Ford is pushing for lower boost pressure to reduce HP next year, rather than some sort of intake orifice or exhaust restriction.  If CART chooses the lower boost avenue, it should hold speeds in check until CART announces a new engine formula, probably for the 2003 season.

7/11/00

Did you know?    Did you know that the latest F1 engines are now running at 19,500 RPM in qualifying trim?  We also learned that the Cosworth Ford engine was turning 12,500 RPM in 1992 and now turns about 16,000 RPM in 2000.  The difference in RPM between the F1 and CART engines are attributable to 1) more and therefore smaller pistons in F1, 2) the use of pneumatic valve springs in F1, 3) the use of more exotic materials in F1.

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