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DATE News (chronologically 8/1/00 to 8/4/00)
8/4/00

Brickyard 400 now bigger than Indy 500    A reader writes:  the attendance for pole qualifying for the Brickyard 400 was over 200,000 people.  The Indy 500 used to get that and now only gets 40,000 or so.  Happy hour today had more people in attendance than Indy 500 pole qualifying.  For the race, all seats are sold for both events.  Thank you Tony George for forming the IRL and allowing NASCAR, my favorite form of racing, to become king.  I'm certain Big Bill is smiling up there in the heavens.

8/4/00

Baseball for Bell    Townsend Bell, an avid baseball fan, will be the guest of honor at a Columbus Clippers baseball game this Thursday where he will throw out the first pitch. Bell, who has his own "baseball card" from sponsor DirecPC, will also sign autographs for fans prior to the game, which is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m. ET. Comparable to the relationship between the Dayton Indy Lights Championship and the FedEx Championship Series, the Clippers are a Triple-A farm team for the New York Yankees.

8/4/00

Dayton to Dayton    The Dayton Indy Lights Championship and Dayton Tire will make a media tour stop in Dayton, Ohio next Tuesday prior to Round Seven of the series that weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Dayton Tire was founded in its namesake city in 1905 and still maintains strong ties to Ohio. Although the company is now based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the Dayton Daytona racing tires used in Indy Lights are made in Ohio and several members of the Dayton Racing team call the Buckeye State home.   The media promotion will be conducted at Dayton Tire Sales at 3091 South Dixie Ave. and will feature Dorricott Racing and its trio of Lola T97/20 race cars, the Dayton Tire transporter and the Dayton Mustang Pace Car. Members of Dorricott's driving team of Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola), Mears and possibly Bright are also scheduled to attend. 

8/4/00

MexPro go for Higgins    Four-time Dayton Indy Lights Championship race winner Derek Higgins (Mexpro/Precio Base.com Lola) will return to the cockpit at Mid-Ohio in a second entry from first-year team Mexpro Racing. Higgins has been a coach for Mexpro's rookie driver Rudy Junco (Mexpro/Precio Base.com Lola) all year, but Mid-Ohio will mark his first Indy Lights start since the 1999 finale at California Speedway. He is scheduled to drive in five of the year's remaining six races with the team and will miss only Round 10 at Gateway.

8/4/00

Lights injury updates   Chris Menninga (Mi-Jack Lola), who was released with no apparent injuries from Loyola University Medical Center after a late-race accident with Casey Mears (Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer Lola)  Sunday at Chicago, returned to the cockpit at the Gateway test. Mears was uninjured in the incident.  "I am feeling OK but I didn't last too long at the test Wednesday," Menninga said. "I am still pretty sore and didn't' feel 100% in the car, but its was good to get back in and do a few laps. We were pretty quick right off the bat and got into the 29-second bracket, but it was a good move to quit early. I will be ready for Mid-Ohio."
Jason Bright (Dorricott Racing Lola) skipped the Gateway test while he recovers from a lower back injury sustained in a Friday practice accident at Chicago. He is currently recuperating in Indianapolis and is scheduled to see Dr. Terry Trammell of the CART Medical Staff on Monday.
"I am going to take it a day at a time because right now I am not seeing the progress I would like to see," Bright said. "I am going to give it everything I can to be at Mid-Ohio."

8/4/00

Gateway Group Test  The majority of Dayton Indy Lights Championship teams and drivers traveled straight from Round Six at Chicago Motor Speedway last weekend to Gateway International Raceway where an unofficial group test was held Wednesday. Although official lap times were not recorded, championship points leader Scott Dixon (Invensys/Powerware/PacWest Lights Lola) was generally considered the fastest driver at the single-day session with a lap in the 29.2 second range on the 1.270-mile oval. Dixon has won the last three Dayton Indy Lights short-oval races with victories at Chicago last year and this past weekend split by a win at The Milwaukee Mile in June.
"Scott's real comfortable on these tracks," said PacWest Lights Team Manager Paul "Ziggy" Harcus. "Early on at Chicago, before he took the lead, I thought we were going to have a real race on our hands, but once he got by the leaders, he was gone." 
Drivers reportedly lapping within a few 1/10ths of Dixon included his teammate Tony Renna (Motorola/PacWest Lights Lola), rookie Jeff Simmons (KOOL Lola) and Cory Witherill (WSA Healthcare Lola) who now drives for 1998 Gateway winners Indy Regency Racing. Renna ran a best lap of 29.4 seconds before he was uninjured in an accident that ended his day.
"Tony was having a bit of trouble with the bump in Turn Three," Harcus said. "He was trying a few different lines through there and he might have hit the bump. He hit the wall in Turn Three and ended up in Turn Four. The car has a hole in the tub and heavy left-side damage, but Tony checked out OK and was back working out yesterday. We plan to give him and Scott another go at Putnam Park on Monday."
Simmons also lapped in the 29.4 range and recorded 180 laps testing the set up that his brother and current engineer Chris Simmons used to set the track qualifying record of 29.033 seconds (157.478 mph) at Gateway in 1997 in a KOOL Lola. Senior Team KOOL driver Jonny Kane (KOOL Lola) stepped into his teammates race car at the end of the day and managed to record 34 laps on the Gateway oval. Kane was uninjured in a qualifying accident at Chicago but missed that race and the majority of the Gateway test while the team repairs his damaged race car.
Witherill has run just two races with Indy Regency but hit on a combination at Gateway that had them lapping in the mid-29-second range. Indy Regency won the 1998 Gateway race with Shigeaki Hattori, which was the last time Indy Lights appeared at the St. Louis track.  "It felt good out there," Witherill said. "It's a great track. We're a new team, but the group is working well together and we have all put a lot of effort into getting ready."   In addition to Renna, Todd Snyder (Outpost.com Lola) also wrote off a tub when he hit the Turn Two wall at Gateway. Snyder was uninjured.

8/4/00

Giaffone completes 1st day of Champ Car test  -Felipe Giaffone is completing his first Champ Car test with Mo Nunn Racing today at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Giaffone, who is second in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship points race behind Dixon, 77 - 65, is sharing the car with Kanaan who is testing his road course skills while still recovering from injuries sustained in his accident in Detroit in June.  "Yesterday was pretty fun," Giaffone said after his Thursday run in the Hollywood Mercedes-Benz Reynard. "Before I got here, I thought maybe I just couldn't drive the car because it has too much power. But then, once I got in, I started getting used to everything, and Tony was giving me some tips 
along the way that helped me a lot. By the end of the day I was pretty happy. I didn't push too hard because I didn't want to make any mistakes. I think I did okay, but it was only a half a day. I'm not yet 100% comfortable in the car. Maybe that will come today." 

8/4/00

CART scheduled released  - 2nd UPDATE - The 2001 schedule was finally released today and it contains a few surprises.  8/3/00 - We hear one of the possible reasons Texas was moved to April 29th was because Motegi will take nothing other than a May date, which means, May 6th or 20th (May 13th is Indy qualifying and May 27th is the race).  The teams really don't want to travel all the way to Japan in the week between Indy Qualifying and the race, so Japan just may get the May 6th date.  Makes sense to us if the teams can get to Japan from Texas in one week (ouch!).  Earlier today - Although CART had hoped to release their 2001 schedule today, it still is not ready and won't be released before tomorrow at the earliest.

8/4/00

CART drops Handford Device for Road America  Although the Champ cars were supposed to use the Handford MKII Device at Road America, CART has decided to revert back to regular road course wings for the sake of better competition.

8/4/00

NASCAR safety changes  - NASCAR announced two new rule changes to be in effect for this weekends Brickyard 400.  1) The main and secondary throttle linkage on the carburetor must have a throttle stop to prevent the throttle plate from opening past the vertical position.  2) A auxiliary engine stop KILL switch must be installed on the steering wheel, within reach of the driver. When pressed, the engine would be immediately killed. This would be as a supplement to the standard On/Off switch on the dashboard.  Toe clips to manually pull the throttle back were not mandated at this time, but some drivers are using them as an additional safety feature. 

8/3/00

Team Penske News Bits

  • With his qualifying position of second in Chicago, Castroneves has now started on the front row in three of his last five starts this season including the pole in Portland and the outside of the front row in Toronto.

  • Castroneves' second place start in Chicago was his best start on an oval this season.

  • De Ferran has started in the top-ten in eleven of the twelve races this season and finished in the top-ten eight times.

  • De Ferran's third place finish in Chicago marks his third podium finish in the 2000 season and the fifth podium for Marlboro Team Penske.

  • To date, de Ferran has completed 92% of all laps and finished in the points in nine of twelve races.

  • De Ferran has the second best average qualifying position (5.0) among all CART drivers, Castroneves is fourth with an average of 6.92.

8/3/00

Castroneves to be featured  - Helio Castroneves will be featured in an upcoming issue of Pro Magazine. The magazine, which focuses on the lifestyles of athletes, conducted a photo shoot with Castroneves on July 28 at Sushi Wabi on trendy West Randolph Avenue in Chicago. The magazine plans to highlight Helio and his favorite hangout when he visits the Windy City.

8/3/00

Dodge Intrepid body submitted to NASCAR today  - Dodge officials presented their first Intrepid R/T to NASCAR officials today for feedback on the race car's body. A separate presentation of the Intrepid engine is expected this month.  The new race car is scheduled to make its debut on NASCAR's Winston Cup circuit next season, with February's Daytona 500.

8/3/00

Date for CART Texas race moved  - The date for the inaugural Texas 600 K at Texas Motor Speedway has moved up one week to April 29th, from May 6th.  The change was to guarantee the race will be shown live on ABC.  Does this mean Japan might get moved to May 6th?  We'll know real soon.   See related story

8/3/00

Senator Grand Marshall for Glen race  - Watkins Glen International announced today that Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno will be the Grand Marshal for the Global Crossing @ the Glen that will take place August 13. Bruno will give the command “Gentleman, Start your engines!” 

8/3/00

Help Wanted  - The McLaren team is looking for an audio/visual technician to work in their Woking facility.  The Jordan team is still looking for junior and senior design engineers to work in their Silverstone facility.

8/2/00

TV Ratings from last weekend

CART (ABC, 7/30) 2.0 rating / 5 share (overnight rating)
NASCAR Busch (TNN, 7/29) 1.0 rating / 2 share / 0.746m households
NHRA (espn2, 7/30) 0.56 rating / 1 share / 0.393m hh
ASA (TNN, 7/30) 0.5 rating / 1 share / 0.360m hh
NHRA Qual (espn2, 7/29) 0.37 rating / 1 share / 0.260m hh
CART Qual (espn2, 7/29*) 0.33 rating / 1 share / 0.232m hh
Indy Lights (espn2, 7/30*) 0.15 rating / 0 share / 0.105m hh

8/2/00

2001 CART schedule delayed  - The 2001 CART schedule will not be released today as previously announced by Bobby Rahal.  Look for it tomorrow as there is a hang-up on at least one race.  We think it might be a TV scheduling issue.

8/2/00

Derek Higgins to return to Indy Lights  - Starting at the next race in Mid-Ohio, Derrick Higgins will drive in 5 of the last 6 Indy Lights races this year for the Mexpro team.  Higgins, from Ireland, hopes to someday move up the Champ cars and race in front of his hometown fans in Rockingham, England.

8/2/00

Toyota appoints F1 motorsport chairman  - Tsutomu Tomita will be the chairman of Toyota's new TMG motorsport center in Cologne, Germany.  It is from here that Toyota will produce its assault on F1.

8/2/00

Arrows to use Peugeot/AMT engines  - Although Peugeot has pulled out of F1 on an official basis and sold its engine rights to AMT (Asian Motor Technologies), they still hold the rights to who uses the engine and the Arrows team has won that right for 2001.

8/2/00

Latest construction pictures from Rockingham



With 3/4 of the retaining wall complete, preparations for tarmac have started. The oval retaining is coming on well and the infield circuit is now visible. Nearly all of Rockingham's 300 acre estate can be seen.  Photos courtesy of Rockingham Motor Speedway

8/1/00

Safety changes for 2001  - CART has confirmed that they will mandate a single refueling and vent hose (ala Formula 1) into one unit next year so the vent man can be moved to the back of the car to plug and unplug the air jack.  Also, the HANS Device will be mandated in 2001, but only for the oval races.  It's still a bit confining for road courses. 

8/1/00

Inside CART  - Reminder - This week's edition of Inside CART is on today at 6:00 PM EST. 

8/1/00

Did you know?  - The last three Michigan 500's had over 400 combined unofficial lead changes, 143 official at-the-line lead changes. The outcome of those races was decided on the final lap--by a combined 0.331 seconds. 

8/1/00

Scenes from around Germany's Eurospeedway - 1st CART race September 15, 2001

Photos courtesy of Eurospeedway

8/1/00

CART gets another decent overnight TV rating  - CART got its second straight decent overnight TV rating, a 2.0 for Chicago.  Only the Michigan 500, with its 2.5 overnight rating was higher.  The final rating is likely to fall between 1.5 and 1.8, but the trend is up and that is good. 

8/1/00

Mid-Ohio FanFest schedule  - The CART FanFest is a great opportunity for fans to get one-on-one with CART. There are several interesting and involving exhibits that will help fans gain a better understanding of CART as well as the excitement and spectacular racing that is the FedEx Championship Series.   The display includes an authentic Champ Car, a Mercedes Benz C-43 Safety Car, and a Honda CBR 900RR super cycle. Fans will also be able to:
· View a Champ Car wing display, the key handling component of the racing machine
· Listen to radio communications between drivers and their crew chiefs
· Play the "CART World Series" video game on a Sony PlayStation video wall
· Watch racing highlights on several video screens
· View the CART Champion's award trophy, the PPG Cup, and a Champ Car engine
The display makes its first stop in Central Ohio on Sunday, August 6, at the 11th Annual Arthritis Foundation Mini Grand Prix, located at the Hilliard Municipal Park in Hilliard, Ohio, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Fans can also interact with the display at Dave and Buster's in Hilliard, Ohio, Wednesday, August 9, from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., during the Miller Lite 200 FanFest. Team Rahal will also be present with their Champ Car and transporter display. Team owner Bobby Rahal, and drivers Max Papis and Kenny Bräck will be on-site to sign autographs.  As the race weekend approaches, the CART FanFest will relocate north to Buck's Bar and Grill in Lexington, Ohio, on Friday, August 11. 

8/1/00

Rahal, Mears to highlight Mid-Ohio Fan Forum  - Race fans will have a unique opportunity to meet CART FedEx Championship Series personalities at the first ever CART Fan Forum during the Miller Lite 200 on Friday, August 11, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.  The CART Fan Forum is a fan-based activity giving spectators a chance to discuss the CART FedEx Championship Series with some of the sport's biggest names. The 60-minute question and answer session will take place on Mid-Ohio's Championship Row, and will feature a host of open-wheel celebrities throughout the hour. This event is the first of its kind on the CART FedEx Championship Series schedule.  Several CART personalities are tentatively scheduled to attend. Bobby Rahal, owner of Hilliard, Ohio-based Team Rahal and current interim President and CEO of CART, will be on-hand, as will former CART champion Rick Mears and Team KOOL Green owner Barry Green. ABC broadcasters Paul Page and Parker Johnstone, and CART President of Racing Hal Whiteford, will also lend their thoughts on open-wheel racing. The CART Fan Forum will follow a panel format, with the event emcee directing audience questions to the panel members for their responses.   All spectators in attendance at the Miller Lite 200 on Friday are welcome to participate in the CART Fan Forum. There is no additional charge, and no special passes are required. 

8/1/00

Tom Kristensen hoping for Champ Car ride  - "I have just had a whole week with the Michelin-guys and a 1999-spec Stewart F1-car at the Catalunya-circuit in Barcelona. The test was awesome, and I really enjoy working so closely with some of the best engineers in the world. At this time I don't know what is going to happen next season, but a lot of doors have opened after my second win at Le Mans. I still love to race single seaters, and Formula One and Champ Cars are still goals. However, I don't have the time to attend Champ Car races to speak to the right people, but of course I am interested. By now most teams should be aware of my abilities. If they invite me, I will come and see them," promises the driver, who due to lack of personal sponsors, never have had a chance to show his real potential in single seaters.  For those, who don't know, Kristensen has won races, had pole positions and fastest laps in every series he has joined since 1991, including Formula 3 in Germany and Japan, F3000 in Europe and Japan, touring cars in Germany, Japan and England, sportscars in Japan, America (Sebring) and Europe (Le Mans) and GT1-cars in Japan. Furthermore he has driven Group C in his young days in Japan with Eddie Irvine and his old buddy Jacques Villeneuve - and the Dane was not the slowest guy of this trio.  Tom's homepage.


Tom Kristensen (L) and Frank Biela celebrating overall victory at the 2000 12 Hours of Sebring for Audi Sport Team Joest along with co-driver Emanuele Pirro. The trio followed up their win at Sebring at the 24 Hours of LeMans in a stunning 1-2-3 in the Audi R-8's.  
Photo courtesy of Barton Workman
 

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