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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 08/07/00 to 08/10/00)
8/10/00

Ford wants new cylinder heads approved  -  Ford is going to try to get new cylinder heads approved by NASCAR this October for its Winston Cup engines.

8/10/00

Andy Hall job hunting  -  According to NSSN, Andy Hall, who spent years in Daytona toiling for NASCAR before going to Indy to help the IRL get off the ground, is now on the unemployment line, his job with the IRL having been eliminated.

8/10/00

PPI to field 2nd Winston Cup car at Michigan  PPI Motorsports (PPIM) announced it will field a second Winston Cup car, the No. 98 Ronald McDonald House Charities Ford, with driver Andy Houston in the upcoming Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway Aug. 18-20, 2000. The car will be fielded alongside the team's No. 32 Tide Ford, driven by Scott Pruett, as part of PPIM's development toward a full time two-car effort in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 2001.  Full Story

8/10/00

Did you know?  -  The new Rockingham, England track will have 36 F1 style garages directly behind the pit lane when the CART team arrive next September.

8/10/00

Milwaukee Mile to get new grandstand  -  Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson announced plans for a $100 million, four-phase, revitalization project for the Wisconsin State Fair, including $25 million earmarked for a new multi-purpose grandstand at The Milwaukee Mile. The State Fair revitalization will take place over the next four years, with the multi-purpose grandstand being one of the highest priorities and scheduled to be completed in time for the 2002 racing season.  Full Story 

8/10/00

Help Wanted 

Team Location Positions
Jordan Northants, England Senior & Junior Aerodynamicists, Model Designers, Wind Tunnel Operators, Model Makers, Skilled Manual Machinist
Reynard Northants, England Junior CFD Engineer
BAR Northants, England Project leader - Electronics, System Tester
McLaren Woking, Surrey, England Skilled CNC Mill Setter/Operator, Skilled Machinist
DPS Composites Surrey, England Engineering Manager
8/10/00

Which cars have to run tobacco-free at USGP?  -  Some F1 cars will run sans any tobacco advertising at the USGP based on recent agreements between the USA tobacco companies and the USA government.  Any tobacco company who sells tobacco in the USA signed the agreement and are bound by what it says.  After talking to several people about this topic, here's what we think you will see.  What we have yet to get a clarification on is how the CART Team Kool Green cars can also display small Lucky Strike stickers.  We thought the legislation was clear - a company can only advertise one of their brands in the USA by way of sports sponsorship.  Brown & Williamson owns Kool and Lucky Strike.  Maybe the fine print of the agreement allows for 'small' secondary advertising.

Team Sponsor Market in USA Y/N? Tobacco Advertising Allowed for USGP?
Ferrari Marlboro Yes No
BAR Lucky Strike Yes No
Jordan Benson & Hedges Yes No
McLaren West No Yes
Prost Gauloisis No Yes
Benneton Mild Seven No Yes
8/9/00

Hornaday leads list of replacement drivers  -  Ron Hornaday will drive the #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet in place of NASCAR Winston Cup “iron man” Terry Labonte for this weekend’s Global Crossing @ The Glen. Labonte will sit out his second consecutive race after sustaining injuries in an accident at Daytona International Speedway last month.  Hornaday trails fellow NASCAR Busch Series rookie Kevin Harvick by two points in the rookie-of-the-year standings. He has won two races this season, Nazareth’s Econo Lodge 200 and last weekend’s Kroger 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Hornaday spent most of the day in the top 10 in the Lysol 200 at Watkins Glen in June before a mechanical failure ended his day. Hornaday also competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for five years for Dale Earnhardt Inc., winning two Series championships. He holds NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series records for road course wins (3), poles (3) and laps lead (264). This year, Hornaday’s NAPA-sponsored crew moved over to the NASCAR Busch Series. “We very excited to have this opportunity to run in the Winston Cup Series,” Hornaday said. “I wish things were different, that I could compete against Terry instead of replacing him. I hope he gets back in car soon. I’m just going up to The Glen and I will try to get the team a good top 10, top 5 run. I ran well there in June in the Busch car, so I think I my experience will pay off.” Labonte practiced late last Friday afternoon at Indianapolis, but he decided not to compete in the Brickyard 400 and the Global Crossing @ The Glen. He plans to return next weekend for the Pepsi 400 presented by Meijer at Michigan Speedway. Labonte’s record streak of 655 consecutive Winston Cup starts was snapped last weekend. Other changes to Sunday’s lineup include Tom Hubert, who will fill in for Jeremy Mayfield, in No. 12 Mobil Ford Tarus. Mayfield suffered a concussion during practice last week at Indianapolis. NASCAR Busch Series regular Todd Bodine landed sponsorship for a one race deal this weekend and will compete in the No. 34 I Love NY Chevrolet. Road course ace Ron Fellows will drive the No. 87 Bully Hill Vineyards Chevrolet owned by Joe Nemechek and Boris Said will pilot the No. 23 Ford (sponsor TBD) owned by Jimmy Spencer. 

8/9/00

Hollywood celebrities at The Glen  -  When the stars of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series invade the Finger Lakes region every August, they are joined by celebrities from all walks of life. The 2000 Global Crossing @The Glen will be no different, as three stars from ABC’s “All My Children” will appear at New York’s “Thunder Road” this weekend.   Finola Hughes, who plays Alexandra Devane, Mark Consuelos, who portrays Mateo Santos, and Kelly Ripa, better known as Hayley Vaughn Santos, will participate in several activities prior to Sunday’s Global Crossing @The Glen.  The actors will meet fans at The Glen Club from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and participate in a question and answer session with track announcer Mike Paz during pre-race ceremonies on Sunday. They will also take a pre-race pace car ride and receive a tour of the facility from track officials.  The trio will be guests of The Glen and NASCAR Winston Cup Drivers Dale Earnhardt and Bill Elliott. The group also attended a Winston Cup race at California Speedway in 1999.  Other celebrities and special guests who have been spotted at Watkins Glen in past years include New York Governor George Pataki, United States Senator Charles Schumer, Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter, singer/songwriter Edwin McCain, actor Tom Cruise and actor, race car driver and CART team owner Paul Newman. 

8/9/00

Giaffone tests Mo Nunn car  -  In addition to testing the effectiveness of Tony Kanaan’s left arm on the road course at Sebring last week (Aug. 3-4), Mo Nunn Racing gave Hollywood-sponsored Indy Lights competitor Felipe Giaffone a chance to drive the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz Reynard.   Giaffone, the Brazilian who scored his first Lights victory at Michigan two weeks prior, turned in a solid performance at Sebring in his first-ever stint behind the wheel of a Champ Car. He recorded 185 miles (111 laps) over the two days, and set a fast lap of 54.0 seconds on the 1.72-mile road course, within 1 second of Kanaan’s baseline time. Felipe Giaffone on his test:  "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 first day I was pretty happy. I didn’t push too hard because I didn’t want to make any mistakes. What impressed me the most was the car’s speed out of the corners. It’s much harder to control than a Lights car. The top speed is fast, as I figured, but that didn’t turn out to be the problem. The brakes are unbelievable. Overall, it feels like a pretty big car, but even so it has quite a lot of grip through the slow corners.   "This is a big confidence-builder. It felt good to hear Tony saying the same things about the car after he got out that I was saying. Talking about Champ Cars to the engineers is a new language to me. Learning (all the controls buttons and readouts on) the steering wheel was very interesting ... overwhelming at first. They were telling me to go up on the boost, and it took me four laps to find the right button. I’m sure they were laughing about that in the pits while I was out on the track. I’m very happy to have had this opportunity."   Race engineer Eric Cowdin on Giaffone:  "He didn’t set a wheel off course the whole time, and showed a very deliberate and progressive attitude in getting the car up to speed." 

8/9/00

Penske team looks at rear view mirror system  - On RPM2Night this evening Tim Cindric from the Penske team demonstrated a state-of-the-art Donnelly Panoramic Rear View imaging system that allows a driver to see in his blind spots.  The goal - eliminate the recent accidents that occurred because the driver being passed did not see the overtaking car.  The system is a comprised of rear facing miniature cameras and a small video monitor that would likely mount somewhere on the dash board allowing the driver to see behind him.  The system is not fully perfected and is not quite ready for implementation.  How about a heads-up display like we see on many passenger cars, only in this case the image would be projected into the inside top right-hand corner of a drivers helmet windscreen?

8/9/00

Did you know?  - That Argentinean F1 driver Gaston Mazzacane's former manager, Gianpaolo Matteucci, tried to steer the youngster to CART Champ Cars, but his family wanted him to race Sportscars at the time.  He routinely qualifies his Minardi at the back of the F1 grid, but is it him or the car?  Will he ever make it to Champ Cars one day?  One never knows.

8/8/00

Todd Parrott talks about this weekend's race  - Dale's crew chief TODD PARROTT talks about the team's adaptation to road course racing and Dale's improving record at Watkins Glen since joining Robert Yates Racing. Todd also comments on the year so far for the Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Racing team.  "We tested last year at Watkins Glen. We had a really good test and I think we learned some things about brakes and transmissions and did some things that he had been wanting to do so we just got together and did it. I think it made him more confident in the road courses and made him better. "I'd worked with Rusty Wallace and everybody knows what a good road racer he is so I think I've got a pretty good idea of what it takes to get around there. You've just got to get the whole package together - different driving styles and a different way of braking. Then it took a little time to learn how Dale does things. We qualified second our first two races together at Watkins Glen, and then had a fifth place finish in 1998 and a fourth last year. I think he's run better on the road courses since we've been together."  HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE 2000 SEASON? "I think we're doing pretty good. We're second in points. Obviously we'd like to be first in points. We've been pretty consistent. We've had our bad races. We've had a couple races I think we should have won or been better at. But with the changes we've had in the team this year our guys have stepped up to the plate and are doing a fantastic job. It's not just about one or two people; it's about the whole team. We've got a great race team, a great car owner and a great engine program with Doug Yates and those guys over there doing what they do. Everybody just does a phenomenal job. 

8/8/00

Brands Hatch track changes  - A lot of changes are proposed for the Brands Hatch circuit before it meets current FIA requirements to host the British GP starting in 2002.  The track is having a hard time getting all the local environmental approvals it needs.  The blue line in the picture on the right represents the proposed new track configuration, the gray line the old.  Other changes include a new pit and paddock, better runoff areas, sound abatement, removing quite a lot of trees and planting replacement trees on a mitigation site.  Meanwhile, Silverstone officials are still battling to keep the British GP.  They have until October 4th to prove to the FIA that they can host the GP.   Right now Brands Hatch has the inside track unless it fails to get all the approvals it needs.

8/8/00

Ron Hornaday to sub for Labonte  - It was announced today that Ron Hornaday will sub for the injured Terry Labonte this weekend at Watkins Glen in the Kelloggs #5 Chevy.

8/8/00

Jason Bright uncertain about Mid-Ohio UPDATE -Jason feels a little better today after having 350 cc's of fluid drained from his back yesterday.  Basically he has a big pocket of fluid in his back from his shoulder blades all the way down to below his waist. Right now it's day-by-day whether he will race this weekend.  8/6/00 - Indy Lights driver Jason Bright tells us he's still in quite a bit of pain from his Chicago accident and at this point is not certain he will make the Mid-Ohio race.  He sees Dr. Trammel on Monday and is hopeful things will begin to improve rapidly after that.

8/8/00

Mercedes dispels pullout rumors  - Paul Ray stated "there is no truth to the rumors that Mercedes is pulling out of CART next year.  We are completely committed for 2001.  We have our budget in place and we are spending money towards next year's program."  Mercedes claims to have improved engine performance coming in the next several races.

8/8/00

Live chat with Scott Pruett  - Scott Pruett will be on CNNSI today for a live chat.  Click here to ask a question.

8/7/00

PJ Jones to drive Sabco #01 at Glen  - Former CART driver and now NASCAR Busch series driver, PJ Jones, will drive the Sabco #01 Winston Cup car this weekend at Watkins Glen.

8/7/00

FedEx Autograph books  - With the help of FedEx, Champ Car fans can take home the memories from their day at the track and the time they met a racing star through the 2000 season Autographix Autograph book. Distributed during race weekends, the free booklets offer photographs of every CART driver in the FedEx Championship Series along with the perfect spot to capture their signatures.  FedEx Racing provided 35,000 complimentary 2000 season Autographix Autograph books, starting with the July 2 Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar.  Inside the book is a showcase of each driver in the CART series, including images and biographical information. Fans can pick up a copy of the book on race weekends at the CART Merchandise Trailer, CART Registration, CART Hospitality, Winners Circle Fan Club Meetings and at all Fan Appreciation Activities.   "The production and distribution of these autograph books certainly demonstrates the commitment that FedEx has to both Champ Car fans and drivers," said CART Senior Vice President of Marketing Patrick Leahy. "These books offer fans the opportunity to capture the memories of meeting their favorite racing heroes and allows them to hold onto those memories for years to come."  Champ Car fans have the ability to obtain autographs from their favorite drivers through the all-driver autograph sessions as part of the Fan Appreciation Day activities at each CART race venue. A 45-minute session takes place every race weekend on either Friday or Saturday after the day's on-track activities.

8/7/00

Chicago Target GP TV rating ranks 5th  The Target Grand Prix Presented by Energizer, televised live on ABC-TV from Chicago Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 30, ranked fifth among the most watched network sports telecasts for the week of July 24-30, according to the Nielsen Sports Marketing Service. The Target Grand Prix Presented by Energizer was the only auto-racing event to earn a spot among the top-10 network sports telecasts for the week and marked the second consecutive FedEx Championship Series event to make the list compiled by the Nielsen Sports Marketing Service. The Target Grand Prix Presented by Energizer, won by Cristiano da Matta of PPI Motorsports before a crowd of more than 50,000, received a 1.5 rating, 4 share and reached an audience of 1,556,000 households. The top-10 ranking of the Target Grand Prix Presented by Energizer comes on the heels of the success of the Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota aired live by ABC-TV on July 23. The Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota ranked 10th for the week of July 17-23 with a 2.0 rating, 6 share and an audience of 2,058,000 households. It marked the first time this season that a CART telecast made the top 10 network sports telecasts. The season-opening Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota made the top-10 list for cable sports telecasts for its respective week in March. The top two sports telecasts for the week of July 24-30 were the two-day United States Gymnastics Championships shown Saturday (5.0 rating) and Sunday (4.4) on NBC-TV. The Fox Saturday Baseball Game of the Week was third (3.2) and the final round of the PGA John Deere Classic on CBS (1.6) was fourth.

8/7/00

Jarrett alive and well  Dale Jarrett, the defending NASCAR Winston Cup Champion, is alive and well and preparing for this week's race at Watkins Glen after finishing seventh in the Brickyard 400 on Saturday.  An apparent case of mistaken identity surfaced today involving the untimely death over the weekend of Dale Jarrett of Johnson City, Tennessee. The Tennessee Dale Jarrett passed away on Saturday, August 5 following a lengthy illness. The NASCAR Champion and his Tennessee namesake met in March during the race weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Jarrett and the #88 Robert Yates Racing team extend their sympathies to the family. 

8/7/00

Ganassi/Sabco Dodge introduced  Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates officially announced their new alliance Friday at the Brickyard Crossing clubhouse adjacent to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Ganassi and Sabates also confirmed that the reorganized team would switch from Chevrolet to Dodge for 2001. Ganassi will own 80pct of the re-formed team, to be known as Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Sabates will remain as 20pct owner, business adviser.  There was no mention of drivers or sponsors in Friday evening's announcement, although Marlin says he has been told he is welcome to stay.

8/7/00

Mayfield may miss Watkins Glen too  Jeremy Mayfield, who suffered a closed-head injury in a practice-session wreck Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and sat out Saturday's Brickyard 400, may miss next weekend's race at Watkins Glen as well.  Mayfield was released from Methodist Hospital late Friday afternoon and returned to his home in Cornelius, N.C., Friday night. He watched Saturday's race on TV. Kyle Petty, who did not qualify his own car for the race, substituted for Mayfield and finished 32nd.   Mayfield's team owner, Michael Kranefuss, said Saturday that Mayfield would be re-evaluated early this week to ensure he is ready to return to the car. Mayfield suffered a mild concussion in a wreck at Daytona in July and Kranefuss said doctors want to make sure there are not compounding, lingering effects. Source: That's Racin

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