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Thanks for visiting our Hot News 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 9/10/00 to 9/19/00)

9/19/00

Soft Walls for Charlotte  -- On RPM2Night, Lowe's Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler announced Wednesday his speedway will install new "soft wall" technology on the inside of Turns 2 and 4 in time for the Oct. 8 Winston Cup race. Wheeler said he came to the decision after reviewing the engineering results from an Aug. 29 crash test at the speedway, as well as other research data. The energy-absorbing material the speedway will use in the turns is the same it tested in August, an encapsulated polystyrene barrier produced by Cellofoam in Conyers, Ga. The material was originally designed for use in the manufacture of floating boat docks. The new walls will replace the tire and water barrels currently used in these locations on the track. (Source: That's Racin')

9/19/00

Rules changes for Talladega  -- NASCAR announced a series of rule changes for the Oct. 15 running of the Winston 500 at Talladega, they are:
Rear Spoiler: will change from 57 to 59 inches on Fords and Pontiacs, while the Chevy stays at 57 inches and all manufacturers will be required to all have rear spoiler angles of between 70 and 71 degrees, an increase from the mandated 45 degrees
Restrictor Plate: an increase from the 7/8-inch plates used in the previous restrictor-plate races this year at Talladega and Daytona to a 1-inch carburetor restrictor plates
Wickerbill: all three manufacturers will have to use 1-inch-deep forward-facing flanges on top of their rear spoilers
Front Air Dams: increased to a 4-inch minimum ground clearance, from 3 1/2 inches
Roof Deflectors: use 1 3/8-inch-tall and 40-inch-wide air deflectors located 10 inches behind the windshields on the car roofs (Source: That's Racin')

9/19/00

Bristol to add even more seats  -- Bristol Motor Speedway officials have decided to expand seating at the popular Bristol, Tenn. half-mile track, site of two Winston Cup races every year, from 147,000 to 160,000 by spring 2002.   Bristol's Winston Cup races -- in particular its late-summer Saturday-night event, create demand for seats far beyond what the track has been able to satisfy. Tickets that went on sale for a 12,000-seat addition in September 1999 were sold in less than 12 hours. 

9/19/00

Why CART should race in NY City  -- As reported in this Speedvision article, the Jaguar F1 team put on a demonstration in Times Square NY today.  As CART-bound Johnny Herbert stated, "The atmosphere was unbelievable," he said. "I knew we would create a fuss, but the turnout was overwhelming, it shows that the American public are really getting behind Formula 1."  No Johnny, it's not just F1, NY City folks would turn out in droves to watch a F1 or CART race in their streets.  CART is VERY successful whenever it brings its circus to a downtown arena.   Is there any doubt the greatest City in the world would be a perfect stage for a great automobile race?  The streets would require repaving, but oh what a spectacle it would be.

9/19/00

No Canadian investment in Prost F1 team (Source: Thomas Watson, Financial Post)
Montreal-based Vector Motorsports Group Inc. has ended an attempt to salvage a multi-million-dollar agreement that would have brought a Formula One franchise to Canada. Instead it has announced plans to take legal action against the Canadian investors who killed the deal.  Marc Bourdeau, Vector chairman and CEO, yesterday officially withdrew his company's offer to acquire 100% of the Formula One team.  "I met with Alain several times over the weekend of the Canadian Grand Prix, and we very quickly came to an agreement on a 
transaction, which simply required a guarantee of funds," Mr. Bourdeau said, adding that Vector had assurances of funding by a group that claimed control of a US$100-million instrument. But "deliberately or accidentally, they did not deliver the financial instrument and we could not get them to do it," Mr. Bourdeau said. Mr. Bourdeau said he did not rule out a marketing partnership with the Prost team.  Former major-general Lew MacKenzie, a company 
director, said Vector had about $250-million in long-term sponsorships in place before running into the short-term financing problem. He said the five-year-old marketing company wanted the Prost team as a way to promote new light-weight technology it believes will revolutionize the automotive industry.

9/19/00

New Indy Lights cars  -- CART is currently receiving proposals from various manufacturers for a new Indy Lights car in 2002.  Many companies have already submitted proposals and CART has not told the bidders what the car should be. Proposal closing date is 9/30/00.  What do you think it should be?  An IRL spec car?  A F3000 car?  Unique?  Take our poll and tell us what you think?

9/19/00

No Blues in St. Louis for Case Montgomery  -- Case Montgomery completed a two-race stint in the CART Toyota Atlantic series with a dominating win on the 1.27 mile oval at Gateway International Raceway last Saturday.  Montgomery, whose racing career has been on hold while building marketing programs to create funding, was given the opportunity to run at Laguna Seca and Gateway by Rick Waddell of Northwest Speedwerx and World Speed Motorsports. In return, Montgomery provided World Speed with its first win in the Atlantic series after five years of competition.  The 33 year-old Californian started the race from pole in a Mike Doyle prepared car and after a fifteen lap battle at the beginning of the race, checked out to post an eight second margin of victory. "This was such a great opportunity," Montgomery said later. "It was great to give World Speed its first Atlantic win and we can use this to breathe some life into the programs we've been working on. Racing is a 'what have you done for me lately' business and this is the perfect high for us to take to teams we're talking to about next year."  The win at Gateway was Montgomery's 50th career win and third in Atlantic competition. His last appearance in Atlantics was Houston in 1998 and his last oval event was at Milwaukee in the same season. Montgomery spent most of this season as driver coach/parts manager for the World Speed Mazda program before finally getting the call for Laguna and Gateway. He had one test day at Buttonwillow prior to Laguna Seca, but no oval track test time before Gateway. He will not race at Houston.  "We're going to make the most of this result," Montgomery said. "I'm sure there won't be sponsorship checks in the mail just because I won the race, so we'll be working hard to turn this result into whatever we can. We embrace all open wheel series equally - I'd love to run Indy Lights and do the Indy 500, obviously would love to race Champ Cars or the Indy Racing Northern Light series, Atlantics or any combination of the above! We need to find the right team that can market with one of our sponsors to create the funding for a solid testing and race program - I've never had that opportunity and I'd love to see what it's like."  Listen to our interview with Case on our Interviews page.

9/18/00

Jury still out on Handford Device  As we alluded to below, a trend may finally be developing as to where the Handford Device in its current configuration will work.  Gateway was as exciting as they come and the passing that took place this year, can be directly attributed to the Handford Device.  Last year Castroneves could not find a way around Andretti no matter how hard he tried.  The previous two races at Gateway were similar, pretty much follow-the-leader.  The difference this year?  The Handford Device provided just that little bit extra slipstreaming needed to pull off a pass at the end of the straight.  However, we are not touting the Handford Device for all oval tracks.  It is clear now that tracks with banking of around 15 degrees and greater seem to be a perfect fit for the Handford Device.  The Handford Device on flat ovals can be classified a failure.  It is recommended CART study this a bit further before releasing it's new aero regulations.  Our other recommendations as outlined in this recent article still hold, i.e. Champ Cars must be more reliant on underbody downforce than wing/aerofoil downforce to help cars run closer together in the corners.

9/18/00

Castroneves and Fernandez to host Hispanic dinner  On Wednesday night, drivers Helio Castroneves and Adrian Fernandez will be hosting a dinner for Hispanic media at Cava Restaurant in Los Angeles. Cava's world-renowned chef, Toribio Prado will preside over the evening, providing his exquisite culinary specialties as well as some of Castroneves and Fernandez's favorite recipes. In addition, Castroneves and Fernandez will be presenting Chef Prado with a pair of framed racing gloves.

9/18/00

CART teams testing at Fontana  Marlboro Team Penske will head to Fontana this week for a three-day test session beginning this Tuesday, September 19 as they prepare for the season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota. Other teams testing include Patrick Racing and Team Green.

9/18/00

CART vs. the IRL  Helio Castroneves recently visited New York to participate in a "Virtual Race" for ESPN Magazine. Castroneves went through a timed scavenger hunt, chauffeured by a New York City cab driver, through the streets of the Big Apple. His "best time" will be matched with that of IRL driver Sarah Fisher who will be having her "time trials" in New York City later this week. The results will be featured in ESPN Magazine's upcoming "Hectic" issue, due at newsstands next month.

9/18/00

Gateway News from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch  Attendance for yesterday's Motorola 300 was 32,000, a better number than many predicted, and the fans loved the race....on their feet cheering a good amount of time.  Read: Gateway hits the finish line with CART. It contains some other interesting quotes.  One thing we do agree with, the Handford Device worked quite well at Gateway.  It looks like the Handford Device works well on ovals with a good bit of banking.  It works well at Michigan, Fontana and Gateway, not so well at Milwaukee, Chicago and other flat banked ovals.  It should work beautifully on the high-banks of Texas Motor Speedway where the cars can run in 2 and 3 grooves wide through the turns.  With the high speed concerns at TMS, the Handford Device will not only help to control speeds, it has the potential to make this years Michigan 500 look boring.  Expect it to be mandated.

9/18/00

BMW/Williams F1 Driver Jenson Button at Target store   Race fans and Target guests will have the opportunity to help assemble the 7,000 piece life-size reproduction of a BMW/Wiliams F1 FW22 race car and participate in a question and answer session with BMW/Williams F1 driver Jenson Button. Puzz-3D®, created by Wrebbit, is a three-dimensional puzzle that replicates the FW22 race car Jenson Button will drive in the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix. Through the sale of the 340-piece Puzz-3D® FW22 race car replica a donation of $2.00 will be donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on behalf of Puzz-3D®/Wrebbit, BMW/Williams F1 and Target. After the final assembly of the life size puzzle, it will remain on display at Target, Eagle Creek through Monday, September 25th during normal business hours.  Where - Target Store Eagle Creek, 6925 West 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN.  When - 5:00 to 6:00 PM 9/20/00

9/18/00

CART TV coverage  A German reader writes - CART races are shown live in Germany, but only on satellite TV.  Unfortunately, only about 8 million Germans have satellite and I think only 2 million have a digital receiver. I only have a digital receiver because I subscribed to pay TV after I've heard that the Daytona 500 in 1999 was shown live there. But it turned out to be the only race ever shown live there.   If I tell Formula 1 fans how exiting CART and NASCAR are, they don't believe me! The only chance to see CART on cable TV are the highlight shows on Eurosport on Wednesdays. Most Germans don't know anything about CART and NASCAR and there is no way to see NASCAR live here. But there are sometimes long NASCAR highlight shows on AB MOTEURS. I hope that there will be more CART fans here after the German 500!  Editors Note: CART is trying to get CART races broadcast on network TV in more countries.

9/18/00

Juan Montoya not part of Williams announcement this week   Juan Montoya's father told us that Juan was not asked to be at Indy this week for an announcement that he will be Williams new driver next year.

9/17/00

We talk to David Bruns about improving Champ Cars   We had the opportunity at Gateway to talk to David Bruns, former Chief Engineer for the Swift chassis and now working as a consultant to them.  He gave us his views on how to improve the ability of Champ Car drivers to overtake a car directly in front of them.  We also quizzed him on whether the existing suspensions will need strengthening to run the high-banks at Texas Motor Speedway.  Please go to our Interviews page to listen to his thoughts.  We also refer you to the recent article our Mark Cipolloni recently wrote titled "CART's chance to make some progressive aerodynamic changes"

9/17/00

David Bruns back to Swift   UPDATE We spoke with David who confirmed that he is working as a consultant to Swift for the time being and no decision has yet been made as to whether he will return full-time for next season.  9/15/00 - Original Swift design engineer David Bruns, out of a job since AAR got out of the Champ Car business, is back at Swift on a temporary basis.  Whether it leads to a full-time position remains to be seen.

9/17/00

Dorricott team sweeps Indy Lights race   Dorricott drivers Townsend Bell, Casey Mears and Jason Bright finished 1-2-3 in today's Indy Lights race at Gateway International Raceway.  Bell kept his Championship hopes alive with the win.  Points leader Scott Dixon crashed between turns 3 and 4.  With one race remaining and 22 possible points available, Townsend Bell, 20 points behind, can still steal the championship away from Dixon.

9/17/00

Interviews from Gateway (Real Player format)   

Case Montgomery Toyota Atlantic race winner (1.40 min)

Buddy Rice talks about winning championship battle and future plans (4:46 min)

CART Top-3 Qualifying Press Conference Montoya, Vasser, Tracy (12:51 min)

Buddy Rice talks about championship battle and future plans (2:36 min)

Case Montgomery Toyota Atlantic pole sitter (1.36 min)

Max Papis talks about car setup and passing at Gateway (1.40 min)

Richard Tarling talks about trying to find a ride in the USA (2:28 min)

2001 Toyota Atlantic schedule announcement and talk of running 2001 USGP (11:36 min)

Michael Andretti talks about car setup and negotiations for new contract (1.51 min)

Mauricio Gugelmin talks about safety improvements recommended by the drivers (4:32 min)

Oriol Servia talks about Handford Device at Gateway (1:07min)

Kenny Brack talks about what it's like at Gateway and getting dialed in (0:30)

More to follow....on Interviews Page

9/16/00

Lemarie seen at Gateway   BAR F-1 test driver Patrick Lemarie is snooping around Gateway looking for a possible Champ Car ride for 2001.  BAR regular driver Ricardo Zonta was not seen but is rumored to be looking as well.

9/16/00

Atlantics: Montgomery wins battle, Rice wins war   Today's 50-lap race was won by Atlantic veteran Case Montgomery, who took the first Atlantic win for the World Speed Motorsports team, followed by Rice, Basso, Moran and Akihiro Asai. Rice jumped into the lead at the first turn and led the first five laps before he and Montgomery swapped positions for ten laps. Montgomery extended his lead and was never challenged again as Rice faltered with electrical problems and battled for second place with Basso and Moran. Rice took over third from Moran with ten laps remaining, then passed Basso for second on lap 48.   Buddy Rice  clinched the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship title by virtue of finishing 2nd in this afternoon's Atlantic race at Gateway International Raceway, just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. Rice earned 16 points for his finish, giving him a 24 point margin over Dan Wheldon, who today finished 7th, to capture the title with one race remaining in the 12-race CART Toyota Atlantic series.   "This is definitely the highlight of my career so far," said Rice, who started today's race from third position and led for seven laps. "To clinch the championship with one race to go shows just how strong the DSTP team has been all year. We came here with every intention of winning the race, but it feels just as good to win the championship with a solid second place today. We had a small intermittent electrical problem that acted like a rev limiter every now and then. It eventually wasn't as bad as at the start, but by then it had allowed Case (Montgomery) to open up a lead and Rocky (Moran Jr.) and Martin (Basso) to catch up. I was concerned that we wouldn't be able to make it through the race. We had an awesome set up, though. The last eight laps I took completely flat out and got back by Rocky and Martin. This was one of the best races all year and it seemed like we were swapping positions every lap. Rocky, Martin and Case all ran clean and did a great job. It's been a terrific season. We've finished on the podium in every race we've completed and I think that was the key to the championship. Now, we can go to Houston with the championship behind us and focus on winning the season finale."   "This is the happiest day for me since I've been in racing," said Dede Rogers, team owner. "Every win has been special but to win the championship reflects on a full season of hard work and dedication. We never imagined that we could have won the championship in our very first year in the Atlantic series, but this is simply the best group of people on this team and Buddy came through with another stellar drive today. Now's the time for a quick celebration before we're off for the season finale in Houston."

9/16/00

Sarah Fisher making the rounds   IRL driver Sarah Fisher is at yet another CART race, this time at Gateway.  We quizzed her and Derrick about the possibility of someday running Sarah in a Champ car on some of CART's oval tracks.  Both said it is not inconceivable, but Sarah would first need some test time behind the wheel of the Champ cars to acclimate herself with the higher HP and lower downforce of a Champ Car.  We also quizzed Derrick about his Champ car plans for 2001.  He said he had some things in the works, and would hope to announce something at Fontana if everything comes together.  As you recall, Honda just recently informed Derrick that their engines would no longer be available to his team in 2001.

9/16/00

Toyota Atlantics may run at USGP in 2001   At today's press conference Les Unger (Toyota) and Vicky O'Connor (see picture at right) President and CEO of the Toyota Atlantic series announced their 12-race 2001 schedule, but the big news is that they are talking to the Indy and F1 folks about running as a support race at the 2001 USGP.  If it were to come to fruition it will be added as a 13th race.  They also stated that Toyota is close to extending their deal with CART for another 3 years (through 2003).  The 2001 schedule: 4/8 Long Beach, 5/6 Nazareth, 6/2 Milwaukee, 6/9 Canada (with F1), 7/1 Cleveland, 7/15 Toronto, 7/29 Chicago, 8/5 Trois Rivieres, 8/19 Road America, 9/2 Vancouver, 10/7 Houston, 10/13 Laguna Seca  Full Teleconference Audio

9/16/00

30,000 +/- expected for Gateway   Gateway folks are hoping to get a similar crowd as last year (33,000 +/-).  It turns out that the Cardinals and Cubs (Baseball) are playing across the river as well as their NFL team.  The race, the baseball game, and the football game all start within an hour of each other, which means any increase in crowd the Gateway promoters had hoped for likely won't happen.  There will however, be 5,000 kids in attendance as the local youth organizations and the track put together a deal to bring the kids to the races for the day.  It's called investing in your future fan base.  Bravo!

9/16/00

Seen at Gateway   IRL driver Robbie McGehee is a free agent after this season.  He and his agent were seen milling around the Gateway paddock yesterday talking to lots of people.  He said he will likely be back in the IRL next year but he does not have anything lined up at this time.  He's keeping his options open, including a possible CART ride.

9/16/00

What really happened to Michael Andretti in F-1  -  For you F1 fans interested in reading an excellent and accurate article on Michael Andretti's partial year in F1, we urge you to read this well written piece by Thomas O'Keefe.  Would Andretti be contending for World Champion had he stayed with McLaren?  He was replaced by Mika Hakkinen and he's in the running for his 3rd straight crown.  Food for thought.

9/15/00

Honda drops Walker   According to this article by David Phillips, Honda has informed Derrick Walker that he will no longer have Honda engines in 2001.  Walker says if he doesn't come up with new sponsorship money he's gone from CART.

9/15/00

Reaction from New Hampshire on Restrictor Plates  - NASCAR Winston Cup drivers practiced for 90 minutes late Friday afternoon as the rain stopped and the track cleared. The practice session marked the first since it was announced by NASCAR last week that a one-inch restrictor plate would be required for all cars. Here are some post-practice comments on how the session went by selected Ford drivers.  Comments

9/15/00

CART meeting with Watkins Glen   We had the chance to chat with Hal Whiteford at Gateway today.  We asked him how his recent meeting went with Watkins Glen.  He described it strictly as a courtesy call to understand what plans the track has in the way of future upgrades and building on the heritage of The Glen.  There was no discussion about CART holding a race at The Glen and there won't be until CART understands what plans there are for the future of the track.   Although he did not say, we took this to mean that the track does not meet current CART standards and they want to be certain that ISC is committed to making the investment needed to accommodate Champ Cars.

9/15/00

A lap around Gateway with Dan Wheldon   When you cross the S/F line to start the lap it is a good time to check your lap time and your gauges and to prepare for turn one. Going into turn one, you need to use as much track as you possibly can, as it is one of the hardest corners of any oval I have been to, because it is important to get through this corner flat out. To do this, you need to turn in as gently as you possible can so that in between corners one and two when the car compresses, the car is as stable as it possibly can be. On the exit of this corner, it is important to use as much of the track as you possibly can, without getting too close to the wall, because it can be a little dusty. Corners three and four are very similar to those of Phoenix International Raceway, the only difference being that on the entrance to turn three here, there is a bump that can unstable the car if you are on the wrong racing line. From the middle to the exit of this corner, the rest is relatively simple; you just have to be very, very focused. On the exit of four however, you do not need to use all of the circuit, you can allow yourself a couple of car widths." 

9/14/00

Team Gordon to skip New Hampshire  - Team Gordon will not participate in this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup event from Loudon, New Hampshire. The team is currently channeling their efforts into having a strong run at the Charlotte event scheduled for October 4-8. "Just thought we'd remind people of our plan," said general manager Richard Buck. "Last time we had a gap between races on our calendar a few rumors starting flying around. We'd just like to squelch anything before it might start this time. I've got a heavy list of things that need to get done around this place as we prepare for Charlotte. Tests, wind tunnel time, etc. A lot of what we're doing as 2000 winds down is building our game plan for 2001. We have areas that need to be focused on so the ship sails smoothly through the winter and on into Daytona next February." 

9/14/00

Earnhardt to field 3rd car  - UPDATE It's official.  Dale Earnhardt announced yesterday that Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will be expanding its motorsports program with the addition of a third NASCAR Winston Cup team in 2001. The newest DEI entry will be driven by Winston Cup veteran Michael Waltrip while carrying the blue and gold of NAPA AUTO PARTS. We have updated our 2001 Silly Season Page with this information.  9/12/00 - DEI has scheduled a 2:00pm/et news conference on Wednesday to announce it will field a third Winston Cup team (for Michael Waltrip?) in the 2001 season, with Waltrip being the apparent selection as the new team's driver. The news conference has been scheduled for the DEI headquarters in Mooresville, N.C., where the Winston Cup cars driven by Steve Park and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are currently prepared (Source: That's Racin'). Note: also hearing that DEI will not field a BGN team in 2001 and Ron Hornaday will not be back but will finish out the 2000 season (Source: Jayski 9-11-2000) 

9/14/00

The fallacy of NASCAR's Restrictor Plates at New Hampshire   As Frank Ryan points out in this article, the use of Restrictor Plates to reduce the chance of death in case of a stuck throttle at New Hampshire is most likely a fallacy.  As the diagram to the right depicts, because the car's top speed will be about 10 mph less, the driver will let off the throttle and apply the brakes a little bit later meaning, in case of a stuck throttle, the driver will have even less time to react before the car hits the wall.  The only real solution is a 'soft wall' system to reduce the impact should a car's throttle stick.  We view NASCAR's solution as a simple band-aid to a problem that requires a tourniquet.  Bobby Labonte proved that kill switches probably won't work as he had no time to react in his Darlington accident.  The idea put forth by Wally Dallenbach and Jack Roush of automatically cutting the engine's electronics should the driver apply the brakes hard enough while the throttle remains wide-open might work, if implemented properly.

9/14/00

Sears Point upgrades begin   The official groundbreaking ceremonies took place yesterday.  The comprehensive two-phase plan  will require the next two years to complete. The project is tentatively scheduled to be completed by the 2002 racing season. Phase One of the plan officially kicked off following the press conference. It will focus on infrastructure, traffic access and circulation and environmental mitigation. Phase One should be completed by 2001, weather permitting.  Phase Two will feature: construction of 30,000 hillside terrace seats alongside turns 8-9, bringing the total to 64,000 hillside terrace seats; construction of an additional 12 garages for competitors, bringing the total to 44 permanent garages; construction of a go-kart track on the south side of the property; construction of a 10,000-seat permanent grandstand at turn seven; construction of a 15,000-seat permanent grandstand along the west side of start/finish line, bringing the total to 25,000 permanent grandstand seats. Eighteen suites will be built along the top of the grandstands; three pedestrian bridges will be built at turn one and turn six; a 500-foot concrete launching pad will be created for drag racing and separation of the road course from the drag strip; a drag strip return road will be built; increased run-off on the road course will be created; pit road will be enlarged to accommodate a 43-car starting grid; the road course and drag strip will be repaved; the paddock will be expanded by more than 70 percent; pedestrian tunnels under the start/finish line and turn 10 will be built; tenant shops will be created in the paddock; and the Trackside Tower, Media Center and Driver's Lounge will be remodeled.  This project marks the first major modernization for Sears Point Raceway since the facility was built in 1968.

9/13/00

Want Carpentier to stay?  Vote for him   Patrick Carpentier's racing future with Player's could hinge on an on-line survey and if early results are true, Player's fans would like to see the French-Canadian driver return next year.  The Player's Racing website is conducting an informal survey of its members, asking them several questions about next year's driver's lineup. The website administrators say the results of the survey will be the determining factor in who lines up in the Player's cars in 2001.  One of the questions asks, "Who would you like to see driving car #32 and #33 in 2001". Some of the choices include Lee Bentham, Andrew Bordin, David Empringham as well as current drivers Carpentier and Alex Tagliani. As well, a pair of stock car drivers - Ron Fellows and Jeff Gordon - are among the selections as is former Player's driver Jacques Villeneuve - now competing in F1 - and Paul Tracy, who has re-signed with Team KOOL/Green but was heavily pursued by executives at Player's for 2001. 

9/13/00

Road course attendance continues to rise   UPDATE In another publication Bruce Martin wrote that the attendance at Laguna Seca was below 20,000.  We were certain that this was incorrect so we contacted the track and received this official response "We had a good year at the gate, up 7% over 1999.  We cannot give you an exact count, but we can safely say it was more than 100,000 over the three days. It was our largest attendance for a CART event since we set our track attendance record during the 1996 Grand Prix of Monterey."  9/12/00 - One reader writes - "I spoke to track representative this weekend at Laguna Seca who said he heard attendance was up almost 10% over last year."  Although this is not an official release, visually it did appear there were more fans this year than last.  This continues the upward trend in attendance at ALL of CART's road and street circuits.  It will be interesting to see if this weekends oval race at St. Louis continues the trend of decreasing attendance for oval races.  CART's strength is its road and street circuits, which is why adding races at Montreal, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta make so much sense.

9/13/00

Who watched what last weekend (Source: Speedvision)
• NASCAR Winston Cup (ESPN, 9/9) 3.42 rating / 6 share / 2.720m households
• NASCAR Busch (espn2, 9/8) 1.11 rating / 2 share / 0.815m hh
• ALMS (NBC, 9/10) 1.0 overnight rating / 2 share
• NASCAR Qualifying (espn2, 9/8) 1.00 rating / 2 share / 0.727m hh
• NHRA Englishtown (ESPN, 9/10*) 0.83 rating / 2 share / 0.660m hh
• CART (ESPN, 9/10) 0.71 rating / 1 share / 0.563m hh
• NASCAR Trucks (espn2, 9/7) 0.56 rating / 1 share / 0.407m hh
• CART Qualifying (espn2, 9/10*) 0.32 rating / 1 share / 0.232m hh
• ASA (TNN, 9/10) 0.3 rating / 1 share / 0.207m hh
• CART Indy Lights (espn2, 9/10) 0.14 rating / 0 share / 0.103m hh
* Tape delayed
Note: Last week, the final national ratings for CART and the ALMS came in at 0.8 and 0.9 respectively after overnights of 0.8 apiece. This is one of those unusual happenstances where the national ratings for a road-racing event held and even gained a little after the smaller markets were tallied to compute the final rating. 

9/13/00

Boost Reduction Quotes  - Ford/Cosworth led the fight to lower boost pressure in 2001 and 2002 to reduce HP.  This was instead of a suggested air intake or exhaust restrictor device.  Read all about what the Folks at Ford/Cosworth have to say and what Michael Andretti and Christian Fittipaldi think about it.

9/13/00

GM vs. NASCAR - it could get ugly  - NASCAR has called Jeff Gordon's intake on his Chevy Monte Carlo illegal because it had some Magnesium in it. They have been fined and docked points.  Hendrick Motorsports and GM say the trouble "involves the use of a magnesium alloy rather than aluminum in the intake manifold". The part came from GM and that the team has been running the part since April.  "We were under the impression NASCAR officials have been aware of the use of magnesium in intake manifolds for several months and had indicated to GM that it was approved as long as the part was not altered in any other way," Hendrick said. "Not only do we feel a full hearing on the facts will exonerate our team from any intentional wrongdoing, but it will remove any cloud of suspicion cast over a great victory."  Full Story (Source: Speedvision 9-13-2000) 

9/12/00

Weekly Teleconference with Gil de Ferran  - Gil enters Sunday's Motorola 300 at Gateway International Raceway with 132 points, six ahead of second place Michael Andretti of Newman/Haas Racing who has 126. Through 16 of 20 rounds, the championship race is so tight that a mere 17 points separate the first through sixth place drivers. 
Following Gil and Michael are Paul Tracy of Team KOOL/Green, third with 122 points; Adrian Fernandez of Patrick Racing, fourth with 118; rookie Kenny Brack of Team Rahal, fifth with 116; and Roberto Moreno of Patrick Racing, sixth with 115.  Transcript

9/12/00

No ride for Herta at St. Louis  - Tony Brunetti of Forsythe said they will not field a car for Bryan Herta at St. Louis but they might at Houston.  We also hear Fontana is a possibility.  No news on Australia.

9/12/00

Gidley, Servia and Mears play ball  - Indy Lights driver Casey Mears and Champ Car drivers Memo Gidley and Oriol Servia joined forces today to throw out the first pitch for the Anaheim Angels game at Edison Field. The Angels provided the speed-obsessed trio with an action-packed day at the ballpark, featuring celebrity batting practice, throwing instruction, an autograph session, and an opportunity to meet Anaheim's $80 Million Dollar Slugger, Mo Vaughn.  Full Story

9/12/00

Reynard wraps up Constructors title  - With four races remaining in the Series, Reynard has notched up 323 points with Lola standing on 235 and Swift on five. With a maximum of 88 points on offer through to the end of the Championship, Lola and Swift will be unable to overtake Reynard before the season finale at Fontana in October.   This title marks the sixth consecutive Constructors Championship win for Reynard. The leading chassis constructor entered into Champ Cars in 1994 and has dominated since this time, taking the Constructors title each year since 1995.   Mark Smithson, Managing Director, Reynard Motorsport, comments on taking the title, "It's been a highly competitive season for the three constructors and all the races have been closely fought contests, so we are delighted to wrap up this title with four races still to go. The teams running Reynard chassis and all the staff at Reynard in North America and the UK have been essential to our success and we thank them for this. We aim to continue winning this title for many years ahead." 

9/12/00

Dallenbach & Andretti on Inside CART  - Be sure to catch "Inside CART," airing Tuesday, September 12, at 6:00 P.M. EDT on ESPN2 as former CART Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach and his wife Peppy get their turn in the spotlight. Wally was a race driver prior to his career as CART Chief Steward, and CART fans recognize his signature, Stetson hat.  The program also features highlights from the FedEx Championship Series, Dayton Indy Lights, and Toyota Atlantic action from the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300 at Laguna Seca Raceway last weekend. This week's "Tech Tip," focuses on Tire Camber, the Karting background of today's Champ Car stars in highlighted, fans go "one-on-one" with Champ Car superstar Michael Andretti, and Larry Henry goes "Around The Paddock."

9/11/00

ISC still on track for new ovals in Denver NY/NJ  - According to this article, International Speedway Corporation still is considering adding race tracks in New York and Denver. President Jim France said the company has been concentrating on getting the new Kansas City and Chicago tracks completed. He said that ISC has spent about a year working on the Meadowlands to see if it was feasible to relocate there.  France said that ISC is concentrating on existing big sports markets for expansion. Although the company allowed a deadline pass for purchasing land at a site in Denver, that doesn't mean it is not interested in the area. France is looking at a site about 20 miles from the originally planned Denver location. A company currently is working to develop a drag strip on some land, and France and ISC are discussing joining that venture.

9/11/00

Geoffrey Bodine gets walking papers  - The Joe Bessey Team announced today that Geoffrey Bodine will no longer drive their #60 Chevy effective immediately.  No replacement was announced.

9/11/00

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9/11/00

Monza 'unreal' for rookie Button  -  F1 rookie Jenson Button had these comments after his first visit to Monza - Monza has an "unreal feeling" and explained with: "I'm not all that up in the history of the place, other than you can see from the surroundings it's very old. But I don't know all that much motor racing history from way back before my time. The atmosphere is great. The fans are crazy, especially when a Ferrari comes out of the pits. Any car coming out the pits, they cheer, it's an unreal feeling. It's for Ferrari and their drivers, but it's like it's for the whole thing too. They just seem to be so in love with it all." 

9/11/00

Mark Blundell statement  -  Mark Blundell is leaving PacWest Racing, the champ car team that he has been driving for since 1996, at the end of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series. The former Formula 1 driver has enjoyed three victories in the Series, including a win at Portland in 1997, which entered the record books as the closest victory in CART history, with Blundell crossing the line only 0.027 seconds ahead of Gil de Ferran.  Blundell comments, "I have had two very frustrating seasons and I haven't been able to produce the results which I know I am capable of achieving. It's time to move on now. There's plenty of opportunities for me and I'm considering a number of options, but I can't announce anything at the moment. I have over four years of Champ Car experience, with the highs and lows associated with such close, competitive racing. I want to return to the highs I experienced in 1997, and I hope that 2001 will bring these to me."

9/11/00

CART and IRL to run together in 2001  -  According to Robin Miller in this article, CART and the Indy Racing League are finally getting together. Next year, the Dayton Indy Lights series (owned by CART) will run with Tony George's all-oval series in the IRL's new venues at Kansas City and Chicago. 

9/11/00

Barber Dodge: Rossoni caps perfect Laguna Seca weekend  -  A victory for Nilton Rossoni capped off a perfect weekend wherein he took the lead in the chase for the $300,000 Career Enhancement Award. He now leads Jon Fogarty, who would finish the race second, by four points with two rounds remaining. A driver's ten best finishes count toward his points total. Andy Lally finished third. The 19-year old Brazilian started the race from pole but was overtaken into turn-2 by Vancouver race winner Matt Plumb. Midway through the fifth lap, Rossoni saw an opportunity to get alongside Plumb at the Corkscrew and took it. As the two braked hard into the harrowing turn, Rossoni went deeper than planned forcing Plumb to go deep as well. With little room to maneuver both went for the same piece of track and made contact. Plumb got the short end of the stick spinning in the middle of the turn. Jon Fogarty, and Andy Lally were in pursuit and made it through the maelstrom. Jamie Menninga was less fortunate. In avoiding Plumb, he went straight off the track and speared the tire barrier, knocking him out of the race. Round 10 of the Barber Dodge Pro Series from Laguna Seca Raceway can be seen on ESPN2 at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Sept. 25.
Points after Round 10 
Rossoni, 144; Fogarty, 140; Koster, 114; Hunter-Reay, 95; Plumb, 85; Yasukawa, 75; Andy Lally, 74; Menninga, 73; Bjork 73; Nicastro 69; Valiante, 66; Alexandre Sperafico, 63; Boss, 54; Brent Sherman, 34; Marc Breuers 32 

9/11/00

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9/11/00

Max Papis in live CNNSI chat  -  Max Papis is one of the finest drivers in the CART series -- and one of the most colorful. Papis, in his second season driving for Bobby Rahal, will chat with CNNSI.com users on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at noon ET.   To post a question for Max, go here.

9/10/00

DuPont, Cisco Systems, Yahoo, and Price Waterhouse Coopers looking at CART A business-to-business meeting at Laguna Seca Saturday night saw these companies in attendance along with CART's existing sponsors.  Might we see one or more of these companies as new sponsors next year?

9/10/00

Lights: Dixon wins again  -  Scott Dixon (Invensys/Powerware/PacWest Lights Lola) all but clinched the Dayton Indy Lights Championship title with his fifth win of the season Sunday in the Yahoo! Sports Monterey Challenge at Laguna Seca Raceway.  Starting second on the grid, Dixon passed pole-sitter Casey Mears in Turn One on lap three and held the lead for the remainder of the 34-lap race. Dixon crossed the finish line 2.885 seconds ahead of Mears while rookie Jeff Simmons (KOOL Lola) finished third. Dixon averaged 88.088 mph for the 76.092 mile race that was completed in 51:11.041 seconds. Dixon now has a 42-point lead in the championship heading into Round 10 of the twelve race Dayton Indy Lights series next weekend at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. If he leaves that race 44 points ahead of the competition - the maximum points available to a driver in the year's final two races - the 20-year-old New Zealander will clinch the 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship title. Dixon, this year's only multi-race winner, also has the edge in championship tiebreakers that are decided by total number of race wins in the season. With only three races remaining, no other driver can equal Dixon's five-race win total.

9/10/00

PacWest/Mark Blundell announcement  -  “We understand it has been a frustrating couple of seasons for Mark (Blundell) and we have decided it would be in his best interests if he became a free agent at this stage,” said PacWest President, Bruce R. McCaw.   “Mark is an extremely talented driver and it is unfortunate he has been unable to demonstrate his true ability recently. We have shared a lot of success and hopefully we can put together another couple of results before the end of the season. Mark is a professional on and off the track and I fully expect to see him in a Champ Car next season.”   Blundell joined PacWest from the ranks of formula one in 1996 and the following season recorded three of the team’s four wins and finished a career-high sixth in the series.   “I would like to thank Bruce McCaw, the PacWest team and Motorola for their support during the last five seasons,” said Blundell.  “Special mention has to be made of my Motorola crew this year which has again worked tirelessly in what has been an enormously frustrating season.   “I want to remain a part of the FedEx Championship Series in 2001.” 

9/10/00

CART announces HP reduction measures  -  With its Champ Cars reaching speeds nearing 250 miles per hour at some race facilities, Championship Auto Racing Teams has sought a way to reduce the speeds and improve the competitiveness of the 1500-pound, open-wheel cars that race around the world in its FedEx Championship Series. After exploring a number of alternatives, and conducting several meetings with its engine manufacturers, CART President of Racing Operations Hal Whiteford announced today that CART will reduce the maximum allowable intake manifold (turbocharger) pressure in the FedEx Series from 40 to 37 inches for next season and will make a further reduction to 34 inches for 2002. The changes will decrease horsepower from the current 900 level to 775 for the 2002 season (Editors Note: Of course the engine manufacturers will gain some of that back through further engine development.  We guess the number will end up being in the low 800's, still a significant drop). “Technology is a critical component of what CART is about,” said Whiteford. “And the technological advances in our racing series come at an incredible rate. The engineers from Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, who make these race cars go at these incredible speeds, are some of the top engineering minds in the world. It’s their job to squeeze every bit of speed out of these machines. “On the other hand, it is our job at CART to make sure that the competition is, first and foremost, safe, while also being very fast, entertaining and exciting. After jointly exploring a variety of options, we came to the conclusion that the reduction in boost pressure was the best direction. I want to take this opportunity to thank each of our four manufacturers for their input and support in making this initiative a reality.” The new engine formula will reduce intake manifold pressure to 37 inches in 2001, a decrease of approximately 50-60 horsepower, and then a drop to 34 inches of boost will take place in 2002, decreasing the horsepower by approximately 50-60 more horsepower.  Those reductions, along with aerodynamic changes that are being explored, will help CART achieve the desired results. “It’s somewhat difficult to say,” said Whiteford when asked about the speeds he expects to see after the boost pressure reductions. “ It is our job to keep the racing safe, competitive and entertaining and we expect that this initiative will do that. One more thing to keep in mind is that speeds are relative to each respective racing circuit. Speed reductions will vary from one track to another. We are confident this is a approach that will work effectively for all of us as we move the FedEx Series ahead over the next couple of seasons.” Whiteford added that the engine manufacturers are working with CART to identify an engine formula that will begin with the 2003 FedEx Championship Series racing season. Meetings to discuss the direction and details of that formula are scheduled for later this year.

9/10/00

CART announces revised weekend event schedules for 2001 -  Championship Auto Racing Teams announced today the details regarding the revised weekend race schedules for the 2001 season, which were previously announced in mid-August. CART, which initially announced the elimination of in-season testing and provisional qualifying on road/street courses as well as a revised Friday practice format for 2001, finalized its Saturday qualifying procedures for road/street circuits and ovals. On road courses, the qualifying sessions will be divided into two groups, which will be split by the drivers’ championship points standing at that time. When there is an odd number of entrants, that driver will be placed in the group with the most championship points. The last two drivers seeded to the group consisting of the top point-getters will be the two from the fastest qualifiers from the previous road/street event that were not placed among the group by virtue of their season point totals. Should the first event of the season be a road/street course, the championship points earned the previous season will determine the split groups. On ovals, the qualifying order will be set based on championship points, with the lowest total running first and the highest last. Should the first event of the season be an oval, the order will be based on the championship points of the previous season. In the case of multiple rookies at the season opener, a drawing will determine the order. Some of the other key details include: At the conclusion of 30 minutes of green-flag practice, each entrant may only change cars once per session during Friday’s practice. The format will consist of three hours and 45 minutes of practice split over two sessions. CART will seal the timing transponders to each chassis. Teams violating this rule will be black-flagged for the remainder of the session at a minimum and could be subject to additional penalties if warranted. CART will maintain a record of all testing conducted by each entrant over the course of a season. Tire manufacturers will provide CART with documentation of tire allotment to each team on a periodic basis.  Three sets of tires will be provided for Friday’s practice session. In the case of inclement weather, where applicable, two sets of wet weather tires will be allocated per entrant. Tires can not be transferred to another entrant for any reason. Out-of-season testing also will be limited and the number of cars per team will determine the amount of days. The specific numbers will be announced at a later date. Testing is banned at any circuit located outside the continental United States. Special demonstrations or other events at locations outside the continental United States must be approved in writing by CART. 

9/10/00

Dan Wheldon wins Laguna Seca  England’s Dan Wheldon scored a dominant win in yesterday’s tenth round of the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship at Laguna Seca in California.  Young Wheldon drove his PPI Motorsports-entered Jayhard / BG Products Swift Toyota to victory on the tortuous 2.238 mile road course in Monterey and shaved eights points off the series lead of Buddy Rice who finished third.  Wheldon earned the maximum 22 points for the weekend – picking up two extra points for winning pole position and leading the most race laps – and led the race from wire to wire. Now, with just two more races remaining, Dan Wheldon trails Rice by a mere 14 points . . .  ‘I really felt this was a decisive race,’ said Dan. ‘It was either I was going to keep my Championship hopes alive, or I was going to watch them fade away. I made the decision that I was going to give it absolutely everything I had. The PPI team was absolutely amazing – as usual – and gave me an extraordinary car to work with. I’m certainly pleased with the result!’  We missed just a little bit on the setup for the race," said Rice, who started the race second after setting the fastest time in this morning's second round of qualifying, just shy of Wheldon's pole sitting time set yesterday in provisional qualifying. "The car was really loose which is a struggle on a high speed course like Laguna. The PPI team had a strong start, so I just settled in and tried to get as many points as possible. We came close to taking second from David (Rutledge) on the last lap, but he did a great job of holding me off. He got a little loose in turn three, so I had a good run on him coming into the corkscrew. He moved to the middle to keep me behind, then I locked my front brakes and bumped him. It was completely unintentional and, most importantly, we were both able to finish. We had another solid run and brought in some more points for the championship. With two races to go, it's going to be a close battle right down to the wire." 

9/10/00

Tribute to Mark Donahue  August 19th was the 25th anniversary of the death of the late great Mark Donohue after a crash in the Penske F1 car practicing for the Austrian GP. It was an unusual circumstance in that Mark walked away from the accident pretty much awake and alert. However, a head injury sustained during the crash caused internal bleeding and he passed away a few days later. 

Some tribute article links as provided by one of our Forum members:

http://www.netaxs.com/~gg1/race/mdonohue.htm 
Here's a link for the re-release of "The Unfair Advantage" by Mark and Paul VanValkenburgh:
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/product.htm?code=gddo 
Here's a page of the McLaren M16A that Mark drove in '71 (Pocono/Michigan wins) and the M16B that he drove in '72 (Indy win):
http://www.bruce-mclaren.com/cars/car_by_model/m16.htm 
Jayski's tribute page has a bunch of links (scroll to the bottom):
http://www.jayski.com/donohue/donohue.htm 
More Pictures:  Mosport '68 | Trenton '71Michigan in '71 


Photos courtesy of Steve Vail taken in 1961 with an inexpensive Kodak camera

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