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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 9/20/00 to 9/28/00)

9/28/00

Valiante Captures Second Pole (BRASELTON, Ga.) Sept, 29, 2000 -1999 Co-Rookie of the Year Michael Valiante of Vancouver, B.C. won his second Barber Dodge Pro Series career pole for round 11 of the 2000 season at the Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center. In doing so, Valiante unseated fellow Co-Rookie of the Year Roger Yasukawa who provisionally held the pole, what would have been his first. Valiante's No. 95 Sguerznoni-Italian Motors Dodge Reynard scorched the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit in 1:23.695 sec for an average speed of 109.254 mph, thus officially establishing a new qualifying record. Sharing the front row with Valiante is Brazilian Nilton Rossoni with American Matt Plumb slotted in third. 

9/28/00

Houston Race and TV Schedules
Race Schedules:
Eastern Times 
Friday CART Practice 11:30 - 1:00 pm 
CART Qualifying (Group 1) 3:30 - 4:00 pm 
CART Qualifying (Group 2) 4:15 - 4:45 pm 
Saturday CART Practice 11:00 - 12:15 pm 
CART Qualifying (Group 1) 2:45 - 3:15 pm 
CART Qualifying (Group 2) 3:30 - 4:00 pm 
Sunday CART Warm-up Noon - 12:30 pm 
Race 4:00 pm 1:00 pm 
U.S. Television Schedule: Eastern Times 
Saturday CART Qualifying 10:30 pm ESPN2 (tape delay) 
Sunday Pre-Race 10:30 am 7:30 am ESPN2 (live) 
Sunday Race 4:00 pm 1:00 pm ABC (live) 

9/28/00

Yasukawa On Provisional Pole (BRASELTON, Ga.) Sept. 28, 2000 -Californian Roger Yasukawa sits on his first provisional Barber Dodge Pro Series career pole, and he set a new qualifying record to boot. Lapping the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center circuit in 1:24.091 sec, Yasukawa grabbed the provisional pole with 13-minutes remaining in the 30-minute session only to have title contender Nilton Rossoni swipe it back minutes later. With seven minutes remaining, Yasukawa, the 1999 Co-Rookie of the Year, took his No.9 Tokyo Ueno Clinic Dodge Reynard passed the finish line two-tenths of a second quicker than he had before and from there no one could best him. Dutchman Sepp Koster jumped onto the provisional front row on his last flying lap relegating Rossoni to third.  "My car is very good, so I'm just concentrating on the driving," said Yasukawa who is racing at Road Atlanta for the first time. "My last two laps I saw the oil pressure dropping, so I just parked it by the side of the track. We'll change the motor for tomorrow, so hopefully it'll be okay." 

9/28/00

Newman Haas Testing   UPDATE  Our sources at the track reports a large number of photographers and TV for Christian (We figure Brazilian media) covering his test Monday and Tuesday.  For Michael on Wednesday though, we are told there were "naked pits" as Michael put in very few laps before the team called it a day and packed up for Houston.  No other drivers were seen as it had first been thought that Johnny Herbert may have been present as he stayed in country after the GP.  9/25/00 The Newman Haas team is testing at Sebring today through Wednesday.  Christian Fittipaldi will be in the seat today and Tuesday with Michael Andretti taking over Wednesday after the big Motorola announcement tomorrow.  They are working on street course setups for the next two races in Houston and Australia.

9/28/00

Swift CART team looking more definite  We know because they are advertising for a Senior Mechanical Engineer, Chief Engineer, Aerodynamicist, Mechanical Engineer, Design Engineer, and Senior Race Engineer to work in their San Clemente, California headquarters.  That's a rather large contingent of new hires, unless of course you were building your own race team.

9/28/00

McLaren F3000 team loses David Brown  David Brown, who ran McLarens successful F3000 team since 1997, has left the team to be senior race engineer for Jordan in F1.

9/28/00

LeggMason to sponsor Jordan  We don't recall seeing this reported elsewhere, but we have learned that LeggMason investors have agreed to be an associate sponsor for the Jordan team next year.

9/28/00

Did you know?  That Frank Williams had hoped the USGP was held in the rain.  He said " The Americans have never seen F1 cars race in the wet at Indy, and they would subsequently understand why F1 drivers are the best in the world."

9/28/00

Eddie Irvine had better watch out, the Intimidator is out to get him  At last weeks USGP Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine had this to say - "NASCAR is nothing but a bunch of farmers running around in circles."  Do you see a war brewing?

9/28/00

Update on new CART engine formula for 2003  It seems Ford's Dan Davis thinks CART should adopt a normally aspirated formula so that CART and the IRL might someday merge, whereas others in Ford, as well as Honda and Toyota (we are told) have said they prefer the higher tech 1.8 liter turbo formula as it challenges their engineers creative minds.  What's most alarming about this news is that the people within one company (Ford) don't seem to agree as to what's the best route to take.  What's the chances we will get a consensus among companies.  From our perspective, if CART were to go the normally aspirated route, they would be better served adopting F1's engine formula, with some restrictions on exotic materials and other things to control costs.  With all the manufacturers supplying 3.0 liter naturally aspirated engines in F1, CART would stand a reasonable chance that many would be willing to modify that engine to compete in CART as well - sharing technology and development costs between the F1 and CART programs.  Having a Ferrari on the starting grid of a CART race would do wonders for CART's popularity, especially as it expands worldwide.  The Tifosi are everywhere.

9/28/00

Troubles for Prost team continue It was announced yesterday that Gauloises Blondes, the major sponsor of Prost Grand Prix, will end its association with the team at the end of this season.  That leaves the team without a major sponsor, no announced drivers and old Ferrari engines for 2001.

9/28/00

NASCAR moves Brickyard 400 to Sunday NASCAR announced the 2001 Winston Cup schedule on Tuesday and the biggest change comes for the Brickyard 400 that moves from Saturday to Sunday. The Brickyard 400, which races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, had been the only Saturday afternoon fixture on the Winston Cup schedule. 

9/27/00

Herta looks unlikely for the last three races An article in today's LA Times says that It appears Bryan Herta of Valencia will not compete in the final three races of the CART series. According to Tamy Valkosky , communications director of Forsythe Championship Racing, the team came close to securing the sponsorship necessary for Herta to race in street races at Houston on Sunday and Surfer's Paradise, Australia, Oct. 15. "Right now, it looks like a definite no," Valkosky said. "I think it's real hard on the guys after they got a taste of competition at Laguna Seca. There may be a thin sliver of hope for [the Marlboro 500 Oct. 29 at California Speedway in] Fontana, but I seriously doubt it." One piece to Herta's plans for 2001 fell into place Tuesday when it was announced Michael Andretti signed a three-year deal to race a Reynard-Honda for Team KOOL Green with Motorola sponsorship. 

9/26/00

Driven/CHAMPS has a website The movie's website is just one page right now, but it seems pretty certain now that the movie will indeed be called Driven and not CHAMPS.  For those of you who missed the US Grand Prix telecast, there was a short advertisement for the movie shown.  Director Renny Harlin's website also has some good pictures and news about the film.  He also has this to say - I am working on completing the film's racing sequences both at the test track and at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. In the next few weeks, I will be shooting Driven's final race, a climactic sequence featuring some never-before-seen racing action.  Here is a 2 MB file of the Driven commercial that works with Windows Media Player

9/26/00

Key points from today's Andretti/Green/Motorola announcement for 2001
1.  On RPM2Night, when asked, Barry Green did not even try to deny the BAR rumors and offered up several other names that could run the 2-car Team Kool Green side of the house.  It led one to believe he might be going to BAR, although he stated during the press conference that is very much up in the air.
2.  Kim Green will run the 1-car Andretti/Motorola side of the house
3.  Barry Green is not worried that he won't get a 3rd franchise vote for the Andretti car
4.  The Andretti's have no ownership in the team.  Andretti is just a driver
5.  The deal is for 5 years with the last two being option years
6.  The car will be a Honda powered Reynard
7.  The car will carry the #39
8.  All three teams will work together, share setup data and be networked together at the track.  This is extremely important with reduced testing limits next year - the teams must hit on the right setup on Friday of race weekends.
9.  The team will not enter next years Indy 500.  The focus will be on the 3-car CART team.  They did not rule out an Indy 500 effort in 2002.  Andretti is under exclusive contract with Green and can't run in the Indy 500 without Team Green's approval.  He is free to put together a deal, but Team Green would then go to Honda and Motorola to give their blessings and a chance to be part of the effort.  Andretti stated on RPM2Night, he intends to race at Indy again before he retires.
10. When we asked Andretti how is relation with Tracy was, he was very complimentary.
11. Team Kool Green will not run Indy Lights next season.  The 2-car team will be converted to Andretti's Champ Car team.  When asked if Peter Gibbons, Andretti's long-time engineer, will follow him to the team, Andretti said "now that the team is official, we expect many people to express interest in joining."
Full Transcript | Full Story | AP Story

9/26/00

2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Schedule NASCAR finally released its 2001 Winston Cup schedule.  Details

9/25/00

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Jordan F1 Transporter (L) and Renault 6 Time F1 Champ Transporter (R)

9/25/00

Marlboro Team Penske News   Marlboro Team Penske spent much of last week on the 2.029-mile Superspeedway in Fontana during a three-day test session in preparation for the season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota. Helio Castroneves and de Ferran tested on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and ran more than 500 miles over the two-day period. The Marlboro car was fast and consistent, and both ran laps in the 234-235 mph range.  The team will be holding Pit Stop Practice at the street course in downtown Houston on Thursday, September 28 to prepare for the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston from 1:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. in the Marlboro Team Penske pits.  The Drive Away Hunger Program donates leftover food from race weekend to local charities in each city where CART races. This weekend the Drive Away Hunger Program headed up by Marlboro Team Penske and Newman Haas Racing will benefit Target Hunger in Houston.  Team Penske Advisor Rick Mears recently donated a set of hand-made dice to the Pacific Coast Charity Ride, an annual motorcycle ride in which many past and present CART drivers, including Rick, participate for various charities. The dice, which Rick made himself out of aluminum, were featured in a live auction and sold for $1,100.00 

9/25/00

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9/24/00

Andretti & Unser news from Indy  (2nd Race - Sunday) 
MARIO ANDRETTI (Finished 18th)
: "It was totally different, the conditions and everything else. I second-guessed the situation and made the rear bar too soft. I underestimated how dry the infield was going to get, watching the F1 practice. It was a mistake. I felt it the first lap. I just couldn't get it to turn. They were killing me in the infield. The car felt better, but there was too much oversteer. One whole bar adjustment could have made a couple positions." (About racing at Indianapolis this weekend): "I'm totally pleased that I did it. No regrets."
AL UNSER JR (Finished 20th).: "A little better than yesterday because today I didn't crash. It went really well. I want to thank Porsche again for letting us have a great time. We were extra careful because I made my guys work on the car last night. Today we were just taking it easy and having fun." (Compare driving Porsche Pirelli Supercup cars to Indy-type cars): "There is nothing alike. These things don't have any grip, and they don't have any horsepower, so you really have to spend a lot of time in there to really know how to drive them. That's why you see the big spread (in times). In the IROC series, you can just step in the cars and run fast because mainly it's on ovals, and it's a big drafting game. With the road course, it's just totally, totally different. So you have to learn how to drive them. Coming in on a weekend like this, with guys who make their living in these cars, it's tough to beat them." (Photos Copyright 2000 Robert Jagitsch, All Rights Reserved)

9/23/00

Seen at USGP   Virtually every driver from American racing with even a remote connection to Formula One, past or future, is at the USGP: Max Papis, Tony Kanaan and Gil de Ferran patrolled the pits, along with ex-Formula One and Indianapolis 500 veterans like Emerson Fittipaldi and Stephan Johansson.  Of course Mario Andretti and Al Unser Jr. are  there, too, driving in the Porsche Pirelli Supercup race. Bobby Rahal was seen hobnobbing with his new team, Jaguar, and manned the headphones in the Jaguar pits next to three-time World Champion Jackie Stewart.  Rounding out the group of visitors was Juan Pablo Montoya. He was getting a little on-the-job training from BMW WilliamsF1, unobtrusively but definitely seen in the team's garage area wearing headphones during the practice session that enabled him to monitor the pit-to-driver conversation. He also studied the TV monitors closely.

9/23/00

Andretti & Unser news from Indy   UPDATE In the first race Mario Andretti finished 17th and Al Unser Jr. finished 20th.  Paul Gentilozzi finished 18th.  How good is/was Mario Andretti? - Even now, at 60 years old mind you, he beat 38 year old Unser and the younger Gentilozzi.  Too bad he didn't start his F1 career until he was 36 years old. No telling how many more F1 races he might have won.  The 2nd Porsche Supercup race is Sunday morning.  9/22/00 - Mario Andretti and IRL driver Al Unser Jr. qualified for the Porsche Supercup support race at the USGP today.  No. 15 Andretti will start 19th with a time of 1:39.339.  No. 1 Al Unser Jr. will start 21st with a time of 1:40.345.  Surprisingly, the 60-year old Andretti, a grandfather and retired, was over a second faster that Al Unser Jr. who is still an active driver in the IRL.  The pole time was 1:37.035.
AL UNSER JR.: "The track is fantastic. They did a great job on it. The track is up to Indy standards, first-class. It's a pleasure to drive. The only tricky part is coming onto the oval." (About the cars): "For a street car, they've got pretty good power and good brakes, but not compared to what I'm used to driving."
MARIO ANDRETTI: "I think I might go faster in reverse. I'm not sure what the car is doing. It has a completely different setup from when I've tested here, that's what's upsetting. The test I did here apparently was for nothing. For instance, when I was here before, they had the rear bar full stiff, and today it was full soft. I had the car feeling a little better toward the end, but it's still not where it was in the test. Camber is critical here, and the tire pressures I was running may be wrong. The circuit is fine, OK. I can't blame the circuit."  Speedvision Story

9/23/00

Scenes from Dover on Friday



Photos by Jon Osborne.  Copyright AutoRacing1.com

9/22/00

Low Blows by Lowes?   Uncertainty is the word at Richard Childress Racing today at Dover Downs International Speedway. Lowes may be leaving as the primary sponsor of Mike Skinner's Chevrolet Monte Carlo the end of the year. Childress said he met with executives from Lowes on Wednesday in Welcome, North Carolina in which they all agreed to honor the remaining two (2) years of their sponsorship contract, but Lowes reportedly issued a memo to their employees (on Thursday), stating they would not return as the primary sponsor Skinner's RCR ride. Richard Childress addressed the issue on Friday, but did not have any definite answers since he had not spoken to Lowes about the memorandum.  "Lowes gave a release yesterday to their employees that they would not be back next year", stated Childress. "I met with them and they assured us we have two more years remaining on our contract and they would honor it. We plan on honoring our two years on their contract."  While they have not won any races this year, the team is having a very good year.  "Look at where the car's sitting in the points and how the car has run this year. We're in the Busch Clash next year. All I've got to say is that we have a contract"  The news didn't have any noticeable adverse effects on Mike Skinner's Busch Grand National ride, as he promptly set a new Busch qualifying track record of 155.932 mph. As for the Lowes Winston Cup car, that too was good, qualifying in the 24th starting position. After setting the Busch pole, Skinner was asked about his Winston Cup sponsorship for next year.  "I really don't know anything about it. Nobody from Lowes has contacted me and told me anything. Richard came up and basically told me that not to worry, and that I had a two-year contract with Richard Childress Racing and we would be driving a RCR car next year at Daytona. With Lowes or whoever as a sponsor, I really don't know what is going to happen. Like I said, I don't know much about it. Nobody had contacted me and told me anything."  kinner is currently in 12th place in the Winston Cup point's championship, with a single top five finish when he was second in the spring Talladega race. "

9/22/00

Another CART road race set for record crowd   As Australian’s go for gold in Sydney, the Honda Indy 300 expects to break some records of its own next month.  According to the Honda Indy 300 General Manager, Geoff Jones, ticket sales for this year’s 10th anniversary celebrations continue to be strong, with all indications pointing to a record event.  Last years 4-day totals were over 250,000.  Mr. Jones said interest in this year’s commemorative celebrations has been a focus since day one (in June) and has continued to grown as the Event approaches.  “The response from the general public and corporate sector has been fantastic,” Mr. Jones said.  “It’s hard to attribute sales figures to one factor. The Honda Indy 300 has become one of Australia’s most popular sporting and entertainment events.  “There is plenty planned for our 10th anniversary and I expect many people are returning to celebrate and relive past memories, or experience the Event for the first time.

9/22/00

Casey Mears at recent Fontana test


Pictures of Casey Mears at Fontana this week testing the Team Rahal Shell Car.  See our rumors page for more details from the test.
Photos copyright 2000 Julius Tanzo

9/22/00

Jaguar Team wows NY City crowd

The new Jaguar R1 Formula One race car and a New York City taxicab go head-to-head in New York's Times Square Tuesday, September 19, 2000 to promote the return of Formula One racing to the United States after an absence of almost 10 years. The music of a 19,000 RPM F1 engine bouncing off the walls of the tall buildings was deafening. (Anders Krusberg/WirePix) 

9/21/00

Montoya will waste no time - Juan Montoya will waste no time getting re-acclimated with the Williams F1 team.  He begins testing December 1st.

9/21/00

Every race fan should read this piece on Mario Andretti - Whether you like Mario Andretti or not, we highly recommend every race fan read this story by Nigel Roebuck "I was put on this earth to drive."  One of two American World Champions, Phil Hill being the other, Mario more than any other driver is the true rags to riches racing hero.  As Mr. Roebuck put it "This was not only a great race driver, but one who also looked the part, and acted it, a man with the presence, like Fangio, like Senna, to quiet a room when he entered it. My wife, who cares nothing for racing, was mesmerized on meeting him for the first time.  "There," she said, "is a star. Even if you didn't know who he was, or what he did, you'd know that much about him."  Our photo tribute.

9/20/00

Bobby Hamilton jumps to #55 car - Bobby Hamilton joined up with Andy Petree Racing to replace Kenny Wallace in the Square D Chevrolet for next season, teaming with Joe Nemechek.

9/20/00

Ford's Neil Ressler on getting Americans in Formula One - Neil Ressler Chairman of Jaguar Formula 1, Ford-Cosworth and PI Technology had some interesting comments on Wednesday about this American drivers making it in F1. Ressler is an American and is from Columbus, OH.  Real Player format.

Neil Ressler - important advice to Americans dreaming of F1 (1.45 min)

9/20/00

Audio excerpts from Bobby Rahal Jaguar Press Conference

Neil Ressler - Announcing Rahal as Jaguar CEO (0:31 min.)
Bobby Rahal - on his qualifications to run Jaguar Formula 1 (1:42 min.)
Bobby Rahal - Commitment of Ford to winning in F1 & chance for turn around (0:34 min.)
Bobby Rahal - Has F1 always been a career goal/dream? (0:26 min.)

Bobby Rahal - How will Jaguar job change your role at Team Rahal? (1:06 min.)

Bobby Rahal - What is the effect on CART by you leaving to go to F1? (1:07 min.)

Bobby Rahal - His thoughts on F1 and which series is better, CART or F1? (1:24 min.)

9/20/00

Rahal commitment to Jaguar 3 years  Bobby Rahal's commitment to run the Jaguar Formula One team is three years starting December 1, 2000

9/20/00

Ford and Honda pull out of BTCC  Ford and Honda have pulled out of the British Touring Car series.  We hear they want to concentrate their efforts in CART and Formula One.  Tom Kristensen drove for Honda in BTCC.  We wonder if they will support him in CART as some rumors have suggested.

9/20/00

Andretti/Team Green announcement set for 9/26  Motorola, Team Green and Michael Andretti will make their plans for 2001 and beyond known at a press conference set for 9/26/00 at 1:00 PM.  The press conference will originate from Team Green's headquarters in Indianapolis.

9/20/00

Scott Dixon Gateway Crash sequence


Indy Lights driver Scott Dixon had a another strong run going at Gateway this past weekend until he lost control and hit the wall ending his day early.  Here Scott climbs out of his car with nothing more hurt than his pride.  The Indy Lights championship battle now moves on to Houston and then to Fontana for the season finale.
Photos copyright 2000 Bob Kozel and AutoRacing1.com

9/20/00

Mark Webber stuns F1 set  F3000 driver Mark Webber set the F1 pit lane buzzing after setting the fastest time in testing at Estoril (Portugal) last week in his first major test with the Mild Seven Benetton Playlife Formula One team. The 24-year old Australian from Queanbeyan, NSW completed 147 laps over the three day test as Benetton continued to assess him as a possible test driver for their world championship winning team next season.  In a bid to obtain a more direct comparison, Benetton flew in their number 1 driver, Giancarlo Fisichella, to drive the car on Tuesday morning, with the Italian setting a benchmark time of 1min 21.710s. Having been told by the team that they would be satisfied to see him come within 6/10ths of Fisichella’s time, Webber’s big opportunity finally came on Wednesday morning when he was given the same tyres and fuel load as Fisichella, and sent out for his make-or-break run. Webber stunned the team when he set a time of 1min 21.712s, just 2/1000ths of a second slower than their regular driver!  Clearly impressed by what they had seen, Benetton, headed by sporting manager, Gordon Message, and technical director, Pat Symonds, who had both flown in specially for the final day of the test, invited Webber to go for another timed run later in the day and he didn’t disappoint either, slicing a further 4/10ths off his own best time, with a time of 1min 21.33s to leave him topping the times after three days of testing. Ironically, the only other driver running on Wednesday was newly crowned FIA International F3000 Championship, Bruno Junqueira, fulfilling his last obligation as Williams test driver. The Brazilian’s best time was a 1min 22.2s. Although not usually known for lavishing praise on drivers, Pat Symonds was extremely vocal in his summing up of Webber’s efforts and in an interview in the Melbourne Herald Sun said, “I had heard he was good but frankly I’m amazed! I think we will see Mark in Formula One very soon.”

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