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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 11/11/00 to 11/23/00)

11/23/00

Emerson Fittipaldi inspects possible new Brazil venue  Yesterday, Emerson Fittipaldi, promoter of Rio 200, met with the Governor of the State of Goiás, Brazil (see map to right), Marconi Perillo Júnior, and with the Secretary of the Sports and Leisure Commission, August Cesar Sebba, in the Governors headquarters.  Both are pretty excited about the prospects of holding a CART race in their town someday.  However, Fittipaldi has had no discussions with the government officials in Rio, where the CART race is currently held at the Jacarepaguá track, regarding their interest of keeping the race there in coming years". The contract with the authorities in Rio De Janeiro goes until the end of the next year and there is some discussion about moving the race to the Ayrton Senna track in Goiânia.   Emerson Fittipaldi said he was very satisfied with what he saw. " It is one of the safest tracks in Brazil, with great runoff areas", stated Fittipaldi. Fittipaldi's team made an analysis of the upgrades necessary for the Goiânia track.  Emerson Fittipaldi said the city has a good hotel structure and transportation system to handle the crowd for such an event.  This area of Brazil supposedly has a lot of big racing fans.  Goiânia, a city in south central Brazil (see map), and is the capital of the State of Goiás.  It is situated on a plateau near the Meia Ponte River. A planned modern city, Goiânia is an administrative center. Grain, livestock, and coffee are produced in the area, and nickel, titanium, chromium, and diamonds are mined. A railroad connects the city with Brasília and the coast. The latest census shows the population to be 920,838 (1991).

11/22/00

Montoya settles in England  Juan Montoya will live in Oxford, England while he is competing in F1.  Oxford is a college town about 1-hour drive northwest of London.  It doesn't surprise many people that he based himself in Oxford, as over the years it has become a tradition for most South Americans who are racing in Europe to live there. Pizzonia (F3), Minassian (F3000, now CART), Junqueira (F3000, now CART), Barrichello, De Ferran, Senna, they've all lived there/still living there.   Oxford is near the bases of all the big F1 teams which tend to cluster around Milton Keynes or the Silverstone area. 

11/22/00

New Zealand looks to build new track  There is a move afoot to build a new road course that could host a F1 or CART race in New Zealand.  Plans are to build it next to the Aukland airport if adequate funding can be found.  If this project ever comes to fruition, we may see CART or F1 do back-to-back weekends (Australia and New Zealand) when they fly their circus into Austalia. Right now this project is far from even putting a shovel in the ground. 

11/22/00

Mercedes F1 engine ready for testing  The new 2001 Mercedes F1 engine will make its debut early in December at the Jerez circuit in Spain.  This is where Juan Montoya will make his debut in the Williams as well.  Most of the Formula One teams will begin their pre-season preparations for the 2001 season. "It is a completely new engine," said Haug. "Easily smaller, but stronger and with a lower center of gravity. We have never finished a product so early, and this is an advantage." Haug, who admitted his company was to blame for the engine failures that put an end to Mika Hakkinen's hopes of a third drivers' title in a row this season, also showed his confidence for next year.  "2001 is going to be a hard fight," said Haug. "But at the moment I would say we are more than ready." 

11/22/00

NASCAR on Eurosport Prime Time  According to the Eurosport website,  NASCAR and Eurosport have reached an agreement for all 2001 Winston Cup races to be broadcast live on Eurosport.  What this means is that CART can't be shown live on any dates a Winston Cup race runs in the same time slot.  NASCAR has beaten CART to the Eurosport contract and they don't even run a race in Europe, CART has two.  While CART is trying to negotiate a new TV contract for 2002 and beyond, they have let NASCAR pull the rug right out from under them in Europe.  In addition Sky currently has a contract with the IRL to show their races live  in Europe alternating between Sky Sports 2 and 3.

11/22/00

Ryan Walker completes successful British F3 run  Twenty-year old American Ryan Walker completed a successful first season in the British F3 series, finishing third overall in the National Championship. Walker had four top-three finishes while finishing 12 of 14 races despite having an extremely limited testing schedule.  On Monday, Walker tested for a possible seat in the 2001 German F3 Championship. Walker, an Okemos, Mich.-native, was the European Formula Drivers Association (EFDA) Winter Series champion a year ago and helped lead the U.S. to a bronze in the prestigious Nation's Cup competition last year.  "In an F3 car there is a big difference between being quick for one lap vs. an entire season. The F3 car is an extremely difficult car to learn to drive. To be dependably quick in this type of car you first need to build the fundamentals: concentration, technical skills, and mental toughness, which lead to consistency. The wins will follow. That was my game plan this season, and I think that I was successful." 

11/22/00

Wednesday Trivia  Mario Andretti won the World Driving Championship in 1978 driving for Lotus, but it was in 1976 that he first drove for the Lotus team fulltime (he won pole position in his very first F1 race in 1968 at Watkins Glen in a Lotus), stepping in when Lotus was at it's lowest point in history.  He became available when the Vels Parnelli F1 team for which he was driving withdrew from F1 after the Long Beach GP that year.  What race that year showed a preview of things to come for Andretti and Lotus?  Answer:  The Swedish GP at Anderstorp, the 3rd race he drove for Lotus after signing on fulltime.  Andretti started 2nd on the grid in his Lotus 76 Ford next to Jody Scheckter in the Tyrell Ford.  Mario got the jump on Jody and led into the first turn.  He proceeded to lead easily until lap 44 of 72 when his Ford engine expired handing the win to Scheckter.  In the process he set fastest lap on the 11th lap and was cruising.  It was the start of the return of Lotus to the front.  By years end Mario won the final race at Mt. Fuji, Japan by a full lap over the entire field in a torrential downpour after starting from pole (the conditions were so bad Niki Lauda withdrew on lap 2 owning to the conditions and gave the title by a scant 1 point to James Hunt who finished 3rd).  It was the first win for Lotus in years.  1977 saw Andretti dominate qualifying and fast race laps, and win 4 races (including very popular wins at Long Beach and Monza Italy), but lose the title because his Ford Cosworth was very unreliable.  He finished 3rd in the championship.  The next year he won the title winning 6 races (7 if you include the win over Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari at Monza that was taking away when both drivers were deemed to have jumped the start).

11/21/00

Andretti Team to be separate  In an article written by Marc Sproule for CART.com, it was made clear that the Andretti part of the Team Green will be run as an entirely separate team from Team Kool Green.  We wonder what that really means if the cars will be housed under the same roof and they share setup data as previously stated.  Is it a separate team by name only?  They referred to it as Team Motorola, not Team Motorola Green which just doesn't sound catchy.  Supposedly a major restructuring of Team Green is in the works.  If the Andretti piece is truly a separate piece we have to wonder if Andretti has an option to buy the team at some point in time.  Andretti has openly stated he wants to own a Champ Car team someday, we assume with father Mario.  Would Motorola, Texaco, and Honda be behind a Team Andretti someday?  It's not inconceivable we suppose.  To make all this speculation a little more intriguing we wouldn't be surprised if money that Texaco wants to pull from Newman Haas racing doesn't get funneled into an Andretti Indy 500 effort as early as 2001.

11/21/00

Mercedes moves CART money to F1?  The McLaren Mercedes F1 team have increased their operating budget for 2001 by $18 million and it is quite clear that some or all of it came as the result of Mercedes canceling their CART program to focus on F1.

11/21/00

CART to discuss Franchise Issues  The CART Franchise Board will meet next month to discuss franchise issues.  On the table for discussion will likely be which team, such as Mo Nunn, gets a franchise for 2001, and which teams, if any would lose theirs. There are currently a few franchise's available.  Some speculate that the 2-car franchise rule will be discussed, but we suspect this won't be changed as teams like Team Green have decided to move to a 3rd car without the 3rd franchise.

11/21/00

Tuesday Trivia  Who founded the Brabham F1 team?  Answer:  It was founded by Ron Turanac and then bought by none other than Bernie Ecclestone in 1971 for 25,000 British Pounds.  He kept the team until 1988 when he sold it to Alfa Romeo who in turn sold it to Swiss businessman Joachim Luhti.

11/20/00

Another Skip Barber graduate does well  Barber Pro Series veteran Jerry Nadeau closed out the Winston Cup season with his first career NASCAR win at the NAPA 500 held at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Nadeau, a product of the Skip Barber ladder, couldn't be more deserving of the victory, having logged countless laps in various series prior to arriving in NASCAR.  Nadeau raced in the Barber Pro Series in 1994-95.  Skip Barber Racing School graduate 1991 Skip Barber Race Series Rookie of the Year, 1992 Skip Barber Big Scholarship winner, 5 Barber Pro Series victories, 7 Barber Pro Series poles, $93,600 Barber Pro Series earnings, 210 points in 23 Barber Pro Series race starts 

11/20/00

Jason Bright finishes 2nd in Bathurst 1000 race  Jason Bright shared a car with Paul Radisisch and came 2nd in the race.  Garth Tander and Jason Bargwanna did a outstanding job to finish first, with Garth taking 2nd place in the points chase for the year.  It was hard to imagine how difficult this race was.  For the greater part of the 625 miles, there was torrential rain, then sunshine, maybe a bit of fog, then rain, sunshine etc.  It never let up. Jason and Paul finished roughly 5 seconds behind the winning pair. 

11/20/00

Monday trivia  Darrell Waltrip retires from racing at the end of the 2000 Winston Cup season.  He hasn't won a race in years.  How many Winston Cup wins does he have.  Answer: 84 and he is tied with Bobby Allison for third on the all-time win list.  His first race was at Talladega in 1972, but it wasn't until 1975 that he drove Winston Cup full-time.  You may be interested to know that back in the early 70's, women were not allowed to work in the pits so Waltrip made his wife Stevie the car owner and she became the first women to get a NASCAR garage pass to get to the pits to work during the race.  She kept his lap charts and calculated gas mileage.  Happy retirement Darrell!

11/19/00

Robby Gordon to drive #4  It was announced today at Atlanta Motor Speedway that Robby Gordon will drive the #4 Kodak Chevrolet Winston Cup car.  We assume he will no longer field his own team.

11/19/00

Sebring Test Times (All times unofficial) UPDATE  The times have been revised from 11/18/00 based on new data received.

Rank

Driver

Country

Car

Engine

Time (Sec.)

Date

1 C. Fittipaldi Brazil Lola Toyota 51.7 11/16/00
2 R. Moreno  Brazil Reynard Toyota 52.1 11/17/00
3 M. Dominguez Mexico Lola Illmor 52.3 11/17/00
4 C. da Matta Brazil Lola Toyota 52.4 11/17/00
5 M. Jourdain Mexico Lola Illmor 52.6 11/17/00
6 M. Wilson Brazil Lola Ford 52.8 11/17/00

11/19/00

Sunday trivia  Who won the pole for the inaugural Daytona 500 in February 1959?  Answer: Bob Welborn won the pole at a speed of 140.1 mph.  Until that day the record qualifying speed for any stock car race was just 117.4 mph.  Daytona's 31 degree banks and 2.5 mile length helped contribute to the large speed jump.  Today the race draws nearly 200,000 fans on race day.  Back in 1959 the track only seated 41,291 people.

11/18/00

Waltrip prepares for final Winston Cup race  Darrell Waltrip, driver of the No. 66 Route 66/Big Kmart Taurus, will be competing in his final NASCAR Winston Cup race scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Waltrip, who won three series championships (1981,'82,'85), ranks second on the sport's all-time win list with 84 and fourth in career poles with 59. Before moving to the television booth next season, where he will work as the lead analyst for FOX, he held one final press conference and talked about his final race as a competitor.  Story

11/18/00

Herdez team will not use Ilmor engines  Although the Herdez Bettenhausen team used Ilmor engines this past week at Sebring for testing, they will not use them next season.  They have an engine deal nearly wrapped up with one of the other three manufacturers (we think Ford) and will announce it soon.  Although they tested two drivers (Jourdain and Dominguez) it's unlikely they will run two cars in 2001.  Two cars are planned for 2002.  The team would not say why the wait, but we would assume availability of engines in 2001 may be a factor.

11/18/00

Tryson named Wood Bothers crew chief  Pat Tryson has joined the #21 team as crew chief, effective immediately. The Wood Brothers made the announcement today following second-round qualifying for the NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "It's exciting to be here," said Tryson. "The Wood Brothers are great people and it's nice to work for a great organization like that. Elliott Sadler is a good young driver, and hopefully we can do a lot of great things together in the next year or so."  "Pat will concentrate on just the cars, and Len (Wood) and I will do all that aggravating stuff, the testing, the travel and all the things that crew chiefs have to keep up with," said Eddie Wood, one of the team's owners. "The way it's going to be set up, Pat will still be part of the Roush organization as far as crew chief meetings and aero programs, just as if he were still a crew chief at Roush. He's bringing a lot of that knowledge with him, and it'll be ongoing technology that we'll get throughout the year, and that's one of the big things about it.   "Pat's a good guy. And he's smart. And he's very clever. He's one of those people who's a good people person, and that's what you've got to have. Next year we're going to be together every week, and so you got to have somebody that the guys can look up to and respect, and Pat is that person. No one in this garage will tell you any different. Everybody who's ever worked for Pat will tell you the same thing. One of the things that led us to Pat was his leadership ability, plus his ability to deal with people and keep people happy. To be a leader, but a friend with them, too. Plus, he's smart. You got to have all of it, and that's Pat. Tryson replaces Mike Beam, who resigned last month. Tryson just completed his first full season as crew chief of the #16 team. 

11/18/00

Johnny Herbert fractures knee?  UPDATE According to Bob Herbert, no bone fractures have been revealed by X-rays or scans. His leg is still very sore because of the severity of the crash and his doctors have ordered him to rest it as much as possible.  11/18/00 - Johnny Herbert ended his F1 career by crashing out at Sepang after a rear suspension failure on his Jaguar, and initial medical reports suggested that he had sustained only a bruised leg.  however, reports now suggest that Johnny actually suffered a hairline fracture to his knee.  Hopefully this does not hinder his search for a Champ Car ride.  If true, it may prevent him from testing for a team for awhile.

11/18/00

Moreno tests 2001 Reynard  UPDATE Patrick Racing press release on Sebring test  11/17/00 - According to this Autosport article Roberto Moreno became the first driver to test Reynard's 2001 Champcar, the 01I, at Sebring in Florida on Thursday.  The Brazilian shook down the car just four days after it had arrived in Pat Patrick's workshops. Patrick opted to buy new cars because it has switched to Toyota power for next year, and the engine mountings gearbox and fuel tank are different to the Ford unit it ran this season.

11/18/00

Order you copy of Autocourse CART Official 2000/2001 Yearbook  edited by Jeremy Shaw (Hardcover, Hazelton; ISBN: 1874557993)  The quality of the on-track competition in the retitled FedEx Championship Series continues to live up to all expectations. Now in its eighth year of publication, the AUTOCOURSE CART® Official Champ Car Yearbook captures the excitement of a thrilling season’s racing - detailed race reports of each round of the Series,  glorious full-color photography throughout, top ten drivers, profiles and team-by-team review, topical features, comprehensive statistics and results.  This item will be published in January 2001. You may order it now and it will shipped to you when it arrives. (11/18/00 Note: Image stolen by 7G and used on their site, watermark and all)
List Price:
$34.95, Our Price: $27.96, You Save: $6.99 (20%) | Order Here

11/17/00

Seen at Atlanta  


(L) Jarrett's Taurus thanks Ford Quality Car for 5 great years.  (C) Todd Bodine drives the 3rd Haas Carter Taurus, (R) The Wood Brothers unveiled their new Motorcraft sponsorship colors

(L) Darrell Waltrip contemplates final Winston Cup race.  (C) Dale Jarrett with new UPS colors, (R) Jarrett poses with Yates team at UPS announcement

11/17/00

Fittipaldi tests Toyota power  Joining Roberto Moreno (Reynard/Toyota) at Sebring for CART tests this week was Newman Haas driver Christian Fittipaldi.  Fittipaldi was also getting his first taste of Toyota power in his Lola Champ Car.

11/17/00

Rodriquez and Moore survivors file lawsuit against CART & ISC   UPDATE Some people in the racing industry and legal circles wonder if the 'waiver' every driver signs, which waives their rights to litigate because racing is dangerous sport that can lead to death, will stop both of these lawsuits in their tracks. California courts have historically upheld the 'waiver' and both lawsuits were filed in California.  11/15/00 - On September 8, 2000, a complaint for damages was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Monterey,  by the heirs of Gonzolo Rodriguez, a race car driver that died on September 11, 1999 while driving his race car at the Laguna Seca Raceway in a practice session for the CART race event. The suit seeks damages in an unspecified amount for negligence and wrongful death.  A similar suit was filed by the estate of Greg Moore, a race car driver that died on October 31, 1999 while driving his race car at the California Speedway (an ISC track) during the CART race event. The suit seeks actual and punitive damages from the Company in an unspecified amount for breach of duty, wanton and reckless misconduct, breach of implied contract, battery, wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress.  Full Statement in CART's 3Q 10K filing

11/17/00

Chriss Esslinger hired for LBGP  The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (GPALB) announced the hiring of Chris Esslinger as its Public Relations Manager. Esslinger, 29, enters the auto racing field from the horse and horse racing industries. He previously served as Publicity Director for the now-defunct Stablegate.com, a horse-related Web site, from April through September 2000. While there, he was responsible for the site's entire public relations 
strategy and media relations plan. Prior to Stablegate.com, Esslinger worked in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., for 3 ½ years, the last two of which he was Santa Anita's Public Relations Manager. In that capacity, he was responsible for the day-to-day operation of the department as well as the track's media relations effort. Santa Anita Park is widely regarded as being among America's finest horse racing venues. "Chris brings to our company the perfect mix of sporting event experience and Internet-related activities," said Jim Michaelian, GPALB's Chief Operating Officer. "We look for him to make a major contribution in our public relations and Web site efforts." In 1996, Esslinger earned an M.A. from California State University, Fullerton, in public relations and, in 1993, a B.S. in broadcast journalism from Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y. Esslinger takes over the Grand Prix of Long Beach's publicity department from Kevin O'Brien, who was promoted to GPALB's Director of Sales and Marketing Services last month. 

11/17/00

Friday trivia  When he was his manager, what piece of advice did Bernie Ecclestone give Jochen Rindt that proved to be dead on?  Answer:  At the end of 1969 he was negotiating two deals for Rindt, one to drive for Lotus with Firestone tires and one to drive for Brabham with Goodyear tires.  His advice to Rindt?  "If you want to win the world championship you have got a better chance with Lotus.  If you want to stay alive you have a better chance with Brabham than with Lotus."  Remember, Colin Chapman's cars were known to be fast but fragile. Rindt picked Lotus.  As you may or may not know, ironically Rindt was killed in a Lotus two years later at Monza and he won the world  title posthumously.  Both of Bernie's predictions came true.  Rindt was dicing with Denny Hulme going into the Parabolica curve during qualifying.  When he got on the brakes, the front-left brake shaft failed.  The Lotus 72 struck the barriers, but instead of a glancing blow, the wedge nose somehow forced a gap under the bottom layer of guiderail and slammed into a solid supporting post.  The impact was horrific and unsurviveable.  Rindt was going to retire at the end of that year.  He never made it.

11/16/00

Mexpro team plans December test  In preparation for the season opener at Monterrey Mexico in March, the Mexican Mexpro Indy Lights Racing Team has scheduled a test at Firebird raceway on December 13th and 14th.  Dorricott and PacWest will be testing there as well.  The Mexpro team has not yet announced a driver for their 2nd car, but Rudy Junco is one driver being considered.

11/16/00

150,000 expected for Monterrey race  Directors of the Monterrey Grand Prix met yesterday with the Secretary of Road and Transit for Monterrey, Mexico to plan a strategy to avoid road chaos during the CART race weekend in March.  Organizers are hoping for 150 thousand fans, a number that will break race day attendance records for all CART races if it happens. They will meet every week from now until race weekend planning how to handle the anticipated traffic between downtown and Fundadora Park. 

11/16/00

FIA agrees to recognize internet sites  The FIA did an about-face and in a press release issued Tuesday from Geneva, the FIA indicated that it will now allow accredited writers and photographers to publish their work on Internet web sites covering its series.  Of course AutoRacing1.com is pleased the FIA finally realized the electronic media is here to stay and is quickly become the preferred choice for racing fans to follow their favorite series and drivers.  Related article

11/16/00

Penske tests at Indy again  According to this article, Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves tested Wednesday and Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as they continue to further evaluate their entry into the Indy 500 in 2001.

11/16/00

Patrick Racing confirms Visteon, Toyota and Moreno for 2001  Patrick Racing owner U. E. "Pat" Patrick announced today that the team would be powered by Toyota during the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season and that sponsor Visteon Corporation and driver Roberto Moreno have been resigned. Story

11/16/00

Ganassi stays longer at Nazareth  UPDATE Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian battled the weather and finished a successful two-day testing session at the one-mile oval at Nazareth Speedway today. The new Team Target drivers completed more than 360 miles with no mishaps and no mechanical trouble during their weather-shortened test. Team managing director Mike Hull was pleased with the CART rookies' accomplishments. "Today was a really good day. Although the weather didn't improve, the drivers did," Hull said. "We were able to complete the test with no mechanicals and move fairly quickly from getting comfortable to be working with the engineers on set-up. That says a lot for the quality of Team Target, especially our new drivers." The drivers once again shared driving duties in one car alternating through the day, completing 160 quality miles and posting lap times under 20 seconds. Junqueira, this year's FIA F3000 series champion, felt he got a handle on the tricky oval. "Today, I was driving the car," Junqueira said. "Yesterday, the car was driving me." Minassian, runner-up to Junqueira in the FIA F3000 championship, also left Nazareth feeling more confident. "The oval was fun today," Minassian said. "Yesterday it was more about understanding the track, the car and the lines and getting adjusted. I will be very excited to come back in May and race." Next up for Team Target is a test at Sebring in early December in the 2001 Lola. It will mark the team's first test with the 2001 equipment.   11/15/00 - The Ganassi team was supposed to test Tuesday and Wednesday at Nazareth.  Since they were rained out Tuesday, we understand they will stay through Thursday.

11/16/00

Jaguar gets approval for new base  Jaguar Racing Formula One team said on Wednesday they had received initial planning permission to build a new base near the Silverstone circuit. The team, currently based in Milton Keynes, have been granted approval from the Northamptonshire District Council and have just one final clause to overcome before work can begin. 

11/16/00

Kmart out of racing  UPDATE Although Kmart wants out of motorsports, they will honor their contracts with both of Carl Haas' teams unless Haas finds a substitute sponsor sooner before the end of 2002.  11/14/00 - Just 24 hours after announcing a staggering $67 million third-quarter loss, Kmart Corp. announced it would end its role as a sponsor in automobile racing. The company confirmed it's marketing its NASCAR and CART sponsorships toward the goal of exiting the agreements prior to next season. Rather than spending nearly $40 million annually on auto racing sponsorships, the company will strive to build a stronger emotional bond with its customers, said Conaway. He plans new promotional and marketing programs directly aligned with customer research and preferences. Kmart has been the primary sponsor of a NASCAR stock car team for five years, the last three with Haas-Carter Motorsports. There are two years remaining on Kmart's current NASCAR racing contracts. One year remains on Kmart's associate sponsorship of the Newman/Haas CART Texaco racing team, which began in 1988. The team's No. 1 driver, Michael Andretti, left after the season-ending race and will be replaced by Cristiano da Matta next year, racing alongside veteran Christian Fittipaldi. If buyers for these sponsorships are not found, Kmart will have to pay out both contracts. Kmart plans to continue selling NASCAR merchandise and develop special in-store promotions due to strong customer interest in NASCAR-branded products.  (in part from the National Speed Sport News).  To add more woes to the Newman Haas team, Auto.com reports that Texaco Inc. has sued the Newman/Haas auto racing team for replacing Michael Andretti as the designated driver of a car co-sponsored by Texaco.  The lawsuit claims that Newman/Haas agreed in 1997 that Andretti would drive an open-wheel car with Texaco decals in Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc. (CART) events between 1998 and 2002.  The complaint alleges that Newman/Haas breached the agreement on Nov. 8 by replacing Andretti, CART's most successful driver, with the lesser known Cristiano de Matta.   "Newman/Haas's actions clearly violated the sponsorship agreement," alleges the lawsuit filed in federal court.  It claims that Newman/Haas "wrongfully released" Andretti for "its own pecuniary reasons even though Andretti was ready, willing and able to continue" driving the Texaco car.  The lawsuit alleges that Newman/Haas refused to pay Andretti his retainer for the 2001-2002 CART season and that it released him in August or September. That permitted Andretti to sign with another CART team for the 2001-2003 seasons, it alleges.  Texaco, the third-largest U.S. oil company, had numerous discussions recently with Newman/Haas about the dispute, the complaint said. But Newman/Haas, based in Lincolnshire, Ill., announced the change Nov. 8 in a news release, the lawsuit said.  The lawsuit claims that Kmart Corp. and Texaco's Havoline oil also co-sponsored the car driven by Andretti. It asserts that Texaco was scheduled to pay $19.5 million in sponsorship payments to Newman/Haas for the 2001-2002 CART racing season.

11/16/00

Thursday trivia   How much asphalt was laid by Penske when he built the California Speedway in Fontana?  Answer: Using no public funds, Penske built the two-mile oval track for $110 million. More than 300,000 tons of asphalt were laid throughout the site--enough to pave a single lane of highway from California Speedway to Las Vegas, a distance of just over 200 miles!

11/16/00

New Bentley sports car unveiled   The first image We've seen of the Bentley prototype forwarded by Gerd Kebschull.  We had been hearing that the Bentley had a strong resemblance to the 1999 Audi LeMans prototype coupes and it certainly does. 

11/15/00

CART establishes Promoter Relations Department   As part of its ongoing effort to enhance service to its various constituencies, Championship Auto Racing Teams announced today it has established a Promoter Relations department designed to provide dedicated, high-quality service to the 22 event promoters on the 2001 FedEx Championship Series schedule. Full Story

11/15/00

Did you know?  Did you know that F1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen at one time was in discussions with Bobby Rahal to drive for his CART Champ Car team?  Yes, 2 years ago.  Speaking of Rahal.  Did you know he met Bernie Ecclestone for the very first time several months ago while in London on CART business?

11/15/00

Wednesday trivia  When and how did Bernie Ecclestone's career as a race car driver begin?  Answer: Born as a fisherman's son in 1930 in a family with little money, he first raced motorcycles at Brands Hatch in 1946 before it was paved.  In 1951 he purchased a 500cc Cooper-Norton Formula 3 car.  He finished 10th in the British Grand Prix F3 support race at Silverstone, a race won by Stirling Moss.  In 1953 he moved up to Formula 2 with his best finish a 5th.  He raced until 1954 whereupon he hung up his driving suit.  He raced briefly again in the early 60's with a Formula Junior Elva.  Luckily for F1, his driving career was short.

11/15/00

Montoya heads to Europe  Juan Montoya's first official testing session with the Williams team is scheduled for the 5th to the 7th of December at Jerez and he'll be arriving in England on Tuesday, the 14th of November to start his preparations for the winter testing schedule.  The team confirmed that they'll be using an interim FW22B for testing purposes, fitted with a smaller and more compact BMW engine, new gearbox and Michelin tires.

11/14/00

FedEx buys trucking firm  CART series sponsor FedEx has purchased American Freightways, a major trucking firm, for $950 million.  It is similar to their Viking Freight subsidiary.  It will give them heavy shipment capabilities in the West, Midwest and the South.  The company will keep its name.  The significance for CART?  If CART can make a deal with FedEx to name their cars 'FedEx cars' in exchange for on-truck advertising (see related article), that may be that many more trucks carrying CART advertisement someday.

11/14/00

Food for thought  Michael Andretti was making around a reported $6 million per year at Newman Haas.  It's reported that he wanted anywhere from $8 up to $10 million to stay, depending on which reports you believe.  Carl Haas refused and released Andretti.  In doing so, Haas stands to now lose the remainder of the Texaco contract worth almost $100 million over 5-years.  Texaco claims Andretti was part of their deal with Haas (see details below).  We are not trying to take sides here, but if Texaco prevails in their lawsuit, it will cost Haas the loss of about $20 million (what's left on the contract) all because he didn't want to pay Andretti $2 million more per year.  Ouch.  And to make matters worse, because Texaco has such close ties with the Andretti's, don't be surprised if eventually they end up sponsoring Andretti in some way at Team Green, perhaps for an Indy 500 assault for starters.

11/14/00

Junqueira and Minassian oval debut rained out   Rain here on the east coast washed out the first chance that Target Chip Ganassi rookies Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian would have had to drive a Champ car on an oval (at Nazareth).  The weather forecast for Wednesday is for no rain, but it will get down into the 30's tonight.

11/14/00

CART moves closer to choosing new CEO  The search for a new Chief Executive Officer at Championship Auto Racing Teams continues with the list of contenders for the position narrowing and a selection expected to be named soon.  CART Board Chairman James Hardymon indicated today that CART has narrowed its search to identify the open-wheel sanctioning organization's next leader.  "The process of selecting the next Chief Executive Officer for CART will soon be coming to a close," said Hardymon. "We have had the opportunity to meet with several extremely qualified candidates. The list includes a number of top executives from the world of sports, entertainment and business. "We narrowed our list to a select group that the full Board met with and interviewed this past Friday. We are doing additional research on these individuals and expect to be able to make an announcement in the near future. Based on the talented pool of candidates, we are confident that the individual we choose will lead CART and its racing series to new heights in 2001 and beyond."

11/14/00

Josh Rehm wants to be the next Mario Andretti  Double Formula Dodge champion Josh Rehm made his debut in European motor racing debut at Snetterton circuit, England this weekend in his quest to be the first American to take the Formula 1 world championship title since Mario Andretti in 1978. INSIDE F1 has named rising American racer Josh Rehm as the inaugural winner of a new scheme designed to help American drivers on their way to Grand Prix racing.  Full Story

11/14/00

Both Players-Forsythe Chief Mechanics to Team Kool Green  Chief Mechanics Jeff Grahn (Carpentier) and George Klotz (Tagliani) have parted company with the Players-Forsythe team and are going to work for Team Green.  We assume at least one will be the Chief mechanic on the team's 3rd car for Michael Andretti.

11/14/00

Derek Hill F3000 Update  Derek Hill, son of American F1 Champion Phil Hill, has completed a total of six days testing with three of the leading Formula 3000 Teams during the past four weeks. The aim of the testing program has been to give Derek the chance to gain as much experience as possible with the Lola 99/50 chassis that he will race next year in the FIA Formula 3000 Championship. He has also been able to work with several teams to identify the best opportunities for Derek in the Championship. The highlight of the tests was the third fastest time in the final session at Barcelona on the 3rd of November. Derek followed this up with a very successful test at Estoril on the 7th of November with the Championship winning Petrobras Junior Team. Derek only completed the first, and slower, day of testing at Estoril. His time of 1:30.426 was the seventeenth fastest time and both the team and Derek where confident that had he driven on the second day he would have set a time in the 1:29 second region, right on the pace. " Working with the three teams, Kid Jensen Racing, DAMS and Petrobras Junior Team, has been a great experience. Each team had it's own way of working and I was able to learn a lot from each one. Now it is a matter of getting signed up with the best team we can. It is very difficult to get into one of the top teams for a first season in F3000. The Championship is one of the toughest in the world and the teams all want experienced F3000 drivers to go for the Championship. But we are talking to all the right people and are in good shape to land a strong ride for next season.  I feel that I have paid my dues here in Europe. F3000 is now recognized as the hardest championship there is for drivers. I can't wait to be on the grid in Brazil next year for the first race," Derek commented.

11/14/00

Tuesday Trivia  Honda once fielded a F1 car (and engine) as a factory effort.  When and how did it do against the more experienced European teams?  Answer:  In 1964 Honda entered F1 with a small little car called the RA271, complete with a transversely mounted V-12 engine (yes you read that correctly).  The best result that first year was a 10th starting spot at Monza and it ran as high as 5th in the race before dropping out.  In 1965, with the RA272,  they were 4th on the grid at Spa and finished 6th.  They followed that up with a 3rd on the grid at Silverstone and Zandvoort, and a 6th place finish at Monza (Ronnie Buckman).  Then Richie Ginther put it 3rd on the grid at Watkins Glen.  Momentum was building.  At the final race of the year, the Mexican GP on October 24th, Ginther drove the Honda to victory.  In less than two short years Honda went from having nothing to a F1 win.  They only won one other F1 race, Monza in 1967, before withdrawing from F1 in November of 1968 after their driver Jo Schlesser had been killed in the revolutionary RA302 at Rouen.

11/13/00

Possible replacement for downtown Vancouver?  British Columbia will finally have it's long awaited permanent motorsports facility, as Active Mountain Entertainment Corp. has been given the green flag to construct a 2.2 mile road course and .75 mile oval in Merritt, located a 2.5 hour drive from Vancouver. We tend to doubt CART would race there, however.  Story

11/13/00

CART testing at Sebring  The Sigma team will be testing at Sebring along with Newman Haas and Bettenhausen Motorsports on Friday and Saturday of this week.  We assume all teams are using their 2000 cars and have not yet received their 2001 update kits, but we could be wrong about that.

11/13/00

Roubinek and Galica to Head Skip Barber Racing Areas  Skip Barber announced the promotion of two prominent racers to oversee the broad operations of the Skip Barber Racing School and Series.   Brett Roubinek has been elevated to the new position of Managing Director of Instructors, based in the Lakeville office. Roubinek was formerly the Chief East Coast Instructor and had been providing an increased level of management support to Chief Instructor Terry Earwood for some time. He will now report to Chief Operating Officer, Darren Marshall. Roubinek will be taking a break from his duties as a NASCAR Busch North driver to assume new responsibilities for the school's planning, budget generating, management, staffing and employee evaluation. The changes are effective immediately.  The organization also has announced that, after an extensive search process, Divina Galica has been appointed Managing Director of the Regional and National Championships.   "We felt that Divina had the best combination of passion and commitment, experience and understanding of the company and the series of any of the candidates who applied for the position," said an enthusiastic Marshall.  Additionally, Mike Rand, former track manager of Lime Rock Park, has been tapped to handle Project Management for Skip Barber's construction efforts as an outside consultant.

11/13/00

A possible future CART venue?  Motor-racing at le Circuit Mont-Tremblant enters a new era as the venerable track, which has embodied the history and spirit of Canadian racing for 36 years, applies the finishing touches to an extensive renovation project that will be completed by next summer.  Full Story

11/13/00

CART names Tunheim Group PR Agency of record  Championship Auto Racing Teams announced today it has selected the Minneapolis-based Tunheim Group as its public relations agency of record.   The appointment becomes effective January 1, 2001.  "As we reviewed various PR options, it became clear that the Tunheim Group was an excellent choice to help CART build a stronger presence among media everywhere," said Ronald G. Richards, CART's group manager for corporate and marketing communications.  "Tunheim has demonstrated its PR talent over the past nine years while very effectively handling the racing PR and media relations for Target. They have worked very closely with the Chicago Motor Speedway, the Chicago Grand Prix and Target/Chip Ganassi Racing during that time. We believe Tunheim will play an integral part in helping CART grow its open-wheel presence, both here and abroad."  In its new role, the Tunheim Group will be responsible for expanding CART media relations, assisting in development of a variety of strategic PR approaches and assisting with internal communications efforts and special assignments.  "We are excited to partner with CART and expand our role within the CART series," stated Kathy Tunheim, president of Tunheim Group. "Given our past opportunities to contribute to the growing market interest in motorsports, we look forward to being part of a even more dramatic growth for the sport going forward."  In addition to working with Target, Tunheim clients include Anderson Windows, Microsoft and the Minnesota Twins, among others.

11/13/00

Baja 2000 Update  Legendary desert drivers Ivan Stewart and Larry Ragland are locked in a classic duel in the longest desert race ever held in North America, the Tecate SCORE Baja 2000, that started Sunday on the Baja California peninsula. The 1,726-mile distance, twice the length of any previous Baja off-road race, goes from Ensenada, 65 miles south San Diego, to the bottom of the peninsula at the popular resort city of Cabo San Lucas. The race started at 6 a.m. (PST) for the two-wheel vehicles and 9 a.m. for the four-wheel cars and trucks. Stewart, known as the “Ironman” for his driving performances in long off-road events, took his Toyota Tundra truck to the lead early on Sunday before relinquishing the top spot to Ragland, the defending Baja 1000 overall winner, at the 250-mile marker. The two off-road competitors then wagged a wheel-to-wheel duel that opened up an advantage over the other competitors and matched two of the biggest names in the desert sport.  The first overall finishes are expected to cross the finish line at Cabo San Lucas on Monday, Nov. 13, afternoon while entire 1,726-mile course will remain open for 80 hours for the final finishers.   No word on the status of the CART drivers in the race.

11/13/00

Monday Trivia  What's so significant about the Winton Bullet?  Answer:  In 1903 Barney Oldfield, a cigar-chomping barnstormer, raced his Winton Bullet at a then-world record 65.6 mph--the first time a car had gone a mile a minute. The site was Agricultural Park, where the Los Angeles Coliseum now sits. "Who do you think you are, Barney Oldfield?" became a stock question of someone driving too fast.  That phrase stuck until the late 1960's when the phrase "Who do you think you are Mario Andretti?" became more popular.

11/12/00

Patrick Carpentier goes under knife again  Patrick will fly to Indianapolis on Monday to have an operation on his fractured wrist. Doctors will remove the metal pieces that were put in place to help Patrick recover after an accident while climbing stairs in his new home in Las Vegas.  He is still negotiating to keep his seat at Players Forsythe Racing.

11/12/00

Sunday Trivia  How many different engines types powered the field in the 1984 CART season?  Answer:  One.  Two if you count Dan Gurney's "Pontiac powered" Eagle.  Except for Gurney's Eagle, which ran normally aspirated Chevrolet V-8's with the Pontiac nameplate, the entire field was powered by turbocharged 2.65 liter Cosworth DFX engines.  At Indy, two turbocharged stock block Buick's (Scott Brayton and Patrick Bedard) made the field aided by USAC's 57-inch Hg manifold pressure rules for turbo stock block engines.  We suppose the 2001 situation of 3 engines suppliers isn't so bad when one compares it to CART's early days.

11/12/00

New airport to greet CART teams in Berlin, Germany  Well not for awhile.  Berlin is the largest and most important city in the biggest and most important economy in Europe.  However, you still can't fly there non-stop form anywhere in the USA.  The reason - Germany's new capital, Berlin, lacks a modern airport necessary for airlines to make money.  Berlin was behind the 'iron curtain' for many years and its transportation system did not keep pace with the rest of Europe.  Instead of one true international airport , this city of 3.5 million people has three inadequate airfields.  And because the City was divided, there are no major highways or high-speed rail links to the terminal.  Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg have announced a new $2 billion Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport.  It will include new highway and rail connections.  Unfortunately for CART teams and fans, it won't be done until 2007.

11/11/00

Nigel Roebuck on Mario Andretti  Respected European Motorsport journalist Nigel Roebuck answers a readers question about Mario Andretti on Autosport.com.  After reading it you will begin to understand just how popular Mario Andretti is around the world, and why, to this day, there is no bigger, more popular name in all of motorsport.  It's worth a read by every race fan.  Americans take him for granted, the rest of the world wishes he was theirs.

11/11/00

Don't expect Bernd Schneider in CART  Although his name has come up in connection with the Zakspeed ride, don't count on it happening.  In Autosport recently Bernd Schneider was quoted as saying "Two years ago I was really close to a Champ Car drive.  I mean really close - 95% there.  Then it became complicated and it didn't happen.  I made the right decision.  If I had any doubts, then seeing what happened to Greg Moore made me completely sure that I'd done the right thing.  Honestly, I have no regrets about F1 or Champ Cars and I'm happy being in DTM."

11/11/00

Sigma hires Phil Howard from Della Penna  Sigma Autosports, the new Chicago-based CART FedEx Champcar Team which will make its debut in 2001, today named Phil Howard as Race Program Director for the team. Howard, joins Sigma after four (4) years as Team Manager at Della Penna Racing. Howard said, " I am certainly pleased to be joining Sigma and playing a part in the growth and development of a brand new CART team. I enjoyed my years working with John Della Penna and am sorry to leave the team I helped to build and wish John the best of luck. Sigma also announced that Paul Cherry will now become Sigma's Managing Director after serving as the teams Race Program Director during the formative months of the new operation. Cherry said, "Sigma is very lucky to have Phil Howard as Race Program Director at this crucial time in it's young history. Phil is an experienced and very capable leader and his effect on the team will be immediate." Sigma Autosport is located in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview near the Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero. The team will campaign as the #22 entry, a Lola-Ford combination with Brazilian Max Wilson as its driver. Sigma conducted a shakedown of the car on November 10 and now will go to Sebring for two days of testing on the 16th and 17th of November as the first of their 2001 season 16-day testing allowance.  
Pictures from Shakedown on November 10th

11/11/00

Dale Jarrett Q&A from Miami  OBVIOUSLY IT WOULD BE NICE TO END THE SEASON ON A HIGH NOTE WITH A WIN HERE OR AT ATLANTA. "Yeah, that's what we need to do is we need to learn right now for next year. We need to make sure that we're learning some things that are gonna be beneficial to us as we get ready to start the 2001 season and try to win a championship there. If we could move up in points, it would take some problems for Dale and Jeff Burton, but, hopefully, we can kind of hold our own here and get back to victory lane." WAS THERE ONE THING SPECIFICALLY THAT HURT YOUR CHAMPIONSHIP CHANCES THIS YEAR? "We were just off a little bit all year. We just never were as competitive as we needed to be. Even when we were hanging around there it wasn't like we were as good as Bobby and his team. They've just been very good all year long and they deserve to win the championship and they're gonna do that. I couldn't put my finger on one thing, we've just been off that little bit and it's kept us from being up front and leading races as much as we should.".

11/11/00

NASCAR TV Ratings strong, but dropping  After a long stretch of rising ratings, NASCAR TV ratings have dropped slightly in 2000.  NASCAR still is No. 2 in weekly season ratings (behind the NFL) but network ratings have dropped 7%, to 5.2, since last year, it's first decline in about ten years.  What's worrying some is that FOX, NBC and TBS are paying $400 million a year to NASCAR, a four-fold increase over 2000 that was paid by ABC/ESPN (and CBS and TNN).  Some think they will be in the red for at least the first several years.  NASCAR isn't worried.  in fact they are probably very happy with the deal.  It's going to take a terrific sales job by the TV networks to turn a profit and they intend to do aggressive promotion to help grow ratings.  Aggressive promotion by the TV networks will only make NASCAR that much more popular.

11/11/00

Sponsorship remains strong in CART  With news that Patrick Racing has found replacement sponsorship for Tecate and Quaker State (Both moving over to Adrian Fernandez's new team) for their 2nd car, and all but a few smaller CART teams without sponsors, it seems lack of engines, and not sponsorship is the problem in CART.  This compares to the IRL where even its biggest name, Al Unser Jr., can't keep a sponsor for more than a single year.  Tickets.com terminated their contract with Galles Racing but they were able to get Starz Super Pak and GemStar-TV Guide, associate sponsors in 2001 to step up as primary sponsor in 2001.  We wonder how long they will be around.  TV Guide dropped their sponsorship of Kevin LePage's Winston Cup sponsorship this year and, considering NASCAR's TV ratings vs. the IRL, we wonder how little money, if any, they are paying to be on the side of Unser's car.

11/11/00

Saturday Trivia  The 1962 winner of the LA Times Grand Prix for sports cars was won by a Lehigh University graduate.  Who was it?  Answer:  The winner was a young Lehigh graduate driving a Zerex Special he put together himself--Roger Penske.  It was his last full year of racing before building his financial empire. In 1963 he raced part-time a further revision of the Cooper F1 car based Zerex Special, in 1964 he drove for Chaparral Cars, and in 1965 he raced a GS Corvette.  Thirty-five years later he returned to Southern California to build the California Speedway on the dilapidated grounds of the old Kaiser steel mill in Fontana. Ontario Motor Speedway, called the Taj Mahal of Racing when it emerged from the vineyards of Rancho Cucamonga in 1970, had a brief and tumultuous history during its 10 years. Its first race, the California 500 won by 42-year-old Jim McElreath on Labor Day weekend, attracted a record 170,000. President Richard Nixon, flying over the speedway that day, was so impressed that he held a reception for auto racing personalities at the White House--the first time racing was so honored. 

 

 


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