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DATE

News (chronologically 11/24/00 to 12/4/00)

12/4/00

Did you know?  Did you know that Champ Car driver Gil de Ferran left-foot brakes for 1/2 the circuit at Laguna Seca and right-foot brakes for the other 1/2? He admits to being primarily a right foot braker, but to be able to switch from left to right on each lap is quite commendable.

12/4/00

Cristiano da Matta featured in Car & Driver  CART Champ Car driver Cristiano Da Matta is featured in the January, 2001 issue of Car and Driver Magazine.  The article describes his racing start in Brazil and why his father thought it best he move to America to further his career, and why he has no desire to race in F1.

12/4/00

Team Rahal Notes - III (Team debuts new Lolas)  Team Rahal drivers Kenny Bräck and Max Papis, fresh from vacations in their homelands (Sweden and Italy), return to the race track this week (Dec. 5-8) at Sebring, Fla., for the first tests of the team's new Ford-powered Lola chassis. For the last five years, Team Rahal has campaigned Reynard chassis in the CART FedEx Championship Series with drivers Bobby Rahal, Bryan Herta, Papis and Brack where Papis finished fifth (1999) and Brack finished fourth (2000) in points the last two years. Prior to 1996, the Rahal-owned operation ran Lola chassis from 1992 to 1995 including Bobby's winning the series title in 1992. "The new cars are very impressive," said Brack, this year's CART Jim Trueman "Rookie of the Year" in the Shell Ford. "We were able to get the cars early this winter and our Team Rahal crew has been working on these new Lolas for some time now. That is a big advantage for our team. Plus I know the CART cars now as opposed to last year when everything was new to me. We have a head start over last year." Papis, the winner of the season-opener this year at Miami in the Miller Lite Ford, was excited with the advanced work done at the Team Rahal headquarters in Hilliard, Ohio. "We are so far ahead of last year's testing right now," said Papis. "We have many new things into the cars now that we didn't get to until later in testing. Now we can utilize those parts from the start of testing. We have expanded our engineering staff to help with these parts and other components. I'm anxious to drive the Lola."

12/4/00

Team Rahal Notes - II (Max Papis fractured legs)  Max Papis' hard turn-two crash in Saturday's (Oct. 28) practice at California Speedway proved to be more damaging to the Italian driver than first thought. While Papis returned later on Saturday to qualify the Miller Lite car and actually led the 500-mile race on Sunday, it was later revealed that he had two small fractures (one in the knee and one in the ankle) in his left leg. "I worked with my doctors in Italy on rehabilitation of my leg," said Papis. "The fractures were small and I spent several weeks working on getting things back to normal. My leg is a little sore but everything going well. I'm ready to go testing this week."

12/4/00

Team Rahal Notes - I (Bobby Rahal makes instant changes at Jaguar)  Team Rahal co-owner Bobby Rahal, the new CEO of Jaguar's Formula One effort, made some sweeping changes in his first day on the job (Dec. 1) by releasing the majority of the technical staff including director Gary Anderson. Rahal and Chairman Neil Ressler appointed American Steve Nichols as technical director for the 2001 F-1 season. Nichols has been an engineer at McLaren, Ferrari and Jordan recently. 

12/4/00

Active Motorsports promotes Incandela - Active Motorsports recently named Daniel Incandela as Operations Manager. Incandela, who was previously Team Manager, joined Active Motorsports in January 2000.  “I am delighted at the opportunity to increase my input and responsibility with Active Motorsports.” Daniel said. President of Active Motorsports Malcolm Ross added, “ During the past season Daniel clearly proved that he had the creative and quality leadership necessary to make Active Motorsports on of the best teams in CART.”   Incandela is an Anthropology graduate of Indiana University and has been involved with Champ Car and Indy Light levels for many years. Jim Karsatos, partner of Active Motorsports said, “Daniel brings a history of racing and is well respected in the business. He knows what a championship team looks like and has the vision and drive to take Active Motorsports to that level and beyond.”  Active Motorsports is a Columbus based CART Toyota Atlantic racing team located on Avery Road in Dublin. Incandela said, “Our team is still relatively young and still has unlimited potential” 

12/3/00

Lights team tests at LVMS  The Regency Racing Indy Lights team tested today at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the 1.8 mile road course.  No test times were available.

12/3/00

Williams team heads for Spain for Montoya's first test  The Williams team's first test session for the 2001 season is scheduled for Dcember 5th to 7th at Jerez, Spain and the team confirmed that their transporters with three FW22B test cars is en route to Jerez.  Ralf Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya and test driver Marc Gene, will get their first taste of a Michelin tires.  A lot of Montoya's success will depend on how well the new Michelin tires stack up against the Bridgestone tires.  A lot of people think Michelin's performance will be spotty this year.

12/3/00

Sunday Trivia  Can you name any of the people in the photo to the right, and where and when it was taken?  Answer:  The driver is Mario Andretti, the year is 1963 and the track is Marlboro Raceway in Maryland.  Mario started his career and midgets and sprints in the days before roll cages.  In the picture he's in Scats Anfuso's URC Sprint car.  That's twin brother Aldo leaning on the back of the car.  When you click to enlarge, notice the guiderail on the outside of the track.  Now you understand why guys like Mario feel the recent Greg Moore and Gonzolo Rodriguez lawsuits are uncalled for.  Compared to today, the conditions these men raced under back then were horrible and a lot of good drivers lost their lives in the process.  Yet no one sued every time someone died.  They were brave men indeed.

12/2/00

Bulldozer software being used at Sears Point and Rockingham  When a decision was made to change a portion of the track at Sears Point Raceway, part of the process included how the plans were going to be finalized.  The track last was modified after the 1997 season and the chute was a result of one of the changes. The area between turns 4 and 4A and turn 7 became a sweeping grade that eliminated a prior passing zone.  That wasn't what Sears Point president Steve Page had intended to do.  "It was a pretty thorough design process. It was ongoing," Page said. "We were thinking that the changes would achieve three goals: We wanted to shorten the track for the NASCAR event so the cars would come by the fans more often; we also wanted to put more of the action in front of the fans; thirdly, we wanted to make an area of the track meant for great racing. We tinkered with the corners and the exit (of the chute) and we ended up taking away a good passing area.  "The cars go around the track more and the action happens right in front of the fans, but we still haven't achieved that racing objective."  Bulldozer, however, may have found the answer.  That's the name of a simulation program specifically designed to help the Sears Point team achieve that third objective.  Professional track architects and designers created possible renovation plans for the chute area, which were entered into the Bulldozer software and tested by several NASCAR Winston Cup drivers and crew chiefs, as well as a group of simulation drivers.  The software was created to simulate a trip around Sears Point. The difference between the games that were on the shelf of every computer store and the Sears Point version was the way the game was played and the accuracy of the track.  Bulldozer had more lifelike sound and realistic lighting, complete with a machine that duplicated the noise and vibration of a Winston Cup engine. Each driver was seated in a mock race car, wearing a helmet, and the course was an exact replica of the track.  Once the feedback was gathered, Page and company came up with a combination that seemed like it would suit the drivers as well as the track's fans. Page then took those designs back to the drivers.  Construction on the finalized version already has begun. Now, the chute's entry and exit turns will be squared off and the straightaway will be not only 100 feet longer but on level ground. This will allow the cars to have equal weight on all four tires and gain speed.  Bulldozer isn't done working, not by a long shot. Now, the program is helping another track with possible design configurations.  Rockingham, the new track in the United Kingdom, is using the software to help design the road course that will be in the middle of its oval track.  "We can come up with information in the simulation that is running about 98 percent accurate to what is really happening on the track, such as how many yellow flags the average race will have," Bob Davis said. "We can estimate lap times that are astoundingly close."  Source: Contra Costa Times

12/2/00

Quokka Sports lays off 90 people  Quokka Sports, the online media company known for its innovative coverage of adventure sports and the Olympics and CART websites, has laid off 20 percent of its workforce.  The effort is intended to cut costs after a year characterized by big spending and disappointing performance by its Olympic Web site, built in conjunction with NBC-TV.   The firm Thursday cut about 90 employees, primarily Web designers and technicians, from its staff of 460. Those jobs were made redundant by new technology and mergers, the company said.  We hear Marc Sproule may have been affected as well.  Patrick Keane, an analyst with Jupiter Communications, a market research firm in New York, said Quokka faces the difficult task of succeeding in the crowded field of online sports coverage. He added that Quokka's niche of providing complex graphics and imagery, while interesting, has had limited demand so far.   "They're fighting in a category that's pretty much saturated," Keane said. "It's a two-horse race -- ESPN and CBS Sportsline. Then there's everyone else, like Quokka."   Wall Street has been particularly tough on the company. Its stock has declined nearly 90 percent from a high of $18.75 in December to $1.75 at the close of trading yesterday. 

12/1/00

Alex Gurney to Europe  After a so-so year in the Toyota Atlantic Series, Alex Gurney is now looking for a ride in Europe in either F3000 or the German F3 series.  He still has aspirations of following in his fathers footsteps to F1.

12/1/00

John Baldwin succumbs  Panoz Motor Sports announced yesterday that technical director John Baldwin succumbed to a sudden and unexpected heart attack early Tuesday morning in Kershaw, S.C., where the team had been testing its new LMP07 prototype at Carolina Motorsports Park in its first outing on American soil. Our heartfelt wishes go out to all his family and friends.

12/1/00

Monterrey construction update  UPDATE The crews are now on overtime.  All paving should be complete by December 15th.  This link has some pictures of the paving operations and even a video driving around the partially completed track. 11/27/00 - Since starting work on August 15th, the track is finally starting to take shape.  By December 15th the grading should be complete for the track itself.  More than 150 workers are now full time on the project.  Next up are the walls and gravel traps.  The man-made lake in the interior of the track is now being lined with polyethylene.  Grading for turns 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 is complete as are the pits, paddock and turn 1.  Grading for turns 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 should be done next week.

12/1/00

2001 Provisional F1 Entry List

1 Michael SCHUMACHER (D) SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO FERRARI 
2 Rubens BARRICHELLO (BR) SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO FERRARI 

3 Mika HAKKINEN (FIN) WEST McLAREN MERCEDES McLAREN MERCEDES
4 David COULTHARD (GB) WEST McLAREN MERCEDES McLAREN MERCEDES

5 Ralf SCHUMACHER (D) BMW WILLIAMS F1 TEAM WILLIAMS BMW 
6 Juan Pablo MONTOYA (CO) BMW WILLIAMS F1 TEAM WILLIAMS BMW 

7 Giancarlo FISICHELLA (I) MILD SEVEN BENETTON (+ TBA) BENETTON - TBA 
8 Jenson BUTTON (GB) MILD SEVEN BENETTON (+ TBA) BENETTON - TBA 

9 Jacques VILLENEUVE (CDN) LUCKY STRIKE REYNARD BRITISH AMERICAN RACING HONDA BAR HONDA 
10 Olivier PANIS (F) LUCKY STRIKE REYNARD BRITISH AMERICAN RACING HONDA BAR HONDA 

11 Heinz-Harald FRENTZEN (D) BENSON & HEDGES JORDAN HONDA JORDAN HONDA 
12 Jarno TRULLI (I) BENSON & HEDGES JORDAN HONDA JORDAN HONDA 

14 Jos VERSTAPPEN (NL) ORANGE  ARROWS ASIATECH 
15 Pedro DE LA ROSA (E) ORANGE  ARROWS ASIATECH 

16 Nick HEIDFELD (D) RED BULL SAUBER PETRONAS 
17 Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (FIN) RED BULL SAUBER PETRONAS

18 Eddie IRVINE (GB) JAGUAR RACING JAGUAR COSWORTH 
19 Luciano BURTI (BR) JAGUAR RACING JAGUAR COSWORTH 

20 TBA TBA MINARDI MINARDI TBA 
21 TBA TBA MINARDI MINARDI TBA 

22 Jean ALESI (F) TBA PROST TBA PROST TBA 
23 TBA TBA PROST TBA PROST TBA

12/1/00

Texas test set for December 18th  CART has scheduled a test at the Texas Motor Speedway December 18th as part of the preparation for the inaugural Texas 600k race next April. CART president of racing operations Hal Whiteford confirmed the December 18th test in a letter to speedway general manager Eddie Gossage.   Since the race was first announced, a number of driver's have expressed concern that the track may be too fast for the open-wheel series. There were even whispers that the race would be postponed or even cancelled due to safety concerns. Of course these false rumors were dispelled immediately.

12/1/00

Friday Trivia  In what country did NASCAR King Richard Petty get his NASCAR Winston Cup (then called the Grand National Series) start?  Answer:  If you guessed somewhere in the deep south of the USA, NASCAR's roots, you guessed wrong.  Petty's debut came on July 18, 1958, two weeks after his 21st birthday in Toronto, Canada.  The day ended for him when he was unceremoniously pushed aside by the driver who eventually won, his father, Lee Petty.

12/1/00

Did you know?  Did you know that engine RPM's are pushed so far to the limit in CART Champ car engines (approx. 16,000 RPM reline) that only a 300rpm over-rev by the driver is acceptable.  Anything over 500rpm means the engine comes out of the car immediately and is shipped back for a rebuild.  In Vancouver last September, Michael Andretti went over the redline by 1,000rpm on his Ford Cosworth XF in practice.  Any damage?  Mechanics unscrewed the popoff valve to find water in the plenum chamber.  As they say, that was all she wrote!

11/30/00

Forsythe and Swift sue each other  According to Autosport, Forsythe Championship Racing team owner Jerry Forsythe and Swift have filed lawsuits against each other over the collapsed deal for Forsythe to run a Swift car this past season.  No other details were provided. 

11/30/00

As expected, CART will leave Nazareth  NAZARETH, PA -- Nazareth Speedway President and General Manager Craig Rust confirmed today that CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) will not return to the historic one-mile oval after the 2001 season.   The CART Board of Directors voted not to renew Nazareth’s contract after it expires in May, 2001. Nazareth Speedway received formal written notification of CART’s decision last week from President of Racing Operations Hal Whiteford.   “We feel we helped build a loyal, open wheel fan base in the Northeast, so we are disappointed in CART’s decision not to return to Nazareth Speedway” Rust said. “Our community is losing a great event, but we will still have an exciting schedule. We will also continue our efforts to bring other forms of world class motorsports to the Lehigh Valley.”   Nazareth Speedway has hosted a CART event since 1987, one year after former track owner Roger Penske bought the facility and turned a one-mile dirt track into a state-of-the-art, one-mile paved oval.   Nazareth Speedway hosted either a September or October event for the first eleven years, but the race was moved to the spring starting in 1996. The track has hosted CART races in September (six times), October (three times), April (three times) and May (three times). The Robert Bosch Corporation, maker of Bosch Spark Plugs, has been the title sponsor of the event since its inception and Toyota has been the presenting sponsor since 1997.   Tickets for the 15th and final CART race at Nazareth Speedway will go on sale Saturday, December 9. Tickets will also go on sale for the NASCAR Busch Series (May 19-20), the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (August 25-26) and Truxpo (September 15-16) - a truck and lifestyle expo that features monster truck racing.   “We will continue to focus our efforts on building solid motorsports entertainment for the fans,” Rust said. “Our NASCAR events have a popular following and our first annual Truxpo event in September was a huge success. We are also aggressively pursuing other motorsports series to come to Nazareth Speedway in 2002 and beyond.” 

11/30/00

Lights President Roger Bailey Update  UPDATE More good news about Roger. He was released this morning and should be home by Noon. He was seen last night and he looks and feels great.   In case you would still like to drop Roger a line, his home address is: 
8040 Tiyanoga Trail 
Clarkston, MI 48348 
If you send anything that requires a phone number for shipping, please use the Indy Lights number which is (248) 362-6200.  11/29/00 - Dayton Indy Lights President and CEO Roger Bailey is doing great in his recovery from major surgery on Monday.  As some of you know, a tumor was discovered on the upper back of Roger's right lung just prior to the Fontana race. After a few more tests over the past few weeks revealed no other problems, Roger had surgery early this past Monday morning and the mass was removed with no complications and tested benign. He is rocking through his recovery and left Intensive Care in record time Tuesday afternoon. Roger is now in his own room at St. Joseph's in Pontiac where he will remain for at least the next several days.  Roger's wife Carolyn said he is "doing great" and can't believe how quickly he heals. He can now take visitors and receive gifts although she advised that brief drop ins are best as he is still on some routine but heavy medications. Here is his address: 
St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital 
Room 489 
900 Woodward Ave. 
Pontiac, MI 48341 
Visiting hours are from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. 
A favorite florist of the family is Parsonage of Clarkston, Mich. They can be reached at 248-625-4340. 

11/30/00

Fernandez team to start testing in January  The new Adrian Fernandez/Tom Anderson Champ Car team, and drivers Fernandez and Shinji Nakano, will begin testing on January 9, 2001.  The team is busy right now getting their new shop built in Indianapolis, hiring staff, purchasing equipment and building up an entire team from ground zero.  Because the team is 100% new, they are slightly behind the more established teams in terms of getting ready for the start of the 2001 season.  The first race is March 11th, which leaves the team exactly two months to test before the cars have to be prepared and trucked to Mexico.

11/30/00

Thursday Trivia  Mario Andretti was an Indy Car driver in the mid-60's, racing only in the United States.  How was it that he was able to get his first F1 ride with Colin Chapman in 1968?  Answer:  As Mario tells the story - "My first year at Indianapolis was 1965, the year Jimmy Clark won in a Lotus, and I remember talking to Jimmy, asking him to speak to Colin about keeping me in mind for a ride sometime.  Jimmy reported back to me that Colin had said he would do just that.  I was delighted but didn't really believe it.  Then the results started coming for me.  I won the USAC/IndyCar Championship in 1965 (my rookie year) and again in 1966.  I won the Sebring 12-hour race and the Daytona 500 in 1967 and just lost my third straight IndyCar Championship that year by a few points.  I was on pole at Indy in 1966 and 1967, both times ahead of Colin's cars.  I guess I was doing more winning than anyone else at that time.  Finally, in 1968 we got to talking about it seriously and Colin offered me the third car for Monza and the Glen.  That was the Lotus 49 of course.  Man I fell in love with that car!  I'd never been in a F1 car before , but I'd thought about it so much.  It was exactly what I expected - taut, precise, and a little underpowered compared to what I was used to in USAC.  That first day I drove it during the Monza test (see picture to right) before the actual race weekend, we were quicker than Chris Amon's Ferrari, and he was pretty much top dog that year."  Mario never started the Monza race.  The FIA said he couldn't race an IndyCar dirt car, fly across the ocean and then race a F1 car the next day (Bobby Unser was to drive at Monza with Mario, but was denied for the same reason).  So Watkins Glen was his first F1 start a few weeks later, whereupon he beat Jackie Stewart for pole.  And so began Mario's F1 career driving part-time for Lotus, then Ferrari, then March, and then Vel's Parnelli - all while driving full time in the USA, racing every weekend somewhere in the world.  Finally, he drove F1 fulltime for Lotus in 1977, some 9 years after his sensational debut, but didn't win the World Championship until 1978, clinching the title at Monza, where he first drove the Lotus 49 he fell in love with some 10-years earlier, almost to the day!

11/29/00

Tickets for Monterrey GP available from Indy Car Travel  Are you a Champ Car fan looking to take a vacation and enjoy a Champ Car race? Are you a Champ Car fan that has wanted the experience of CART racing at a foreign venue? Don't know which foreign race to attend or how to get tickets? Well, Indy Car Travel has ticket and travel information for the Monterrey Grand Prix of Mexico, March 8-11, 2001 at Parque Fundidora (Fundidora Park) in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.   More (PDF)

11/29/00

Dorricott announces new driver lineup for 2001  Dorricott Racing announced Monday that it will enter three cars in the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Series. Returning 2000 Indy Lights rookie of the year Townsend Bell will be joined by two new drivers, Damien Faulkner and Jon Fogarty.  Jason Bright and Casey Mears both left the team to find Champ Car rides.  The first race is March 11, 2001 in Monterrey, Mexico.

11/29/00

Will CART or F1 get its first Indian driver?  3rd UPDATE Narain Karthikeyan was scheduled to attend a testing session on the 1st of December at Silverstone with the Jaguar team.  It has been postponed as a result of contractual problems and sources have indicated that he is expected to get another chance in the near future. He will be replaced by Luciano Burti, who'll conduct the shakedown of the interim R1B at Silverstone on Friday. 11/26/00 - Karthikeyan was in a class of his own, leading the Korea Super Prix from start to finish.  In winning Karthikeyan beat such F3 standouts as Japan's Takuma Sato and France's Jonathan Cochet, Andre Couto who won the Macau GP last weekend, and Tomas Scheckter (Jody's son) who just signed a testing contract with the Jaguar F1 team.  Some impressive company.  Like we said, who will get Karthikeyan first, CART or F1? 11/25/00 - Once again this driver has proven he may be one of the brightest upcoming stars.  Narain Karthikeyan won yet another pole position, this time for International Formula 3 Korea Super Prix. Driving a Carlin Motorsport Dallara Mugen-Honda, Karthikeyan won his second pole in a row after starting first at Macau last Sunday.  He set a best lap of 1m 10.491s in a tense and exciting session that saw the top 17 racers covered by just one second.  Karthikeyan drove faultlessly and was always at the top of the charts throughout the session. Grid (Autosport) 11/18/00 - Everyone has been making a big fuss over Japan's Takuma Sato who has been performing very well in F3.  However, there is another young driver who has been just as impressive, India’s Narain Karthikeyan.  The 23-year old driver finished fourth in the British F3 championship for Stewart Racing.  he now has been invited to shake down the new Jaguar Formula 1 car at Silverstone on Dec. 1. Yesterday, he took the pole for the 47th annual Macau Grand Prix with a record-setting lap on the famous 3.85mi street circuit.  Karthikeyan, who was second-fastest in provisional qualifying Friday with a lap at 2:15.676, topped all comers Saturday with a 2:12.887 record-setter. His teammate, Japan’s Takuma Sato, was second-fastest at 2:13.146, over tow-tenths slower.  We hear from a source in India that he would like to drive in CART or F1.  Who will get him first, and with it a lot of new fans.  The Indian population is large in the USA.  CART would be wise to keep their eyes on this young driver.  Full Story (Speedvision)

11/29/00

Wednesday Trivia  Ayrton Senna once loss a coin toss with McLaren's Ron Dennis.  What did it cost him?  Answer:  At the end of 1987 Senna was negotiating with Dennis for a 3-year contract to drive for McLaren for the first time.  During negotiations they were stuck some distance apart on his annual salary.  Dennis suggested a coin toss to settle the matter.  Senna lost and it cost him $2 million over 3 years.  Senna learned a lesson from that.  After 1990 Senna would not sign anymore than a 1-year contract.  He paid Dennis back by making him sweat on an annual basis which enabled him to set the financial agenda right through the end of his career with McLaren in 1993. By 1993, after 32 wins and 3 world championships with McLaren, he was being paid $1 million per race on a race-by-race basis, ready to walk out at any time.  That's one coin toss Dennis probably wishes he had lost!

11/29/00

Mark Cipolloni to be guest on FAN 590 Radio Show  AutoRacing1.com's Mark Cipolloni will be a guest on live broadcast with Vic Rauter today November 29th at 12:20PM on sports radio station FAN 590 in Toronto, Canada.  For those of you who don't live in southern Ontario Canada, you can tune in live to the real audio stream via the internet at www.Fan590.comMark will be on for about 10 minutes discussing the world of CART.

11/28/00

Helton named NASCAR President  Mike Helton ascended another rung higher on the career ladder Tuesday.   Helton, who as NASCAR senior vice president and chief operating officer has overseen day-to-day operation of the sanctioning body for the past year, has been promoted to president, effective immediately. Helton becomes the third president in NASCAR's 52-year history, the first without the France surname.  Full Press Release | Reactions

11/28/00

Tuesday Trivia  Ferrari star Gilles Villeneuve was killed driving a Ferrari F1 car in 1982 in Belgium. The other Ferrari driver, Didier Pironi, was injured in a serious accident at Hockenheim that same year that put him in the hospital.  He almost had to have his foot amputated the injuries were so bad.  Two lost drivers from the same team in one year.   During the weeks preceding the Italian GP at Monza there was a great deal of concern.  Ticket sales were down, the tifosi was depressed.  Then what happened?  Answer:  Mario Andretti, at the age of 42, retired from F1 and driving for Pat Patrick in CART, got the call to come out of retirement to drive in Villeneuve's place. Patrick Tambay had gotten the call for the other Ferrari seat.  At first there were doubts.  Andretti's commitment to CART was strong and Pat Patrick was reluctant.  Finally an agreement was reached and the word spread that Italian American Mario Andretti would drive a Ferrari again!   His arrival at Milan's airport had to be seen to be believed.  Playing as only he could to the vast crowd, Andretti appeared at the door of the Alitalia aircraft wearing a red Ferrari hat.  He had earned vast approval without saying a single word.  Unfamiliar with the turbo Ferrari he played himself in gently, 10th fastest during the first unofficial practice on Friday and 6th fastest in Friday qualifying.  Nearing the end of qualifying on Saturday Brabham driver Nelson Piquet was on pole with a 1m 28. 508s lap and lead Ferrari driver Patrick Tambay was only 2nd fastest. The large Italian crowd was quiet, depressed.  Then Andretti went out to give it a final go.  On his 2nd flying lap he recorded a 1m 28.473s lap, good enough for pole.  The Monza Autodrome erupted, the organizers rubbed their hands, Mauro Forghieri jumped up in the air.  It was a delightful moment for a team and a nation that had their fair share of sorrow in 1982.  The much younger Patrick Tambay could merely smile and shake his head, "beaten by the old man" he said.  Andretti didn't start driving in F1 fulltime until he was 35 years old, unheard of in F1.  He was that good, so good in fact, the first time he ever drove a F1 car he put the thing on pole (Lotus 1968, Watkins Glen).  Now, at the ripe old age of 42, he had done it again!

11/27/00

Alex Garcia returns to cockpit with Indy Regency Racing  After a year away from racing Alex Garcia returned to the sport testing with Indy Regency Racing at Button Willow East in preparation for the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights season. "I am very happy with my first test in the Indy Regency Racing Indy Lights car,” said Garcia. Full Story

11/27/00

Ashmore leaves Reynard for Players team  UPDATE Team Player's continued its preparations for the 2001 CART season today by hiring Bruce Ashmore, a former Reynard executive with extensive experience in engineering, as the team's technical director.   Ashmore, who has worked in the motorsport field since 1978, will oversee the overall engineering operations for the two cars - driven by Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani - that Team Player's fields in the FedEx CART Championship.  "The CART series is expanding, the competition is getting stronger, and the battle between all the manufacturers is a real war, and I wanted to get back into that battle," said Ashmore, a native of Cambridge, England, who currently resides in Zionsville, Indiana. "Race cars were what got me into the business and being directly involved with a racing team is like going back to my roots."  Ashmore, who last year was named the president of Reynard North America, joined Reynard in 1994 and played an instrumental role in helping to establish and build a number of Reynard-chassis teams in the CART series. The Reynard Indycar won the Indy 500 in 1995 and was the CART champion six straight years between 1995-2000.  Prior to his tenure with Reynard, Ashmore was the chief designer for Lola in the company's Champ Car project in the late 1980s. Lola went on to win the Indy 500 in 1990 and CART championships from 1990-93.   "Team Player's is determined to do everything it can to produce a winning organization, and Bruce certainly fits into that plan," said Neil Micklewright, Vice-President of Operations for Team Player's. "In a series as competitive as CART, you're constantly striving to come up with that extra edge that will put you over the top. Bruce's considerable knowledge and expertise and his track record of success in motor sports are definite assets for Team Player's."  Ashmore said he has always had a great deal of respect for the partnership of Player's and Gerry Forsythe and their strong commitment to winning. He is also impressed by the Team Player's driver duo of Carpentier and Tagliani.  "I've always liked Patrick. I think he's a good technical driver," remarked Ashmore. "And Alex has raw talent and he showed as a rookie this year that he can be right up there."  Team Player's begins its off season testing program on Dec 19-20 at Sebring in Florida. Earlier Today - Reynard Motorsport today announced that after seven years with the Company, Bruce Ashmore, President of North American Operations, leaves to join one of the top Champ Car Teams as Technical Director. Bruce was instrumental in establishing Reynard in the US CART Series and has provided the UK based race car constructor with considerable experience and expertise in this Championship. Last year Ashmore was appointed President of North American Operations, but now wants to return to technical development and direct involvement with a team. Reynard Motorsport Chairman and CEO, Adrian Reynard, said "I want to thank Bruce for all his energies over the last seven years and wish him well with his future plans. I am sure he will continue pushing Reynard for technical improvement -but from a new perspective". "Jeff Swartwout will take over Bruce's responsibilities as Head of Operations at Reynard North America," adds Reynard. "Jeff has been with Reynard since 1994 and has built up a strong rapport with all of our Teams, always wishing to provide them with the best service available. Dave Pitchforth will assume overall responsibility as Head of the Auto Research Center (ARC) facility, Reynard's wind tunnel and 7 post test rig facility located in Indianapolis."  Pitchforth, who joined Reynard in 1997, has played a vital role in the success of the ARC, where many CART teams run aerodynamic and suspension dynamic rig test programs. In recent months, he has also been responsible for setting up a new ARC facility in Mooresville NC. Dave is an experienced engineer with immense knowledge of the Champ Car project, through his previous career in rig test engineering and data acquisition, and is well suited to assume this post, especially with the current on-track test restrictions. 

11/27/00

Several racing publications go under  UPDATE "On Track" will have it's final issue on December 31. There after, it will be an online publication still edited by Jon Gunn. The new format will feature race analysis, images, articles, etc. quite likely in the same format as "Speedvision.com" ("IRace").  As for "Racer", our source says that any rumor about a takeover from Haymarket is unsubstantiated. Contacts at "Racer" say they are unaware of any such rumors. 11/24/00 - Is it the internet?  NSSN reports that On-Track has reportedly ceased publication, Championship Racing Magazine already announced they were closing up shop, both Inside NASCAR and NASCAR Magazine are on the block and now comes word that Racer Communications may be bought by England based Haymarket Publications which means both Racer and Champ Car will be owned by the same company that publishes Autosport.  Reports are that subscriptions are down since many fans now stay up to date with news from the internet which is much more immediate.

11/27/00

Tickets go on sale at Rockingham  Tickets went on sale today for the CART race in Rockingham, England.  Race day ticket prices range from about $110 to $145 for regular grandstand seating, and about $220  seating in the main Rockingham grandstand.  Full press release.

11/27/00

Meet Tora Takagi  UPDATE  We hear that Walker Racing MAY announce their 2001 CART plans later this week. 11/1/00 - Since it looks like Tora Takagi will be racing for Walker Racing in CART next year (see Rumors page), we thought you might like to know a little about him.  In 1999 he replaced the experienced Mika Salo in the Arrows F1 team. His best finishes were a 7th and an 8th.  He consistently was on pace with or out qualified his teammate Pedro de la Rosa that year.  Takagi started as the Tyrell test drivers before securing one of the Tyrell seats for 1998. In that season his best was two 9th places but showed talent in a difficult car, constantly out-performing his teammate Ricardo Rosset.  He is single and was born in Shizuoka, Japan.

11/27/00

Monday Trivia  Did Champ Cars ever run at Dover Downs Speedway in Delaware?  Answer: Yes, in 1969, Art Pollard won in an STP sponsored Plymouth after all the leaders crashed out of the race.  The transition from the straight to the turns was such that the cars would bottom out sending the car into the wall. Many cars wrecked because of this.  All the drivers said they were never coming back, and they never did.

11/27/00

200+ average at Rockingham  Computer simulations by both Lola and Reynard predict that the average speed by the CART Champ Cars at England's 1.5-mile low banked Rockingham track will be just over 200 MPH.  With no real long straights, we think to top 200 will depend on what wing package CART chooses for 2001 at that track.  50,000 spectators are predicted the first year.  For safety reasons the track chose not to sell more tickets the first year.

11/27/00

30 car grids for CART in 2001  Based on what we know right now, and as listed on our 2001 Silly Season page, it appears very likely that CART will have 30 cars on the grid at each race next year.  There is an outside chance it will go to 31 or 32, but we doubt it.  Given the limited number of pit stalls at some tracks, 30 is probably an ideal number.

11/26/00

Bruton Smith and ISC to team in NY/NJ?  According to an article in today's NJ Star Ledger Newspaper, the Meadowlands site is still a possibility for a track.  The article even says Speedway Motorsports and ISC might team together if that's what it takes to get the track built.  They both view the NJ/NY market that important to them.  CART and F1 view the NY market as important as well.  Who will win the race to be there first?

11/25/00

Did you know?  Recent reports over the number of American viewers who watched the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis on television in September were not that impressive, but IMS Vice President Fred Nation was not that surprised.  “We would not expect the ratings for the Formula One race to be anything anyone would turn cartwheels over,” He said.  The race only drew an overnight share of 4.7% for the delayed broadcast, equating to only 43,000 viewers and the live telecast could only manage a 3.4% share. “We would have liked the ratings to be higher, and we thought it would be.” Said a television-broadcasting manager.

11/25/00

Saturday Trivia  Did the winged Plymouth Superbird ever win the Daytona 500?  Answer:  Yes, in 1971 Pete Hamilton, driving for Petty Enterprises, won the Daytona 500 in the Petty Blue car.  Although drivers like Richard Petty and Bobby Isaacs (winged Dodge) were favored to lead the way, it was rookie Pete Hamilton who took the victory.  Hamilton was the second Yankee to win NASCAR's biggest event.  Mario Andretti was the first in 1967.  Both victories did not go over to well with the then predominately southern NASCAR crowd.

11/24/00

Tony Stewart wins Turkey Night GP  NASCAR Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart won the 60th "Turkey Night Grand Prix" at the Irwindale Speedway Thursday evening--the final event of the 2000 MCI WorldCom Midget Car Series.   Stewart, a former two-time series champion, led the first 38 and the final 26 laps of the 100-lap race to score the win. In between he was challenged by newly crowned national champion Kasey Kahne, who led laps 39 - 74. The win meant more to Stewart than some might have guessed.   "I've waited 365 days for this," Stewart commented after climbing from his car.  "You wouldn't think a full-time Winston Cup driver would even think twice about this but it's all I thought about since last year."  The race may have commanded much of his attention throughout the year, but it was Kasey Kahne he had to think about during this race.  "I was not the fastest car tonight, especially when my fuel got low," Stewart admitted. "I really didn't think I could catch Kasey after he got by me and stretched out his lead. On the final restart, I dove low to get out of the oil dropped in the upper groove and got a bite. I got by Kasey who was spinning his tires in the oil and was able to hold on. My only chance to get him was to miss the oil and it worked."  Kahne held on to finish second ahead of Coors Light Silver Bullet Series champion Tracy Hines, former champion Jason Leffler and Michael Lewis.  Be sure to catch the evening's action on ESPN2 this Sunday night at 10 p.m. Eastern.

11/24/00

CART looking at new road course in Alabama  The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum announced plans to build a new museum and road racing track in Birmingham, Alabama.  The Barber Motorsports Park, a $33 million investment, will be largely financed by the museum, with infrastructure assistance from governmental entities. The museum and 2.4-mile road racing track should take 18-24 months to construct, and should be in operation in 2002.  We hear CART is taking a look at the track.  "We want to do this project for several reasons," said George Barber, the museum's founder. "First, we have the largest, and we think the best, collection of motorcycles in the Western Hemisphere, and we want to show them off properly. The new museum and track will display them, both standing still and moving. Second, we expect the museum and road racing track to be a major tourist attraction. We hope to bring in 125,000 people the first year of operation, and many of those people will be out-of-towners who will stay in hotels and eat in local restaurants. Third, we want to provide additional recreational opportunities for people in Birmingham and Alabama. A world-class motorsports museum and road racing track will help do that."  We think the location is ideal. We're close to downtown Birmingham and the airport, adjacent to Interstate 20, and close to Interstates 65 and 59. We're between Mercedes and Honda, both of whom have a great tradition of road racing. We're also between the Mercedes Museum and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame Museum at Talladega, so we form a trio of motoring museums along I-20," said Jeff Ray, the museum's Executive Director.  The site is bounded on the west by the Cahaba River, and plans are to be environmentally proactive by establishing a substantial buffer along the riverbank. Between the buffer and track will be large, wooded camping areas. The stretch of the Cahaba River bordering the site will stay undeveloped and scenic. A canoe launch site with public access is also planned.


(L) Site Plan (C) Track layout, (R) Elevation changes

11/24/00

Several racing publications go under  Is it the internet?  NSSN reports that On-Track has reportedly ceased publication, Championship Racing Magazine already announced they were closing up shop, both Inside NASCAR and NASCAR Magazine are on the block and now comes word that Racer Communications may be bought by England based Haymarket Publications which means both Racer and Champ Car will be owned by the same company that publishes Autosport.  Reports are that subscriptions are down since many fans now stay up to date with news from the internet which is much more immediate.

11/24/00

CART's Ron Richards has Kidney surgery  We were saddened to hear that CART's Director of Communications, Ron Richards, recently underwent surgery to remove a kidney.  AutoRacing1.com wishes Ron a speedy recovery, expected to to 6 to 8 weeks.

11/24/00

Penske team definitely going to the Indy 500  The news that Team Penske will enter two cars in the 2001 Indy 500 is really no secret.  They will enter and it will be without Marlboro as a sponsor (due to tobacco legislation laws Marlboro can't sponsor cars in two different American series).  The announcement may be made before Christmas.  CART's elimination of in-season testing will free up the team to test and prepare their IRL cars for the race.  They have tested both a Dallara and a G-Force at Indy and will pick one or the other before the season.

AutoRacing1.com exclusive - new RIO layout  The image at the right shows the new layout of the RIO circuit which will use portions of the existing oval and the existing road course.  For the most part, the Champ Cars will use about 3/4 of the existing front straight of the oval with the rest of the new circuit using portions of the road course.  We hear Emerson expects a crowd of 80,000 in 2001.

 

 


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