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DATE

News (chronologically 12/5/00 to 12/10/00)

12/10/00

Sunday Trivia  Who was the first (and to our knowledge the only) race car driver to adorn the cover of Newsweek Magazine and be the feature article?  What year?  Answer:  The date was May 29, 1967.  The issue was released just prior to the 1967 Indy 500.  The driver was none other than Mario Andretti, hot off wins in the Daytona 500 and the 12-Hours of Sebring, and sitting on the pole for that years Indy 500.  You'll find it interesting to read how race car drivers were viewed with such awe back then.  Perhaps, as the author stated, it was because there was a whiff of death in the air at every race.  Click here for the full article.

12/9/00

Patrick Head thinks Montoya got too soft in CART  He told Autosport: “I don’t think it (CART) will have done him a great deal of harm. I’m sure he will have learned a lot of race craft, and strategy. “I think ChampCars is an outstanding form of racing, and anyone who is prepared to go around some of those ovals at 240mph has got to be very brave and skilful. “But to come in and win the championship in your first year as a pipsqueak… While Juan Pablo hasn’t said anything to us, I don’t think he thinks it is the pinnacle of motorsport. “Equally when we saw him at Indianapolis he had the old roll of fat around his middle, 5kg heavier than he was two years ago! I think he’s been into the hamburgers and chips. “He will have to raise his game enormously in the way that Jacques Villeneuve did.” 

12/9/00

Season Greetings from Patrick Carpentier


Patrick Carpentier's 3-piece Christmas card depicting his Laguna Seca accident.

12/9/00

NASCAR marketing machine marches on  Including this weeks special NASCAR supplement for the 2001 season, there were 17, count them 17 full-page ads for NASCAR in this weeks USA Today newspaper.  Since the end if the season the score for full-page ads in the USA Today: NASCAR-26, CART-1, F1-0.  Hello CART, Formula One; anyone home?

12/8/00

Traction Control put on hold  The World Motor Sport Council noted the unanimous recommendation of the Formula One Technical Working Group that all restrictions on the electronic control of engines and transmissions should be removed, but confirmed the decision of the Formula One Commission that the Technical Working Group should incorporate this recommendation in a package of new measures to use electronic and other means to improve safety in Formula One.   The Technical Working Group is also required to propose measures which will absolutely guarantee that there can be no additional use of electronics as an aid to competitive driving in Formula One.  Among the safety devices discussed (but not yet voted on) were a device to alert the driver to the presence of a car in front when visibility is reduced by spray, and a form of adaptive speed control for use in emergencies (yellow flag).   The Technical Working Group package will be discussed at a meeting between the FIA and the Formula One team principals on 14 February 2001 and, if agreed upon, submitted to a fax vote of the World Motor Sport Council by 1 March. If the World Motor Sport Council vote is positive, unrestricted engine electronics may be permitted as early as the 2001 Spanish Grand Prix.’ 

12/8/00

Sebring Test Times (All times unofficial) UPDATE  Each drivers fastest times have been revised from this weeks tests so far.  The latest update is for the Sigma team.  Max Wilson turned a 51.5 sec. lap yesterday, but lost the car at the carousel and bent the steering rack, ending their day early on Friday.  Still, quite an impressive time for a rookie with a brand new team.

Rank

Driver

Country

Car

Engine

Time (Sec.)

Date

1 J. Vasser USA Reynard Toyota 51.0 12/5/00
2 H. Castroneves Brazil Reynard Honda 51.2 12/6/00
3 M. Andretti  USA Reynard Honda 51.3 12/4/00
4 D. Franchitti Scotland Reynard Honda 51.3 12/6/00
5 M. Wilson Brazil Lola Ford 51.5 12/7/00
6 C. Fittipaldi Brazil Lola Toyota 51.7 11/16/00
7 R. Moreno  Brazil Reynard Toyota 52.1 11/17/00
8 S. Dixon New Z. Reynard Toyota 52.2 12/6/00
9 M. Dominguez Mexico Lola Illmor 52.3 11/17/00
10 C. da Matta Brazil Lola Toyota 52.4 11/17/00
11 M. Jourdain Mexico Lola Illmor 52.6 11/17/00
- M. Papis Italy Lola Ford No Time Avail. 12/5/00

12/8/00

Raikkonen gets F1 Super License  Finnish youngster Kimi Raikkonen has been granted an F1 Super License by FIA and will join Nick Heidfeld on the Sauber team in 2001.   FIA's decision comes despite concerns raised by some individuals that the Raikkonen did not have enough experience to make the jump into competitive Formula One racing. FIA boss Max Mosley was one of those who openly asked if it would not be better for Raikkonen to spend at least one year in either F3 or Formula 3000. 

12/8/00

Marc Hynes looking at Indy Lights or Formula Nippon  1999 British F3 champion Marc Hynes is trying to land a F1 test ride.  However, if that does not materialize his plans are to run either Indy Lights or Formula Nippon according to Autosport.

12/8/00

Rockingham construction update  


(L) Regular grandstand construction is progressing.  (R) Track surface is essentially complete


(L) Seating in the "Rockingham Building".  (R) Back side of the Rockingham Building
All pictures courtesy of Rockingham Speedway

12/8/00

Jerez Test Times (All times unofficial) The times have been revised from this weeks tests so far.

Rank

Driver

Country

Car

Engine

Time

Date

1 Coulthard England McLaren Mercedes 1:22.60 12/5/00
2 Panis  France BAR Honda

1:23.40

12/5/00
3

Barrichello

Brazil

Ferrari

Ferrari

1:23.59

12/7/00
4

Trulli

Italy

Jordan

Honda

1:24.02

12/7/00
5

Heidfeld

Germany

Sauber

Ferrari

1:24.04

12/7/00
6

Raikkonen

Finland

Sauber

Ferrari

1:24.1

12/7/00
7

Irvine

England

Jaguar

Illmor

1:24.3

12/5/00
8

Wurz

Austria

McLaren

Mercedes

1:24.5

12/7/00
9

Manning

England

BAR

Honda

1:24.5

12/5/00
10

Schumacher

Germany

Williams

BMW

1:25.05

12/7/00
11

Button

England

Benetton

Renault

1:25.06

12/5/00
12

Montoya

Colombia

Williams

BMW

1:25.4

12/5/00
13

De la Rosa

Spain

Arrows

AMT

1:25.7

12/5/00
14

Burti

Brazil

Jaguar

Jaguar

1:25.96

12/7/00
15

Sato

Japan

Jordan

Honda

1:26.22

12/7/00
16

Gene

Spain

Williams

BMW

1:27.40

12/7/00
17

Fisichella

Italy

Benetton

Renault

*no time*

12/5/00

12/7/00

Bud-Shootout renamed  The Bud Shootout, originally the Busch Clash in 1979, will be renamed the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.  The race is also being changed from a 25-lap race to 70 laps, with one required pit stop.   A green-flag pit stop will be required. Drivers will be allowed to stop under yellow periods, but one green stop is mandatory, with a minimum of two tires changed.  The race will have to finish under green, with extra laps added as necessary.

12/7/00

NASCAR eliminates 2nd round qualifying  Taking the lead of CART and F1 by going to a single day of qualifying in 2001, NASCAR announced today that 2nd round qualifying will be eliminated. The entire 43-car field for races will be set during just one round of time trials starting in 2001, NASCAR president Mike Helton announced Thursday.  The sanctioning body is making the change because fewer and fewer teams were opting in recent years to take part in second-round qualifying after failing to lock in one of the top-25 starting spots available in Bud Pole Qualifying, Helton said. Eliminating second-round qualifying should make race weekends more efficient, he said. "There's not a lot of activity around second-round qualifying any more," he said. "So it was that, in part. It's also to streamline things to be more prepared for race day."

12/7/00

Sato makes F1 debut  Japan's Takuma Sato took his first laps in a Formula One car at Jerez today.  The 23-year old dominated the closing stages of this year's British F3 championship, and has been picked up by Honda with an eye to becoming the first Japanese driver to win the world title.   "It is fantastic to have been given such an opportunity," Sato admitted, "It is a big step for me. I found the Jordan-Honda EJ10 to have lots of power and amazing downforce and braking – it is very different than Formula 3!”  See his best lap time below.

12/7/00

Will Eurospeedway get German GP? Plans are underway for the Hockenheim circuit to get a £18 million facelift that will see the circuit reduced by 30 per cent. The German Grand Prix venue is set to revise its track layout, which will see much of the forest section through the Ostkurve removed. The circuit length will be reduced from 4.2 miles to 2.7 miles. The redevelopment, which will be completed in time for the 2002 German Grand Prix, is essential for the track to renew its license next year to hold the race for the following 10 years. The motor club which owns the circuit, which received its' last major update in 1966, insists the financing is available to upgrade the track from its current 75,000 seating capacity. But if the plans fall through, the new Eurospeedway track near Berlin is ready to replace Hockenheim as the new venue for the German Grand Prix in 2002. "   Eurospeedway will host a CART race in 2001.

12/7/00

NASCAR USA Today Special Pullout  NASCAR ran a special supplement in yesterday's USA Today newspaper for the 2001 season.  Just another example of NASCAR's advertising prowess.  They win new fans even in the off-season and continue to grow, while other series go into hibernation in the winter months. 

12/7/00

FOX names NASCAR pit reporters for 2001  Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes and Matt Yocum will report from pit road during NASCAR races for Fox next season. Berggren and Byrnes most recently have worked for TBS, TNN and CBS. Yocum, who also will work for NBC and TBS, is leaving ESPN. 

12/6/00

Grant Ryley gets Toyota Atlantic ride  Chuck West, owner of World Speed Motorsports, today announced that Star Formula Mazda standout Grant Ryley will drive the team's #14 Northwest SpeedWerx/Walker Racing entry in the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship series. Ryley, 27, enters his first season of Atlantic competition with additional assistance from longtime supporters Cupertino Electric and Del Monaco Specialty Foods. "We're real excited about moving Grant up to our Atlantic program," said West, who is entering his eighth year as an Atlantic team owner. "He's proven that he can win races."  Story

12/6/00

Law in Brazil may cause country to lose F1 race  There are concerns that the Brazilian Grand Prix could be cancelled following the government's decision to outlaw tobacco advertising.  The Brazilian Congress is scheduled to vote on the measure in the next few weeks but if it is passed, such a law would violate current terms negotiated with the FIA to stage the race in Brazil.

12/6/00

Nazareth Tickets go on sale, fans can meet Mario Andretti  Nazareth Speedway is holding a special open house on Saturday, December 9 to give fans the opportunity to purchase 2001 race tickets and meet racing legend Mario Andretti.   The day will begin at 9:00 a.m. when tickets for the 2001 season go on sale. Fans can purchase racing apparel and souvenirs from Nazareth Speedway, the Andretti Line and Shook's NASCAR Racing Collectibles. Andretti will meet and greet fans from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Ryan McGlynn of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Zane Zeiner of the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series will also be on hand to sign autographs. Andretti, McGlynn, and Zeiner will also have their authentic racecars on display.   Nazareth Speedway will also raffle off racing merchandise every hour on the hour during the event. No purchase will be necessary to enter the raffle. Coffee, hot chocolate and donuts will be served for all fans courtesy of Nazareth Speedway. The day will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 2:00 p.m.  The 2001 Nazareth Speedway schedule consists of CART, (May 4-6) NASCAR Busch, (May 19-20) and The Chevy Silverado 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race (August 25-26). Tickets for the second annual Truxpo- a truck and lifestyle expo featuring monster truck racing- (September 15-16) will also be on sale.   The CART race will be the final opportunity for fans to see local hero Michael Andretti and the stars of CART at Nazareth Speedway. CART recently informed Nazareth Speedway management that its contract would not be renewed after the 2001 season.   Tickets will also be available by phone. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 1-888-629-RACE or 610-759-8800.

12/6/00

Sigma unveils new State-of-the-Art Tech Center  Sigma Autosport, the new team entry on the CART FedEx Championship announced that progress is underway on the new 60,000 square foot "dedicated technical" facility located in Bolingbrook, Illinois west of Chicago.Team Owner Tom Wieringa's new team has recently completed shakedown and inaugural testing of the Sigma Lola-Ford, and will continue testing in December.  Wieringa said "we are striving to be the best at everything that we do now and in the future. We have a great group of people at Sigma and are excited about the synergies which will evolve in working together in this new facility."Sigma Autosport is scheduled to complete in the 2001 FedEx Championship with former Williams F1 Test Driver and F3000 competitor Max Wilson (27) of Brazil.

12/6/00

Juan Montoya F1 testing update - Juan Impresses  2nd UPDATE Reports out of Spain say Juan Montoya has posted the fastest time of the day, a full second ahead of his more experienced teammate Ralf Schumacher, at Jerez proving beyond a doubt that a good CART Champ Car driver can also be good in F1 with the right car. 12/5/00 - Added times below Earlier today - Juan Montoya got his first taste of the Williams F1 car this morning in Jerez, Spain.  Montoya was able to run only a handful of laps and he spent the time becoming acclimated with his new ride. 

The car is shod with new Michelin rubber and the Michelin truck (see image to right) is now a common site in F1 again.  Montoya is expected back in the car this afternoon.  Jenson Button was also out in his new Benetton ride, also on the new Michelin rubber.  The tire war between Michelin and Bridgestone has begun.  One has to wonder what effect, if any, Firestone's SUV tire problems will have on the Bridgestone/Firestone racing program with reports that the lawsuits may drive the Firestone arm of the company into bankruptcy.

12/5/00

Tom Kristensen signs with Audi  Tom Kristensen has committed himself to Audi and the American Le Mans Series 2001. Furthermore they will defend their Le Mans-title at La Sarthe in June next year.  "I am very, very happy that Audi and I have come to an agreement. I can hardly wait to race in the States, where I have had some great experiences at Sebring (winner in 1999 and 2000) and Road Atlanta. The atmosphere in American racing is great.

12/5/00

Opportunities Opening for American Driver Phil Giebler after Winning Formula Palmer/Audi Winter Cup   American Driver Phil Giebler had a very busy November, building on his second-place finish in the French Formula 3b Championship. Besides winning The Formula Palmer/Audi Winter Cup at Brands Hatch November 19th, Phil has been testing for a variety of British Formula 3 teams. Phil's first British Formula 3 test took place the morning of October 20th, driving a 2000 Dallara for Fortec Racing at Donnington. Phil's best lap time over the thirty lap test would have put him fourth on the grid for the F3 race held at Donnington a few months earlier. November 14th found Phil testing at Pembrey, Wales for Alan Docking Racing. The rain-shorted drive impressed Docking and several other teams present. Two weeks ago Phil drove for the prestigious Jaguar F3 team (Formerly Paul Stewart Racing) at Hockenheim, Germany. The Jaguar trial was Phil's third straight test in wet conditions. Giebler was only able to put in twenty-nine laps over a two and a half hour period, due to the weather and a crowded track. Jag's newest F1 pilot Luciano Burti drove a second Stewart F3 Dallara during the test. Phil stated "I never got a clean lap during either of the sessions. The presence of DTM, Formula VW and several other sedan classes made it impossible to get any kind of a rhythm, but I'm not making excuses. I feel a little disappointed with the circumstances but loved the car and working with the team. Overall I felt like I did pretty good". Where will Giebler be racing next year? "Maybe England-Maybe France, It's too early to tell right now. Hopefully I'll know something in the next week or two".

12/5/00

Monday testing at Sebring  UPDATE Reports out of Sebring, all unofficial, have Michael Andretti fastest on the day in his new Motorola ride (see image). Wasting almost no time acclimating himself to his new team, Andretti was said to be delighted with the Honda engine.  2nd fastest was Vasser (who had a slight off-course excursion in his new Patrick Racing ride) followed by Gugelmin who was quite happy with his new Toyota engine. Unofficial reports say he was surprised out how much better it was than the Mercedes engine he had last year.  They were the only drivers out the first day.  12/4/00 - The following drivers were testing at Sebring on Monday or will be sometime this week.  No times were available at this time.

Michael Andretti - Reynard/Honda/Team Green

Dario Franchitti - Reynard/Honda/Team Green

Jimmy Vasser - Reynard/Toyota/Patrick Racing

Maurcio Gugelmin - Reynard/Toyota/PacWest

Scott Dixon - Reynard/Toyota/PacWest

Max Papis - Lola/Ford/Team Rahal

Kenny Brack - Lola/Ford/Team Rahal

Helio Castroneves - Reynard/Honda/Team Penske

12/5/00

Interesting highlights from CART President's first press teleconference

UPDATE - While yesterday's hectic activities did not allow us time to comment further on Mr. Heitzler's appointment, today we have some time to add a few additional observations.  Mr. Heitzler appears to have a genuine love for auto racing, to understand CART's problems, is very level headed, has an in-depth knowledge of TV (probably CART's biggest weakness right now), knows a lot of people in auto racing, we are told he has a 'presence' about him, and is an entrepreneur who understands what it takes to run a company, having done so with his own.  While we reserve further judgment until after his honeymoon period is over, we are optimistic that Mr. Heitzler may just be the right man for CART at a time when it very much needs a strong leader.  We are hopeful he will be the man who finally takes CART to new heights as it slowly expands into the global marketplace.

12/4/00

1. Look for CART to movie to digital TV with many more options for viewers, including you picking from a multitude of in-car TV cameras

2. He is meeting with Chris Pook for lunch this week to solicit his input.

3. He really does appear to understand sports TV production

4. He aims to significantly increase the entertainment value of CART and the visibility of its drivers

5. Recognizes the issue of sagging TV ratings and will address them aggressively.  He made a point to say that all sports TV ratings are down.  Full transcript

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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