Hot News

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.  

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DATE News (chronologically 1/1/01 to 1/18/01)
Montreal track will be modified for CART UPDATE The following are items were discussed at the press conference. The Montreal race will run at the G. Villeneuve circuit in August 2002, date yet to be determined, and there is a five year contract for this race. Per J. Heitzler there is still on-going dialogue regarding the Vancouver race for 2002 and that the addition of the Montreal race should not be considered a replacement to Vancouver. They discussed with FIA regarding the circuit layout and as it stands today it is too early to tell whether any modifications will be needed for the Champcars to run at this venue. They will determine within the next 3-6 months if any changes will be required. When asked whether they were concerned with the comparison between CART and F1 they said that their major concern was to provide the best motor racing in the world and have a configuration that would allow the Champcars to perform there best. Discussions for the Montreal race have been going on for 5-6 mos. In the first 5-6 years Vancouver's sales were on an incline however, during the last two years sales have declined slightly. The capacity at the Montreal race sits 80,000 in the grandstands and 10,000 in hospitality/general admission. There is a covenant on how to select race cities and J. Heitzler has not had a chance to review the issues associated with it. Ticket prices at the Montreal race will be similar to the Vancouver and Toronto race. CART will require a lot more room for equipment/transporters because their large transporters will bring the cars in, whereas with F1 the cars and equipment are flown in. Earlier Today Later today an announcement will be made regarding CART adding a race in Montreal. We are told to expect the announcement to say the track will be a modified version of the F1 track. Julie Andre Full Story
Ganassi will defend Indy 500 title  Chip Ganassi and Mike Hull let it be known that they have ordered two new cars (G-Force) for this years Indy 500 and will enter the race with his two new rookie drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian. MC
Comments on 2001 CART engines  Cristiano da Matta commented today that there is a significant difference in the way a 2000 engine performs at 37" of boost vs. the new 2001 Toyota engines. Steve Levinson
New CART Rock & Roll band  A new CART Band has been formed and will play at 6 events this year.  Patrick Carpentier will be on drums, Cristiano da Matta and Kenny Brack on Guitar.  They are looking for a Bass player and a lead singer. Steve Levinson
Fittipaldi turns 30  Christian Fittipaldi turns 30 years old today.  Happy Birthday Christian from all of us at  Today Christian said he is 100% comfortable with the HANS device on ovals but not on road courses yet. Steve Levinson
Food for thought, shakeup in Detroit about to happen?  UPDATE Upon closer inspection of the GM thing, we have learned that DirectTV is part of GM Hughes. Worse, its capitalization is only $23 billion, compared with a rumored $40 billion bid from News Corp. The car division still has a market capitalization of $29.6 billion, which is separate. But while the numbers are different from what we'd originally suggested to you, the idea is the same. If News Corp. were to buy DirectTV, GM would still have a lot of cash to reinvest. GM could, of course, take News Corp. stock, but that isn't always the wisest thing for the buyer or the seller. It would be better for GM just to keep the thing instead of selling it, if that is the case. And News Corp. wouldn't want to have GM as its largest shareholder. Still - and this is probably the most important part about this rumor - it appears the market does not believe any deal is going to happen. If it did, 
we would have seen Hughes' market capitalization rise significantly, to at least $40 billion, over the last couple of days.  01/16/01 - As of the close on Friday, GM's total market capitalization was all of $29.9 billion. It was reported today by the Financial Times that Rupert Murdoch is going to bid $40 billion for DirecTV, the US satellite broadcaster. DirecTV, is controlled by General Motors. Doesn't speak well for the auto biz, now does it? Still, a $40 billion influx of cash will likely force GM to do something quickly - something like buying DaimlerChrysler or returning a huge chunk of cash to shareholders. Our guess is that they will have a big one-time return of capital - say around $10 to $20 billion which will be taxable as capital gains, if we remember my tax accounting correctly - with the remainder going toward some sort of rash acquisition. Regardless of what happens, it may very well stir things up in Detroit. Mark Cipolloni
Villeneuve crashes in Jerez  Jacques Villeneuve's new year started off on a disastrous note when he crashed his BAR03 due to suspension failure. The 1997 World Champion is unhurt and BAR is now investigating the cause of the failure. Villeneuve completed 44 laps but was off the pace, setting the day's slowest time. His teammate Olivier Panis, covered 59 laps in the BAR02 and was second fastest. Testing times, Wednesday: 
1) Luca Badoer, Ferrari F200/Bridgestone, 1:22.790 
2) Olivier Panis, BAR02/Honda/Bridgestone, 1:22.830 
3) Kimi Raikkonen, Sauber C20/Petronas/Bridgestone, 1:23.710 
4) Jacques Villeneuve, BAR03/Honda/Bridgestone, 1:24.730 
Irvine gets new race engineer  Prost's Humphrey Corbett is to join Jaguar as driver Eddie Irvine's race engineer for the 2001 season when contract negotiations are finalised with the Milton Keynes-based team.  Englishman Corbett is currently Jean Alesi's race engineer with Guyancourt-based Prost but has agreed to join Jaguar to replace Robin Gearing, who left along with Gary Anderson as part of chief executive officer Rahal's reshuffling. A Jaguar spokesperson said: "We can't confirm any deal as of yet but obviously Robin Gearing has yet to be replaced and we are in negotiations for a replacement."  Corbett has been with Prost since 1996 and has worked as a race engineer for Pedro Diniz, Shinji Nakano, Olivier Panis, Jarno Trulli and Alesi. He worked with Roland Ratzenberger at Simtek when the Austrian driver was killed in action at Imola in 1994.  

Pennzoil fan-favorite award  - Pennzoil, maker of America's No 1-selling motor oil for the past 15 years, has extended its co-presenting sponsorship of ESPN's ESPY Awards by activating the Fan Favorite Athlete Award, which, for the first time, allows consumers to select their favorite athlete of the year. Voting will take place at AutoZone stores across the country and through an tie-in, where fans can cast their votes on-line. The nominees for the Fan Favorite Athlete Award presented by Pennzoil were selected through an online nomination vote conducted last November on that narrowed the initial list of athletes to the following candidates: Vince Carter (basketball), Mia Hamm (women's soccer), Derek Jeter (baseball), Marion Jones (track & field), Anna Kournikova (tennis) and Tiger Woods (golf). Voting at participating AutoZone locations will continue through Jan 30th; voting on will continue through Feb 5th. The winner of the Fan Favorite Athlete Award will be presented during the ESPY Red Carpet Special that airs at 8 pm ET on Monday, Feb 12th, followed by the ESPY Awards at 9 pm.  The ninth annual ESPY Awards will be aired live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be hosted by Samuel L Jackson. 
TMG Named Global Master Licensor to Mo Nunn Racing  - TMG USA, Inc., whose parent company represents an array of top-level motorsports properties around the world, has been named the official Global Master Licensor to Mo Nunn Racing.  Full Story
Michael Krumm and Garcia Jr. to drive for the PRG Team  At the Team PRG press conference today, both Luiz Garcia Jr. and Germany's Michael Krumm (right) were present.  Although the team has not officially signed all their sponsors, they are relatively confident they will all be in place before the season begins.  The 30-year-old Krumm comes to FedEx Championship Series competition with more than 15 years of experience in international formula car and GT racing, and will pilot a Phoenix-powered Reynard chassis. Team PRG is co-owned by Andreas Leberle and former Champ Car competitor Christian Danner, both German natives. "With the CART series expanding its schedule to include races in England and Germany this year, and our team being European-owned between Danner and myself, this has opened up a lot of doors for us," Leberle said. "It's a little bit late in the game for this to be coming together, but we think the expansion to two cars will elevate both of our drivers because they will be able to share technical information. With testing being limited by the rules in CART this year, running two cars is more important than ever."
Championship Racing Magazine back in business  Championship Racing Magazine is back under new ownership for the 2001 racing season.  Ned Wicker sold the publication to Todd Meissner, owner of G-Publisher of Pewaukee, Wisconsin.
Globalstar announces partnership with Sigma  Globalstar, the global mobile telephone service, announced that it has established a technical partnership with the Sigma Champ Car team.  More information can be found about Globalstar at their website.
Mexico expects big crowds  In today's press conference for the Monterrey, Mexico GP they let it be known that 70,000 tickets have already been sold and they expect 120,000 with General Admission sales.  They are very concerned with crowd control, hence the first year they are limiting attendance to 120,000 on race day.  Someone said even with that to expect 20,000 additional fans left outside wanting to get in who can't.  CART should have more races like this.  They also said the construction is on schedule and the track will be ready. Story
Two CART drivers to participate in IROC in 2001  2nd UPDATE  The 2000 CART FedEx Series Champion, Gil de Ferran and The 2000 CART FedEx Rookie of the Year, Kenny Brack will participate in the 25th running of the True Value IROC series. de Ferran and Brack's invitation acceptance brings the field of 12 to six open wheel drivers versus six stock car veterans.  De Ferran and Brack pose with Les Richter in picture to right.   They join previously announced IRL drivers, Buddy Lazier, Scott Goodyear, Eddie Cheever, Jr., and Mark Dismore. Also previously announced were NASCAR Cup drivers, Bobby Labonte, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd and NASCAR BGN, Jeff Green. 2001 will mark de Ferran's first True Value IROC series. Brack was unable to compete in the 2000 True Value IROC series due to scheduling conflicts. Brack's True Value IROC debut came in 1999 for his IRL Championship. The 25th anniversary season of the True Value IROC series begins on February 16 with race one at Daytona International Speedway. The race will be broadcast on ESPN Sunday, February 18 at 5:00pm/et.  1/7/01 - We are hearing the two CART drivers will be Gil deFerran and Kenny Brack.  The full 12-driver field will consist of 6 NASCAR drivers, 4 IRL drivers and 2 CART drivers. 1/4/01  Although no CART drivers participated in the 2000 IROC series because of scheduling conflicts, IROC officials report that CART drivers have been invited again this year and two have indicated they will participate.
Derek Hill to drive for DAMS F3000  It appears that DAMS will be running Kristian Kolby and Derek Hill in their F3000 team next year. A report at SportsYa! reveals that the pair were sent by Jean-Paul Driot's squad to Interlagos in Brazil to learn the circuit ahead of the first International F3000 round in March. DAMS hired a Dallara SudAm F3 chassis from Augusto Cesario (Cesario Formula) to give the drivers a taste of the Sao Paolo track. Dane Kolby was 
believed to have already been under contract with DAMS for a second season, while Italian F3000 graduate Hill tested for the team along with others over the winter. Derek is the son of 1961 F1 champion Phil Hill. (source unofficial F3000) 
CART responds to stock analyst report  In view of the unusual activity in the stock of Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc., the New York Stock Exchange has asked us to put out a statement.   Yesterday a report was issued by A.G. Edwards, in which they lowered their rating of Championship Auto Racing Teams to "maintain", "due to uncertainty in regards to our ISL sponsorship guarantee. Championship Auto Racing Teams, President and CEO, Joe Heitzler states: "Although we are in discussions with ISL, it is premature to comment on the outcome of these discussions or the effect of ISL's management changes and other sports property renegotiations on cart's revenues and marketing plans. We will continue to have discussions with ISL in an attempt to resolve this matter." 
Scott Dixon announced as 2nd PacWest driver  In one of the worse kept secrets, PacWest made it official today, Scott Dixon will drive the 2nd PacWest car in 2001.  Story  The team also made it official - they will use Toyota engines. Story
Marlboro to be on Penske cars at Indy  Tim Cindric of Marlboro Team Penske stated in today's press conference that Marlboro will be on the cars at Indy, but not at Phoenix, which the team will also enter as a tune-up to the 500.

Attention readers  Much of the news that used to be posted on this Hot News page is now being posted on the CART, NASCAR and F1 pages directly, including recent test time..  Hot News will still be posted here, but only if it is a paragraph or two in length.  Otherwise refer to our pages dedicated to each series.
EU Threat to Motor Sports  The first comprehensive, government-backed study of Britain's flagship motor sport industry has found it to be more than three times bigger than previous estimates.   Its 2,400 core companies contribute almost £5bn ($7.5bn) annually to the UK economy and employ directly more than 40,000 people. According to the study, undertaken jointly by Birmingham and Newcastle universities and Henley and Cranfield management colleges with Department of Trade and Industry backing, the industry also contributes more than £2.2bn a year to export earnings.   However, the industry faces a unique threat from European Union legislation. Both the study and senior executives within the Motorsport Industry Association that commissioned it, say the EU working time directive limiting permissible working hours clashes fundamentally with the innovative and entrepreneurial ethos that has led to the UK industry's world-leading position. Full Story.
Carpentier live chat  Patrick Carpentier will take part in a live chat on the team’s website at at 7:00 p.m. ET as part of the activities in conjunction with CART’s Sneak Preview event.
Inclement weather wipes out Monday's test at Fontana  Inclement weather in Fontana, California, has forced the cancellation of Monday’s scheduled testing session of Team Player’s driver Alex Tagliani and the Target Ganassi drivers.
Eurointernational USF3 team to test Italian driver  Eurointernational Inc. will test a young driver selected by the Lazio Region Department of the Italian Karting Federation (FIK), which will support the program, in one of its USF3 cars. The driver, age 16-18, with residence in the Region of Lazio, Italy, will be selected during the 2001 Karting Season by a Committee created by the Regional Department of FIK and will take part in USA to a complete testing program, free of charge, with the Eurointernational 's Dallara VW USF3.  "Today's announcement" said Owner Antonio Ferrari " is a very important step for help young drivers to show their talent with a very competitive Dallara F3 race car, after years of karting experience. This test in the USA will also bring that international exposure needed for further racing plans; our final goal will be to test a selected driver that will be in our USF3 car for the 2002 season."  Italian F1 drivers Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella came from Karting to F3 into F1, running the same karting tracks where the 2001 FIK selected driver will be chosen.  "For Lazio FIK Department this test is an incredible incentive for our young drivers" said Roberto Sardelli, Responsible for FIK in the Lazio Region" FIK is supporting this program and we hope to select a driver that will continue the great racing tradition of our sport. Thanks to Eurointernational for make this possible."  Eurointernational Inc. will compete in the 14 race  2001 USF3 Series with two new Dallara F301 powered by VW.  They remain unbeaten after seven wins in a row last season with Luciano Gomide.  American John Antonino, from Bakersfield, California, has already been announced as one of the drivers for the 2001 USF3 Series and likely will announce Luciano Gomide once again for 2001 racing program around February 1, 2001.
Ilmor engines renamed  After Mercedes dropped its CART engine program everyone assumed no one would use the Ilmor designed engines in 2001, and it was a mystery what they would be called if they were used.  Now comes word that the engines will be called Phoenix-Ilmor's and be used by the Barry Brooke/Arciero team (1) and two for the expanding PRG team.
Drivers eligible for Bud Shootout on February 11th at Daytona

Geoffrey Bodine TBA 
Jeff Burton Ford Roush Racing CITGO Superguard.
Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing Goodwrench Tools.
Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet Dale Earnhardt Inc. Budweiser.
Bill Elliott Dodge Ray Evernham Motorsports Dodge Performance.
Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports DuPont.
Dale Jarrett Ford Robert Yates Racing UPS.
Bobby Labonte Pontiac Joe Gibbs Racing Interstate Batteries.
Terry Labonte Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports Kellogg's.
Mark Martin Ford Roush Racing Pfizer/Viagra.
Jeremy Mayfield Ford Penske Racing Mobil 1.
Ted Musgrave TBA .
Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Andy Petree Racing Oakwood Homes.
Steve Park Chevrolet Dale Earnhardt Inc. Pennzoil.
Ricky Rudd Ford Robert Yates Racing Texaco Havoline.
Ken Schrader Pontiac MB2 Motorsports M&M's.
Mike Skinner Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing Lowe's.
Tony Stewart Pontiac Joe Gibbs Racing Home Depot.
Rusty Wallace Ford Penske Racing Miller Lite.

Texaco and Newman Haas settle lawsuit  Texaco/Havoline and Newman/Haas Racing confirmed today the resolution of a contract dispute regarding Texaco/Havoline's sponsorship of the Newman/Haas Racing team in the CART FedEx Championship Series. Texaco/Havoline will continue its sponsorship through 2002. Terms of the agreement are confidential. Commenting on the announcement, Michael T. Hargrave, Director of Sponsorships for Texaco, noted, "Texaco is pleased to have the matter resolved and we look forward to continuing our long established relationship with Newman/Haas Racing with our new driver, Cristiano da Matta and our associate sponsorship of Christian Fittipaldi's car." Carl Haas, co-owner with Paul Newman of Newman/Haas Racing, said "We are delighted that we have completely settled the misunderstanding between our team and Texaco/Havoline. Texaco has been an important sponsor of Newman/Haas since 1988 and we are pleased they will be continuing as our co-sponsor."
Jaguar team threatened with lawsuit   Northampton-based electronics company Vodac have threatened to sue Jaguar for a £600,000 unpaid bill, it emerged on Sunday. Vodac were in charge of telemetrics within the team up until last season and also made high-tech steering wheels for the Milton Keynes-based outfit. Steve Taylor, chief-executive of Vodac, admitted his company had worked for Jaguar's parent company Ford for fourteen years, supplying electronics for Cosworth, as well as the Stewart racing team. But Ford passed the running of electronics over to Cambridge-based Pi Developments last year while Vodac continued to work as normal. Taylor said that he made sixteen steering wheels for Jaguar last season and was asked to rebuild equipment at a few hours' notice, but didn't receive a payment for £606,000 after giving a bill to Pi. "We've been left high and dry," said Taylor, in the Independent on Sunday. "They...left us in a position that we cannot find alternative work for next season." 
Rockingham Motor Speedway construction update

Paddock paving is nearly complete (L).  North end of main grandstand looking north (C).  Roof supports completed on part of the main grandstand (R).

Turn 4 banking is evident (L).  Turn 4 grandstand (R)
Photos courtesy of Rockingham Motor Speedway


George Bush really is a friend of Auto Racing   As a follow-up to a recent story we ran here on titled "President-Elect George Bush is a friend of Auto Racing", comes word that President-Elect George W. Bush has invited Speedway Motorsports Chairman Bruton Smith and Texas Motor Speedway General Manager Eddie Gossage to the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20.  Smith and Gossage will attend the inauguration to witness the swearing-in ceremonies of the former Texas Governor. They will also attend a "Black Tie & Boots Ball" honoring Bush the evening before the inauguration. Smith and Gossage will view the Presidential Parade following the inauguration from a balcony along the parade route as guests of the Vinson & Elkins law firm and then will attend one of the inaugural balls.  "President-Elect Bush has been very enthusiastic about his support of Texas Motor Speedway since we started," said Smith. "He attended our 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup event, his first exposure to our sport and thoroughly enjoyed his visit. He met with several drivers, team owners and crew members, but specifically wanted to meet Texas’ own Bobby and Terry Labonte."  Smith and Gossage have met with Bush at the then-Governor’s office on several occasions since 1995 as they built the speedway, which is the second-largest stadium in the world.  "It will be an exciting moment for both of us and a great honor for Texas Motor Speedway," said Smith. "After all, Texas Motor Speedway is called `The Great American Speedway.’ What is more American than attending the inauguration to see a friend take the oath of office as the new President?"
Greg Moore film in the works   Work has begun on the development of a special commemorative TV documentary and video to be produced for the Greg Moore foundation by Molstar Sports and Entertainment in cooperation with CART and Canada's sports network, TSN. The TV documentary will air internationally around the start of the 2001 
CART racing series with video sales at all CART races next season, on line and via other distributors to be named.  All net proceeds from the TV documentary and video will go to the Greg Moore Foundation. 
Stefan Mücke to run another year of German F3   Stefan Mücke was being seriously considered for a ride with the rumored Hartmann/Swift team.  However, in the end the sponsors did not materialize and the owners decided that at 19-years old, he was too young for Champ Cars.  Therefore, he will run another year in the F3-Championship in Germany, with the same team as last year (Mücke-Motorsport).  He will concentrate on putting together a deal for 2002.  As for the Hartmann/Swift team, no new news to report, except a reader reports that the Swift CART Transporter was in NJ this week heading west into Pennsylvania.  That's a pretty far ride from their headquarters in California.  We doubt it was just a joy ride.  Maybe they were delivering one of their Toyota Atlantic cars to Meehan Motorsports in Southampton, NY.

Pepsi to back Jeff Gordon in 2 Cup races UPDATE - we have added a picture of the Pepsi car  1/10/01Jeff Gordon will bring the Pepsi name back to NASCAR racing later this summer. Gordon will pilot a specially designed #24 Pepsi-DuPont car at Talladega on April 22 and at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona on July 7. This will be Pepsi-Cola's first entry into NASCAR as a primary sponsor since 1983 when Darrel Waltrip drove the Pepsi Challenger to second overall in the points. Pepsi have sponsored Gordon at the Busch Grand National level and have been an associate sponsor on his #24 car.  Since 1998, Gordon has appeared in three television commercials for the soft drink maker, which recently announced they have extended their relationship with Gordon through 2005 

Panoz Indy Lights proposal on hold   The CART board received 7 proposals for the new Indy Lights cars in 2002, and were leaning toward Don Panoz's proposal.  However, according to Chris Economacki, the board unrepentantly put the decision on hold.  Perhaps the board will make the right decision and adopt the IRL specs for the Indy Lights series.  Perhaps that is what Panoz will ultimately provide - his G-Force IRL chassis with his new V-8 Zytek engine (the 3.5 liter version).  Economacki says Panoz is supposed to present more data to the board before a decision is reached.  CART wants an engine that will go 2,000 miles between rebuilds (Roger Bailey told us that last September).  Perhaps they want some assurances that his engine will do that.  Built for endurance racing, we see no reason why it would not.

Dover, Texas and Daytona seating capacity increased  Dover Downs has added 7,000 seats to the turn 1 grandstand bringing total capacity to 140,000 for the 1-mile oval.  Daytona has added 2,600 seats to the 2.5-mile track to bring its total to 167,700 plus its 100 luxury suites. Texas Motor Speedway unveiled a glass-enclosed section with 3,200 club seats on Tuesday, making it the first automobile racing track to offer fans an amenity now commonplace in other sports. Season tickets in the Victory Lane Club will sell for $995 for the front two rows and $895 for the back two rows, but fans signing up early can get a discount of $100 per ticket on the seven races in the package. For the speedway , the club seats provide a way to make money without building anything new. To create the new club section, it converted 50 suites on two levels into an elongated lounge area, offering a panoramic view of the 1.5-mile track.

Nazareth wanted to keep CART race   At the recent Eastern Motorsports Press Assn. Motorsports Convention, Nazareth Speedway's Keith Green was quoted as saying "We wanted the CART series to return and we were never given a reason why they were leaving..  We hope to fill the seats this year and make them think twice about the decision."  He also indicated the track will likely talk to the IRL about a possible race.
Ticket sales strong for Mexico   Ticket sales for CART's first race in Monterrey, Mexico are going strong.  As of yesterday, over 65,000 tickets were sold and all 50,000 grandstand seats were sold out.  Only General Admission tickets remain.
Moreno, Takagi and Nakano impress at Sebring   Good weather at Sebring today brought lap times tumbling down. With improved weather conditions, featuring temperatures up in the low 70s and no wind to speak of, the fastest four drivers - Roberto Moreno, Christian Fittipaldi, Tora Takagi and Shinji Nakano - all set times within 0.1sec of each other on the 1.65-mile road course.  Now with top teams, both Japanese drivers were able to show that maybe a first CART win by a Japanese driver is not too far away.  Top performances by both is sure to increase attendance for CART's Motegi Japan race, expected to reach 85,000 this year.  Sebring Test Times
Rockingham undergoes management change   Guy Hands, the majority shareholder in the Rockingham Motor Speedway has stepped in to shake up the company.  Hands has named Peter Middleton, former CEO of Salomon Brothers Europe, to take control of the track, which is slated to host a round of the CART championship in September.  According to a report by England's Financial Times, Hands initiated the management restructuring, "amid what are understood to be concerns about (Rockingham's) commercial viability under present 
management policies."  Middleton installed Nigel Reed as new financial director.  A new CEO is expected to replace Peter Davies.
Autosport publisher buys Racer   Haymarket Publishing Ltd., which produces Autosport and F1 Racing, has purchased Racer Communications, the publisher of the Racer and Champ Car magazines. Racer Communications also produces SportsCar magazine for the SCCA, and the company provides the content for the Speedvision Web site. Racer Communications founder and majority shareholder Paul Pfanner will remain as president of the company. Andy Hallberry, former Autosport editor, has been named senior editor for the magazine group, and now works out of the company's Tustin, California headquarters. Ian Havard, former publisher of Haymarket's Motoring News weekly, has assumed the duties of publisher. 
Fernandez Racing Test Photos   We have added photos from yesterday's first test by the Fernandez Racing team at Sebring to the story we posted yesterday.  Story & Photos
CART test times from Sebring   Adrian Fernandez finished the first complete day of testing for his new Champ Car team by unofficially posting the fastest time of the day at Sebring International Raceway yesterday. He top the charts in cold, blustery conditions. "We ended up working a lot on the car and making progress," said the 35-year-old Mexican, who turned a best lap of 51.1sec late in the day with his Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Reynard 01I.  Rookie Andre Couto from Portugal (see picture) turned some respectable times given it was his first time driving such a powerful car. For a summary of all the times to date at Sebring see our  CART Testing Page
Jerez - Fisichella fastest on final day   Giancarlo Fisichella set the fastest time on the third and final day of Formula 1 testing at Jerez. The Italian lapped the Jerez circuit in 1m24.58s - over a second slower than Ralf Schumacher’s best mark on Tuesday.  Benetton confirmed today that former Jordan chief designer Mark Smith would start working with the team on May 1.  Fisichella was two-tenths of a second ahead of BMW Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya. The Colombian outpaced his more experienced team-mate Ralf Schumacher by just five-thousandths of a second.  Williams test driver Marc Gene – who has been developing the new BMW engine for this season - was fourth quickest, lapping in the 1m26s bracket.
Times from Wednesday's testing: 
1 Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Renault 1m24.58s
2 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW 1m24.74s
3 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW 1m24.79s
4 Marc Gene Williams-BMW 1m26.06s 
Test your NASCAR IQ  - Updated - Answers in bold.

1.What does a blue flag with an orange stripe signify?
A enter the pits
B start/restart of the race
C slower/lapped traffic must move over
D one lap to go
2. How old do you have to be to race in a NASCAR sanctioned event?
A eighteen
B twenty five
C twenty one
D sixteen
3. How many crew members are allowed over the wall in a NASCAR Winston Cup Series pit stop?
A five
B eleven
C seven
D as many as the team wants
4. What make of car won the first NASCAR Winston Cup race?
A Monte Carlo
B Lincoln
C Hudson Hornet
D Thunderbird
5. What was the first year NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams raced in Japan?
A 1995
B 1997
C 1984
D 1996

Getting the Aero Advantage  Championship car racing (CART) is challenging in itself, with about 16 teams involved in 22 races each year. But when regulations change as often as they do, coupled with new race tracks and a longer season, the sport has become as much of an engineering competition as a racing challenge. To remain in the upper echelons of the sport, Team Rahal engineers have sought ways to implement and integrate new computer software simulation techniques into their design cycle. One of these solutions is Fluent's computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software. Full Story

Mears to work for Ganassi We hear that Roger Mears, father of Casey, has accepted a position to work as Manager of the Chip Ganassi Winston Cup team. 

Multitude of CART news  There was a multitude of new CART news today from Team Kool Green, Team Motorola, Fernandez Racing, CART itself, Patrick Racing, and Newman Haas racing.  It can all be found on our CART News page.
Lola sets the pace in Daytona tests  Lola's Grand American Road Racing campaign enjoyed the best possible start to the New Year, setting the fastest lap time during three days of testing for next month's Rolex 24 at Daytona. John Field and Rick Sutherland's Judd-powered B2K-10 clocked 1:40.494s at the Florida circuit on Thursday, fully sixth tenths quicker than the 2000 pole position time and more than a second clear of its closest rival. Intersport Racing driver Field benefited from new rubber and a cold, clear track on the first morning to set the benchmark for the rest of the test. "It was a very encouraging way to begin the New Year," commented David Bowes, Lola Managing Director. "Our engineers in Florida reported that all the Lola teams made good progress during the test and it was particularly pleasing to see such a good showing from the SR2s. The unexpected weather in Daytona almost forced us to fit a windshield defrost option to the cars!" 
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Arrows F1 Team announces new Team Manager   Arrows, the Leafield team, has boosted the personnel structure of its race team with the announcement that experienced hand Michael Ainsley-Cowlishaw has joined as Team Manager.  The vastly experienced 52-year-old joins from Benetton, where he spent more than 20 years in a variety of roles, but mostly as Chief Mechanic. Arrows is looking for seasoned personnel to fill its ranks so it can progress even further.   ‘I'm really looking forward to being a part of such a growing team at Arrows,’ said Ainsley-Cowlishaw, who was born in Chesterfield, UK. ‘It'll be a great new challenge, and I can't wait to get into it and start scoring points and hopefully win some races.’
Schumacher tops 2nd day times in Jerez testing   Ralf Schumacher continued to lead the way throughout the 2nd day of testing at Jerez, having done so on day one, and completed 50 laps with a best time of 1:23.17secs. This was in spite of the midday rain shower that forced all four drivers present to switch to wet settings and treaded rubber after lunch. Schumacher ended the day almost a whole second faster than his nearest challenger, Giancarlo Fisichella, who continued to build on a promising return on Monday to steal second fastest time of the session from Marc Gene in the second of the three Williams. Fisichella, who is still feeling the after-effects of knee surgery, completed 46 laps split between a dry tire evaluation in the morning and a wet one after lunch.
Times from Tuesday's testing: 
1. Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW 1min 23.17secs 50 laps
2. Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Renault 1min 24.07secs 46 laps
3. Marc Gene Williams-BMW 1min 24.29secs 82 laps
4. Juan Montoya Williams-BMW 1min 24.90secs 59 laps
Restructured management at Team Kool Green   Team Green announced a restructuring which will enable the Indianapolis-based race team to take maximum advantage of the skills of its key management personnel. R. Kim Green has been named president of the company, a position formerly held by Barry Green who founded the team in 1994 and will continue to serve as its chief executive officer and sole shareholder. In addition, Barry Green will continue to serve as chairman of the Board of Directors of Team Green, which includes Jeanne Green (corporate secretary) and D. Kevin Savoree (vice president finance and chief operating officer). The organization's executive committee will consist of Kim Green (president), Kevin Savoree and Carol Wilkins (vice president marketing communications), while the management committee will include Kim Green, Savoree, Wilkins and vice presidents of racing Tony Cotman and Kyle Moyer. "Although the restructuring is important to insure the continued growth of Team Green, it is important to realize it will not have a substantive change in our business operations," said Barry Green. "Essentially, it formalizes the manner in which the business has been operating in recent months as we have taken advantage of important new opportunities. "Good team chemistry has long been a hallmark of our organization, whether you're talking about drivers and mechanics or presidents and vice presidents. Like the race team, our management group has proven the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I'm confident their expertise and leadership will foster the continued success of Team Green, on and off the race track." Team Green was established in 1994 and won the both the Indianapolis 500 and the CART FedEx Championship Series in its first year of operation. In recent years, Team Green has earned 11 race victories in Champ Car competition with Team KOOL Green drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy. In addition to Team KOOL Green, Team Green will also field a Honda-Reynard for Team Motorola and Michael Andretti in the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series.  
CART race attendance grows in 2000   According to data compiled by the Sponsors Report, published by Joyce Julius and Associates, Inc., attendance at FedEx Championship Series events rose by 3.8 percent during the 2000 season when compared with attendance figures from 1999.  One of the most competitive seasons in FedEx Championship Series history played out before 2,621,229 fans, up from 2,524,160 fans a year earlier. The 1999 and 2000 campaigns each included 20 events while the championship season will be comprised of a record 22 events in 2001.  Attendance grew during 2000 despite the fact that events in Nazareth, Pa.; Motegi, Japan; Milwaukee and Fontana, Calif. were postponed due to weather and contested on dates other than those originally scheduled.  "Despite the numerous meteorological challenges we faced during the 2000 season, we drew more fans than we had during 1999," said CART Senior Vice President of Marketing Patrick Leahy, . "We find this particularly gratifying in that it displays the loyalty of Champ Car fans, as well as their confidence in our product."  During his recently concluded first year at CART, Leahy committed to putting more fans in the stands, thereby growing the fan base for Champ Car racing. The effort paid dividends and will continue with an expansion of fan-oriented programs in 2001. 
Portuguese driver Couto gets his shot at a Champ Car today   Portuguese hopeful Andre Couto will test with the team at Sebring today and tomorrow with an eye toward possibly joining Alex Barron on the grid in Mexico come March. Couto finally won the Macau F3GP after several years of trying in 2000, causing more than one opportunity to present itself to him over the winter. Coyne's is currently the most attractive, and Couto is determined to make an impression this week.
Miscellaneous F1 News
Arrows point new race team manager 
The Arrows Formula One team says it has appointed Michael Ainsley-Cowlishaw as new race team manager. The Briton joins Arrows from Benetton where he started in Formula One as a mechanic in 1980. 
Hakkinen to return from Paternity Leave to begin testing 
Former two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen is set to return to testing for McLaren after the birth of his first child. Hakkinen, who has not been in a racing car since the season-ending Malaysian Grand Prix, will return from "paternity leave" when his team begins testing in Valencia from January 15-17. 
Williams and Benetton begin testing this week 
Williams and Benetton, third and fourth last season respectively, are to begin testing for the 2001 Formula 1 season on Monday. Williams plan provisionally to launch the FW23 in Barcelona on January 25 but Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya will concentrate mostly on testing the Michelin tyres in last season's car with the old BMW engine. 
F1 hopeful Alonso waiting for news from Minardi 
Spanish teenager Fernando Alonso expects to find out within 10 days whether he will drive for Minardi in Formula One next season. "In 10 days, more or less, my future will be clear," Alonso said on Saturday. (Reuters)
Schumacher tops times in Jerez testing   Ralf Schumacher topped the times on the first day of formula one testing at Jerez. The German driver posted a quickest time of one minute and 23.630 seconds as he outpaced new team mate Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya at the Spanish circuit. Benetton's Italian Giancarlo Fisichella was third quickest on his first outing since his knee operation. BMW-Williams test driver Marc Gene of Spain was almost 1.5 seconds slower than Schumacher. Briton Jenson Button was slowest of the five drivers in action as he posted a fastest lap time of one minute 25.789 seconds in his Benetton. 
Times from Monday's testing: 
1. Ralf Schumacher (BMW-Williams) One minute and 23.630 seconds 
2. Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW-Williams) 1:23.909 
3. Giancarlo Fisichella (Benetton) 1:23.914 
4. Marc Gene (BMW-Williams) 1:25.156 
5. Jenson Button (Benetton) 1:25.789 

Daytona Ford Practice speeds for January 8th Rain kept Ford teams off the track until 1 p.m. today as testing for next month's Daytona 500 began at Daytona International Speedway. Matt Kenseth proved to be the fastest on the day as both of his cars finished one-two on the speed chart. Robert Pressley posted the third-fastest speed while Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top five.  Story

Detroit GP to be broadcast live on two networks   The sights and sounds of the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit will be seen nationally on ABC and - for the first time - CBS, when the 20th edition of the historic event returns to the Raceway on Belle Isle, June 15-17, 2001. The headlining CART FedEx Championship Series race and the supporting BF Goodrich Trans-Am Series® race both will air nationally on Sunday, June 17, 2001.   The CART FedEx Championship Series event returns to live television on ABC after a one-year stay on ESPN. The broadcast, scheduled from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, June 17, will cover all the flag-to-flag action of Round Eight on the 22-event CART schedule.   The BF Goodrich Trans-Am Series® event, set for Saturday, June 16, will be seen on CBS as part of a three-race deal. The fourth stop on the 11-race Trans-Am schedule will air via tape delay on Sunday, June 17, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST. CBS will also broadcast the Cleveland race, happening June 30 and supporting the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by Firstar, and the Sears Point Raceway event, set for July 21. "This will mark the first time in history that two different broadcast networks will televise races from Belle Isle," stated Denny Young, Vice President of IMG Motorsports. "The combination of ABC and CBS will create unprecedented exposure for the City of Detroit and the event's sponsors. It really is a great way to celebrate our 20th year of racing in Detroit."  The 2001 event marks the 20th anniversary of the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit. For tickets, call your local Ticketmaster (248-645-6666 in Michigan). Anyone interested in volunteer opportunities should contact the Detroit Grand Prix Association at 313-872-3472. For additional information, call 1-800-498-RACE or log on to
CART can learn from this   The IRL always had good TV ratings when it raced at Disney in late January when no other racing was on TV.  Now we read from Speedvision - NBC Sports' presentation of two-hours of highlights from the American Le Mans Series "Race of a Thousand Years" in Adelaide, Australia, drew a surprisingly large audience Sunday. Although the race, run over New Millennium's Eve, was the ALMS season finale, it ran square up against the NFL playoff game between Baltimore and Denver and pulled a solid 1.1 rating with a 2 share overnight and a 0.9 final rating, retaining its 2 share. In that environment, at this time of year, that's stout for a sports car race.  The point here is that if CART were to start it's season in Late January as proposed in this article, it may get higher TV ratings for the early season races.
Montoya in Go-Kart challenge  Visitors to the Autosport International Show at Birmingham NEC on Saturday January 13 will not only get the chance to meet BMW WilliamsF1 Team new recruit Juan Pablo Montoya, but also to pit their driving skills against the Columbian in a karting challenge.  The former CART champion and Indianapolis 500 winner will set a benchmark time on the Silverstone Kart Track at 9.30am on the Saturday. Show visitors then have the rest of the day to try and beat the F1 ace’s lap time.  The member of the public who sets the fastest time of the day wins the chance to join the BMW WilliamsF1 Team at an F1 test session. Juan Pablo will present the lucky winner with their prize in person at 4pm that afternoon.  There are plenty more chances to meet the rising Columbian star during the day. Montoya, with assistance from commentary legend Murray Walker, will declare the show officially open at 9am, before appearing on the main Autosport Stage to answer questions and sign autographs for fans at 10.00.  He will also be signing autographs on the F1 Racing Stand, and appearing in the live action Thunderdrome later on.  Autosport International 2001 takes place at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham, England, and is open to the public on Saturday January 13 and Sunday January 14. 
Should CART have 2 races in Australia?   The great Adelaide F1 track is currently used for only one ALMS race a year.  It is a great track that CART should take a serious look at to run back-to-back races when they fly down there.  Peter Brock had this to say on Speedvision from his recent trip there for the ALMS race.  "First there was Australia itself. It may be a bit naive to judge an entire country the size of the United States on one’s experience for a week in one region, but if Adelaide and its people are any example of what the rest of Australia is like, this country has got to be the best-kept secret in the world. The Adelaide circuit, laid out just blocks from the town’s center over the local horse racing facility, was all green grass, tall eucalyptus trees and the most perfectly engineered street circuit I’ve seen anywhere. The Aussies know and understand motor racing like the Brits. It’s laid-back, but serious and all very professionally prepared and run, right to the minute. These people are doing something right."  A crowd of over 65,000 showed up on race day and it was only an ALMS race.  The people in Adelaide are begging for a replacement for their F1 race, and CART might be just the ticket.
Andretti's 'ghost writer' dies   Mario Andretti's 'ghost writer' Leonard 'Len' Haas has died at the age of 84.  Many thanks to Bill Johnson, who provided this information.  Leonard worked for the Cleveland newspaper 'The Plain Dealer', for which he covered bowling and motorsport.  However, Leonard wasn't originally a fan of either bowling or auto racing when first assigned to the job but soon developed a keen interest in auto racing.  Over the years Len got to know a great many of the legendary drivers and ended up 'ghost writing' over 500 columns for motorsport legend Mario Andretti (Planet-F1). 
Bobby Rahal lashes out at Jaguar  Bobby Rahal told the News of the World: “There had to be radical changes to the Jaguar F1 team. I don’t believe the team were ready for the first race last season.  “My first goal is to make sure we’re ready to go racing this time – not just run around.  “Eddie Irvine was given a lot of grief last season but the truth is he wasn’t given the equipment to do the job everybody knew he could do.  “I know for a fact Eddie never stopped trying right up until the end of the season and his performances in Malaysia and Japan showed that.  “But the team let him down badly and hopefully the changes we are making will make things different.  “We will give him the car he needs to do well this year.”  Rahal’s first act after taking up his new job was to sack technical director Gary Anderson, replacing him with ex-McLaren man Steve Nichols.  He said: “Steve Nichols will definitely be good for the team.  “Gary worked very hard last year but, in the end, it was a disastrous season. We couldn’t risk having the same year again and we had to make changes to the staff.  “My task is to create an organization and bring in the right people.  “I have got to get the best out of the team and the changes we are making for the coming season will help us achieve that.”

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