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DATE News (chronologically 2/21/01 to 2/25/01)
2/25/01
A dilemma for Earnhardt's sponsors  Coke (as well as other Earnhardt sponsors) faces some tough decisions. While it was not the main sponsor of Earnhardt's car -- that was GM Goodwrench -- the soft drink company has hundreds of vending machines around the country covered in Earnhardt's craggy likeness and tens of thousands of beverage packages that feature the racer. Earnhardt was the principal of an multimillion-dollar ad campaign. Full Story (Washington Post)
2/25/01
Eyes of the world on Monterrey, Mexico The 2001 CART season opener is just two short weeks away.  The race will be broadcast around the world by Mexico's Aztec TV and ESPN.  Some 20 cameras will be strategically located around the 2-mile circuit.
2/25/01
Tora tames Texas Walker Racing rookie driver Tora Takagi tested on the high-banked oval at Texas Motor Speedway this week. The weather was unseasonably cold and damp, and as a result, Tora's on-track time was limited. He completed a total of 76 laps the first day, with a fast speed of 216.5 mph. "Tora did really well on his first exposure to the high bank oval," said owner Derrick Walker. "Texas is a one-of-a-kind on the CART schedule and promises to be a fast -- don't sit down -- kind of a race. Once again, Tora was quickly able to read the track even though the temperatures were not the best and gearbox problems cut our test short, we were able to come away with some good data to get us pointed in the right direction."  Tora and the Walker Racing team's second day lasted just 17 laps, due to a gearbox failure. His fastest lap was the 17th at 221 mph. "At Texas, I could go flat for the whole lap on the track for the first time in my life, even though I had wondered if such a thing was possible," Tora said. "On the second day, I found 5 or 6 tenths of a second, and just before we got to work on going even faster, the gearbox failed. It was lucky that it happened at the exit of turn 2, and not in the mid-corner of turn 2, otherwise it would have been a big shunt, as the previous lap was my best lap of the two-day test. It was disappointing to not be able to put as much mileage on the car as we wanted. But, at least it is good to have run on this track. Knowing the track and not knowing the track makes a big difference on raceday!  The Walker Racing team is preparing for the start of the CART FedEx Championship Series season on March 11 at Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico
2/24/01
Fernandez Racing wraps up final road course test.  Nakano fast again Fernández Racing closed the book on its pre-season road course testing today, logging over 730 miles during a successful three-day visit to Firebird International Raceway’s 1.2-mile East course.  Story
2/24/01
Broken seat belt caused Earnhardt death 2nd UPDATE It sounds like Jeff Gordon does not believe the story either.  He had this to say today - "I would find it very hard to believe that there's something wrong with the seat belt," he said. "I've never seen that happen ever before. I can hear about it all day long, but I'd like to see it."  2/23/01 - It sounds like Bill Simpson is having as hard a time as we are believing that one of the lap belts in Dale Earnhardt's car came apart at the seams. He issued this statement today - "Having tested and produced seatbelts for the motorsports industry for more than 43 years, we have never seen a seat belt come apart in the manner that occurred. Our seatbelts, when properly installed, won't fail"......."Specific installation instructions are included with each seatbelt we sell. We urge everyone to insure that safety equipment is properly installed and used in accordance to the common sense instruction provided by manufacturers."   Earlier today -  NASCAR claims that a brand new (November 2000) seat belt broke (lap belt, left side) causing his chest and chin to impact the steering wheel causing a basal skull fracture.  What's not clear is whether the head snapping back broke the skull, in which case the HANS Device would have also prevented that, and why, if the shoulder belts were still intact, his head was able to reach the wheel.  The reported broken ribs and sternum could very well have been caused by the CPR that was performed, a common occurrence those in the Medical industry claim.  NASCAR's conclusions leave a lot of questions and appear very inconclusive.  We have never heard of a seat belt failing, unless someone took a knife to the webbing or the stitching.  We are told that all belts undergo tensile stress tests before leaving the factory.  Seems strange such a defect was not uncovered then.  NASCAR's press release leaves more questions than it answers.
2/24/01
Tidbits from Texas today  2nd UPDATE A fast, competitive Texas 600 CART FedEx Championship Series race is being forecast following the completion of test sessions from four of the series’ leading teams at Texas Motor Speedway. Inclement weather hindered the teams from the planned three days of testing, delaying Wednesday’s first session and canceling Friday’s final practice. Participating in the tests were Dario Franchitti (Team KOOL Green Reynard/Honda), Mauricio Gugelmin and Scott Dixon (Nextel PacWest Reynard/Toyota), Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Reynard/Honda) and Tora Takagi (Pioneer Reynard/Toyota).  Unofficial speeds for the participating teams ranged from 220 to 224 mph around the 1.5-mile banked superspeedway. Most of the participants concentrated on getting acquainted with the 24-degree banked corners and race configurations.  “We are pulling 3 Gs in the corners, it is very different than any other track we have run,” said Franchitti. “Running two-wide through the corners won’t be any problem. We have been out practicing with our race setups; we haven’t even looked at qualifying setups. We have moved to higher gears as we have been hitting the rev limiter.”  “I was flat-out all the way around and we were able to do several long runs,” said Gugelmin. “We tried a few different things on the car to try to learn this track and its high banks, and I think we’ve walked away with some useful information. This is a magnificent facility, and I think the race here in April will be quite a show. I’m looking forward to it.”  Takagi’s first visit to Texas Motor Speedway was cut short to about 20 laps when gearbox difficulties sidelined Derek Walker’s team. 2/23/01 - Regarding Dario's comments on the track roughness, another contributor adds - "At one point each afternoon we about five floors above the track in T2. You could actually hear a "popping" noise as the cars came through the "shaved" area of the track in T1-T2. This was the sound of the tires going over pavement irregularities. The sound happened at exactly the same place every time, so we are sure it was tire noise. This seemed to heard up at the other end of the track, but it was much farther away from us, so I can't be sure.  I didn't notice this at the last IRL race. I sat in the Club seating in T1-T2 then. But the asphalt patch was still there. It has been "shaved" since then.  I think the unique nature of TMS is going to provide some very good racing. It certainly will be a new challenge for the drivers. I think anybody who has chance to attend this race should be there. Not only is the track different for the drivers, but it is one of, if not the THE premiere facilities in the country for the fans. And there is not a bad seat in the house."  2/22/01 -  Scott Dixon ran a lot of laps and was in the car a lot........Takagi ran a few laps in the morning and then packed up......... It warmed up and the wind died down in the afternoon..........Dixon, Helio, and Dario were running laps of 24 seconds consistently in the afternoon.........Dario ran high 23.97 sec (225.28 mph) according to a Firestone Engineer......Lap speeds were in the 224 almost 225 range our reporters were told.........A Firestone rep. said that the track this afternoon was 30 degrees higher than yesterday and was at 82 degrees when our staff checked........Everyone our staff spoke to was really in awe of the TMS facility........Helio and especially Dario are not as fond of the track itself. Helio was a bit more diplomatic and said, "Honestly, it is a bit bumpy." Dario's words were a bit stronger. He said that something HAS to be done before they come back to race there. 
2/23/01



Note Nakano's paint scheme

Nakano tops Fernández in day two of testing at Firebird  Fernández Racing completed day two of a three-day test at Firebird International Raceway today, with teammates Adrián Fernández and Shinji Nakano each making substantial progress on the 1.2-mile road course. “We had another good day,” said Tom Anderson, owner and team manager. “We had an opportunity to work on a lot of things and are still making big changes. We also started to do a little bit of pit stop practice towards the end of the day, which we will continue tomorrow. It’s starting to look like a race team.” Nakano posted the quickest time of the day, covering 148 miles (123 laps) in his #51 Alpine Honda/Reynard to post a best lap time of 46.8 (seconds). Fernández logged 105 trouble-free laps aboard the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Reynard, recording a best lap time of 47.0 (seconds). “We improved the car a lot today,” said Nakano. “This morning we worked on setup, and on fuel consumption this afternoon. I have to learn this for the race from Adrián. The fuel consumption was much better today. The gap between Adrián and myself is much closer. “Martin [Paré, Nakano’s engineer] and I are still learning quite a lot – about working together, and also the new car and new engine. It is going very well. We also worked on pit stop practice which is very important.” “Another good day,” said Fernández, who will be the only owner/driver in the CART field this season. “We put a lot of good miles on both cars, worked on a lot of things for race weekend, and made a lot of changes. It was the second day in a row that we were right there.  See updated test times.

2/23/01
Marlboro to back Ferrari through 2006 Ferrari received pleasing news on Thursday, with the announcement that Marlboro, the flagship cigarette brand of Philip Morris, will be backing Maranello until 2006 after chiefs agreed to a contract extension. The move comes after rumors that the brand was set to split with the Ferrari squad because of financial pressures arising from lawsuits against the firm in the United States, as well as the looming bans on tobacco advertising. European Philip Morris Boss Hans Fluri said the association would continue, but emphasized that the firm was wary of the European Union’s sweeping ban on cigarette advertising.  ‘We are absolutely delighted that we will continue the very successful relationship that Marlboro has enjoyed with Ferrari since 1984,’ said Fluri. ‘We are extremely proud of our long-standing association with such a superb and outstanding company as Ferrari. ‘In extending our relationship with Ferrari to 2006 we are mindful that the European Union wishes to phase out sponsorship activities by that date.’ The news also likely means that Michael Schumacher will remain with the team for another four to five years, and receive a 10% pay rise which Ferrari has been planning so it can retain his services. Marlboro is a major contributor to the German’s huge salary, and puts in an estimated $ 65 million to the team annually. Ferrari President Luca Montezemolo said: ‘I am very pleased we can extend for several more years the successful collaboration with Philip Morris.’”
2/23/01
CART and Toronto close CART is close to signing a deal with Molstar to extend the Toronto race contract.  Then Molstar will turn their attention to Vancouver to see if it can get that race renewed as well.
2/23/01
CART and Laguna Seca to extend agreement for 3 more years CART and Laguna Seca have signed a letter of intent to extend the CART race another three years (through 2004) at the picturesque Monterey, California circuit.
2/23/01
CART hires European PR firm We have learned that CART has hired a European PR firm to help promote both the England and the Germany CART race this year.  CART knows it can't fail in the heart of F1 territory.  The 2nd bit of good news for the European races will come in the form of a strong European TV package (Eurosport) to be announced within 10 days.
2/23/01
Step-by-step CART getting its act together CART really is starting to listen.  We learned today that CART has gotten its sponsors together and they have agreed to do cooperative advertising spending for the series.  Maybe this will mean the end of the Honda ads with no mention of CART.  The first product will be a full pullout section in the USA Today newspaper prior to the Mexico race.  Several major sponsors will advertise in the pullout and it will be, similar to NASCAR's, a kickoff to the 2001 CART season.
2/23/01
Team Kool Green tests Texas Dario Franchitti and Team KOOL Green hit the track at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) on Thursday, February 22 for the team's first and only test at the 1.5-mile superspeedway before the inaugural Texas 600 on April 29. Franchitti turned 190 trouble-free miles in his KOOL Honda-Reynard with a best solo lap of 225.7mph (23.9 seconds). Franchitti was pleased with the results of the test, but expressed some reservations about the TMS facility. "We had a productive day and should be able to come here in April with a competitive package," said Franchitti. "It's a very fast track. Though the grandstands and garages are very impressive, the track itself is rough in spots and there need to be some safety upgrades before we actually race there. All of the drivers are going to need to pay close attention when the race begins." Team KOOL Green team manager Kyle Moyer believes TMS has the potential to provide an exciting CART race. "I understand the drivers' concerns with the track surface as well as the configuration," said Moyer. "The cars can run any line through the banking but they'll have to get in single file as they come through the kink on the front stretch. That will require a lot of cooperation by the drivers, but I think the fans will see great racing." Although the team had initially planned to test for two days at TMS, the #27 TKG crew loaded-up on Thursday afternoon and headed for Phoenix, sight of Franchitti's final pre-season test. Chief engineer Iain Watt says the team accomplished all of its goals for TMS in a single day of testing and that the next step will come on race weekend when there will be a full field of cars on the track. "We worked through our test list in one afternoon," said Watt. "We should have a good baseline when we offload here in April. There wasn't much more we could learn about race setup with the limited number of cars here today." The #27 Team KOOL Green crew is converting the car into a short oval configuration before a little R&R on the way to the team's final test at Phoenix International Raceway on February 27 and 28.
2/23/01
Team PRG wraps up first pre-season test Team P.R.G. concluded its first test of the 2001 season last week at Laguna Seca Raceway, in Monterey, Calif., with both drivers Luiz Garcia Jr. and rookie Michael Krumm. Both shared driving duties in the Reynard-Phoenix and together completed a total of 380 miles. They not only shared the racecar and information, but times as well as both were in the mid 10s at the permanent California road course. "I've been waiting for this moment to fire up for a while," said Garcia. "This is a great feeling and I also can't wait for the season to begin. I had a spin down the corkscrew, but otherwise things were fine. It's a shame things are coming together so late. The cancellation of the Brazil race has surely hurt us as a team with our sponsors, but we are working hard to make up for it." Krumm agreed and also talked about his first time behind the wheel of a Champ Car since a test for All-American Racers and the Arciero-Wells Racing team back in 1997. "Although I haven't driven a Champ Car for some time, it was a lot of fun and brought back some good memories fast," said Krumm. "It was great to be back in one, but I had a lot to learn quickly." Despite his unfamiliarity with the 2000 models of Champ Car, Krumm proved a quick learner of not only the car and its horsepower, but of the track as well. "Obviously I had to change my approach as I'm used to driving a normally aspirated race car. You can feel the difference in a turbocharged engine. I have to hit the throttle and brakes earlier, but it's a lot of fun on the track. "I'm really happy to be here in CART where I get to compete with some of the best drivers in the world." Team owner Andreas Leberle indicated he was pleased with the results, especially with both drivers. "It was nice to see both of them out there on the track sharing data, but we still have a lot of work to do. I believe both Luiz and Michael will do a fine job this season and once it gets under way the entire team will get in the rhythm."
2/23/01
Lights - PacWest news PacWest Indy Lights driver Daniel Wheldon continued to show speed while the team took another step forward in its pre-season development program during a one-day test in Texas on February 22. Wheldon, who was pleased with the team’s progress, logged more that 195 miles under cold weather conditions and recorded a best lap time of 64.04. Joining Wheldon in the second PacWest lights car was Mark Hynes, the 1999 British F3 champion, who also logged significant miles, with a fast lap timed at 64.17. Despite the inclement weather, the team - who had the only two cars on the course - was able to run a very productive test. Team manager, Paul (Ziggy) Harcus was pleased with the results and feels confident heading to Mexico for the Series opener. The PacWest Indy Lights team will return to Indianapolis to begin final preparations for the first round of the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Series at the new Fundidora Park road circuit in Monterrey, Mexico, on March 11. DAN WHELDON - # 1 PACWEST INDY LIGHTS - “It was great to be back in the car,” said Wheldon. “The entire team worked very hard and it was a very productive day. I have continued to build a strong relationship with my engineer, which is good. I’m confident we’ll have a great car for Mexico, and I’m really looking forward to the start of the season.” PAUL (“ZIGGY”) HARCUS – PACWEST INDY LIGHTS TEAM MANAGER - “It was very cold out there today, but the team was great and we got a lot of testing in,” said Harcus. “Dan’s confidence is strong and I am pleased with his progress. We learned a lot during our pre-season testing and we’re certain we’ll have a great car for Mexico.”
2/23/01
Herdez/Bettenhausen wrap up final test Having completed their final two days of testing prior to the start of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship series, the Herdez Bettenhausen team today arrived back at their Indianapolis home-base. Driver Michel Jourdain, Jr. left the test with his confidence high after completing approximately 200 miles over the two days at Sebring International Raceway with a best lap time in the high 50-second range. After a quick trip to his home in Mexico City, he will spend a few days with the team early next week as they finish up their pre-season preparations. "I feel like the team is in great shape for the start of the season," commented Jourdain. "We tried many things on the car that we wouldn't want to do in the pressure of a race weekend. Overall, our testing has been good this winter. We have our two primary cars shaken down and we haven't encountered any significant problems. I'm excited and looking forward to getting to Monterrey and getting started!" Chief Engineer Tom Brown concurred, "The test was trouble-free. Most significant was that we focused on testing in the heat of the day with the goal of replicating the conditions we'll be faced with during qualifying in Mexico in two weeks. The ambient temperatures in Florida were in the upper 80's and the track temps were quite high so we feel like we have a good sense of what the car and Michel can produce under those conditions." Meanwhile Jourdain has been kept busy with a variety of media appearance and interviews leading into the debut race on his "home" track in Mexico. He is scheduled to appear on WJR 760 AM radio in Detroit on Sunday February 25th (8:20pm Eastern) and on RaceLine Radio Network in Canada on Monday February 26th  (7:25pm Eastern - see www.raceline.ca for station information). 
2/23/01
Rain at TMS UPDATE It's possible some testing will happen today.  It's dry here now, the temp is 58, cloudy, little wind. Earlier today -  There is a cold heavy drizzle at TMS today so it appears CART testing will likely be rained out.
2/23/01
Dixon fast at TMS again For the second consecutive day, cold temperatures limited running at the Texas Motor Speedway; however the elements did not seem to slow PacWest rookie Scott Dixon as he posted impressive times on the 1.5-mile oval.   Dixon, who tested for Firestone Tuesday on the Texas oval in his 2000 championship- winning Dayton Indy Lights car, took advantage of his additional day by learning the intricacies of the track where the Champ Cars will compete on April 29.  The extra day apparently paid off, as the twenty-year-old Kiwi was the quickest Toyota on the track. He posted a fast time of 23.9 seconds and completed approximately 210 trouble-free miles. Dixon did incorporate a long 46-lap run into his program at the end of the day, with temperatures reaching only 55 degrees.  With the completion of the two-day Texas test, PacWest will head further west to Phoenix to run on the short oval at PIR on February 27-28.  SCOTT DIXON - # 18 PACWEST TOYOTA - “We had another good day at the office,” said Dixon. “We didn’t get started until around 12:00pm because of the cold whether, and even after we went green, there were still a few seepage spots on the track that we had to stay aware of. My team and I were able to try a lot of different things on the car today, and we got our time down to 23.9 seconds, which was the best Toyota time by a few tenths. We were right there with the Penske car of Castroneves, so that is definitely a positive. I had another trouble-free day, and my car has been very reliable. We seem to be right where we need to be heading into the last couple of test days prior to Mexico.”  RUSSELL CAMERON – PACWEST DIRECTOR OR RACE OPERATIONS - “Once again, Scott was very competitive, and he’s driving like he’s on a mission, which is why he has accomplished so much in his young racing career,” said Cameron. “We completed about 210 trouble-free miles, and it was another productive day for PacWest from a fact-gathering stand point. While Dixon’s times were just a few 100th of a second behind Castroneves, he did run quicker than Franchitti. That was obviously not our focus for the test, but it’s just another one of the many positives that we can build on for the start of the season. This track is going to produce a very exciting race, and I anticipate a lot of wheel-to-wheel action. It should be fun to watch.” See updated test times.
2/23/01
Eurosport to broadcast CART live  See our rumors page for more details, but it appears Eurosport will indeed broadcast some, if not all CART races live in 2001. Season-long coverage is key to the success of CART's two new European CART races.
2/22/01
Yokohama Tires back with CART Toyota Atlantics  On the heels of their agreement with Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. as their title sponsor, the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship announced today that it has renewed their contract with long time associate sponsor, Yokohama Tire Corporation. The agreement extends Yokohama’s support for the series for an additional three years carrying their involvement through the 2003 season. The upcoming 2001 season will mark Yokohama’s 13th year of support for the tradition rich, open-wheeled series. "Yokohama's 12 years with the Toyota Atlantic Championship has been a point of great pride for the company,” remarked Yokohama Motorsports Manager, Chris Miller. “We have always felt that the Atlantics were the premiere driver development series in the world and look forward to the next 3 years with great enthusiasm." For the past 12 years, every car in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship has raced on Yokohama racing tires. Starting in 1998 with the introduction of the Swift 008.a chassis, all competitors using the Swift are equipped with 15-inch low profile Yokohama spec racing radial tires. “I am extremely pleased and proud that the Yokohama Tire Corporation is continuing it’s support of the Toyota Atlantic Championship,” series president Vicki O’Connor said. “It is through relationships such as Yokohama’s and that of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., that the series has been able to grow and prosper.” 
2/22/01
Players wraps up Sebring test on high note  Persistence paid off for Team Player's and Alex Tagliani as their two-day testing session on the 1.64-mile Sebring road course concluded today on a positive note. After encountering some glitches with the engine that put Tagliani in the middle of the pack in clockings on Wednesday, the Team Player's crew was able to find and fix the problem during today's session. As a result, Tagliani recorded times that were on a par with the fastest speeds registered on Wednesday, when many of the FedEx CART teams were wrapping up their Sebring testing session and ran most of their laps.  "We were able to run six-tenths of a second faster today, and that put us right up with the leaders," said Tagliani. "That was a great boost for the team and gave me a lot of confidence as the off-season testing is about to conclude. The chassis has been very good and I think the key will be the engine development because everything else has been really consistent. But the progress with the engine at today's session is a really encouraging sign." Tagliani put in about 60 laps today with less traffic and rubber on the track than the previous day with fewer teams using the track. In contrast to the testing session on Wednesday, when Team Player's had to cope with some minor but time-consuming problems with brakes, today's session unfolded seamlessly. "The first day of testing was the complete opposite of last year's off-season testing session at Sebring," said Team Player's manager Phil LePan. "We were not as fast on the straightaways but quicker in the corners. On the second day, we were consistent with our speed in all areas of the track." Tagliani has only one more off-season testing session scheduled - on the Homestead, Florida oval this Sunday. His teammate Patrick Carpentier wraps up his off-season testing on the Firebird road course in Phoenix on February 26-27. Following this session, Team Player's will set its sights on the opening race of the CART season, in Monterrey, Mexico on March 11.  See updated test times.
2/22/01
Vasser tests at Texas  Despite losing much of the morning to rain, Patrick Racing was able to complete all the items on their checklist in an afternoon of testing, February 21st, at Texas Motor Speedway. As a result, the team decided to forego testing for the two addition days originally scheduled. Jimmy Vasser, who for the first time this year drove the new #40 Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard (he had previously tested in one of teammate Roberto Moreno's #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard cars), ran over 150 miles on the 1.5-mile high banked oval topping the 216 mph mark. "It rained for much of the morning so we didn't get out on the track until 11:30 a.m.," said Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee. "However, even with the shortened day we accomplished everything we wanted too. Jimmy did a great job and we had no problems. Things went so well that we decided to pack up and go home." This was the first time Patrick Racing has tested at Texas Motor Speedway and Vasser came away satisfied that the team had a good head start in preparation for the Texas race, which is the third event and first oval contest on the 2001 FedEx Championship Series schedule.  "We had a good test in Texas," Vasser said. "We know what direction to go when we come back here for the race. I think we are ahead of the game. The banking at Texas Motor Speedway is high and there are some bumps, so it was good to get an idea of how the #40 Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard will react. It is fairly easy to go flat out at Texas, so we were able to work on some other things that I think will help as conditions here change," Vasser concluded.  Because the team decided to leave Texas early they have slightly adjusted their schedule for the final test of the pre-season. "We have decided to modify our testing schedule and add a day of oval testing at Homestead," McGee said. "Roberto will test on the oval on Monday, February 26 and then Jimmy will run both days of the scheduled test on the Homestead road course Tuesday, February 27 and Wednesday, February 28."
2/22/01
Fernandez Racing wraps up first day of Firebird test  Fernández Racing teammates Adrián Fernández and Shinji Nakano today wrapped up a solid first day of testing at Firebird International Raceway, located just outside of Phoenix. The three-day outing will mark the final road course appearance for the team as it prepares for the start of the CART FedEx Championship Series on March 11 at the Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix. Both the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Reynard and #52 Alpine Honda/Reynard of Fernández and Nakano each logged over 110 laps on the 1.2-mile East road course, which features 10 turns and a half-mile straightaway. Under perfect weather conditions, with temperatures in the low 70s (F), Fernández logged a best lap time of 47.5 seconds, and Nakano 47.7 seconds. “This was the first test day that both of us ran a lot of miles with no mechanical problems, so that was very good,” said Fernández. “We did a lot of testing together, and worked on a lot of things. Time-wise it is very difficult to know because there was a lot of rubber down, and some concrete patches that weren’t here before. “We did a 47.5 which isn’t bad considering we are the only guys here and there is so much rubber everywhere. I’m very, very pleased. The guys did a great job.” “For me, today went quite well,” added Nakano. “We ran a lot of laps and tested many things on the car. Adrián and I worked together a lot. We compared fuel mileage, and I have to learn how to save fuel and I can learn this from Adrián. We are working on this together, and it is going to be a very important thing for the race.” Fernández Racing will conclude testing activities at Firebird on Saturday. The team will then continue its western tour, changing from road course to oval trim for its last pre-season test -- a two-day outing on the one-mile oval at Phoenix International Raceway beginning February 27. “We had no problems whatsoever today,” said Tom Anderson, owner and team manager. “Overall this was the best test day we’ve had, and we’re expecting more of the same the next two days, as well as working on our pit stop practice.” See updated test times.
2/22/01
Zakspeed/Forsythe wraps up Sebring test  The Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing Team wrapped up another two full days of testing at Sebring Wednesday. The test proved successful from a development standpoint, as the team suffered some "new car blues" on Tuesday, but were pleased with Wednesday's outcome. "Tuesday was a little disappointing, we had some troubles in the morning, and then I had an accident in the afternoon, damaging the rear of the car. That ended our day early, and set things behind a bit. The guys did a great job, and we were back on track early on Wednesday, and put in a full, full day, so we ended on a positive note there. We were never quite as quick as we wanted to be, but we were able to complete a lot of development work, especially with the tires. I think Lee (Dykstra - Engineer) and I found a good set-up for the first race in Mexico, so I am happy," said Bryan Herta, driver of the #77 Zakspeed/Forsythe/Ford-Reynard/Firestone.  Team manager Steve Dickson commented, "I am pleased, we accomplished quite a lot during the two-days at Sebring. We lost a good part of the day with the shunt on Tuesday, but the crew did a great job getting things turned around for Wednesday. We spent most of the day working with tires. We didn't really get in a real lap time with all of the changes, but we were able to work on development, which is essential. We worked on our Mexico set up, and I believe we are well prepared for the first race in Monterey."
2/22/01
Target team ready for season opener  If Team Target drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian race in Monterrey, Mexico (March 11) as well as they tested in Monterey, Calif, the rookies will be pleased with their fist FedEx Series event. The first-year drivers spent Feb. 12-13 testing at Monterey’s Laguna Seca Raceway, completing more than 350 miles in unusually cool conditions.  Junqueira and Minassian kept pace with several top CART FedEx Series drivers, including Gil de Ferran, Patrick Carpentier and Helio Castroneves. “We had a very productive test session,” said Team Target managing director Mike Hull.  “There is a positive chemistry between the team and the drivers. We were able to improve our road course package and give our drivers one more taste of the competition they will face this season. The whole team is excited for the first race in Monterrey, and we’re confident Bruno and Nicolas are well-prepared.” Minassian logged 175 problem-free miles on Monday in his No. 12 Toyota-Lola alongside defending CART champion de Ferran. The Frenchman’s Tuesday test, scheduled for 50 miles, was cut short after 25 miles due to an electrical problem. “Even with the cool weather, this was a fun test, ” Minassian said.   “This track forces you to concentrate on every turn of the wheel. I’m pleased with the car and it was good to see we could race with some great drivers. I’m excited about the start of the season, and I think we’re ready to step in and compete right away.  My crew has done a wonderful job of working with me to create the best set-up for my driving style- I can’t wait for Mexico.”  Junqueira's No. 4 Toyota-Lola was flawless on Tuesday, allowing the Brazilian to log 180 miles. The 2000 F3000 Series champion kept pace with 14 FedEx Series drivers, while focusing on fine-tuning.
2/22/01
Earnhardt memorial service  The day was dark and gloomy, just like the mood was today for the funeral service for Dale Earnhardt today.  Those in attendance included the Petty family, John Andretti, Todd Parrott, Robert Yates, Bobby Labonte, Mike Helton, Ned Jarrett, Jimmy Fennig, Joe Gibbs, Bill France, Matt Kenseth, Randy Lajoie, Benny Parsons and Buckshot Jones.


(L to R) Front of Church.  Many buses brought friends and family in.  The press lines up
to get pictures.  Bill France arrives.  Photos by Pete McCobe

2/22/01
Andretti wraps up road course testing  Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti wrapped up their road course testing for the 2001 season yesterday at Sebring International Raceway. The #39 Team Motorola entry completed two days of incident free testing on the 1.65 mile road course and turned over 287 miles during the test. "We had some big projects on our list when we arrived in Sebring," said Team Motorola Manager Tony Cotman, "and I'm pleased to say we got through them with very good results. We spent most of Tuesday developing the Showa damper program in conjunction with backing up information we had gathered from our shaker tests and applying that information into the actual test runs. It was a lot of miles with minimal downtime, a very productive test overall." On Wednesday the team moved their focus to differential set-ups, making three to four major changes on the car versus Tuesday's quicker, smaller changes. Chief Engineer Eddie Jones rated the test successful. "We gained very valuable technical information that we will be analyzing back at the shop to fine tune our plan for Monterrey. Michael seems to be getting what he wants from the car and he was very quick today with a 50.4 second lap, so we're hitting the important test targets-speed and consistency." For Andretti, the Sebring test was his final on a road course before the CART FedEx season opener on March 11th in Monterrey, Mexico. "These last two days were key," Andretti said. "It felt like everything that we've been learning during testing this winter fell into place at Sebring. I am very comfortable with the car and most importantly, as a team, we are communicating well. Eddie and I are speaking the same language on how to make the car comfortable and fast, and that is huge when we get into the race weekends." Team Motorola will return to Indianapolis to prepare for their final test days of the season at Phoenix International Raceway on February 27-28, 2001. 
2/22/01
Mark Cipolloni to appear on FOX news  The FOX news channel will be covering the Dale Earnhardt memorial service today at 11:15 EST. Mark will be on hand to discuss issues relating to the tragedy at Daytona. 
2/22/01
Rain hampers PacWest at TMS test  Rain and cold temperatures limited testing at the Texas Motor Speedway Wednesday, as Mauricio Gugelmin and PacWest Racing got their first taste of the high-banked 1.5-mile oval that hosts round three of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series on April 29.  Gugelmin ran approximately 160 miles on the day after whether conditions prevented teams from running until approximately 1:00pm. Gugelmin reached speeds of up to 212 miles per hour, but his lap times were not recorded.  The wet track forced teams to run a higher than normal line for the entire afternoon, so conditions weren’t really conducive to high speeds and impressive lap times. PacWest did walk away from the session with some valuable information gathered by the engineering staff, which they hope to build on during the second test day on Thursday, with Scott Dixon.  After the two-day Texas test, PacWest will head further west to Phoenix to run on the short oval at PIR on February 27-28. 
MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST TOYOTA 
“It was a very cold day and the circuit never really dried completely,” said Gugelmin. “Because of that, we had to run a higher than normal line on the track for the entire afternoon. I was flat-out all the way around, and we were able to do several long runs. We tried a few different things on the car to try to learn this track and its high banks, and I think we’ve walked away today with some useful information. This is a magnificent facility, and I think the race here in April will be quite a show. I’m looking forward to it.” 
RUSSELL CAMERON – PACWEST DIRECTOR OR RACE OPERATIONS 
“With the rain delay and the cool temperatures outside, it made for a challenging day,” said Cameron. “Mauricio did great on this track, and history has shown that he is always strong on the larger ovals. During the afternoon, we were able to work on a few things that are part of our normal testing regimen, and we’ll add some things to the car on Thursday with Scott (Dixon) to see if we can improve on our times. Like Mo said, we really wanted to get a feel for the high banks so we can generate some information to bring back with us in April. I think we accomplished that today.” 
2/21/01
25th annual CART Toyota Pr-Celebrity race bigger than ever  For the 25th consecutive year, top celebrities from film, television, sports and fashion are revving up to compete in the 2001 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. Toyota Motorsports today announced one of its most renowned fields for the Silver Anniversary of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in Long Beach, Calif. on Saturday, April 7. The 10-lap race on the 1.99-mile Champ Car track is part of the Toyota Grand of Long Beach race weekend. A field of 19 participants includes Greg Kinnear ("The Gift" and "As Good As It Gets"), Ben Stiller ("Meet the Parents" and "There's Something About Mary"), William Shatner ("Star Trek" and "T.J. Hooker"), David Boreanaz (star of the TV series "Angel"), Jason Biggs ("American Pie" and "Saving Silverman"), Jim Kelly (former Buffalo Bills quarterback), Michael Johnson (Olympic track and field gold medalist), Billy Blanks (Tae Bo inventor), Mark Consuelos ("All My Children"), Piper Perabo ("Coyote Ugly"), Jon Seda ("Third Watch" and "Selena"), Antonio Sabato, Jr. (actor and Calvin Klein model) and Mark Steines ("Entertainment Tonight" correspondent).  Returning to defend his 2000 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race title is Josh Brolin, most recently seen in "Hollow Man" and appeared in "Slow Burn," "All the Rage," and "Best Laid Plans."  Additionally, three other professional drivers are competing for a spot in the Winner's Circle, including young open-wheel racer Sara Senske, NASCAR Goody's Dash three-time defending champion Robert Huffman, and 10-year CART veteran 
Scott Pruett. "The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is the only event of its kind," explained Les 
Unger, Toyota's national motorsports manager. "Throughout the 25-year history of the race, it has attracted a top-name celebrity field and become a fan-favorite at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach." The current field of drivers also includes Dave Pasant, who is competing after making the high bid of $76,000 at last year's Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball auction. Rounding out the field is Tom Rudnai, vice president and general manager of Longo Toyota and Lexus in El Monte, Calif. As part of the event, Toyota will help raise more than $100,000 this year for "Racing for Kids," a non-profit program benefiting Southern California children's hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County by donating $5,000 in the name of each participant. Another $5,000 will be awarded to the race winner's charity of choice. Finally, a $10,000 donation will be made by PEOPLE Magazine in conjunction with the annual "PEOPLE Pole Award." The award honors the pole-position winner of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race qualifying session on Friday, April 6. Since 1991, the event has generated more than $1 million for charity. The 2001 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race will be broadcast in its entirety on ESPN, Saturday, April 28 at 3 p.m. ET. 
2/21/01
CART TMS testing update  Weather was bad at TMS today.  It was cold and windy.  Vasser ran today, still with no visible sponsorship. Vasser leaves tonight and Moreno is in the car tomorrow.  Also testing tomorrow will be Gugelmin/PacWest, Takagi/Walker, Franchitti/Green, and Castroneves/Penske.  Reynard hadn't supplied the right aero package yet to Patrick Racing and that, combined with the bad weather, kept speeds in the 212 range. MC
2/21/01
Atlantics - Lynx Racing news  Lynx Racing, one of the most unique and successful driver development programs in motorsports, today announced its driver lineup for the 2001 season -- including two returning rising stars and an intriguing new addition. Second-year Lynx driver David Rutledge, 22, of Vancouver, B.C. will contend the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship in the #19 Lynx Racing Swift 008.a while fifth-year Lynx driver Sara Senske will return to the seat of the #19 Lynx Racing Reynard 98E in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Lynx will also field a car in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship for Michael Valiante, 21, also of Vancouver, B.C.
2/21/01
LVMS to pay tribute to Dale Earnhardt  Las Vegas Motor Speedway will pay tribute to the late Dale Earnhardt with a gigantic floral display during the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 weekend March 2-4.  LVMS will configure 33,333 flowers on the berm that overlooks Turn 4 of the superspeedway. There will be 28,000 pure white pansies planted in the shape of a giant "3" to symbolize Earnhardt's number. The red trim around the number will be composed of 5,333 red petunias. "We believe this to be a dignified way in which to honor the memory of Dale Earnhardt," said Chris Powell, executive vice president and general manager of LVMS. "We had a lot of ideas from a lot of people, and we think this is a fitting tribute." In addition to the flowers, LVMS also will hang a banner above the flowers in memory of Earnhardt, the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion who died during Sunday's Daytona 500. On Tuesday night, a crowd of approximately 3,000 people gathered in the speedway's infield to pay homage to Earnhardt during a special candlelight ceremony.  "The outpouring in this community has been no different from anywhere else," Powell said. "The response from the motorsports fans in Las Vegas makes me proud to be a Las Vegan and proud to be a race fan."
2/21/01
Fittipaldi happy with Sebring test  Newman/Haas Racing driver Christian Fittipaldi returned fresh from his honeymoon to resume testing duties for a two-day test at Sebring International Raceway, which concluded late today. The final three test days for Newman/Haas Racing will take place February 26-28 at the Phoenix International Raceway prior to the CART FedEx Championship Series 2001 season-opener on March 11 in Monterrey, Mexico. "It was good to get back in the car after taking a few weeks off," said Fittipaldi who had been on his honeymoon after his February 3 wedding in Sao Paulo, Brazil. "Cristiano had been doing all of the work lately so it was my turn to get back behind the wheel. We ran quick on Tuesday and the car was definitely a lot better than before. I had done a pretty good time on old tires and calculated in my mind what the time should be with new tires and came up with a 50.6. I was definitely pleased when I did a 50.4 after that. We learned a lot today also but the things were mostly in the category of what not to do." "We were able to run two full days of testing and log another 375 miles before the season starts," added Brian Lisles, who was promoted from Senior Race Engineer to General Manager in January 2001. "We have one more test to go before we start the season. Everyone is looking forward to our first race with Christian and Cristiano. It's only two weeks away and that time will pass before we know it." Christian Fittipaldi will test on Feb. 26-27 and Texaco/Havoline driver da Matta will run on Wednesday, February 28 in Phoenix before both drivers travel to Torrance, Calif. for the annual Motorsports Day at Toyota's U.S. base in Torrance, Calif. on Friday, March 2. With three test days remaining before the start of the season, Fittipaldi is looking forward to seeing how the team compares to other competitors. "We are reasonably comfortable with the amount we learned but won't know for sure how we stack up until 16 days from now when we get on the track in Mexico," said Fittipaldi, the reigning CART race winner after scoring his first 500-mile event at the 2000 season-finale Marlboro 500. "I think we are looking good heading into Mexico. It's been great to extend the "most recent CART winner" tag but you're only as good as your last race. I've been able to hold onto that feeling for a while now which is good for the team and me until we get to Mexico. Then we will want another fix of course." See updated test times.
2/21/01
Rusty Wallace confirms use of HANS Device  Rusty Wallace confirmed today he will use the HANS Device starting immediately.  The company has received over 300 orders since Sunday.  AutoRacing1.com has been contacted by about 50 drivers knowing where they can buy one.  See www.hansdevice.com
2/21/01
NASCAR safety article update  A reader from the racing industry sent us an e-mail pointing out an omission from our article on NASCAR safety.  The article has been updated to include the following - Another bone of contention is the lack of a full time medical staff that travels with the NASCAR circus to every race.  CART has a staff of medical doctors who travel to every race to tend to the drivers.  They are highly trained in racing type injuries and know how to best administer first-aid immediately after a racing accident.  These same doctors also get involved with safety related issues.  NASCAR relies on local doctors a each race, which means the drivers see a different doctor every weekend.  Doctor's who may be good, but their primary job is not racing related.  And there's more.  Why doesn't NASCAR use the "CRASH BOXES" that both CART and the IRL use? GM and Ford both make these for CART and the IRL to use, and they can be bolted right in. The other thing is NASCAR not allowing the use of "DATA Collection Systems". Most of the teams have this equipment for testing but are not allowed to use it for race weekends. This would not make the racing safer right away but at least they would have data from accidents to look at and see what they need to change to make things safer. That is the sad fact from all of the recent NASCAR fatalities, they have no on board data to look at for speed, G's, throttle position, brake pressure, etc.  They only have guess's.
2/21/01
Tracy and Fernandez in live chat  CART fans mark your calendars. On Monday at 2:30 PM EST Paul Tracy will be on a live chat on ESPN.com followed by Adrian Fernandez at 3:30 PM.  See their site for more details.
2/21/01
Team Green blitzes Sebring  Team KOOL Green began a busy week of testing at Sebring International Raceway on February 19-20 in dramatic fashion as Paul Tracy turned the fastest reported time of the pre-season on the airport road course in the #26 KOOL Honda-Reynard. Late Tuesday afternoon Tracy toured the 1.7-mile circuit in 50.22s, eclipsing the time of 50.4s set by Helio Castroneves in early February and the 50.5s laps posted by Tony Kanaan and Michael Andretti. "I'm on the pole for the Sebring Grand Prix," said Tracy. "We just kept making the car better and better both days. We ran a 50.9 on Tuesday afternoon, came in, made a couple of small changes, then went out and did a 50.6. I came in, put on a set of new Firestones and put a real good lap together to do the 50.2." Some of the changes Tracy's crew made to their car on Tuesday included a new shock absorber package which technical partner Michael Andretti recommended after posting a 50.5s lap with his Motorola Honda-Reynard earlier in the afternoon. Tracy found the adjustments to his liking. "I feel like we have a great road course set-up and I can't wait to get the season started," he said. "I'm ready." Dario Franchitti concluded his road course test program at Sebring running more than 120 miles and turning a best lap of 50.8s during a one day outing on Monday. Although pleased with the results, Franchitti sees room for improvement for the #27 TKG team.  "I would have liked to run a little more because we are still learning about the car," he said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to combine some of the things Paul and Michael learned Tuesday to what we've learned and translate that into success during the season." Chief engineer Iain Watt echoed Franchitti's sentiments. "We ran faster than we did the last time we were here, but we need to continue to fine tune the car so we can be as quick as possible at the season-opening race in Mexico."  The Team KOOL Green cars headed in different directions after the Sebring test, with Tracy and the #26 TKG crew destined for the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course and Franchitti and the #27 crew on their way to Texas Motor Speedway for a two-day test session on February 23 and 24.  Following the tests the team will return to Indianapolis to begin making final preparations for the first round of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series at the new Fundidoro Park road circuit in Monterrey, Mexico on March 11.  See updated test times
2/21/01
Dale Earnhardt service at Sears Point  The public is invited to Sears Point Raceway on Thursday morning to remember Dale Earnhardt, arguably the greatest driver in NASCAR Winston Cup history. Sears Point Raceway will feature a live broadcast of the services that will be held in North Carolina honoring the seven-time Winston Cup champion. FOX Sports Net will air two hours of coverage from 8 a.m.-10 a.m., which will include the service and a special retrospective on the legendary driver who was tragically killed during a crash at the Daytona 500 last Sunday. Hosts of the television broadcast will include Mike Joy and Ken Squier. Fans are encouraged to come to Sears Point Raceway and watch the two-hour tribute. Sears Point Raceway will begin allowing fans into the facility at 7:30 a.m. In addition, a representative from Raceway Ministries will be on hand for a brief prayer service, and refreshments will also be provided. Earnhardt has raced at Sears Point Raceway annually since NASCAR first came to the facility in 1989. His victory at Sears Point Raceway in 1995 was the only road-course win of his Winston Cup career. Sears Point Raceway is located at the intersection of Highways 37 and 121 in Sonoma. For directions, please call 800-870-RACE or visit www.searspoint.com.
2/21/01
Dixon returns to Lights car for a day  PacWest Champ Car driver, Scott Dixon made his first visit to Texas Motor Speedway to participate in a Dayton/Firestone test yesterday. Dixon, the 2000 Indy Lights Champion, was not in a Champ Car, but in the PacWest Indy Lights car to complete the test for Dayton/Firestone. Dayton Tires, a division of Firestone, are in their fourth year as the official tire of the Indy Lights racing series, the final run in CART’s development ladder system. The test at TMS provided Firestone the opportunity to further their research and development of their tire performance on superspeedways. Due to water on the track, the originally scheduled full-day test began mid-day. Dixon was the only driver on the 1.5-mile oval and completed approximately 200 laps. After each ten laps, Firestone removed the tires, cut them open and examined them. They continued throughout the day evaluating the tires on a ½ tank of gas and then a full tank of gas. The test also provided Dixon the opportunity to run miles on a track he’s never been on, but in a car he’s familiar with. Dixon will return to the TMS oval on February 22 to test the PacWest Champ Car. PacWest’s Indy Lights testing program will continue on February 22, at the Texas Motor Speedway road course. 
SCOTT DIXON - #17 PACWEST CHAMP CAR 
“We got off to a late start because of water on the track, but I managed to complete about 200 laps,” said Dixon. “Even though the car wasn’t as challenging as a Champ Car, it was a great experience for me. I’m fortunate to put miles on a track I’ve never been on before and look forward to getting back out there in the PacWest Champ Car on Thursday.” 
PAUL (“ZIGGY”) HARCUS – PACWEST INDY LIGHTS TEAM MANAGER 
“Scott did a great job today and I think he had a little fun out there in the Indy Lights car,” said Paul (Ziggy) Harcus, PacWest Indy Lights team manager. “We ran him 10 laps at a time and suggested he run about 160-170 mph. Scott got out there and we had to bring him in to tell him to slow down – he was running about 173 mph,” added Harcus. “He did great and it was a good experience for him to do miles on a track he’s never been on.”
2/21/01
Nunn Racing test notes from Sebring  Mo Nunn Racing teammates Tony Kanaan and Alex Zanardi wrapped up their final two-day test at Sebring International Raceway this afternoon, then headed south to Homestead Miami Speedway to conclude their preparation for the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series season on Wednesday and Thursday. Story 
2/21/01
Carpentier a proud Papa  We received an e-mail saying that Patrick Carpentier is a papa! He and his wife, Anick, had a baby girl yesterday. Her name is Anais Dunn-Carpentier, born at 2:58, she was 6.3 lbs, 19 inches. 
2/21/01
AutoRacing1.com winners announced  AutoRacing1.com is happy to announce that out of 100's who entered, the following five people have won a free copy of the Autocourse CART 2000-2001 yearbook.  They are:
1. Randy Cooper - Dover, Pennsylvania
2. Charles Smithey - Paisley, Florida
3. Frederick Thierbach - Scottsdale, Arizona
4. Patrick Poirier - Laval, QC Canada
5. Mark Thomas - Anchorage, Alaska

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