Hot News

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DATE News (chronologically 2/26/01 to 3/02/01)
F1, not NASCAR, has highest paid drivers  Forbes magazine rates the highest paid athletes for 2000:
1. Michael Schumacher (Racing) $59 million
2. Tiger Woods (Golf) $53 million
3. Mike Tyson (Boxing) $48 million
4. Michael Jordan (Basketball) $37 million
5. Grant Hill (Basketball) $26 million
6 .Dale Earnhardt (Racing) $24.5 million
Michael Andretti to open new car dealership  – March 31st will be the Grand Opening of the all new Andretti Mitsubishi, 798 Narrows Run Road, Coraopolis, PA (right next door to Andretti Airport Toyota). To be deemed the "largest car event in Pittsburgh history", this is an event you won't want to miss. Twelve local radio stations will be broadcasting live throughout the day, refreshments will be provided by Coca Cola, and there will be door prizes and free "giveaways", as well as an autograph session by Michael Andretti. Doors will be open from 9:00 AM until Midnight.
Team Motorola, T-7 and counting  – In September of 2000 amid the flurry of press announcements and interviews, Team Motorola General Manager Kim Green had one pressing thought: "only six months until the Team Motorola car is rolled onto the grid for the season opener in Monterrey, Mexico."  Story

Soft walls or soft cars?  – The article by Mark Cipolloni titled 'Soft Walls or Soft Cars?'  addressing the issue of race cars hitting concrete walls on oval tracks, has resulted in a flood of e-mail from people around the world saying it was the best piece of technical safety-related auto racing journalism they have yet to read.  We are happy to report that Mark has made it even easier to understand for those non-engineers out there, and the revised article can be found here.  Enjoy!
Want to talk shop? Be sure to visit Body Dynamics "Meet the Team" page.  You'll get a chance to see the faces of each and every one of their team and find out what their areas of experience are. If you have a question or just want to "talk shop" their  guys would love to hear from you. Just click on the picture of any of their team to send them an e-mail message with your question or comments. The guys personally respond to every email they receive and they really enjoy the opportunity to "talk rac'in", answer questions and generally 'shoot-the-breeze'.
CART insider stock trading  – We thought that some readers might find this web page quite interesting.  It lists all the insider sale and purchase of CART (NYSE:MPH) stock over the past year.  It's clear that Gerald Forsythe was doing a lot of buying, and others a lot of selling.
CART allows Fernandez Racing to test today  – Fernández Racing’s pre-season testing program came to a close today with Shinji Nakano completing 123 laps aboard the #52 Avex/Alpine Honda/Reynard at Phoenix International Raceway. All testing for the start of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series was to have ended yesterday, but rain hindered any track activity on the one-mile oval and the team was permitted to test today. “According to the CART Rulebook*, a team may request permission to test during the first day of a blackout period should that day be the next consecutive day after a scheduled test day that has been aborted for good cause,” said Tom Anderson, owner and team manager. “We have now completed 17 test days for the season, so we were under our 20-day limit. Because of that rule, we requested permission from the Chief Steward to test today and received that yesterday afternoon. “Shinji ran 123 laps and got down to a 21.7 (seconds). It was a good day, and now that’s it. We are packing and getting ready for Mexico.” Due to the inclement weather yesterday, Adrián Fernández wrapped up his final pre-season testing on Tuesday. “The weather wasn’t very good at all during this test,” said Fernández. “I did just 60 laps on Tuesday, and we really never got up to speed. We went there very conservative in terms of setup, and there was absolutely no intention to go fast straight away. When we were just beginning to dial the car, it started raining. “Shinji ran today to get some laps in and finish up a few things that we needed to do. These last two days were more for the guys to start practicing pit stops and things like that. We were not trying to break any lap records here. On an oval with a new team, it’s not worth it.” “This was our second oval test this year with the new package, and I’m still learning,” said Nakano. “I was glad the weather cooperated and we were able to get out today.” *Rule 13.6.1C.7g.  Final CART Pres-season Test Times
Steve Newey steps down from Mo Nunn Racing  – Mo Nunn Racing announced today that Steve Newey has left his position as general manager, effective immediately. Newey, who was retained by the team in late 1999 to assemble a new racing organization to contest the CART FedEx Championship Series beginning with the 2000 season, will pursue other interests. “I have enjoyed the experience of working with Morris (Nunn) and starting a new race team, and then expanding the team to a two-car operation for the 2001 season,” Newey said. “Mo Nunn Racing has an excellent operation in place, and I am sure the team will be very successful in 2001. However, the time has come for me to pursue new opportunities in the racing business.” Nunn’s second-year team opens the 2001 CART campaign at Monterrey, Mexico, next week with returning driver Tony Kanaan in the #55 Hollywood-sponsored Honda-Reynard, and welcomes back to the series two-time champion Alex Zanardi in the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom sponsored Honda-Reynard. Nunn extended to Newey his warmest regards upon his departure. “We’ve come a long way in a little more than a year’s time, and Steve certainly played a vital role in growing our operation,” said Nunn, who started his own team in partnership with Mercedes-Benz after leaving Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, where he was technical director during four consecutive CART championships (Jimmy Vasser in 1996, Zanardi in 1997 and 1998, and Juan Montoya in 1999). “We enter the 2001 season on solid footing, and it was Steve’s veteran leadership that helped get us there. We wish him nothing but the best as he moves forward.” In the team's first year on the circuit, Kanaan and his Mercedes-powered entry led Mo Nunn Racing to seven top-10 finishes and ended up 19th in the final point standings despite missing four of the 20 events due to a mid-season accident. Mercedes subsequently discontinued its involvement in the series and the team switched powerplants to Honda, which Zanardi and Kanaan have driven to a combined 16 race wins and 11 pole positions from 1996-99. 
Max Wilson completes Arciero Brooke testing  Max Wilson and Arciero Brooke Racing have completed their off-season testing program with a dual Phoenix program. Wilson tested his year-old Lola-Phoenix (Ilmor) package at the Phoenix International Raceway oval and at the Firebird (East) International Raceway road course. "In Firebird we did 44 laps on Friday, and last Sunday we tested at Phoenix International Raceway," said Wilson. "It was a very good day. This was my real first time on a short oval, since in our last test here we only did just a few laps because a part broke. This time we ran about 200 miles, and I was getting more comfortable lap by lap. "Things are coming along better. I am happy with the results." Team President Barry Brooke was also encouraged. "In Firebird East, despite using the 2000 car, I think we were competitive on our effort," he said. "One of the main reasons for anyone to test is to get experience. (For) Max not having depth in a Champ Car but having been a (test) driver for Formula 1 cars, (he) did quite well. "We had some brake issues that we wanted to sort out, which we fully sorted out at Firebird East. Our times were very competitive for a one-year-old car, with a best of 47.8 seconds. "In PIR we practiced pit stops and we did at least 13 hot stops. There Max felt very comfortable, he got speed very quick. Everybody was impressed, and his best time was at 21.26 seconds." 
Ganassi Twins ready to take on CART's best  Team Target's dynamic rookie duo of Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian spent Feb. 26-28 testing at the 1.25-mile road course at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix, concluding a busy off-season, in which they combined to log more than 4,200 miles. Target Chip Ganassi Racing kicked off its final test with pit stop practice on Monday, while Tuesday and Wednesday were spent focusing on the race setup for the March 11 Monterrey Grand Prix in Monterrey, Mexico. Junqueira and Minassian split the testing duties, with both racers driving 160 miles before rain moved in on Wednesday afternoon. The team tested with a combination of light fuel loads and full tank runs to give the rookies a sense of how the car reacts throughout a race. "Both Nicolas and Bruno are good at learning from their mistakes, and they've improved with each test," said Mike Hull, the team's managing director. "That can be attributed to their hard work and attention to detail. Ricky (Davis, Bruno's chief mechanic) and Dave (Higuera, Nicolas' chief mechanic) have been a big help, getting them comfortable with pit stops and continuing to teach them about their cars. We're as prepared as we can be, so I have a good feeling heading into the first race." Junqueira, the 2000 FIA International 3000 Series champion is excited that the next time he slides into the cockpit of his Toyota-Lola he'll be on the track in Monterrey. "I can't wait to get back in my car and on the racetrack," Junqueira said. "I've heard that it's a very competitive track, with a lot of places to pass. We worked a lot on race setup for Monterrey over the last couple of days, so I think we're ready. It seems like a long time ago that we were here in Phoenix trying out for Team Target. It will be a good feeling to finally race." Minassian, the runner-up to Junqueira in last year's F3000 Series, echoed his new teammate's enthusiasm about the upcoming season. "I'm having dreams about seeing the green flag waving and taking my first lap, so I think that's a sign that I'm ready," Minassian said. "With the race coming up next week in Mexico, it was very important to find a good race setup for that track, and I think we have accomplished that. We've worked hard in the off-season. Now the fun part begins." Target Chip Ganassi Racing returns to its race shop in Indianapolis this week for final preparations before the engines rev to life in Monterrey, signaling the start of the 2001 CART FedEx Series. 
Franchitti ready for Mexico  Dario Franchitti and Team KOOL Green finished their pre-season testing program at Phoenix International Raceway on February 27 and 28. The two-day test was cut in half by a desert downpour that limited Franchitti to only 166 miles on Tuesday. TKG concentrated on finding an optimal race setup for the short ovals running a best lap of 21.2s, but Franchitti feels the car had more speed in it. "We didn't really get a chance to make the car better," said Franchitti. "This is my first time at Phoenix so I was getting used to the track, it would have been nice to have another day of testing." Team KOOL Green team manager Kyle Moyer agrees with Franchitti, saying the car can still be improved. "We've made some big gains from last year's race setup (on the short ovals)," said Moyer. "But there is still more we can do to get the car to run quicker. We will take what we learned here and also look at what Paul and Michael did at Phoenix." This was the team's final pre-season stop before the in-season ban of testing begins on March 1. Moyer believes Franchitti and the team had a very productive off-season despite using only eight of the ten allotted test days due to inclement weather. "I'm very, very happy with our testing program," said Moyer. "The team has built good continuity and the relationship between Dario and the guys is really strong. We left two test days on the table but I don't think we need them. Dario has confidence in the car and the crew and we are all ready to get to Mexico for the first race." The #27 Team KOOL Green crew is on its way back to its Indianapolis shop to prepare the car for Round 1 of the CART FedEx Championship Series which will take place at Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico on March 11. 
Rain washes out Andretti's last test  The unusual occurrence of rain in the deserts of Phoenix put a damper on the final day of testing for Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti on Wednesday. The team did complete a nearly full day of testing on Tuesday at the One-mile oval at Phoenix International Raceway with Andretti turning a quick lap of 20.9 seconds, but showers began at 4:00 p.m. and continued through the day on Wednesday putting an end to the pre-season testing for Team Motorola. "We ran 138 miles on Tuesday and spent the majority of the day working on our qualification set-ups," explained team manager Tony Cotman. "They were small changes and fine tuning on the set-up to figure out the kind of car Michael likes for qualifying which is sometimes the line between comfortable and fast for the driver. We planned on working through long runs on Wednesday but the weather took care of that test plan." Team Motorola driver Michael Andretti was disappointed in losing the final test day but still found a silver lining in the situation. "I am so glad we banked that test day from Homestead earlier this season or my only day in Phoenix would have been watching the rain on Wednesday," said Andretti. "I feel like we ended our testing on a good note. The car was fast and comfortable and I am very happy with the way the car feels on the oval. I think we will be competitive when we get to Texas in April." Team Motorola returned to Indianapolis to complete final preparations for the CART FedEx season opener scheduled for March 11, 2001 in Monterrey, Mexico. 
Rain also washes out Gugelmin's last test  Mauricio Gugelmin’s final testing day prior to the start of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series opener was rained out as foul weather hit Phoenix for the second consecutive day. Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Toyota, completed 80 laps on the 1-mile PIR oval Tuesday, but was unable to test on Wednesday, as a downpour saturated the track and cancelled the day’s session. MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST TOYOTA “ It is unfortunate that we could not run today because we really wanted one more day in the car prior to Mexico to do some last minute fine-tuning,” said Gugelmin. “I am pleased, however, that our off-season testing program has been so successful and we’ve been able to generate a lot of information on the car that will be carried over to the season. My crew has worked very hard all winter to give me the best possible car, and, like I’ve said before, I think we are right where we need to be heading into the season. With our new package for 2001, we are optimistic that PacWest can return to our winning ways and remain competitive at every circuit this season. I’m ready to go.” RUSSELL CAMERON – PACWEST DIRECTOR OR RACE OPERATIONS “We developed a very specific plan after Fontana last year to test this winter at venues where we felt we needed some additional improvement, and that’s what we did,” said Cameron. “Our engineers worked continuously on developing testing programs that enabled us to work through various components on the car, and our approach all winter was to stick to that program and learn about the pieces. We didn’t always set out to try and generate the best lap times; rather we wanted to learn the car since we will be running a different package for 2001. The Toyota powerplant has proved successful for us, and the reliability of the engine has allowed us to work through our testing programs without delays – which is always a plus. I can say that after 20-odd-days of running, we are pleased with our results, and the entire PacWest team has worked very hard to make it all happen. It’s been a very busy winter with building five new cars, testing, rebuilding pit equipment, hiring and training new crew members, etc.
F1 TV coverage in the USA - Speedvision wins it!  2nd UPDATE reports that Speedvision network has been awarded the broadcast rights to the 2001 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season in the United States.  Details are still arriving, but the broadcast coverage of the first race will begin with qualifying Friday evening from this weekend's season-opening Grand Prix of Australia:  • Live F1 qualifying will be shown Friday, March 2, beginning at 9:00 p.m. (Eastern); • Race preview will begin at 9:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday, March 3, with live race coverage beginning at 9:30 p.m. (Eastern).  2/27/01 - John Kernan announced on RPM2Night that ESPN was battling to win the F1 TV rights, but they had not heard who won.  We suspected it was between ESPN and Speedvision.  As we noted below, it was rumored that ABC/ESPN was getting the contract and that Tony George may have helped broker the deal with his ABC connections.  Bernie Ecclestone was rumored to have visited with ABC executives on more that one occasion in NY City. Therefore, if we had to guess right now, and it's only a guess mind you, we think F1 will be back on ESPN or ESPN2 in 2001.  2/27/01 - Many readers have asked what TV company will broadcast the 2001 F1 races.  Unfortunately it has not been announced.  We understand that Speedvision and possibly ESPN are negotiating with Bernie Ecclestone.  Last year the contract did not get signed until the night before the season opener, and that's likely to be the case again this year given that Ecclestone has not been returning Speedvision's telephone calls recently. There were rumors months ago that ABC/ESPN had won the rights, but nothing was ever announced. Stay Tuned.
Duke Nalon passes  Duke Nalon, who began racing during the 1930s and twice started the Indianapolis 500 from the pole position, died Monday at an Indianapolis hospital. He was 87. Nalon came to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a riding mechanic for Johnny Sawyer in 1937, when he took the rookie driving test but did not make the race. The next year, he qualified 33rd and finished 11th. He was 22nd and 15th in 1940 and 1941, then worked with Rolls Royce as a mechanic on its fighter plane engines during World War II.  Nalon's racing break came after the war in 1948, when he took over the Novi entry and finished third at Indy. The next year, he captured the pole at 132.939 mph and led the first 23 laps before a fiery crash took him out of racing for two years.  He won the pole again in 1951. His last start at Indianapolis was in 1953, when he finished 11th, but he was a fixture at the Speedway almost every year after that and drove the pace car in 1981 and 1983. Last year, he was driven around the track by four-time winner Al Unser. "That was my victory lap," Nalon said at the time. His death leaves George Connor, 94, of Hesperia, Calif., as the only remaining driver who drove at Indianapolis before World War II, according to Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials.  Nalon is survived by his wife, Fran; and two sons, Patrick and Dennis "Duke" Jr. Services are scheduled for Saturday at Conkle Funeral Home, with burial at Washington Park North Cemetery in Indianapolis.  AP
New Truck Series Team It's the number 49 Chevy truck owned by longtime racer, Doug Thompson, and the Covenant Race Team from Chapman, Kansas. The driver will be Trent Owen and the sponsor is Dickies. This team will race in a limited number of events for year 2001 and plans it's marketing debut the first part of April at Dickies corporate headquarters just down the road from the Texas Motor Speedway. 
Damon Hill to sell cars  Briton Damon Hill has followed Martin Brundle and Derek Warwick by entering the world of car sales. Former world champion Hill, 40, retired from Formula One in 1999 after a disappointing year with Jordan and he is ready to relish the new challenge which awaits him. He has teamed up with manager Michael Breen and automotive entrepreneur Nick Whale to set up Damon Hill Limited, and the company has taken on a BMW dealership in Warwick, England. 
Happy Birthday Mario Mario Andretti turns 61 years old today. 
Patrick Racing completes pre-season testing Patrick Racing concluded its pre-season testing program in preparation for the 2001 FedEx Championship Series with a two-day test on the Homestead road course, February 27-28, in Homestead Florida.  Jimmy Vasser drove both days of the final test running approximately 250 miles (150 the first day and 100 the second).  "This was a very productive test," said Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee. "We worked on a variety of things and were very pleased with the data we acquired. Because of the similarities between the Homestead road course and the circuit in Mexico, I think the work we did the last two days gives us a good starting point and direction to go in Mexico."   Vasser, who will pilot the #40 Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, was equally pleased with the results of the test and pronounced the team ready for the season opening Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix presented by Herdez, March 9-11, in Monterrey, Mexico.  "We worked on a lot things and had a good test at Homestead," Vasser said. "We ran very competitively and I think we are well prepared for the start of the season. The Homestead road course is very similar to the Monterrey track so a lot of the things we worked on the last two days will help us at the season opener. We definitely have a good base and direction to start with down there." 
CART files complaint against ISL Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) today announced that it has filed a complaint against ISL Marketing AG in Oakland (Mich.) County Circuit Court seeking compensatory and consequential damages in excess of $100 million. ISL has served as CART’s exclusive worldwide marketing agent since the execution of the contract in 1998, seeking sponsorship for the open-wheel sanctioning organization. The agreement obligates ISL to guarantee a pre-determined amount of income to CART. In the suit, CART alleges fraudulent inducement; breach of the agreement; and failure by ISL to pay more than $6 million due to CART with respect to its 2000 guarantee. The company indicated that discussions to resolve the matter had been ongoing but have reached an impasse. CART has concluded that it has no choice but to pursue legal action against ISL.
Players wraps up testing on a high note Team Player's wrapped up its testing program with an impressive display this week as drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani posted their fastest lap times of the off-season on the Firebird East road course and Homestead oval respectively. Tagliani completed his off-season sessions last Sunday in Florida, when he ran 165 laps on the 1.5-mile Homestead oval and clocked a 26.2-second fast lap, more than one and a-half seconds faster than his previous best time on that track this winter. Carpentier emulated his teammate's success during a two-day testing session at Firebird East in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday and Tuesday. Carpentier put in about the same number of laps and registered a fast lap of 46.65 seconds. That was a half-second better than Team Player's previous off-season sessions on the Firebird East course. "We had the two biggest days of our off-season testing," remarked Carpentier. "I was more aggressive at Firebird than I've been all winter. I looked at this session like it was a qualifying session for our first race. The fact that the car and engine performed this well on a road course is encouraging for the first race in Monterrey, which is also on a road course. It looks like we're definitely ready to go, and I feel great about it." Tagliani echoed the sentiments of his teammate. Referring to his final testing session of the winter, Tagliani said: "It was an awesome way to finish off the testing before the start of the season. We managed to take 1.5 seconds off our previous fastest lap, and we did it without the updated version of the Ford engine." Team Player's manager Phil LePan said a great deal of emphasis was put on the engine during the two-day session at Firebird East. The data from the adjustments that were made to the engine has been sent back to the shop and Team Player's will be setting up the engine for the first race of the year in Monterrey on March 11 based on the data it accumulated from the Firebird sessions. Team Player's technical director Bruce Ashmore was also pleased with the work both drivers have put in during the off-season. "They've shown intensity and a strong work ethic in every session. I was impressed with both Pat and Alex's ability to pick out the changes in the car and their ability to communicate them to the engineers. That's been a big factor in the improvements we've made to the cars." Summing up the team's off-season testing program, LePan declared: "We had certain expectations and goals for this year's testing and we achieved most everything we set out to do without any setbacks. That's very encouraging."
Fall Martinsville tickets on sale Tickets for the October 14 Old Dominion 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway will go on sale Wednesday, March 7 at 9 a.m. Tickets for the Old Dominion 500 are $40 to $70 each. Tickets can be ordered by calling the ticket office toll free at (877) 722-3849 or by calling (540) 956-3151. Tony Stewart is the defending champion for the Old Dominion 500. Stewart drove his Home Depot Pontiac to a half-second victory over Dale Earnhardt in the GM Goodwrench Service Chevrolet. Stewart also won the pole last fall, his second Martinsville pole. Qualifying for the Old Dominion 500 is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 12 at 3 p.m. with the race taking the green flag at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour will run the Advance Auto Parts 200 on Saturday, Oct. 13, beginning at 2:45 p.m. Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts 200 are unreserved and can be purchased for $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. The next action at Martinsville Speedway is on Saturday, April 7 and Sunday, April 8 when the track will host the Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the NASCAR Winston Cup series. Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts 250 on April 7 are unreserved and can be purchased for $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. Tickets for the Virginia 500 on April 8 are $40-$70. In addition to buying tickets via phone at (877) 722-3849 or (540) 956-3151, they can also be purchased online at
Earnhardt Lawsuit  UPDATE: Attorneys for Dale Earnhardt's widow and the Orlando Sentinel are close to reaching an agreement that would allow the public to view but not copy autopsy photos of the race-car driver. The widow filed a lawsuit Thursday to stop Volusia County from releasing autopsy photos taken by the Medical Examiner's Office after Earnhardt's fatal wreck in the Daytona 500. Circuit Judge Joseph G. Will granted the request, saying the photos have no "bona fide newsworthiness" and could cause the family "additional anguish and grief." But Friday, an Orlando Sentinel reporter submitted a public records request asking for "any and all photographs" of Earnhardt. Sentinel attorney David Bralow said the newspaper has no desire to cause Teresa Earnhardt more pain. The Sentinel's editors have publicly stated they have no intention of publishing the the photos in the newspaper. (more at Speed Magazine/Daytona Beach News Journal)  2/24/01 - Volusia County has been barred from releasing autopsy photos of Dale Earnhardt, the famous NASCAR driver who perished on the last lap of Sunday's Daytona 500. Circuit Court Judge Joseph G. Will granted the temporary injunction banning release of the photos after Earnhardt's wife, Teresa, filed a lawsuit against the Volusia County Medical Examiner's Office on Thursday. Daytona Beach attorneys representing Teresa Earnhardt filed the complaint seeking a temporary and permanent injunction after the coroner's office released photos to the media that were taken inside her husband's No. 3 Chevy a day after the crash. The court order prevents anyone from obtaining autopsy photos of Earnhardt's body, Judge Will said. (Speed Magazine/Daytona Beach News Journal)
More NASCAR safety feedback  Rules...Make the Windows Bigger? The safety furor among Winston Cup drivers and crews these last few days has been incredible, with a flood of safety ideas being raised for consideration. Drivers are calling for NASCAR to intensify the search for "soft-wall" technology, and they want more crushability in the nose of cars. They want NASCAR to look more seriously at the fire issue, allowing them to move fuel pumps to safer locations. They want a bigger window area, to make it easier to get out of the car in an emergency. NASCAR is considering ordering teams to enlarge the window opening before the race in Atlanta on March 10th. Drivers are also questioning NASCAR's decision last year to increase the strength of the front-end roll bars from 93-hundreths to 125-hundreths steel. The stronger front-end bars could make the car less crushable. And there are complaints about crews being allowed to use chrome-moly alloy in the rollbars; that makes for stronger bars, but chrome-moly doesn't bend as easily as other steel and can actually fracture. Plus if welding isn't done just right, the welds can crystallize, crews say (in part from the Winston Salem Journal)(2-27-2001)
Big Mo fast at PIR Mauricio Gugelmin and his Nextel crew returned to Phoenix International Raceway Tuesday, as a final testing ground before the green flag flies for the start of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series on March 11, in Monterrey, Mexico. Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Toyota, completed a total of 80 laps before rain moved into the Phoenix area and concluded testing two hours earlier than scheduled. Competing with the likes of Andretti, Fernandez, Franchitti, Fittipaldi and Castroneves, Gugelmin clocked a quick time of 20.99 seconds around the 1-mile PIR oval. A brief rain delay earlier in the morning also caused a minor halt in the action, but after the track dried, Big Mo returned to the circuit and finished the day just two-tenths off of the leader, Helio Castroneves, who posted a fast lap of 20.78 seconds. Gugelmin will conclude his winter testing program on Wednesday at PIR before his crew returns home to put the finishing touches on his car in preparation for Mexico. MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST TOYOTA “Overall we had a very good day,” said Gugelmin. “Although we didn’t run as many laps as we would have liked because of the rain, we’ve certainly made strides since our last testing session here. We’re learning more and more about the car as we run, and the Toyota engine has been fantastic all winter. Personally, I think we still need to refine the car a little more, which we will do Wednesday, but overall, I’m pleased. I put up a competitive lap time today which is always good, but we’ll continue to do some fine- tuning until the cars are loaded on the transporters for the trip to Mexico.” RUSSELL CAMERON – PACWEST DIRECTOR OR RACE OPERATIONS “We came into this final two-day testing session intending to make these last couple of days a dress rehearsal for the season, and that’s what we’ve accomplished so far,” said Cameron. “We still have one more day to go, which we will use to work on some fundamentals, but I’m pleased because we continue to gather useful information that we can carry-over into the season. Today we worked on finding more balance and speed on short ovals, and that’s exactly what we did. Mo put up a quick time on limited running conditions, and, as a team, we’re coming together at the right moment.”
Gemstar to back Wheldon Dan Wheldon’s Indy Lights team – PacWest Racing – has signed Gemstar Communications Inc in a marketing and sales alliance to become an associate sponsor this season.PacWest Racing Group was formed by Bruce R McCaw in 1993 and currently fields two cars in the FedEx Championship Series and also competes in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship – in which 22-year old English driver, Dan Wheldon, will make his series debut on 11th March. PacWest Racing employs 94 people for its race and marketing operations in Indianapolis, 17 of which are dedicated solely to marketing the team and its partners. Gemstar will be represented through car signage and will also have the chance to make use of the many networking opportunities developed by PacWest to further business-to-business relationships. ‘Gemstar Communications Inc produces cutting edge technology and we are excited about partnering with them,’ said McCaw, owner of PacWest Racing Group.
Vasser hits road course in Miami, Minassian blisters Firebird UPDATE Meanwhile, out at Firebird, Bruno Junqueira turned a 46.75 sec lap yesterday, the 2nd fastest of the off-season, but his teammate, Nicolas Minassian blistered the track today to easily set fastest time of the off-season.  At Phoenix, Helio Castroneves and Michael Andretti were atop the charts  2/26/01 -  Jimmy Vasser got his first taste of the Homestead road course today driving his Toyota powered Reynard, and he easily topped the charts with a 67.5 sec. lap on a hot Florida day.  2nd fastest was Max Papis with a 68.0 sec lap. No times were reported for Kenny Brack.   CART Test Times.
Gary Scelzi on his use of the HANS Device  We are big proponents of the HANS Device for all drivers.  We thought you would interested in reading what Gary Scelzi had to say about his use of the HANS Device with Speedvision. Interview.
Earnhardt service at Dover Downs  Wanting to give race fans in the area an opportunity to express their gratitude and appreciation in celebrating the life of Dale Earnhardt, Rev. Dan Schafer will present a Memorial Service, a final tribute to Dale Earnhardt, on Sunday, March 4, at the Calvary Assembly of God Church in Hightstown, NJ. The tribute will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the memorial service following at 10:30 a.m. Prayers and appropriate special music with a message on the "Flags of Life" will be offered by the Reverend.  Fans are invited to bring flowers, photographs, and other items of remembrance.  Reverend Dan Schafer is the Director of the Fellowship of Christian Racers and serves as Chaplain to New Egypt (NJ) Speedway and two Garden State quarter midget tracks. And for the tenth year Rev. Schafer will be giving the Invocations at Dover Downs International Speedway for all their NASCAR sanctioned race events.  On Friday, February 23, Rev. Dan was part of a special Memorial service at Dover Downs for the late seven time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt. Several thousand fans turned out for the Memorial. "We think this Memorial Service will give fans the opportunity to express their sympathies and gain closure after suffering such tremendous loss," said Rev. Schafer. The Calvary Assembly of God Church is located at the corner of Bank and Mechanic Streets in Hightstown, NJ, across from the Hightstown Police Department. For additional information telephone Rev. Dan at 732.928.8847.
Harvick in running for Rookie of Year  Kevin Harvick has officially joined the race for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year championship in NASCAR Winston Cup racing. The 24 year old native of Bakersfield, California, will run the remaining Winston Cup schedule in the No. 29 GM Goodwrench sponsored Chevrolets prepared by Richard Childress Racing. He joins Winston Cup freshman Ron Hornaday, Kurt Busch, Andy Houston, Jason Leffler and Casey Atwood as those drivers competing for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. Harvick says he has a strong desire to win the rookie title and that this season already has a lot in common with his season last year in the Busch Series, mainly because of who his competition is going to be. "Running for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title is a pretty cool deal," said Harvick. "I want that rookie title. It feels a lot like last season - running for it against Ron Hornaday. He'll be tough to take again, but we want a set of matching titles. "It's something you get to have and look back on and get to say, 'Hey, I might have been the best new guy. They gave me the title, I guess I was." Winning the Raybestos Rookie of the Year Championship in Busch last year was one of our main goals, along with winning the Busch championship. We only got one of the two but will get the championship in Busch this year. It'll be tough with the circumstances, but I believe in my team. In Cup, we're running to win races, get that Raybestos Rookie title, and win the championship." Harvick's first race as a member of the 2001 Raybestos Rookie class in Winston Cup came Monday in the Dura Lube 400 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. Harvick started 36th and came home 13th, the highest finishing rookie in the race. "We're very proud to have Kevin join the 2001 Raybestos Rookie Contender class," said Roger Hogeboom, Director of Motorsports for Raybestos. "He did a great job this past weekend at Rockingham under some very difficult circumstances. Kevin did an outstanding job last year in the Busch Series for Richard Childress by winning the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title. He will be a great addition to what we felt was already a strong group of rookies." Last season, Harvick won the Raybestos Rookie of the Year championship in the Busch Series. He won three races, scored eight top-five and 16 top-10s, and placed third in Busch Series points. Harvick also won two pole positions and set the record for most laps led by a rookie with 665 and set the record for most points accumulated with 4,113.
Loomis and Dodson fined by NASCAR  NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Robbie Loomis for rules violations found in post-race inspection following Monday's Dura-Lube 400 at the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C.  Loomis, crew chief for the No. 24 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was fined $25,000 and penalized under Section 12-4-T in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: "...any car found to be under the specified height requirement after the completion of time trials or the race..." NASCAR officials also penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Barry Dodson for rules violations (unapproved fuel cell check valve) discovered in inspection prior to last Sunday's Dura-Lube 400 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C. Dodson, crew chief of the No. 27 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was fined $1,000 and penalized under Section 12-4-Q in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform... or have not been approved by NASCAR...".
CART announces major TV pact with Eurosport  Racing fans throughout Europe will be able to follow the star-studded lineup of international drivers as well as the high-speed excitement of Championship Auto Racing Teams' FedEx Championship Series through a precedent-setting Eurosport television package announced today. Officials from CART, ESPN International and Eurosport Television announced that 2001 CART coverage will include 18 live race events. Eurosport reaches out to 250 million viewers in 54 countries. Story.

Mark Cipolloni live on radio tonight  Cleveland, Ohio race fans might want to tune into radio WZAK 93.1 FM  tonight at around 7:00 PM.'s Mark Cipolloni will be a guest on Joe Rossman's show talking about the Dale Earnhardt tragedy and safety in racing.  Normally anyone would be able to listen in via their website, but unfortunately it is undergoing a major reconstruction and live Real Audio is not available.  Those who want to call in to ask questions of Mark can do so by calling 216-578-1300.
Dixon on the pace at Firebird  Driver Scott Dixon and PacWest Racing Group began a two-day test on February 26, at Firebird Raceway. Dixon, driving the team’s new Toyota Reynard combination, logged approximately 185 miles and consistently lapped the 1.2-mile facility in the low 47-second range. Monday saw scattered showers, which limited on-track time for Dixon and PacWest as well as for Team Player’s driver Patrick Carpentier and Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian, who also ran in the low 47-second range. PacWest Racing Group spent the end of the day conducting pit stop practice. The team completed approximately 40 pit stops in preparation for the opening round of the CART FedEx Championship Series on March 11, in Monterrey, Mexico. PacWest will run Dixon again on Tuesday at Firebird, while teammate Mauricio Gugelmin returns to testing at Phoenix International Raceway to continue preparing for the season opener next week. SCOTT DIXON - # 18 PACWEST TOYOTA “Considering the limited track time, we had a pretty good test today,” said Dixon. “I’m happy with the crew and the car and feel extremely competitive going into Mexico next week. We also worked very hard on pit stop practice today, which went very well. My times are quick, which gives me a lot of confidence as we conclude off-season testing.” RUSSELL CAMERON – PACWEST DIRECTOR OF RACE OPERATIONS “Today’s session went very well, and hopefully if the weather holds up tomorrow, we’ll have more track time,” said Cameron. “Scott ran in the low 47’s and was right there competitively with Carpentier, Junqueira and Minassian. I’m proud of the team working so hard on the car as well as on their pit stops. We’re happy with the consistency of the Toyota Reynard, and we’ve accomplished a lot going into the start of the season.”
Another oval planned for Detroit  This article appeared to today's Detroit News - A master plan detailing a massive restoration of an eight-mile stretch of the Rouge River includes a proposal for a 1.5-mile Detroit Motor Speedway on the site of a former racetrack along the Detroit River. The plan, to be released today, calls for an oval track, grandstands for more than 60,000 visitors, support facilities for racing crews, staging areas and parking. The vacant site, owned by the city of Detroit, is at the junction of the Detroit and Rouge rivers. The land was home to the Detroit International Exposition, which offered a large exhibit hall, ornate pavilions, fairgrounds and a large racing track. The complex was operational from 1870 to 1930. "A main component of the story of the Rouge River is the automotive industry, and you can't talk about the heritage without covering car racing," said Ed Bagale, co-chairman of the Rouge Gateway Partnership and vice-chancellor of government relations for the University of Michigan-Dearborn. The partnership, made up of businesses, communities and civic organizations, has already undertaken cleanup of the Rouge. It also promotes new developments while enhancing historical amenities. "Before Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Co. (in 1903), he had to prove his craft on race courses. Our mission is to restore the water quality of the Rouge while offering enhancements like a racetrack. There is no price tag, but all the necessary components are there." Bagale said the 25-acre site offers close proximity to Interstate 75, views of the Detroit skyline and the waterways and distance from residential homes. Most homes in the area are several blocks away. Mayor Dennis Archer said he would support the track if neighboring residents and businesses embraced the project. "It depends on what the community wants, but if they can find the right synergy, I would be very enthusiastic about (the track)," Archer said. "The people living in and around that area need to be consulted in the same way that people were not consulted near the fairgrounds." Last year, a racetrack proposal at the Michigan State Fairgrounds at Eight Mile and Woodward met with stiff resistance from homeowners in nearby Palmer Woods. The residents cited noise and traffic as the biggest objections. The developer for the project, theater owner Joe Nederlander, said he is still studying plans for the racetrack. He is not involved in the Rouge River track proposal. Loren Venegas, executive vice-president of the Ideal Group in southwest Detroit, which manufactures and distributes plastic components for commercial properties, said he favored a racetrack in the area. "Detroit is a car town, and it would be great to have a permanent racetrack positioned in the city," Venegas said. "As long as it doesn't hinder any neighborhoods, it would be a great asset to the city." The track would accommodate open-wheel and stock car racing. The master plan for the Rouge River also calls for a new welcome center at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, residential development and a boat dock in Melvindale.
Carpentier turns fastest lap at Homestead  Team Player’s driver Alex Tagliani wrapped up his off-season testing this Sunday at Homestead, Florida. The Canadian driver completed 165 laps around the 1.5 mile oval and registered a blistering 26,2 second lap time, his best time on the Homestead track this year.  “It was an awesome way to finish our final testing session before the start of the season”, said Tagliani who had high praise for his team’s work during the off-season. “Up to that point, our fastest lap at Homestead this year had been a 27.7. We took more than a second and a half off of that and we did it without the last updated version of the Ford engine. That goes to show you how good the car itself is. It also means that the team has been on the right track all winter long in the way they have been setting up the car.”  Team Player’s manager Phil Lepan agrees with Tagliani and qualifies this year’s testing as the best the team has ever had. “We had certain expectations and goals for this year’s testing and we achieved everything we set out to do without any set backs. That’s very encouraging.”  “We’re confident with our oval set ups which have been very reliable and consistent. We still have some work to do on our road set-ups and that is what Patrick (Carpentier) is working on this week at Firebird East in Phoenix, but I know we’ll be ready to compete like I know we can in Mexico.”  Tagliani also spoke highly of esteemed engineer, Tony Cicale’s contributions since joining the team as technical advisor. “Tony’s arrival has already made an impact and the CART season hasn’t even started yet. He and Bruce Ashmore (technical director) have brought a lot of experience with them and even more professionalism to the team. “  The season starts March 11th on a temporary road course in Monterrey, Mexico followed by another road course race at Long Beach, California. CART teams will take to their first oval track of the season for the third race of the season in Fort Worth at Texas Motor Speedway with it’s 26 degree banking.   Updated CART test times
Toyota to power promising rookies  The footsteps may be huge, but four of the world's finest young drivers look to follow the likes of Montoya, Tracy, Zanardi, da Matta and Fittipaldi in making the jump from the world's three leading Formula 3000-type series into the CART FedEx Championship Series in 2001.  Story
CART Teleconference Transcript  The Top 5 finishers in the 2000 FedEx Championship Series championship: Paul Tracy of Team KOOL Green; Kenny Brack of Team Rahal; Roberto Moreno of Patrick Racing; Adrian Fernandez of Fernandez Racing; and Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske Transcript
Gemstar joins PacWest  Gemstar Communications, Inc. has joined PacWest Racing Group in a Marketing & Sales alliance and will become an associate sponsor for its Indy Lights series effort, beginning this season. PacWest Racing Group was formed by Bruce R. McCaw in 1993 and currently fields two cars in the FedEx Championship Series and also competes in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship. PacWest Racing employs 94 for its race and marketing operations in Indianapolis, 17 of which are dedicated solely to marketing the team and its partners. This makes it the most comprehensive in-house marketing effort in motorsports. Gemstar will be represented through car signage and will also have the chance to make use of the many networking opportunities developed by PacWest to further business-to-business relationships. “Gemstar Communications, Inc. produces cutting edge technology and we are excited about partnering with them,” said McCaw, owner of PacWest Racing Group. “It’s also very exciting to help Gemstar reach a wider audience through their involvement with us and to achieve their goals through these new business opportunities,” continued McCaw. Gemstar is a publicly held wireless data company founded in 1992 with headquarters in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Its primary business is providing real time data to customers through the use of its proprietary wireless technology. Gemstar currently supplies fully integrated, e-business solutions to its manufacturing clients for asset management and provides Postal Administrations with real time service performance and quality measurement data on the entire postal process. “Our primary objective is to identify and accelerate new business opportunities,” said Paul T. Macey, President of Gemstar. “PacWest Racing Group has demonstrated a unique ability to develop the type of business-to-business relationships that will meet that objective,” continued Macey. Gemstar has augmented its technology and business approach by continuing to develop a number of strategic partnerships that allows them to provide the best possible solution available to their clients. PacWest Racing Group is currently preparing for the CART FedEx and Dayton Indy Lights Series’ openers in Monterrey, Mexico on March 11, 2001. 
CART Trivia  What state has the most Indy Car races each year?  Answer - Texas.  One CART race at TMS and one in Houston, plus two IRL races at TMS.  Not bad for a state that 4 years ago had zero.
ISSC car used to measure smoothness of Rockingham  The International Single-Seater Challenge development car created the unofficial lap record for Britain's sensational new Rockingham Motor Speedway last Friday, during successful trials to evaluate the Northamptonshire circuit's contours on behalf of builder Morrison Construction and surfacing contractor Colas. Driven by Guy Smith, the 310bhp Reynard-Chrysler V6 chassis lapped the 1.5-mile tri-oval in the 36s bracket, for an average speed of 144mph, in the course of a 50-lap program. The previous mark, of 131mph, was set by an 800bhp Pontiac Grand Prix NASCAR stock car, the first to run on the track, last month. "I didn't know what to expect, and had to be cautious because there was a lot of construction work going on, but the track is fantastic to drive," said Smith. "The four corners are different, each with its own personality. It's also nice and wide, with four distinct lines, which will make for great racing." Fitted with potentiometers to gauge microscopic surface level variations, the loaded racing car fed information to on-board data acquisition equipment, which conventional laser measuring devices cannot pick up. Results are being analyzed prior to the application of the final surface. PI Research made available the data logging equipment along with an engineer to work with the Meritus team who professionally produced the information Rockingham sought. "As part of our commitment to achieving the best possible surface for competitors to race on, the exercise was a great success," said Rockingham chief executive David Grace. Morrison's site boss Gordon Calder echoed his sentiments: "I'm delighted, it did everything we wanted it to do before we start laying the wearing (top) course in mid-March." Smith, who has extensive oval-racing experience from the Indy Lights Championship in the USA, was complimentary. "There are two or three minor compressions to smooth out in turn one, but the racing line is smooth. In fact, this circuit is already a lot less bumpy than some I've raced on." The test ­ yet another milestone in the development of Britain's first purpose-built banked motor racing circuit since Brooklands almost a century ago - was attended by more than 30 journalists representing the construction industry's press, and by two specialist film crews. Lap speeds will rise dramatically by the time the ISSC series visits in September. "I would expect these cars to lap around 34.5 seconds (an average of 156mph) when they are dialed in to the track, ambient temperatures are higher and the final surface is prepared," said Smith..
Moreno completes final pre-season test  Roberto Moreno completed his final test in preparation for the start of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series season today on the oval in Homestead, Florida. Moreno, who tested in extremely hot conditions, ran almost 250 miles, 163 laps, on the 1.5-mile Homestead oval turning a quick lap of 26.72. This is Moreno's final tune-up before the season opening Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix presented by Herdez, March 9-11, on the newly constructed 2.1-mile, 12-turn permanent road circuit at Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico. "The Visteon/Patrick Racing team had a great test today," said Moreno. "We were able to run a very fast time in very, very hot conditions. In fact we ran our fastest time when it was the hottest." Moreno went on to say, "We made significant progress from where the car was the last time we ran on the Homestead oval. I am particularly pleased because the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard was very consistent. We ran almost the same time on old tires as new ones. I think the progress we made today was important because we made the car consistently quick, which is the key to having a good race." Moreno, who enters his eighth CART season and second with Visteon/Patrick Racing, will pilot the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard entry in 2001. The native of Brazil is looking to build on an outstanding 2000 season, his first season with Visteon/Patrick Racing. He finished a CART career high third in the championship standings, led the CART standings for the first time, captured his first CART victory and pole (both at Cleveland) and had his best showing in a 500-mile race finishing second in Fontana. Moreno was among the point's leaders all season dropping out of the top five in the standings only once and remaining in the top three for most of the year. The Weston, Florida resident finished 14 of 20 races, each time in the points with 12 top-10 showings including eight top five finishes and six podium appearances with one victory. Teammate Jimmy Vasser will run the final two days of pre-season testing for the team beginning tomorrow. Vasser will test February 27-28 on the Homestead road course.
Live web cams  Today 2/26/01 at 7:00pm and Wednesday 2/28/01 from 8:30 am until? NASCAR IMAGES will be shooting segments for the new TV show NASCAR TECH at the Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. facility. You can see behind the scenes of this shoot by going to and using their live web cams . NASCAR TECH is a new informational show that covers the technical side of the sport as well as the equipment and services of NASCAR licensed products and corporations.
More on NASCAR Chassis stiffness  (Also see our Soft Walls vs. Soft Cars article).  Most of the talk centers around HANS devices and safety belts alleged to have been ripped apart. The one-word description of what likely killed Dale Earnhardt seems to have been lost in the shuffle. Rigidity. Specifically, rigidity in the front of the cars, and it has been officially cited as a cause of death in the past. One racing insider, Ken Barlow, was so incensed by Earnhardt’s death that he decided to go public with his suspicions. Barlow, a resident of northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., has owned cars that were entered in Busch Grand National races. According to Barlow, he has built traction-control systems that were illegally used by Winston Cup teams. In fact, the reason he has nothing to lose is that NASCAR officials caught him using traction control at a local short-track race. "They condoned it at the Cup level," Barlow said, "but they didn’t want traction control getting into the short-track level." NASCAR officials will obviously contest Barlow’s credibility because he has been disciplined by the ruling body, but when two different mechanics with Winston Cup teams were queried on Saturday about his allegations, both agreed that what he had said could be true. Neither would say so, however, except on the condition of anonymity. One problem, Barlow said, is the increasingly widespread use of something called chrome moly box tubing. Chrome moly is a treated variety of steel that is considerably harder than normal steel. It will break before it bends. Barlow does not know whether the car that Earnhardt died in used chrome moly box tubing, but he said he believes it was built using something called "cross triangulation." Barlow said the cars in which Earnhardt, Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin were killed all used triangulated motor mounts, another method used to increase rigidity. Barlow said that most manufacturers refuse to build chassis with chrome moly box tubing because they do not consider it safe. That is one reason why, Barlow believes, in recent years many of the leading Winston Cup teams have begun building their cars completely in-house. Some suspicion exists in the garage over NASCAR’s contention that Earnhardt died because a safety belt broke. For one thing, it was only one of five straps holding the driver in place. For another, the original description of Earnhardt’s condition at the time of his death made reference to the driver having "no external injuries," yet when the broken seat-belt explanation was issued Friday, officials commented that Earnhardt, who wore an open-face helmet, had had his head thrown against the steering wheel. On Friday, Dr. Steve Bohannon, one of the attending physicians, referred to Earnhardt as having had an abrasion of the chin, presumably one that was not originally noticed. This is only part of the story, see the full story at the Gaston Gazette AND from the Winston Salem Journal, a comment by Ken Schrader - Schrader is one of the few drivers offering specific safety suggestions this weekend. He said one of NASCAR's top priorities should be rules requiring cars with more "crushability." "I think you're seeing more drivers go in to talk to NASCAR about some of the car construction," Schrader said. "The teams have been making these cars more and more rigid, by adding roll bars, to make the car handle better. But what we've done is take a tremendous amount of crush out of the framework of the car. And the force is being relayed to the first thing that can give.... the driver." (Winston Salem Journal)
Honda launches new web site in 6 languages  Honda's all-new official Formula 1 website was launched today (Monday), offering F1 aficionados one of the most exciting and unique competition prizes ever given away. HONDAF1.COM will keep race fans up to date with the latest information from Honda's Formula 1 activities with British American Racing and Jordan Grand Prix. Fully translated into English, Japanese, French, German, Italian and Spanish, the site will cater for the majority of race fans around the globe in their own language, helping the world's largest engine manufacturer to communicate Honda's challenging spirit to as wide an audience as possible. Exclusive competition - win four signed helmets & collect them in person Four f the world's leading Formula 1 stars will have the benefit of Honda power in 2001, following in the glorious footsteps of Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet, who between them delivered five consecutive drivers' championships with Honda engines from 987 to 1991. BAR Honda's Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis together with Jordan Honda's Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli will be vying for the honor of recording he first victory of Honda's third F1 generation. HONDAF1.COM will give fans a truly unique opportunity to win all four helmets from Honda's 2001 driver line-up, signed by the stars themselves. This is a once-in-a-lifetime prize and the helmets will be the ultimate collectors item for all F1 supporters. Only Honda, with its commitment to two 'works' teams, is in a position to offer this awesome prize. Honda's love of racing is legendary and, through, the company hopes to enthuse the fans with the passion and challenging spirit associated with top-level competition. Join Honda at the races Underlining the company's commitment to racing and racing fans around the world, the prize consists not only of this amazing collection of helmets. The winner, plus guest, will be invited to attend one of the 2001 Grands Prix as a guest of Honda. As well as being part of the team for the entire weekend and seeing behind the scenes in the modern Formula 1 paddock, the winner will receive the prize in person from one of the Honda-powered drivers during the weekend. This exclusive competition is open to everyone who visits the new Honda site before the end of May 2001 and the winner will be notified before the end of June. Everyone is welcome to experience the thrill of Honda Power 2001 at: 
Skinner added to No Bull 5  R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and its Winston brand announced today that Mike Skinner has been added to the field of drivers eligible for the Winston No Bull 5 million-dollar bonus at next weekend's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Skinner, the sixth-place finisher in last season's final Winston No Bull 5 event, the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, will join Kenny Wallace, Joe Nemechek, Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte to round out the field of five eligible drivers. Skinner will compete in place of Dale Earnhardt who was eligible for the Las Vegas event based on his win in the Winston 500
Wheldon fast in final test before Monterrey, Mexico PacWest Indy Lights driver Dan 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 at the end of last week. Wheldon, who was pleased with the team’s progress, logged more than 195 miles under cold weather conditions and recorded a best lap time of 64.04 seconds. Joining Wheldon in the second PacWest lights car was fellow Brit, Mark Hynes, the 1999 British Formula Three Champion, who also logged significant miles, with a fastest lap timed at 64.17 seconds. Despite the inclement weather, the team – which 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 championship opener. The PacWest Indy Lights team has now returned 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.
Did Earnhardt alter his own belts?  NASCAR spokesman John Griffin called reports that Earnhardt altered his seat belt speculation, but said stock car racing's governing body will continue investigating the wreckage of the car, which is housed at a NASCAR facility in Charlotte, N.C. One source who saw the car after the wreck told the Daily News the seat belt failure was because of alterations to the safety harness ordered by Earnhardt, not because of a design flaw or failure of the mechanism. Another source confirmed the manner in which Earnhardt had the belt installed likely caused its failure. Drivers often make equipment changes so they can be more comfortable in the cockpit. (Daily News) NASCAR, meanwhile, has brought in an outside consultant to help in the investigation. Mike Helton, president of the sanctioning body, wouldn't give the name of the company, but he called them "experts in a lot of industries, not just transportation." Simpson told The Charlotte Observer he has received death threats since NASCAR officials announced the discovery of the broken belt on Friday. Dr. Steve Bohannon, head of emergency medical services at Daytona International Speedway, said Earnhardt might have survived slamming into the wall at 180 mph if the belt hadn't come apart. (FOX Sports)
Simpson livid with NASCAR  Officials of Simpson Performance Products, Inc., the company that manufactured the five-strap belt, are livid that NASCAR would play the blame game -- and adamantly deny their belt failed. Instead of putting the issue to rest, NASCAR's explanation only stirred the pot when it attributed the sport's latest fatality to a broken seat belt, a left-side lap belt snapping, fraying or some such thing. No one is sure exactly what happened. And it doesn't enhance NASCAR's credibility that it sat on the news for almost five days before going public. Drivers and people in the garage area have come to the support of Simpson. All of them still have confidence in their belts and helmets. And while not disputing what NASCAR uncovered, they find it difficult to fathom. (CNN/SI)

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