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DATE News (chronologically 3/3/01 to 3/9/01
More Mexico news bits The teams were allowed 8 sets of tires this weekend instead of the usual 7 because of the green track.........Memo Gidley and Alex Barron were walking around the pits still looking for a ride........If Michael Andretti goes to Indy, it will likely be with Motorola on the car, but we hear he has two other sponsors too........Some cars were fitted with the new single point refueling system which becomes mandatory by Nazareth.........A rule change this year in CART eliminates Friday qualifying on road and street courses. The race field will be determined by two 30-minute sessions on Saturday. Quite a few changes have taken place in the Champ Car ranks in the off-season leading up to this weekend’s Round One of the FedEx Championship Series season. First, of course, the 2000 Points Champion, GIL de FERRAN takes over the traditional #1 in his Marlboro Team Penske Honda Reynard, leaving #2 unused this season. Teammate HELIO CASTRONEVES remains in the #3. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing Toyota Lola #4 will be piloted this season by Brazilian rookie contender BRUNO JUNQUEIRA with the #12 being piloted by fellow rookie, Frenchman NICOLAS MINASSIAN. The #5 Walker Racing Pioneer/Denso Toyota Reynard will also be piloted by a Rookie contender this year, Japanese driver TORA TAKAGI. Newman/Haas will run the Toyota powerplants this year in both cars with the #6 Texaco/Havoline Toyota Lola now driven by Brazilian CRISTIANO da MATTA, taking the seat of former driver MICHAEL ANDRETTI. #11 CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI becomes the senior driver of the team in his #11 Kmart-sponsored Toyota Lola. Team Rahal switches to Lola chassis this year for the Miller Lite Ford of #7 MAX PAPIS and #8 KENNY BRACK, last year’s Rookie of the Year. Popular Mexican driver MICHEL JOURDAIN Jr. returns to the #16 Herdez-sponsored Ford Lola. Rookie SCOTT DIXON from New Zealand takes over the controls of the #18 PacWest Racing Group Toyota Reynard behind departed driver Mark Blundell. And to make you feel a bit old, DIXON is the first driver born in the 1980’s to compete at CART’s highest level. CART veteran team Dale Coyne Racing has also placed a Rookie driver, German MICHAEL KRUMM, in his #19 Ford Lola sponsored by The Dark Dog. The #21 Dale Coyne entry will be piloted by LUIZ GARCIA Jr. Sigma Autosport is a new team this year, campaigning in the #22 Ford Lola with Brazilian ORIOL SERVIA at the wheel. Another new entry with a Rookie contender is in place in the #25 Arciero Brooke Racing winner B2B-sponsored Lola with Brazilian MAX WILSON at the helm and powered by a new face in the CART engine manufacturers line-up this year, Phoenix. No changes are in place at Team KOOL Green, #26 driven by Canadian PAUL TRACY and #27 by Scotsman DARIO FRANCHITTI in Honda Reynards. Ditto for Player’s Forsythe Racing; #32 wheeled by veteran Canadians PATICK CARPENTIER and #33 by second-year driver ALEX TAGLIANI, both still utilizing the Ford Reynard combination. One change that definitely doesn’t involve a CART Rookie is the new Team Motorola Honda Reynard entry #39 piloted by former FedEx Series Champion MICHAEL ANDRETTI. Patrick Racing’s #40 Toyota Reynard, teammate to #20 ROBERTO MORENO, will be driven by JIMMY VASSER, taking the place of departed driver and new CART team owner ADRIAN FERNANDEZ. The popular Mexican star FERNANDEZ will campaign his two cars this year, personally driving the Tecate/Quaker State Telmex Honda Reynard #51 and teammate Japanese ace SHINJI NAKANO in the Avex/Alpine-sponsored #52. Former two-time Champion ALEX ZANARDI returns to the FedEx Championship Series from a short retirement in his homeland of Italy, taking over the wheel in the #66 Moe Nunn Racing Pioneer/ WorldCom Honda Reynard, joining teammate TONY KANAAN in the #55. American BRYAN HERTA returns to the series full-time this year in the #77 Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing Ford Reynard. MC
Track is dirty in Mexico. Today's Friday morning practice got off on time this morning, but the track is so green and dusty that the Champ cars are having a hard time getting any traction at all.  It was so bad that this morning's session was cut short and the Indy Lights cars were sent out early to put some rubber down on the track.  More to follow.
Ticket for F1 races  The London Daily Telegram newspaper reports the following F1 ticket prices (A British pound is roughly $1.75 USD). How prices compare 
Grand Prix Minimum Maximum
Australia £37 £229
Malaysia £28 £307
Brazil £182 £1890*
San Marino £26 £215
Spain £40 £191
Austria £83 £223
Monaco £73 £363
Canada £44 £228
European £67 £261
France £95 £176
British £95 £390
German £80 £261
Hungary £67 £246
Belgium £90 £252
Italy £31 £241
United States £36 £114
Japan £77 £520

* Premium Paddock Club, includes daily pit visit and champagne bar throughout.

Toyota launches new motorsports website. Toyota Motorsports launched its new-look Web site today, including fast facts on its new Toyota-powered teams and drivers in the CART FedEx Championship Series and NASCAR Goody's Dash Series. The Web site, located at, features bold new animation and comprehensive series, team and driver information.  The new Web site - which continues a tradition of eye-catching graphics and media-friendly content - includes bio's, fact sheets, specs and profiles on Toyota's U.S.-based race programs.
CART "Stars of Tomorrow" schedule is announced. As stated early this year it will be a four race series. Three races will piggy back other events, the USA ShifterKart Championship in Norman, OK, the SKUSA ProMoto World Finals in Norman, OK, and the SKUSA SuperNationals in Las Vegas, NV. The other event will also be held in Las Vegas. The series will add a Skip Barber Formula National 2002 ride in addition to the Champ Car Test that will be offered again. Schedule: 
May 11-13 LVKC
Las Vegas, NV
July 6-8 OMC
Norman, OK
Sep. 21-23 OMC
Norman, OK 
Nov. 9-11 LVKC
Las Vegas, NV
Ticket sales way down for Sepang F1 race  Compared to 1999 and 2000, ticket sales for the 2001 Malaysian GP has been disappointing with only 30% sold for race day on the 18th of March compared to 70% in the previous two years. As a desperate measure to boost the ticket sales for the Malaysian GP, Malaysian TV stations have elected to broadcast the race delayed, not live. Chairman of the Sepang circuit, Basir Ismail was quoted as saying: "There will be no live telecast during the three days of the event. .
Mexico track not quite ready today  Hello from Monterrey, Mexico.  Today's track activities were cancelled because not all the tire barriers and safety fencing were in place.  We will report tomorrow morning as to whether Champ car practice starts on time at 10:30 AM.
Lola to launch new website  Lola Cars International Ltd will launch a new website this Tuesday, March 13. Visitors to will be able to access a whole host of info.  The site will be updated daily, further improving the level of service to customers, and reflecting Lola’s reputation for constant development and innovation. Visitors to will be able to navigate the site with ease and download information and graphics relevant to their interests. As the site is further developed customers will be able to access a password-protected area to download essential documents and manuals. The technologically advanced site will continue to be developed and updated, with the possibility of introducing reality tours and e-commerce. .
More FOX News  NASCAR on FOX RATINGS CONTINUE TO ROLL -- Sunday's Winston Cup race from Las Vegas delivered a 6.5/13 national rating/share, a +63% improvement over last year's 4.0/10 for the same race on ABC. FOX Sports' Winston Cup race was the top-rated sports event of the weekend for the third straight week. Compared to the same race last year, demographic ratings for the Las Vegas race were up +104% Men 18-34 (5.3 vs. 2.6), +92% Men 18-49 (6.9 vs. 3.6), and +85% Men 25-54 (7.4 vs. 4.0). On each of those demos, Las Vegas outrated every Winston Cup race of 2000 except the Daytona 500. Season-to-date, Winston Cup racing on FOX is up +39% over last year's broadcast average (7.8/18 vs. 5.6/15). FOX Sports' NASCAR Winston Cup racing is the only broadcast sports package in season that is enjoying year-to-year growth. NASCAR on FOX -- WEEK 4: WINSTON CUP RACING LIVE FROM ATLANTA -- The Winston Cup circuit stops in Atlanta this weekend, fresh from the Las Vegas strip. Last week's race, which ended with the familiar sight of Jeff Gordon in victory circle pumping his fist into the air, was the first of the 2001 season won by a big-name driver. Like many other professional sports recently, parity has come to NASCAR this season, with drivers like Michael Waltrip and Steve Park providing Winston Cup fans with better competition and an added sense of mystery to each race. "It's great," said NASCAR on FOX analyst Jeff Hammond. "Each week, we're getting exciting racing out of guys we're not used to seeing up near the front of the pack." He added, "I know that it's their first year back in a long while, but I'm betting that we'll see a Dodge victory within the first ten races." Winston Cup coverage from Atlanta begins Sunday, March 11 (12:30 PM ET) with a half-hour prerace show with host Chris Myers, analyst Hammond, reporter Jeanne Zelasko and special guest Darrell Waltrip. This week's show features a HANS device demonstration with Hammond, Waltrip and Larry McReynolds. Plus, a look at NASCAR's "real" drivers, those who operate the car haulers that just made the trip from Vegas to Atlanta-one of the longest hauls of the season.
CART Radio Network adds Scott Pruett  Championship Auto Racing Teams begins another season of CART Radio Network (CRN) coverage when the green flag drops on the 2001 FedEx Championship Series this Sunday in Monterrey, Mexico with the Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix Presented by Herdez. Story
Letter from Oriol Servia  Everyone- I have just arrived in Monterrey and am looking forward to getting on the Fundidora track for the first time. Of course all of us are in the same boat as no one has been here before except Jimmy Vasser and Adrian so it should be a learning experience on a large scale.  We will practice for the first time at Monterrey at 9:30 AM on Friday so be sure to check into to keep up on progress. Don't forget the car number is 22. Also, when you are watching the race on Sunday you should know that we have added my longtime personal sponsor on the cockpit sides and mirrors of the car . . . it is in bright yellow so you can't miss it. We just put the decals on the car three days ago so no photos yet. Well, my teammates - - - the season is now here. No more pre-season testing, no more silly season - - - no more speculation - - - just the reality of the finishing position. How does a driver feel at this time? I am full of anticipation. I want to race! And while that makes me no different from my fellow drivers of CART, I can only tell you that I am ready to go! Every driver has a different motivation. Mine is to improve on my first year in this fabulous series.  So let's wish each other the best of luck for Sigma's first year. We've got 20 more races - - - lots of room to grow over the season for sure - - - but let’s make the most of each race starting with Monterrey!!! - ORIOL.
Pi Research sweetens Barber Dodge pot Last year, Pi Research, Inc. announced it was sweetening the $300,000 pot for the Barber Dodge Pro Series champion by forming the Pi Research Performance Enhancement Award, valued at $5000. Good fortunes continue to flow between the respected data acquisition maker and the Barber Dodge Pro Series as Pi Research recently announced that it will continue to support the award that bears its name and goes to the series champion. The mechanics who service the Reynard Dodge 98E race cars will benefit as well. Each race, a Pi Data Technician of the Race will be selected. He or she will receive $100 in addition to another $100 donated in his or her name toward the year-end mechanics fund.  Pi Research, Inc. are leaders in the manufacture of LCD instrumentation and 
data acquisition for a variety of motorsports applications. Pi Data Instruments are on board every Barber Dodge Reynard as well as on a majority of Champ Cars, F1 cars and other series types raced around the world.   Driver coaches download and analyze data culled from each machine following every on-track performance. The Pi Data tracks car speed, engine speed and temperatures, in addition to throttle position. Drivers and coaches can then graphically and objectively analyze their performance to find weak points and verify strong points.  In order to be eligible for the prize, drivers must run a Pi Research decal on their race car for the entire season. Should the champion graduate to the CART Dayton Indy Lights Series -- as did first-time award winner Nilton Rossoni and Jon Fogarty last year -- the credit is still redeemable.
NASCAR hands down penalties  NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Peter Sospenzo for rules violations (adjustable braces) discovered in inspection prior to last Sunday's UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. Sospenzo, crew chief of the No. 12 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team driven by Jeremy Mayfield, was fined $250 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..." Also penalized was NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Royce McGee for rules violations (performance enhancing additive to the air filter) discovered in inspection prior to last Sunday's UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. McGee, crew chief of the No. 31 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team driven by Mike Skinner, was fined $5,000 and penalized under Section 12-4-Q, 20-5.12 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..." NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Greg Conner for rules violations (A-frame not meeting the minimum thickness) discovered in inspection prior to last Sunday's UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. Conner, crew chief of the No. 50 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..." NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Chris Carrier for rules violations (A-frames not meeting the minimum thickness) discovered in inspection prior to last Sunday's UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. 
Carrier, crew chief of the No. 33 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was fined $2,000 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..."
Waltrip decides to wear HANS Device  Besides the 1st and 2nd place finishers in Las Vegas, Michael Waltrip also decided to wear the HANS Device and will continue to do so.
Crumple Zones are the way to go  In response to the article by our Mark Cipolloni titled "Soft Walls or Soft Cars?" that suggested that NASCAR put Crumple Zones in their Winston Cup cars, we received this Letter to the Editor - 
Mark, I think you are 100% Right On. I think a greatly added safety factor will be found in NASCAR Winston Cup Racing when BOTH softer walls and SOFTER car FRONT-ENDS are implemented. As a former Crew Member on the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series, I witnessed the loss of 5 of our top drivers in a 3 year period in the second half of the 80s. It was horrifying. Thank God my driver was not one of them, but he easily could have been. The rash of fatal accidents stopped as quickly as it seemed to start. WHY? Because a small group of car builders who were supplying the vast majority of the pavement modifieds in use came up with the answer of CRUMPLE ZONES and managed to convince NASCAR to mandate their use in all touring mods from then on. Crumple Zone Front-ends DO WORK!!  NASCAR has all the evidence they need, right in their own hands. WHY WON'T THEY SEE IT!! Please don't let them (collectively) tell us (the interested) that these recent deaths are a result of too fast cars or too close racing. That is a giant COP-OUT. Need I remind the reader that at all four tracks that both the Winston Cup and the FMS run, including New Hampshire International Speedway, the FMS hold the track qualifying records, not the Winston Cup cars. And as for close racing, let the videos of NHIS, Richmond, Watkins Glen, and Martinsville speak for the closeness of racing on the FMS and remember, these cars don't have fenders. 
Former NASCAR Member, Steve Holton
Brack and Papis talk about Mexico We have the first two of many audio bites from Mexico
Max Papis Discusses setting up car for new circuit vs. how it was done years ago (0:45 Min.)  
Kenny Brack Discusses preparation for Monterrey (0:16 Min.)
Pedro de la Rosa makes Jaguar debut   Jaguar Racing's new test driver Pedro de la Rosa made his debut today behind the wheel of the 2001 challenger, the R2. Pedro completed 48 laps of the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire and was joined by Tomas Scheckter who completed 28 laps in the 2000 R1B chassis. The three-day test is being used in preparation for next week's Malaysian Grand Prix and covers aerodynamic and tire testing work. Pedro will drive for all three days while Tomas will drive for two days. Story
Yamanishi to stand in for Krumm Koji Yamanishi will stand in for Michael Krumm in the #6 5Zigen Formula Nippon car at the Motegi testing this weekend. Krumm has signed to race for Dale Coyne Racing in Champ Cars, where he will be making his debut this weekend at Monterrey, Mexico. It is not clear how the German will solve the problem of his clashing Nippon and CART commitments. [Unofficial F3000 News Site]
Gordon geared up for Atlanta  Jeff Gordon climbed out of his car last Sunday at Las Vegas, pumped his fist in the air and shouted two simple words. "We're back!" an elated Gordon yelled from Victory Lane.  It may be too soon to equate this season's Gordon with the dominant driver of the mid-1990s, the driver who won three NASCAR Winston Cup championships in four years and set a multitude of series records, but at least some of the former glory seems to be restored. "We had a kind of down year last year," Gordon said. "But we're going to make up for it this year." Three races into the season, Gordon has one win, another top-5 finish and is second in the points standings. He returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend as a three-time winner, hoping to add another trophy to his collection after Sunday's Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500. Gordon is one of the most successful active drivers at Atlanta Motor Speedway, having won the races there in 1995, 1998 and 1999. He also earned his first pole at the 1.54-mile quad-oval in last November's NAPA 500, streaking around the track averaging 194.274 mph. "Atlanta's a pretty intense track - it's the fastest track we go to," Gordon said. "They reconfigured the track a couple years ago, and it's unbelievable out there, how awesome that race track is."
FOXTrax goes full throttle Sunday in Atlanta  FOX Sports and Sportvision, Inc. announced today that use of the FoxTrax graphic effects, introduced during the network's earlier NASCAR on FOX race telecasts, is being increased and expanded beginning with Sunday's coverage of the NASCAR Winston Cup race from Atlanta Motor Speedway. FoxTrax is FOX Sports' [sj1]name for Sportvision's [sj2]revolutionary motorsports tracking system that drives video graphics aimed at making televised races more informative and entertaining. Already, NASCAR on FOX viewers have seen FoxTrax' graphic pointer identify where the lead and approaching cars are and the up-to-the-second time interval between them. FoxTrax has also displayed statistics including speed, braking, throttle and RPMs in real-time. Beginning this week, there are three new applications of the Sportvision system viewers will see. First, the FoxTrax pointer can be used during replays as well as live; second, FoxTrax will provide real-time MPH within the FoxBox ticker (as opposed to average lap speed seen previously); and third, it will calculate the time cars spend on pit road from entry to exit, in addition to the time of the actual pit stop. "Initially, FoxTrax gave NASCAR on FOX viewers the ability to see where cars are relative to those directly behind it, along with basic car telemetry in real time," said Ed Goren, President and Executive Producer of FOX Sports. "On Sunday, we begin to unleash more of FoxTrax' vast potential as an immediate and unprecedented source of relevant, detailed race information, and the NASCAR fan watching at home is the ultimate beneficiary." "We're excited about the opportunity to introduce and expand this powerful new technology with FOX Sports during the early stages of our association with NASCAR," said Bill Squadron, Sportvision CEO. "Our tracking system is designed to enrich the fan's experience, making the FOX Sports broadcast more entertaining and informative, which will not only satisfy the most avid NASCAR fans, but also help build a new television audience for the sport." Sportvision is the New York-based sports media technology firm that invented the 1st & Ten(tm) virtual first down line seen on NFL and college football broadcasts. The FoxTrax system combines Sportvision's Emmy Award-winning video insertion technology with Sportvision's expertise in global positioning satellites (GPS) and other technologies, allowing FOX Sports' cameras to follow every car on the racetrack in real-time, creating a complete digital record of the race. Each car transmits its exact location and performance data several times-per-second, enabling FOX Sports to overlay graphics and provide information in real-time. A diagram and detailed description of how FoxTrax works is attached.
PacWest signs Mario Dominguez for Lights  PacWest Racing Group has officially signed Indy Lights driver Mario Dominguez to pilot the #17 PacWest Lights Lola on a full-time basis in the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series. The twenty-seven year old Mexico City, Mexico native joins lights newcomer and 2000 Toyota Atlantic rookie of the year Dan Wheldon in the PacWest stable to help defend it's 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship. "I am very honored and proud to be accepted into the PacWest organization," said Dominguez. "It has been my dream to race with a winning team such as PacWest, where I will have the opportunity to expand my career and hopefully run a sensational season. This team, and the experienced PacWest crew, will give me the resources and opportunity to compete and hopefully win the championship. Plus, to have a full-time ride entering a season where we will compete in my home country is a great thrill, and I can't wait to get the season started." PacWest Lights Team Manager Paul "Ziggy" Harcus agrees. "Mario is a great addition to the team. His experience with Lights cars is a benefit not only to himself, but also his crew. Mario will be a great asset for Dan Wheldon as well, and I'm confident the two of them will get along nicely and work together towards one common goal - winning. PacWest lights looks forward to a successful season and hopes to have both drivers in the running for the championship." Dominguez joins the PacWest Lights team this year after a consistent season with Team Mexico Quaker Herdez in 2000, in which he finished eighth in the championship with 67 points.
Lola looking for 100th win in 2001  Lola Cars starts the 2001 season as the leading constructor with an unrivalled total of 97 victories in the CART Champ Car Championship. Following last year’s successes that saw four of six Lola chassis winning seven of 20 rounds, no fewer than 11 Lola’s will line-up on the starting grid for next Sunday’s opening encounter of the 2001 series (11 March) . Story
Audi wins at TMS  Can anyone stop Audi?  That is the cry in the ALMS series this year.  Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen raced to victory at the opening round of the American Le Mans Series, the Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas at Texas Motor Speedway, in the No. 1 Audi Sport Audi R8, beating their teammates Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro by 7.5sec.  Tom Kristensen is interested in moving into CART, yet he has had trouble breaking in.  He wins regularly in endurance racing, going head-to-head with Allan McNish who looks to be one of the Toyota F1 drivers next year.  It's time someone in CART give Kristensen a test drive. MC
Upgrades for Skip Barber at Road America  Skip Barber Inc. has signed a 10-year lease with Road America for a new 10,000 square foot shop to be built at the Elkhart Lake track. Road America, one of four base locations, is home to Skip Barber Racing School, Dodge/Skip Barber Driving School and Formula Dodge Regional Championship races. To date, builders have poured footings for the pre-fabricated metal structure and expect completion of the facility no later than May 1. The shop will house the scores of mechanics and operations staff that build, modify and support the schools and the series. The shop will be home to near-50 Dodge production and race vehicles that run on the track, skidpads and auto courses. The building is large enough to contain a mobile parts trailer that deploys to track-side and other satellite tracks. The trailer can be backed inside and used as a mobile parts room, saving the staff the tedium of loading and unloading parts. "We're really glad to have a new Skip Barber building at Road America," said George Bruggenthies, President and General Manager of Road America. He continued, "It will be a a great addition to the race track and will be beneficial for both Skip Barber students and staff." The building is one of several major capital improvements at Road America, including construction of a 2.1-mile road course with eight configurations, including a 1/8-mile junior drag strip and a 1/5-mile oval. The new shop, to be positioned just over the Billy Mitchell Bridge inside the track, will carry Skip Barber Racing School signage and be visible to the thousands of visitors that visit the track for Pro Series, ChampCar and other events. Mechanics who previously bumped wrenches and pliers will notice the upgrade in size and comforts. The new shop is roughly 2-1/2 times larger than the 4,000 square foot building in replaces, built in 1981. The older structure is designated for re-assignment at the Road America track
FIA recommends safety improvements for Marshals  Following the death of Graham Beveridge a marshal in Sunday's Australian GP, the FIA has revealed safety measures to protect officials and furthermore stated that they were in process before the accident in Australia.   The FIA's director of communications, Francesco Longanesi was quoted as saying: "The FIA had already put forward to the World Motorsport Council, for the session on March 21, the proposal from the circuit and safety commission to raise all the fencing at all the Formula One world championships by one meter. This would not have saved the poor marshal in this instance because the height of the fencing had nothing to do with it, but it shows how not only car safety but also trackside safety is subject to constant study."  In addition he also confirmed that they are looking into the introduction of extra electronic elements into the cars, which would limit the amount of officials required on track during races.  He added: "The fact that the marshals have a certain degree of exposure is due to their function because they're there to signal and to help. If you put a fire marshal completely far away from where an accident may happen and he's in the position where his possible intervention would not be quick enough, it is not worth having him there. The combination of the measures which we have already proposed should at least decrease to a very, very big amount the risk that a trackside marshal has to take." MC
Chris Kneifel to drive in 12-Hours of Sebring  CARTs newly appointed Chief Steward, Chris Kneifel, will drive in the 12-Hours of Sebring driving the same car he drove to victory in the 24-Hours of Daytona, a Chevrolet Corvette. MC
FOX pulls in big TV Numbers again  It just goes to show you that two things drive up TV ratings - good promotion via advertising and controversy.  FOX got a 6.1 overnight rating for its Las Vegas Winston Cup broadcast, up some 50% over last years broadcast by ABC, and the highest rated weekend sports show for the third straight week.  FOX's promotion of NASCAR during the football season certainly helped, as did all the publicity NASCAR received from the Earnhardt tragedy.  Hopefully CART can find a TV partner willing to do for them what ABC/ESPN and now FOX is doing for NASCAR.  MC
SFX Buys into IHRA  SFX, the world's largest producer and marketer of live entertainment, announced today it has acquired a majority interest in the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), a leading sanctioning body of professional and sportsman drag racing throughout the United States and Canada. The addition of the IHRA strengthens SFX Motor Sports Group's position as the leading promoter of specialized motorsports events, which also includes the USHRA Monster Jam Tour, the AMA-sanctioned EA Sports Supercross Series, the IFMA Freestyle Motocross Tour, and the National Arenacross Series. While the 11-event IHRA Summit Drag Racing Series is the premier attraction on the annual IHRA calendar, the 31-year-old series also sanctions more than 30 divisional events. Based in Norwalk, Ohio, the IHRA has more than 13,000 members and sanctions events at 80 racing facilities throughout North America. The IHRA will continue to operate under the leadership of the present management team, including its President Bill Bader, who will retain a minority interest in the IHRA. SFX Motor Sports President Charlie Mancuso said, "SFX has a goal of significantly building our motorsports business in the U.S. and around the world in the next few years, and the IHRA is an important component of that plan. IHRA drag racing has been enjoying a steady rise in popularity. With the powerful promotional resources of SFX and our parent company Clear Channel available to support it, we plan to bring the IHRA to new markets in North America and possibly abroad as well." Bill Bader said, "We are elated to forge this partnership with SFX Motor Sports Group. We have worked with SFX for many years and are confident that the partnership will enable us to accelerate growth and marketing opportunities for our tracks, race teams, spectators, sponsors and television viewers. Having worked closely with the SFX Motor Sports team we are confident this partnership will enable IHRA to reach new heights."
Tony Stewart to run dirt track race  NASCAR Winston Cup star Tony Stewart is coming back to his dirt track racing roots Wednesday night, March 28 when he competes in the Albertson's Spring Challenge at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. Stewart will challenge the top late model drivers from around the country in the United Dirt Track Racing Association program. The leading winner on last year's Winston Cup circuit started his career racing midgets, sprint cars and Silver Bullet cars on dirt tracks across the country. His Winston Cup schedule currently limits dirt appearances to late model events. Stewart will be a favorite to claim the $15,000 top prize in the 75-lap UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series main event. Qualifying races will open the program at 7:45 p.m. "Many of the other NASCAR drivers play golf to relax," said Stewart. "I relax by going racing. I've heard a lot about the Dirt Track and I can't wait to take on all of the leading drivers that will be there." Stewart will drive the J.D. Byrider-sponsored GRT chassis late model with Steve Barnett the team crew chief that evening. K-Motion Engines will be Stewart's powerplant choice. Stewart will be joined in the Albertson's Spring Challenge by fellow Winston Cup driver Ken Schrader. UDTRA stars set to defend their turf against the invaders include four-time and defending champion Scott Bloomquist, Billy Moyer, Wendell Wallace, Donnie Moran and Dan Schlieper who won last year's UDTRA race. "The Albertson's Spring Challenge is going to be a banner event to kick off RPM Week-Texas," said Eddie Gossage, speedway general manager. "It will be very interesting to see how Tony and Ken fare against the nation's top dirt drivers."
Willard Scott to serve as Grand Marshal for Atlanta race  Atlanta Motor Speedway officials announced today that Willard Scott will serve as Grand Marshal for the March 11 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500. Scott, longtime weatherman for NBC's Today Show, made a niche for himself honoring centenarians on the morning program he began working at almost 21 years ago. Scott's lengthy resume also includes being the first Ronald McDonald, anchoring the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade, appearing as Santa Claus at White House events and lighting the national Christmas tree in Washington, D.C. The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 will be Scott's first NASCAR Winston Cup race, an event he is eagerly anticipating. A diligent public servant, Scott has been given many honors and awards over the years, perhaps the most prestigious a Private Sector Award for Public Service given to him by President Ronald Reagan. Scott will be just one of the many celebrities on hand at the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 weekend. Don't miss your chance to see this celebrity and the rest of the weekend's festivities. The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 weekend kicks off Friday with Georgia Power qualifying, then turns to the Busch Series on Saturday for the Aaron's 312. The weekend will culminate Sunday with the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500. The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 is the first of two visits the NASCAR Winston Cup series will make to Atlanta Motor Speedway this year. The series returns in November for the championship race, the NAPA 500. Great seats are still available for all three days of racing action. To order tickets, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211.
HANS Device saves another driver?  –  Greg Merrill, who crashed hard into the TMS wall at the end of the Speedvision World Challenge GT race this weekend, was wearing a HANS device.
Target Ganassi Team to defend Indy 500 crown  –  Target Chip Ganassi Racing, 2000 Indy 500 champions and four-time CART FedEx Series champions, today announced it will return to Indianapolis in May to defend its title.  Story 
Jeff Gordon & Dale Jarrett prove HANS Device no problem  UPDATE We just found out that 2nd place finisher Dale Jarrett was also wearing the HANS Device (see HANS Device straps hanging off the back of his helmet in photo to right), and their 1-2 finish proves without a shadow of a doubt that every driver should be wearing one.  They don't have any excuses anymore. 3/4/01 - Jeff Gordon became the first NASCAR Winston Cup driver to wear the HANS Device in a race win today.  Gordon won in convincing style proving the HANS Device really is not a problem to wear at all.  This essentially should put an end to all the whining by some of the drivers that the HANS is uncomfortable, or restricts peripheral vision.  Tell that to Jeff Gordon the next time he blows by you.
CART TV Schedule  – We have updated our detailed CART schedule page to not only include USA TV times, but also Eurosport TV times.  CART races are broadcast in about 200 countries.  Unfortunately we are unable to list TV times for every country.  CART Schedule 
Bräck looks to go from ROY to Champion  – Kenny Bräck spent his entire rookie season on the CART FedEx Championship Series just learning the new tracks. Every week was a new experience for the 1999 Indy 500 champion. He proved a quick learner though as the Sweden driver scored four podium finishes and placed fourth in the final series points.  Story 
Papis looks to repeat season opener victory  – Max Papis couldn't have asked for a better opening race in last year's CART FedEx Championship Series. Papis, driver of the Miller Lite Ford for Team Rahal, scored a come-from-behind victory at Homestead, Fla., only a few miles from his hometown Miami Beach. It was a celebration with his family, friends and fans as "Mad Max" stood atop his open-wheeler pumping his fist in the winner's circle. Story 
Teresa Earnhardt statement  Thank you for joining us here today on such short notice. I want to acknowledge several people in the audience including NASCAR President Mike Helton, and Dale Earnhardt Incorporated drivers Steve Park and Michael Waltrip. Seated next to me, of course, is Dale Earnhardt Jr. On behalf of him, and my other children Kerry, Kelley and Taylor, I have something very important to say - not just to the NASCAR family and its millions of supporters, but to every family in America. More
Fans love standing starts  – And they're off!  The thousands of fans packed in the pit straight grandstand in Melbourne, Australia for the F1 season opener, thoroughly enjoyed the standing F1-style start.  Note how all the cars are together on the pit straight when the flag drops, unlike a CART race where half the field still hasn't entered the final turn.  The fans (paying customers) love the standing starts. 
Michelin tires very consistent  A Michelin press release stated "Our return has been about as good as we could have expected. Obviously, I'm not talking about the final result. We leave with not as many of our cars at the finish as we would have liked, but we have gathered enough data on this Melbourne track to help us for next year's event."   "We are very satisfied with the qualifying performance. We work on the principle that if one of our cars can put in a good time, this must prove that our tires are capable of doing it. Ralf Schumacher's (BMW WilliamsF1) time at less than 0.5 of a second from Barrichello shows that he is capable of fighting for a front row start."  "And Juan Pablo Montoya lapped in 1'29"6, the fourth fastest lap time and that on his 40th lap on those tires, so we seem to be quite constant as well! Now we'll see what happens in Malaysia."  
F1 Wheel Tethers under scrutiny  The effectiveness of Formula One wheel tethers is under heavy review again today following the tragic news that a marshal had been killed by what looked to be a flying wheel. The tethers, fabricated from high-strength Kevlar, were introduced to hold the wheels to the uprights in the event of an accident, but in high impact shunts they have been next to useless. The marshal was patrolling the post at turn three, but was helpless when Jacques Villeneuve's BAR flew into the guardrails at terrifying speed following high-speed contact with the Williams of Ralf Schumacher. An ambulance was quick to the scene to extricate the marshal to a nearby hospital, but he passed away a short time later. Wheel tethers didn't do their job on Saturday either, when Luciano Burti smashed into the walls at turn six following a suspension failure. The wheels, luckily, didn't fly above or near the guardrails where the marshals were standing. 
Australia standings revised  Olivier Panis has been pushed down to 7th in the official result. It seems that Sauber made an appeal because they felt he past Heidfeld under a yellow flag and the stewards decided to add 25s to his finishing time. The result now is: 
If BAR don't appeal the decision Raikkonen will become the youngest ever points scorer. 
CART needs to create this type of excitement  UPDATE A fan writes - I agree with your news item about creating more excitement for CART fans. One idea that could be borrowed from F1 is to build podiums THAT PEOPLE CAN SEE!! The Elkhart Lake podium is a joke -- it's tucked off to the side by the Admin building and isn't very high -- only a few photographers are allowed in front of it, and a fence keeps other fans away. The podium at Long Beach is almost worse -- you could walk right by it and not realize it's a podium because it's almost at ground level and very small. Most podiums at other CART venues are similarly inconspicuous, low and not well-placed. Earlier today - NASCAR has it.  Formula 1 has it.  As can be seen in the photo at the right taken at today's Melbourne, Australia F1 race, the excitement of the fans, especially the Ferrari fans, reaches a fever pitch under the victory podium after the race.  One of the biggest challenges of new CART President Joe Heitzler, will be to create this sort of fan excitement in the CART series.  Perhaps letting the fans swarm around the victory podium after the race is something that needs to be considered.  The Photographers won't appreciate it, but we'll willing to bet the fans will.  Last we checked they were the paying customer.
Vancouver and Toronto Molson Indy tickets on sale  – You can now buy tickets for CART's two Molson Indy races from Ticket Master.  Vancouver can be found here, and Toronto here.  Both of these races either sellout, or come close to it, so order your tickets early.
Houston Texaco GP tickets on sale  – Get an early start.  Tickets for the Houston Texaco GP are now on sale.  You can purchase them online at It looks like two grandstands have been eliminated from last year, but it's not clear if the remaining ones have been enlarged.  The 4th annual Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston, scheduled for 1PM on Sunday, October 7.  Over 200,000 people from around the world are expected to attend Race Week, making it Houston's #1 international sports attraction.
Can't make it to Mexico?  Join Sigma in Chicago  Can't get to Mexico? Why not join Chicago's Champcar team, Sigma Autosport, on Sunday, March 11th at Features Bar & Grill in Naperville to watch the Tecate Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey? The pre-race festivities will start at 2 PM with door prizes, contest registration, and a live phone-in from Oriol Servia to the sports bar (brought to you by Globalstar). At 3 PM when the green flag drops, watch all the action on Feature's CART dedicated big screen TV's. All fans will enjoy the bar's spectacular range of food and spirits. During the race, Sigma and the Watercolor Group will conduct "in-race" contests giving away tickets and prizes. Prize items:  Authentic Sigma Autosport t-shirts (first 50 fans), Autographed Oriol Servia Gear, Sigma decals, Target Grand Prix tickets & pit passes (brought to you by the Chicago Motor Speedway), ...and a few more surprises. It's not Monterrey, but why not watch the world's fastest cars with the world's best fans? 
Villeneuve checks himself into hospital  Autosport reports that Jacques Villeneuve has checked himself into the hospital after originally reporting that he was OK. After making contact with Ralf Schumacher's Williams-BMW, Villeneuve's BAR Honda was catapulted into a catch fence at nearly 170 MPH. The BAR Honda was torn to shreds with a track marshal struck by a flying wheel. Later it was learned that the marshal's injuries were indeed fatal. Up to a dozen spectators reported injuries from flying debris. Several hours after the race, stiffening in Villeneuve's back worsened and he checked into the hospital for treatment. Villeneuve is believed to have suffered bruising from his seat belts and jarring to his spine. As a note, none of yesterday's podium finishers were wearing the HANS device. It could not be determined during the broadcast if Hakkinen, Villeneuve, or Ralf Schumacher or others were wearing the device. The FIA recommends use of the device with CART mandating use on ovals. Dan Maldanado
Penske Auto Center to sponsor team at Phoenix  – Penske has announced that Penske Auto Centers will sponsor de Ferran and Castroneves when they make their IRL debut in Phoenix later this month. Marlboro will be on the cars at Indy however.
More testing for Williams  The team will be testing at Silverstone from Wednesday March 7th to Friday 9th March. Marc Gené will be on duty for the whole period.
Chris Kneifel named new CART Chief Steward  Championship Auto Racing Teams announced today that veteran race car driver Chris Kneifel has been named Chief Steward of CART's FedEx Championship Series.  CART President of Racing Operations Hal Whiteford announced that Kneifel will assume his duties immediately and will oversee the action when CART opens its 21-race, 2001 season Sunday, March 11 in Monterrey, Mexico.  Kneifel, 39, is an accomplished racer who was in victory circle just last month after winning the 24 Hours of Daytona as a member of the Chevrolet factory-backed Pratt & Miller Engineering Corvette team.  Kneifel raced competitively in the CART FedEx Championship Series from 1982-84, starting 19 races over those three years and finishing tied for 17th in the final series points standings in 1983.His career-best finish was an eighth on three occasions.  "Chris is a great addition to our team and we look forward to him joining us," said CART President/CEO Joseph Heitzler. "We worked very closely with our drivers, led by Mauricio Gugelmin; our team owners; and the business associates in our racing division, as we considered this decision.  Our ability to draw on the expertise of our past chief stewards, Wally Dallenbach and Kirk Russell, as Chris leads our races, is a critical element that will ensure a successful transition.  "The addition of Chris allows Kirk, as our Vice President of Competition/Technical Director, to focus his efforts on circuit development and design, an area of extreme importance to us at CART, as well as our race promoters who are our most significant stakeholders."  Whiteford also expressed his enthusiasm regarding the addition of Kneifel to the open-wheel sanctioning organization's racing division.  "Chris Kneifel has the attributes we were seeking in a chief steward," said Whiteford. "He has racing experience on the top levels of the sport.  He thinks about racing from a driver's perspective.  He has demonstrated that he has a solid understanding of what it takes to properly conduct a race.  He also has experience in a variety of business situations that will help him as he manages the many issues that arise during a race.  We are extremely pleased Chris is joining us."  For Kneifel, the move from the cockpit to the control tower is one he eagerly anticipates.  "I can't measure the amount of excitement I am feeling for this opportunity," said an enthused Kneifel.  "It is the right time in my life for doing this.  We just won the 24 Hours in Daytona with Corvette and I feel very good about all I have accomplished in a race car.  I will miss the competition of driving but it is time for me to move on.  "There is a great deal of responsibility that goes with the chief steward position and I approach it with my eyes wide open.  It is very important for me to develop a good working relationship with both the teams and drivers.  The 30 professionals who race these cars are the luckiest drivers in motor racing because they are racing in the greatest racing series in the world.  It will be my responsibility to help make it the most exciting, entertaining and safe racing we can.  I look forward to working with everyone in the CART paddock to make that happen and can't wait until we start racing next week in Mexico."  Kneifel's racing career spans 22 seasons and his experience includes sports car racing in both the American Le Mans Series and the Trans-Am Championship.  He also raced in Toyota Atlantic and Formula Ford during the early part of his career.  Kneifel was instrumental in helping develop the Mid-Ohio Driving School in the mid-90s and served as a driving instructor there and for Chrysler test drivers.  Kneifel also is a national board member for Prevent Child Abuse America and a trustee for the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, serving on the committee for At-Risk Youth. 
F1 TV coverage in the USA - Speedvision wins it!  4th UPDATE Word is now that in some areas of the USA, FOX Sports Net will carry the F1 races.  3/2/01 - Although Speedvision may have won the F1 TV contract again, many people are e-mailing us saying that their local Fox Sports Net affiliate will NOT be carrying any F1 racing this year - only Speedvision will have it. This is a huge blow to the majority of USA fans as only about 1 in 5 people have Speedvision available to them from their cable company.  Perhaps, Speedvision will work some sort of deal with FOX in the near future.  If not, order those satellite dishes now!  3/1/01 - 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.

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