Hot News

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DATE News (chronologically 3/10/01 to 3/15/01)
3/15/01
March Madness at Lowes Motor Speedway  Offering more miles of racing per dollar than any other ticket in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, a limited number of $19 tickets for the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway will go on sale Monday, March 19. "We like to think of this special ticket offer as our own version of 'March Madness,'" said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe' s Motor Speedway. "Fans purchasing these $19 tickets will get to experience nearly 32 miles of racing action per dollar." The special unreserved $19 tickets, which normally sell for $25, are located in rows one through six of the track's East Grandstand. Officials also announced a select number of reserved tickets located in rows seven through 10 in the same East Grandstand will also be on sale beginning Monday for $29, a savings of $31 on each ticket. And to complete the weekend, fans purchasing either the $19 or $29 tickets for the Coca-Cola 600 can also buy an East Grandstand ticket for the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, May 26, for the discounted price of only $10. The Saturday/Sunday combination packages offer a $76 value for only $39 and a $41 ticket package for $29.  Known as The Great American Classic, the Coca-Cola 600 is NASCAR Winston Cup racing's longest race and the series' only event that begins during the early evening and ends under the lights. Sophomore driver Matt Kenseth is the defending Coca-Cola 600 champion.  To take advantage of these special ticket offers or to purchase tickets in other price ranges for the Coca-Cola 600 or CARQUEST Auto Parts 300, call 1-800-455-FANS or visit www.gospeedway.com.
3/15/01
Chicago names Merkel  H. Pete Merkel has been named executive Vice President and General Manager at Chicago Motor Speedway, in an announcement today by Chicago Motor Speedway CEO, Gene Haskett. "We're delighted to have someone with Pete's experience and enthusiasm," Haskett said. "He is a high-energy individual who knows how to make things happen within the motorsports industry. I have been fortunate to have experienced Pete's ascent to this opportunity." Merkel, 30, most recently worked at Michigan International Speedway and served as the Director of Corporate Sales and Marketing. He also was instrumental in leading the company's initiatives relative to Internet Communications and served on local Chambers, American Heart Association and Boy Scout boards in an effort to develop financial resources within the community. Merkel began his motorsports career at MIS in 1992, where he worked in the operations department before being promoted to the sales and marketing department. In his new role, Merkel will help oversee all facets of motorsports operations at CMS. "I have spent much of my life around the business of motorsports, and have enjoyed it immensely," Merkel said. "When presented with the opportunity to come to Chicago and continue to develop this unique facility, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities here at CMS." Merkel is a Brooklyn, Mich. native and a 1992 graduate of Hillsdale College, where he earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Marketing. Merkel and his wife, Cindy, will be relocating to the Chicago area. Cindy is employed by Kellogg's, working with the Keebler business unit in Chicago. 
3/15/01
More on Team Target Indy test  Target Chip Ganassi Racing tested Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where it will attempt to claim its second straight Indy 500 championship on May 27. Rookie drivers Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian are attempting to duplicate last year's dominating performance by Juan Montoya, who claimed the checkered flag in his first-ever Indy 500. According to Team Target managing director Mike Hull, the rookies' performance was just as impressive as Montoya's first visit to the Brickyard. "This was a good learning session for our two rookie drivers," Hull said. "This is a tough racetrack to learn, but they did great and are getting used to running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This session can be compared to one of those two-seater racecars, where the student rides around with a teacher. The difference was that the drivers were in the car and we are the teacher in the pits. The main purpose of this test is to provide the drivers a feel for how the car reacts to the track. They're great learners and are providing valuable feedback to our engineers. This is their first time ever driving on a flat, fast superspeedway, and they did a fantastic job. I am very pleased with their development today." In 2000, Target Chip Ganassi Racing returned to the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in five years, fielding cars for former CART FedEx Series champions Jimmy Vasser and Juan Montoya. Both drivers led portions of the race, and Montoya claimed the checkered flag, setting an Indy 500 rookie record by leading 167 of the 200 laps. This year, the team is using updated versions of the G-Force chassis and Oldsmobile engine package that Montoya raced to the 2000 title. Junqueira, last year's European Formula 3000 champion, was pleased with his one-day test at the Brickyard. "Our testing session today went very well," Junqueira said. "I am very happy to be here at Indianapolis. It is a fast track and a lot different than I'm used to. This track is very difficult to learn and not easy to run on. I'm glad we have this chance to learn the track and learn the fast line around here. My Team Target engineers and teammates have given me some great information about this track, and that really helped me today. It is great to be here, as I've said before, I've been watching the Indy 500 ever since I was seven years old back in Brazil, and it will be an honor to be able to race here in May." Minassian, the runner-up to Junqueira in last year's F3000 Series, was overwhelmed by his first visit to the 2.5 mile oval. "This track is beautiful -- it is amazing! This is my first visit to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and I now realize why the Indy 500 is so popular all over the world," said Minassian, a native of France. "With all of the people in the stands, it's going to be an awesome experience to race here. At the test, I was trying to learn the fast way around the track and how the car responds to the track. This is difficult, because even though the four corners look identical, they are very different in how the car reacts to each one. It's a very technical track, and I'm looking forward to testing here again next month to become more comfortable in the car." Team Target now begins preparations for its second CART FedEx Series event, the April 8 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, Calif. 
3/15/01
Barber-Dodge: Fogarty breaks back, out for 6 months  Second-year Barber Dodge Pro Series driver Tommy Fogarty will be sidelined for at least six months as the result of serious injuries sustained a week ago in an automobile accident. Fogarty was injured when the road car he was a passenger in flipped onto its roof in a freak occurrence. Fogarty suffered fractures to the C7 and T1 vertebrae in addition to other nearby vertebrae. A team led by CART surgeon Dr. Steve Olvey operated on Fogarty for nine hours five days after the incident to repair the damaged areas. Fortunately for Fogarty, the injuries did not pose a severe threat to his spinal cord, though injuries of this nature must always be monitored carefully to prevent subsequent spinal cord damage. The operation was deemed a success and the prognosis for Fogarty is for a full recovery. He had planned to drive the entire 12-round series in the No. 66 Dodge Reynard sponsored by Sleep Solutions, XYZ Clothing, Copart, Inc., Race Face and SRC Solutions. "Relatively speaking, I feel very good following the surgery," said Fogarty of Portola Valley, Calif. who has recently taken up residence in Sebring, Fla. "I'm very hopeful of returning to the driver's seat by the middle of the season, and will do everything I can to make that happen. "After Sebring, I'm returning to California to immediately begin my physical therapy. I'm really disappointed not to be racing for the first half of the year as I am fitter and better prepared this year than ever before," added Fogarty. Doctors have advised Fogarty to sit out the first half of the 2001 Barber Dodge season whereupon an evaluation will determine the advisability of continuing his driving career. Less than a week after the surgery, Fogarty does expect to attend the first Pro Series race of the season at the Exxon Superflo 12 Hours of Sebring as a spectator.
3/15/01
Camping news for TMS A new and improved layout and complimentary transportation await the estimated 10,000 RVs and campers who will be coming to Texas Motor Speedway for RPM Week-Texas, March 28-April 1. Texas Motor Speedway will provide complimentary bus transportation for campers needing a lift to the frontstretch for the Saturday, March 31, Jani-King 300 NASCAR Busch Series race and the Sunday, April 1, Harrah's 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race. The six white school buses, decked out in speedway logos, will pick up campers staying in the reserved and general camping areas located on the backstretch outside of Turn 3. The Public Safety/First Aid Center -- located in the Dallas Morning News outside reserved camping area and marked with a 25-foot high sign -- will serve as the designated pick-up point for all campers. The buses will run continuously both days beginning around 8:00 a.m. through noon race start, dropping fans off across from Gate 1, and beginning again 45-minutes after the checkered flag, picking up fans across from Gate 1 to return them to the camp areas. Two of the buses will begin running each morning around 6:00 a.m. to take campers to the shower/restroom buildings. Campers will again be picked up and dropped off at the Public Safety/First Aid Center located in the outside reserved camping area. Trams will also be circling the inner ring road each morning to transport campers to the shower areas as well. In addition to the existing 1,104 reserved Coleman infield spots and 249 Dallas Morning News VIP camping spots, which are adjacent to Hospitality Village, there are now 1,800 new Dallas Morning News outside reserved camping spaces located on the backstretch outside of Turn 3. "We carved these new reserved spots out of the existing general campground area," said speedway director of tickets, Kevin Camper. "The reserved section is very nice with numbered spots and street signs to assist fans in finding their way around. This is the best way for campers to relax, knowing that their spot is already waiting for them." Approximately 250 of the new $100 reserved spots remain to be sold. But, as always, there will also be plenty of non-reserved spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis. These spots - approximately 8,000 of them -- are priced from $30-$40 and are located in the northeast and northwest corners of the speedway property. Campers who are booked in the Dallas Morning News outside reserved spaces, as well at those wishing to take one the of the first-come, first-served spots, may enter those camping areas on Saturday, March 24 beginning at 8:00 a.m. Campers who have a reservation in the Dallas Morning News VIP or Coleman infield sections may park in their spot beginning Wednesday, March 28 at 2:00 p.m. Campers needing to restock on necessities during their stay will find shopping quite convenient as the Albertson's Fast Track store returns to Texas Motor Speedway. The 3,600-square-foot store will be located next to the shower/restroom building across from the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track, adjacent to the Dallas Morning News camping area outside of Turn 3. Staples such as milk, bread and soft drinks as well as a variety of basic food and household items will be available for purchase. "We think this is a true convenience for our campers," said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage. "It's also appropriate to have someone like Albertson's on-site since we have more fans camping here during race week than some small towns have as residents.
3/15/01

Junqueira and Minassian test at Indy - Target Chip Ganassi rookies Bruno Junqueira and Nicola Minassian got their first taste of the Brickyard yesterday.  Driving Oldsmobile Aurora/G-Force cars, Junqueira  completed 158 laps of the 2.5 mile oval.. His best average speed was 216.7 mph, against 215.1 mph for his teammate, Nicolas Minassian.  " We had an excellent day of testing, and we used it to our advantage well. I liked the circuit and I'm impressed with how fast it is.  I feel privileged to have the chance to drive in the temple of racing" said the Junqueira.  MC
3/15/01
F1 Spotters Guide We have added a full-color printable (17" x11" tabloid size) F1 spotters Guide to our Formula One page.  It is in pdf format and can be downloaded.  It is 2.7 MB in size so give it some time.  MC
3/15/01
Lights: Dan Wheldon writes - Mexico was certainly an eye-opener for me in a lot of ways. Firstly, 5th place was not the result I was looking for but, considering the circumstances, I think I will look back at this race as a good save. Starting from 10th on the grid, it was pretty tough just to stay out of trouble. I am not used to starting that far back – without sounding too cocky – and I certainly would prefer not to start that far back again this season!  Our first practice on Thursday afternoon was cancelled, due to the track not being 100% complete. This left my engineer and me plenty of time to study the new track and plan our strategy for the weekend. I was also able to attend the media lunch, which is something I like to go to whenever possible, in order to get my name about. The media lunch turned out to be very beneficial for my team – PacWest Racing – the CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship and me. CART did a fantastic job in making the local television media aware of us. Later that night, my team and I went out fe and a half-hour qualifying session. Both days were very frustrating for me. The track was very, very slippery, which was something that the team and I had under-estimated. However, we kept working hard through the sessions to get a set-up that suited both the track and my driving style, which is still new to these cars. Each time we went out, the track was getting quicker and quicker, so we knew how important it was for me to get the best out of the new tires and the car in those final dying minutes of the second qualifying session. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the best out of the car, due to a sticking throttle problem, which we didn’t unveil until after I had qualified in a disappointing 10th position. The sticking throttle problem was through no fault of the team, but it was just one of those unfortunate things in motor racing. Nonetheless, I knew the Gemstar Communications/PacWest Lights team would put a good car under me for the race. They didn’t disappoint!  The race itself was very different, the track was dirty, it made it very difficult to pass. I could get close to the car in front, but only for a few laps before my tires would over-heat, at which point I would have to drop back, let them cool a little bit and then have another run at trying to overtake. A yellow flag then slowed the race, but once we were back under way, the race fell straight back in to its earlier mould. Towards the end of the race, I did come under a little bit of pressure, due to my last attempt to move up into 4th place. As a result, I over-heated my front tires, which slowed me down at certain parts of the track, but I had managed to hold on to 5th place.  The main thing that I learnt this weekend in Mexico is that qualifying is the key to a having a strong race in Indy Lights. With the cars being so evenly matched, it is very difficult to pass and, especially when you are on a one-line racetrack, it is extremely difficult to pass. The depth of talent in the field is also great. There may not be very many cars, but they all really good.
3/14/01
TV ratings for last weekend (Source Speedvision)

• NASCAR Winston Cup (FOX, 3/11) 5.7 rating / 13 share (overnight)
• CART Mexico (ABC, 3/11) 1.5 rating / 3 share (overnight)
• NASCAR Busch (FX, 3/10) 1.66 rating / 0.996m hh
• NASCAR Cup Happy Hour (FX, 3/10) 1.59 rating / 0.958m hh
• NASCAR Cup Qualifying (FOX SportsNet, 3/9) 0.54 rating / 0.397m hh
• ASA (TNN, 3/10) 0.46 rating / 0.82 share / 0.368m hh
• CART Qualifying (espn2, 3/11*) 0.06 rating / 0 share / 0.048m hh

3/14/01
Letter to the Editor - CART TV  I'll say one thing. While for me the jury is still out about FOX's racing coverage, CART and ABC/ESPN could take a lesson from them as far as promoting the sport is concerned. A couple of years ago a local sports anchor went up to New Hampshire Int'l Speedway and acknowledged that Winston Cup racing at NHIS was New England's largest sporting event, drawing well over 90,000 fans. His comment was that "people inside Rte 128 don't get it". That meant that inside Rte 128, a highway that surrounds and constitutes what is considered Metropolitan Boston, people didn't have a clue about the sport. That may have been true, but to fill up 90k plus seats those fans have to come from somewhere. Anyway, I didn't care for the comment and I got into an email exchange with this anchor for a week talking about it. He claims to have worked in Indianapolis and is well acquainted with motorsports, but he maintained his feeling that sports fans in the Boston area proper weren't interested, and other than NHIS, that's why racing doesn't get much coverage on local news (other than crashes). Over the past few weeks, according to the Boston Globe's Tuesday ratings reports, NASCAR on FOX has been a ratings success, consistently getting a 5.0 or better, which is a marked improvement over last year, maybe as much as 2 times better. (Yeah, losing Earnhardt may have had something to do with it, but that morbid novelty should have worn off by now.) Several of those weeks, NASCAR racing has even been the top rated sports program. This past weekend, it was second only to the NCAA seed selection process which was televised. The point here is, as I pointed out to my anchor friend, people inside Rte 128 do get it, and FOX's aggressive approach to promotion is paying off, even here in New England. Local channel 7, an NBC affiliate, has been putting on highlights of Winston Cup events since Daytona. CART, as that recent letter to the editor pointed out, needs to do that as well. If they didn't get the word out about Portland, they have only themselves to blame if the attendance is down. If CART can work with ABC/ESPN and do even half of what FOX is doing, that should help substantially. But once CART makes the decision to do so (don't wait for "Driven" to come out), they need to go guns blazing and blanket the market (newspapers, TV, internet, storefronts). People will come if they know about it. Just ask the folks in Monterrey........Regards, Mark Chavous
3/14/01
NASCAR.COM receives record traffic in first month NASCAR.com, the official site of NASCAR, received a record 4.1 million unique users (Media Metrix) in February, its first month since being re-launched by Turner Sports Interactive on Feb. 9.  The number of unique users, the total number of individuals who visit a Web site, more than doubled NASCAR.com's previous high of 1.8 million from July 2000, and more than quadrupled the traffic the site did in the month prior to the re-launch. February's traffic helped drive NASCAR.com above all other league sites as the second-most-visited sports site on the Internet.  "NASCAR.com is now powered by the largest entertainment and media company in the world and we are excited with the strong response from our core fans, as well as the new fans we are reaching," stated Paul Brooks, vice president of broadcasting for NASCAR. "As we continue to grow, we will keep our eye on the product and make sure we are delivering for the fans." The site has been averaging 408,000 unique users on non-race days, with a staggering 1.2 million users during the Daytona 500. By comparison, last year the site would usually attract about 250,000 users on a race day and had 443,000 users for the Daytona 500.  "We couldn't be happier with how NASCAR.com has been received," said Drew Reifenberger, executive vice president and general manager of NASCAR.com. "These numbers show that, after only one month, we are delivering what we have promised. As we continue to add new elements and features to the site, there are no limits to what NASCAR.com can accomplish."  Turner Sports Interactive acquired all of NASCAR's Internet rights in October 2000 and became the exclusive producer of NASCAR.com in January 2001. Turner Sports Interactive bases its NASCAR.com staff in Atlanta, with additional personnel in Charlotte, Daytona and at the tracks, giving them the ability to break news stories on-site around the clock. NASCAR.com will also provide users with some of the industry's best information resources through AOL and CNN/Sports Illustrated. NASCAR.com can also be accessed via AOL Keyword: NASCAR.
3/14/01
"NASCAR Garage" is now called "NASCAR Tech "  Beginning in 2001, the NASCAR Automotive Aftermarket Media Platform and its 30-minute weekly television program will take on a new look and new name, changing from NASCAR Garage to "NASCAR Tech." The name change of this aftermarket industry-focused platform reflects an increased emphasis by NASCAR to promote the technology behind the products and equipment in the garage area. The revamped television show, "NASCAR Tech," now airs to a broader audience on Fox Sports Net, in its new time slot, 10:00 - 10:30 AM on Sundays. The program is the lead in to FOX's live pre-race package of shows called "NASCAR This Morning." To date, the cable channel Fox Sports Net reaches more than 71 million households nationwide.  "This is an exciting change not only for the NASCAR Aftermarket program but the aftermarket industry as a whole," said Odis Lloyd, NASCAR Director, Automotive Aftermarket. "By re-branding and refocusing our program we hope to enhance the understanding of the technological similarities between NASCAR race cars and the vehicles serviced by the auto technician and the do-it yourselfer." As stated, NASCAR Tech takes on a new focus in addition to the new name in 2001. With added emphasis on the technology behind NASCAR racing, the program provides its audience with a look into how that technology relates to the vehicles they drive every day. The show profiles the technology and products that drive NASCAR. NASCAR Tech features three primary segments: Peak Performance, Inspection Station and NASCAR Know How, each focusing on different aspects of the technology transfer. Peak Performance and its segment host, NASCAR Technical Director Gary Nelson, examine a series of Aftermarket products and how they are used on a NASCAR Winston Cup car versus the consumer-driven automobile. Inspection Station focuses on the job NASCAR officials do prior to and following each race while NASCAR Know How delves into topics such as wedge & track bar adjustments with guests including Ray Evernham and other NASCAR personalities. A short car care tip will be provided by the industry's Car Care Council each week.
3/14/01
Zakspeed/Forsythe Mexico report  Zakspeed/Forsythe Racing made their Champ Car debut in Monterrey Mexico, during round one of the CART FedEx Championship Series, with American driver Bryan Herta piloting the #77 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard around the 2.1 mile road course. Herta and his crew were quick out of the box Friday, finishing the day in sixth position, and consistently running among the top-five throughout the practice session.  Saturday ended on a different note, as the team was only able to complete 23 laps in morning practice, and suffered from the inconsistent track conditions throughout the group one qualifying session. Taking the green flag Sunday afternoon from 18th position, Herta enjoyed a clean start and gained three positions by the ninth lap. "I was really concerned about the first few laps, primarily the start. The track conditions have been slick and pretty inconsistent throughout the weekend. Obviously, eighteenth is not where you want to start a race, especially on a track like this," said Herta. Contact by car #20 on lap 22 brought out the second full course yellow of the day, causing a chain reaction of pit stops throughout the field. The Zakspeed/Forsythe crew opted to stay out, catapulting Herta from 15th to second position. Herta remained second until lap 36, when he came in for service, taking on a full load of fuel and four fresh tires. Returning to the track in 22nd position, Herta worked himself back up to eleventh position by lap 60. Just as Herta was preparing to make his second stop of the day, plans were delayed as the track returned to full-course-yellow status, closing the pit lane. In order to avoid running out of fuel on the racetrack, the team was faced with no choice but to bring Herta in under closed pits to take on enough fuel to finish the race. As a penalty for receiving service in a closed pit, Herta re-started the race on lap 73 from the back of the field in 18th position. Upon the expiration of the two-hour time limit, Herta took the checkered flag in 16th position on lap 78. "We took a chance with our pit strategy today, and it didn't go our way. I had a good car and the guys did a great job. Now we will turn our focus to Long Beach," commented Herta. Herta, a resident of southern California, will return to the streets of Long Beach on April 8th, for round two of the CART FedEx Championship Series.
3/14/01


CART Engines  For those of you who may have read the CART engine article earlier today by our Mark Cipolloni, he asks that those interested readers note one significant addition (among others) that was made to the articles recommendation section.  He adds - "It would be nice to see a world-wide (CART, F1, IRL etc) engine size of 1.8 liter with turbo boost to suit the application. This would allow small, light, compact engines with the resulting weight saving ploughed back into increased driver protection and crushable structures. CART could use more boost at road courses than ovals (to keep the racing exciting) and "cooking" versions of the engines could be made for lower cost formula (IRL). "No-holds-barred" versions would emerge for F1 use.   I still think it's bizarre that there is so much money invested in such a diverse range of power plants throughout all the different series. If the engine manufacturers were able to have a common configuration and concentrate on variations around that theme - then everyone from Tony George to Bernie Ecclestone could be kept happy.   And then all manufacturers can compete in all three series, if they so choose.  Revised Editorial
3/14/01
Did you notice?  In Atlanta this past weekend, Matt Kenseth's car "blew up" and skimmed the wall and came to rest in the infield. As he climbed out of the smoking #17 DeWalt Ford, it could be clearly seen for all the world to see that he was wearing a HANS device, which did not prohibit him from exiting the car, and Darrell Waltrip made sure to point that out to the viewers.  Another lame excuse for not wearing the HANS Device put to rest. MC
3/14/01
Letter to the Editor - Monterrey  "Some things never change." Should this be the banner motto of CART for 2001?  I would like to say in a positive light that I truly enjoy this sport and "still" think it is the best racing series in the world. Be that as it may, I am starting to become dissatisfied with the product that CART is producing the longer I follow it. I will list some of the reasons and see if anyone cares or if anyone (CART) is listening. Letter
3/14/01
Lowes Speedway News  Three local organizations, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Charlotte Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau have pooled their resources in what promises to be a major draw for group tour planners. Beginning Tuesday, March 13, the inaugural "Over the Wall" Tour , only available at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, will be offered to groups and group tour planners at this time, but planners expect to open availability to the individuals on April 20. "Though we attract more than one million visitors each year, participants in the over the wall tour will see parts of this track that only a select few ever get to see," said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, Lowe's Motor Speedway president and general manager. "This tour is the ultimate 'backstage pass.' Fans will see how this facility has evolved in the last forty years plus get a true glimpse of what it takes to host one of the biggest sporting events in the world, the Coca-Cola 600." Groups can visit the Winston Cup Garage, media center, infield hospital, scoring tower, the exclusive Speedway Club, and even to the winner's circle for a photo and then for a "victory lap" around the 24-degree banks on the Speedway's 1.5 mile oval track. For groups, the cost for the tour is $27.50 per individual and they receive ample souvenirs including a Lowe's Motor Speedway baseball cap with "Over the Wall" logo, a Lowe's Motor Speedway miniature racing car, a reservation pass to the Speedway Club, and a Concord Mills coupon book.
3/13/01
Quote of the Week  As told to Speedvision by Steve Fusek of the PacWest Team after they thoroughly investigated trying to run Mauricio Gugelmin at this years Indy 500 - "The major obstacle in making the Indy run – as it is in nearly all forms of the sport – comes down to finding the finances. If someone wanted to step up big and help us, we would probably have made it happen.  But despite what the IRL wants you to believe, it costs a lot of money to run at Indy." 
3/13/01
TMS News - Chevy Thunder back  The historic Fort Worth Stockyards will roar to life Friday and Saturday, March 30-31 as Chevy Thunder in the Stockyards returns with an exciting family-oriented festival that celebrates the very best of motorsports. Chevy Thunder in the Stockyards will feature live music, Q & A sessions with NASCAR drivers, interactive games, show cars, simulators, contests, food and merchandise. The two-day event, which is free to the public, coincides with RPM Week-Texas, highlighted by the April 1 Harrah's 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. "We are so excited to be bringing this festival back to Fort Worth again this year," said Mac Churchill, President of RaceFest Fort Worth, Inc. "We know this is a great event for our residents and visitors alike. It's also a great way to showcase the fine merchants and entertainment venues located in the Stockyards." The event is part of the RPM Week-Texas activities, which includes five days of racing activities at Texas Motor Speedway and related events such as Chevy Thunder in the Stockyards.
3/13/01
Da Matta on RPM2Night Texaco/Havoline/Kmart driver Cristiano da Matta, winner of the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey GP CART FedEx season-opener, will appear on RPM2Night tonight at 6:30 PM ET on ESPN2. Check your local listings to confirm exact time in your area. 
3/13/01
Orsi Leads Atlantic Testing At Firebird Hylton Motorsports returning driver Hoover Orsi has been demonstrating the skills which earned him the 1999 South American Formula 3 Class A Championship and a seat in the Toyota Atlantic series. Orsi and his newly assembled team continue to post lap times, which are considered to be the quickest in the Toyota Atlantic Championship pre-season testing. Orsi posted his fastest time early Friday morning on the 1.23-mile road course at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona. Orsi consistently posted times in the mid 53's, while driving the u.s. print silver and black # 9 Toyota/Swift car. "I am pleased to see that the development we did yesterday paid off today", commented Orsi. Orsi continued "it was a challenge on Thursday to focus on setups and not speed, when most of the top teams were at the track checking times". "I am extremely pleased that the car is coming together and that Hoover is gaining confidence with his new crew and equipment, all that being said, we still have a lot of work before opening day", said Director of Engineering Kyle Brannan. Kyle and crew have completely re-engineered the car to position Hylton Motorsports as one of the top teams in the Toyota Atlantic Championship in less than three months of off-season preparation.
3/13/01
New Poll If you have not already taken our new poll on our main page, we urge you to do so.  It's now been 5 years since Tony George has split Indy Car racing and created the IRL.  Has the split been good, or does it threaten the future of the sport?  To our surprise, this poll has received a lot of hits in a very short period of time.
3/13/01
The fallacy of normally aspirated engines There is a call in F1 to reduce speeds as the result of the recent deaths of two corner workers. The proposed solution is to reduce displacement from 3.0 to 2.5 liters. The IRL had to reduce from 4.0 to 3.5 liters last year. Whereas CART's 2.65 liter turbo engine has retained it's displacement (and hence saved costs) for over 30 years by gradually reducing turbo boost pressure to control HP, the IRL and F1 have no choice but to continue to reduce displacement or limit RPM to reduce speeds.  CART is probably wise to stick to a turbocharged engine.  MC
3/13/01
PacWest out of the points in Mexico (This missed our race report SCOTT DIXON 13th place finish “I learned a lot out there today,” said Dixon. “My car and Toyota engine were great all day, and my one pit stop was very clean and fast. When we didn’t pit early on, I was able to lead some laps in my first race, which was cool. If we had gotten a break with another yellow before lap 38, I think I could have driven to a podium finish - if not a victory. Anyway, we fought back to the top ten where I was hoping to take home some points, but we would have run out of fuel if we didn’t conserve. I couldn’t stay on the gas and make it the rest of the way without pitting again, but I’ll take this as another learning experience and be ready for Long Beach next month.” MAURICIO GUGELMIN - #17 NEXTEL PACWEST TOYOTA: 15th “I had a big problem with braking today, which limited what I could do out there,” said Gugelmin. “My rear tires were locking up on me under braking, which took the balance out of the front of my car. Then I fought push through the middle of each corner and was loose on exit. Those were just some of the things I was fighting throughout the race, and obviously I would have liked to finish better than I did. My Toyota engine was perfect all weekend, and my crew was very quick on my two stops. We’ll be ready to go when we get to Long Beach. Then you will see the results we are capable of.” MC
3/13/01
NASCAR going international with its TV broadcasts  Officials for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing today announced plans for its international television distribution-reaching four continents. The 2001 season marks the initial year of NASCAR's consolidated domestic and international television package. The international television package will include primarily NASCAR Winston Cup Series events with select NASCAR Busch Series events as well as NASCAR-related ancillary programming. More than 60 countries will present NASCAR events globally during the 2001 season. The international rightsholders will offer NASCAR events to viewers in their respective countries or territories on a live, same day or tape delay coverage basis. Previous to 2001, international distribution rights were handled by the tracks and/or their rightsholding network with a limited number of events distributed globally. "Motorsports serves as a staple in many countries around the globe," said Paul Brooks, vice president of broadcasting for NASCAR. "With today's announcement we are introducing a consistent outlet for the international motorsports fan to follow NASCAR while building awareness and further educating sports fans outside the United States. We are anxious for fans around the world to witness the close side-by-side competition offered by our competitors week-in and week-out here in the United States. "Having the NASCAR Winston Cup Series broadcast around the globe each week will bring significant added value to all our teams, tracks and their sponsors." Some of the international rightsholders will include EUROSPORT, the most widely available channel in Europe, reaching over 92 million homes and 250 million viewers in 62 countries in 17 languages, which will carry the entire 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule and Canada's TSN (The Sports Network) and CTV-Sportsnet will broadcast a combined 37 NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series events live throughout the 2001 season. As is the case with its domestic television, the NASCAR international distribution package will be included the sport's current television rights fee distribution formula of 65/25/10 that is distributed to tracks, competitors and the sanctioning body, respectively.
3/13/01
NASCAR broadcasts to be carried on Armed Forces Network  Members of the United States military around the world will have a chance to follow their favorite NASCAR drivers like never before. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) have announced that 2001 NASCAR programming will be aired live and tape delayed to U.S. Armed Forces personnel, Department of Defense (DOD) civilian employees and their family members stationed around the world. More than 800,000 servicemen and women in 170 countries, including approximately 100,000 sailors and marines onboard U.S. Navy ships, will have access to NASCAR events. This gratis agreement, in cooperation between NASCAR and its television partners FOX, NBC, Turner, FX and ESPN, covers NASCAR's top three national series: NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events. "It is important to us to ensure that our U.S. military personnel have access to NASCAR races while they serve our country," said NASCAR Vice President of Broadcasting Paul Brooks. "We have been told that service people are frequently asking for more motorsports coverage and, via this agreement, and in cooperation with our broadcast partners, they will have access to every NASCAR race in our top three series in 2001 and beyond." 
3/13/01
Not in the USA  TV Azreca has the CART TV rights in Mexico.  The Head of the biggest TV Network, Mr. Emilio Azcarraga Jean of Televisa, was also present at Monterrey. Could you imagine this happening in the United States. 
3/12/01
Quote of the week  I got a warmer reception from the people here in Mexico than Andre Ribeiro got from our people in Brazil when he won the CART race in my home country of Brazil in 1996.  I thank the people of Mexico. - - Race winner Cristiano da Matta at yesterday's post-race press conference
3/12/01
Audio from Mexico See Interviews Page for more

Listen Joe Heitzler post-race comments (4:21 Min.)

Listen Cristiano da Matta post-race interview (21:50 Min.)

Listen Paul Tracy post-race interview (6:56 Min.)

Listen Alex Zanardi talks about being back (2:37 Min.)

Listen Bobby Rahal on CART vs. F1 (2:26 Min.)

Listen Pat Patrick on success of Mexico race (2:02 Min.)

Listen Emerson Fittipaldi talks about Rio race (1:15 Min.)

Listen Kenny Brack on winning the pole (0:37 Min.)

Listen Bobby Rahal on Brack and Papis' effort (0:47 Min.)

Listen Max Papis on his qualifying effort (0:28 Min.)

Listen Nicolas Minassian on his move to CART(2:02 Min.)  
Listen Dario Franchitti on the track and passing (2:13 Min.)  
Listen Tony Kanaan on his new teammate (2:58 Min.)  
Listen Max Wilson on his first day impressions (3:25 Min.)  
Listen Bruno Junqueira on his first day impressions (3:04 Min.)  
Listen C. Kneifel (right), CART's new Chief Steward (23:00 Min.)
 

Listen Tony Cicale talks about his new team and driver, and about track

Listen Friday CART Press Conference

3/11/01
And you thought Long Beach was awesome?  UPDATE CART announced a race day attendance of 116,000 and a weekend attendance of 318,000 people. Earlier today - Hello from Monterrey where the weather is bright and sunny this Sunday morning.  We have been going to Long Beach since 1987 and our hats are off to Monterrey. What a spectacular first year event.  The crowd is larger than any CART race we have seen (easily 110,000) and the Mexican people are not only very courteous, they are VERY enthusiastic.  The Indy Lights race is now starting and just about every seat in the house is full already.  Where have you seen that kind of interest in a Lights race before? This event can only get better.  A real success story for CART and for the Monterrey promoters.  Today it's even more crowded. MC



Race day photos of the Paddock and Pit Straight Grandstands.  People everywhere.

3/11/01
Mexico was like nothing else  – How enthusiastic were the Mexican fans you ask?  The crowd you see to the right stood outside the media center some 2-hours after the race was over waiting for the race winner to emerge.  They cheered loudly to anyone who would even appear at the door.  We can only imagine what sort of pandemonium we would have seen had a Mexican driver won.  The excitement here in the media center, among a group of not easily impressed reporters, says it all.  This was a very special event.  MC
3/11/01
CART needs to create this type of excitement  2nd UPDATE Our hats are off to CART for listening.  In today's race in Mexico the fans were allowed under the podium and it was just like the post-race F1 excitement we see.  Let's hope this becomes a standard post-race procedure.  3/4/01 - 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. MC
3/11/01
Sigma makes impressive debut   After a solid day of practice for Sigma, the hard work paid off. Phil Howard's crew adjusted the balance of Oriol's Sigma/Ford/Lola to correct an understeer problem that developed in the first practice session. Servia's times improved dramatically though they were hampered by the dusty conditions. Servia said, "I really needed to tipsy-toe and watch how I put the power down." However the team still believed that their Lola had more venom left in it. On Saturday, Sigma was slotted to qualify with the second group. This meant that rubber would be on the track and grip would be improved. After driving the circuit with the main group Oriol came back for a fresh set of tires. At that point he had climbed to a respectable nineteenth place. Sigma's sophomore driver attacked the circuit and quickly warmed his tires. On his first hot-lap he put Sigma into the Top-Ten! His blistering lap placed him in seventh. Said Oriol, "I was really comfortable, and I had no traffic in front of me. I really could attack the apexes with no worries." Later, Michael Andretti joined the Top-Ten club by moving into fifth place in the final minutes of the session. Oriol moved down to eighth in the final grid. Paul Cherry commented, "This is what we wanted to accomplish; to make sure that this program is solid. This is a very important first step." MC
3/11/01
Toyota F1 car to launch at Paul Ricard   Toyota's first Formula 1 car will be unveiled to the world on 23 March 2001 at one of motor sport's most historic and challenging Grand Prix tracks; Circuit Paul Ricard near Marseille in the South of France. Under an agreement between Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) and Excelis (Circuit Paul Ricard), the facility will now be the home track for the Toyota F1 project. A state-of-the-art workshop will house the team cars and engineers for a rigorous 11 month test schedule. Toyota and Circuit Paul Ricard already have an established relationship. The team used the punishing track as a rollout and prime test site for the GT-One car, which led for most of the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hours and finished second in the 1999 race. 
3/10/01
CART shortens race to 80 laps  CART announced today that the race in Monterrey, Mexico will be shortened from 85 laps to 80 laps because the lap times are slightly slower than anticipated.
3/10/01
HANS Device use postponed in F1 until 2002   The HANS Device was to be mandatory in F1 in 2001, but the drivers have not had enough time to get fitted properly and it's mandatory use postponed until 2002.
3/10/01
Higgins wins Lights pole  Derek Higgins improved on his Friday provisional pole-winning time and retained the top qualifying spot for Sunday's inaugural Dayton Indy Lights Championship race at Fundidora Park with his second new track record in as many days. The pole is the first for Higgins in Dayton Indy Lights and comes in his 32nd career race. He will lead the field to the green flag at 12:45 p.m. local time for the 35-lap (73.64 miles) race on the 2.104-mile circuit, and the race will be telecast on ESPN2 in same day coverage at 11 p.m. ET (8 p.m. PT)  Story
3/10/01
Audio from Mexico Updated

Listen Nicolas Minassian on his move to CART(2:02 Min.)  
Listen Dario Franchitti on the track and passing (2:13 Min.)  
Listen Tony Kanaan on his new teammate (2:58 Min.)  
Listen Max Wilson on his first day impressions (3:25 Min.)  
Listen Bruno Junqueira on his first day impressions (3:04 Min.)  
Listen C. Kneifel (right), CART's new Chief Steward (23:00 Min.)
 

Listen Tony Cicale talks about his new team and driver, and about track

Listen Friday CART Press Conference

3/10/01
Mexico crowd count  We spoke with the PR person for the Monterrey, Mexico track today.  He said yesterday's attendance was about 50,000.  He expects around 90,000 today, and all 100,000 tickets are sold for race day.  That puts the 3-day attendance at 240,000.  Let's compare that to some oval tracks where CART sees maybe 40,000 for the 3-day weekend and it becomes clear very quickly why CART's future really is with road courses and, in particular, international road courses.
3/10/01
Sellout expected in Germany  We spoke to two people in the know, and both feel that the German race is going to be a sellout.  With 120,000 Grandstand seats that will be yet another success story for CART's international expansion.  Mexico sellout.  Vancouver sellout.  Toronto sellout.  Australia sellout.  Brazil was a sellout last year.  England sellout?  Are we the only ones who see a pattern developing?
3/10/01
Bobby Rahal visits from Europe  Bobby Rahal was back in the CART paddock, fresh from his first race overseeing Jaguar's F1 effort.  Let's not forget that Bobby still owns Team Rahal, so we expect to see him at many CART races when there is no F1 race on the same weekend.
3/10/01
New front wing experiments  We noticed a few teams running some different front wing aerodynamics today in Mexico.


Left - Bryan Herta's car and right, Michael Andretti's car

3/10/01
DRIVEN to get some real promotion  We got some good news today from Joe Heitzler about the DRIVEN movie. He tells us that Warner Brothers is putting a real effort behind it, but the movie goer is not going to know it's really a CART movie.  Therefore, he is hopeful that either Stallone or Harlin will do a 2 or 3 minute trailer type advertisement in theaters just before the movie, letting viewers know the movie they are about to see is based around the CART series and to talk about some of the technology used in making the movie.  Some efforts are going to be made with race promoters and ticket discounts for DRIVEN movie goers in some markets.

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