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DATE News (chronologically 6/27/01 to 7/10/01)
Tora Takagi does special rookie test at Road America  Walker Racing rookie driver Tora Takagi completed a successful test in the #5 Pioneer/DENSO Special/Toyota/Reynard car on Monday. Tora ran a total of 68 laps with a quick time of 1:43.9 on the 4.048-mile permanent road course at Road America racetrack.  "It was a good test for our team and the track is fun to drive," said Tora. "I am looking forward to going back for the race in August. We should do well here."  "Tora liked the track and he ran very competitive laps all day long," said CART Team Manager Rob Edwards. "We had a good set-up and he was quick out of the box. We tried some things in the afternoon that didn't work, but that's why we go testing. If we'd tried that during the race weekend, it would have set us back. Now we have a good solid foundation when we go back for the race."  Tora and the Walker Racing team will return to Road America on the weekend of Aug. 17 for the Motorola 220. The race will be aired live on Sunday, Aug. 19 on ABC at 1 p.m. (ET). 
Stock car racing a total failure outside of USA  NASCAR was a total failure when it tried to race in Japan.  Now comes word that ASCAR, Europe's version of NASCAR, has collapsed and is out of business.  Open wheel racing rules worldwide, except in the USA.  It is the preferred form of racing around the world and CART will be well received because of it.
NASCAR catches heat  2nd UPDATE Brock Yates really takes off the gloves in this article in talking about The Call that is all too common in NASCAR. The strongest accusation - Was this a repeat of such suspicious finishes as Richard Petty’s 200th victory at the same race in 1984 in front of President Reagan – a celebrated victory in which a famed former Winston Cup champion (who remains one of the most visible personalities in the sport) told me flat-out that the King’s car was a hopeless cheater? Yates says, it won't be long before a Congressman calls for an investigation of NASCAR. Earlier - A reader writes - this has been going on for a long time in NASCAR, but no one can ever prove it.  It's all hearsay and speculation.  Back in 1967 I watched the Daytona 500.  Mario Andretti was leading and came in for his final pitstop.  I was standing right there.  Mario's car was done but they refused to let it off the jacks.  Freddie Lorenzen, NASCAR's Golden Boy and Mario's teammate, came into the pits well after Mario.  He was 2nd to Mario at that point.  They then held Mario in the pits until Lorenzen was serviced and down the pit road 7 seconds before they let Mario out. However, Mario was too good for Lorenzen, he ran him down, passed him and won going away. There were some very sad faces in Victory Lane.  Somebody tried to influence the finish of that race way back in 1967, but they could not 'fix' it as Pruett said, too many variables. I think it has been going on for many year years as there are far too many convenient wins that make headlines for NASCAR.  I hope all this is not true, as it saddens me that any sport sanctioning body could turn a sport into a 'show.'  Earlier - This AP article talks about what millions of people now realize may be very real, but failed to want to believe it, that NASCAR may give someone a hidden advantage in races to try and make big headlines.  To add fuel to the fire, Jimmy Spencer said after the race "something was very fictitious."  Scott Pruett said NASCAR can't 'fix' races because there are too many variables, but they can influence things in the hope things will turn out the way they want (read that make big headlines).  Pruett added, all that the Earnhardt's have done for the NASCAR (read that getting the Dale Earnhardt autopsy photos sealed), this may have been part of their payback (not his exact words), but did they actually fix the race, impossible he said.
Kudos to CART drivers  They all signed a checkered flag from a recent CART race and sent it to IRL driver Davey Hamilton as a get-well gesture.
Tony Stewart's grandfather dies  The family sends condolences to Tony Stewart and his family.  Tony's grandfather, Carroll Stewart, passed away Saturday night in Lafayette, Indiana.  He was 89.
CART and IMG to meet with Michigan Governor  The Detroit News reports officials from CART and IMG will meet with Michigan Governor John Engler today "in an effort to secure state funds" to continue racing at Belle Isle. The additional funds "would keep the Detroit Grand Prix in the city." CART Chair & CEO Joe Heitzler is focusing on Detroit "now that the relationship between CART and Michigan International Speedway has dissolved."
Remembering Pedro Rodriguez - II - Pedro Rodríguez, the great Mexican driving champion, died 30 years ago July 11, 1971.  He was perhaps the fastest driver ever in the rain, more dominant than even Ayrton Senna, and he did it not only in F1 cars, but also in Sports cars. As CART gets close to announcing a race at the circuit named after him in Mexico City, this week we remember him! 

L) Picture from June 1970, Pedro in his BRM P153 at Spa, Belgian GP, his last F1 victory. Taken at La Source, part of the original and current circuit. Pedro considered Spa a real man's circuit and a favorite of his so he fought the GPDA several times because they refused to run there because it was too dangerous. 
C) From September 1968 is Pedro at Monza in a BRM P138, the year of the high wings. You can differentiate between the official BRM with its orange marks from the private BRM which were red.
R) March 1966 and the start of the Sebring 12 Hours. Pedro is the sixth from the left (between the cars) with a darker nomex  and a helmet marked by a horizontal line (the goggles), also Pedro is much smaller than the rest (1.68 M. or 5'6").  Pedro focused on the run in the Le Mans type start and he liked to get away very fast to avoid incidents, and he often did. 

Pepsi 400 draws high overnight TV rating UPDATE The NBC press release - NBC's coverage of the Pepsi 400 from Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night delivered a 5.8 overnight rating/11 share for the 8-11:15 p.m. broadcast, making it the highest-rated primetime NASCAR race ever, according to figures released today by Nielsen Media Research. The 5.8 overnight rating represents a 41% increase over last year's 4.1 overnight rating/9 share on CBS. The previous primetime record was a 4.9 overnight rating/10 share for the Coca-Cola 600 May 27th on Fox. The rating, which increased every half-hour until the race's dramatic conclusion, peaked with a 7.0/13 from 10:30-11:00 p.m. ET while Dale Earnhardt Jr. was making his move from sixth place to first on the race's final five laps. Earnhardt Jr. crossed the finish line to NBC play-by-play announcer Allen Bestwick's call of "Dale Earnhardt Jr., using lessons learned from his father to go from sixth to first and score the victory in the Pepsi 400." Earnhardt Jr.'s win came on the same track where his father perished in a final lap crash Feb. 18 in the Daytona 500 and, as lead pit reporter Bill Weber told Earnhardt Jr. in his victory lane interview, 11 years to the day from his father's first NASCAR Winston Cup Series win at Daytona International Speedway on July 7, 1990. The Pepsi 400 was the first race in NBC and TNT's new six-year agreement with NASCAR to telecast "The Race for the Championship" over the second half of the NASCAR season. National ratings are expected to be available Tuesday.  7/8/01 - The largest TV audience for a prime-time NASCAR race watched Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s stirring victory at the site of his father's death.  The Pepsi 400 in Daytona Beach, Fla., drew a 5.8 overnight rating Saturday night on NBC.  That preliminary rating represents a 41-percent increase from last year's Pepsi 400, broadcast by CBS, and continued the trend of improved viewership numbers this season for NASCAR.
NASCAR changes qualifying format  Beginning with the New England 300 race weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 20, 2001, NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams will take only one lap during Bud Pole qualifying at tracks one mile or greater in length, NASCAR officials announced today.  Exceptions to this procedure are the following five tracks where two laps of qualifying will continue to be used: Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway and Martinsville Speedway.
CART stars of tomorrow light up Oklahoma  Teenage talents Scott Speed and Colin Fleming were the class of the field in Round Two of the Championship Auto Racing Teams Stars of Tomorrow Championship held today at the Oklahoma Motorsports Complex in Norman, Okla., a suburb of Oklahoma City, in conjunction with the U.S. Shifter Nationals.  Stars of Tomorrow, a premier karting challenge founded last season by veteran Champ Car driver Bryan Herta and partner Hollis Brown to identify and showcase future stars of CART, features top young drivers from across the country aged 16 and up competing in two classes – Pro 125 Shifter and Rotax-Max 125 (non-shifter).  In the Pro 125 Shifter class, Scott Speed, of Manteca, Calif., repeated his dominant performance from the opening round of Stars competition in Las Vegas, Nev. The 18-year-old JM Racing/Swedetech driver claimed his second consecutive pole position and went on to score his second back-to-back win with a flag-to-flag victory on the 11-turn, 7/10-mile road course.   Local favorite David Stover, 21, of Tulsa, who started alongside Speed, finished second, and 21-year-old Ron White, of San Jose, Calif., battled from a 12th-place starting position to claim third. Paul Tracy Kart Racing protégé Matt Jaskol, 17, fell back from his third-place starting position to finish fifth.  The racing action was fast and furious in the Rotax-Max 125 class with polesitter Chris Carmody and front-row starter Colin Fleming, both out of the Pitts/SSC Racing stable, fighting for the lead throughout most of the race. With three laps remaining, throttle problems brought a hard-fought battle to an end for 17-year-old Carmody, of Valencia, Calif. Fleming, also 17, of North Hills, Calif., went on to claim his first win in the Stars of Tomorrow Championship.  Rounding out the podium were Curtis Cooksey, who started from the back of the field to claim second, and Las Vegas native Matt Jaskol.  “The second round of the Stars of Tomorrow championship featured great competition,” said event co-founder Hollis Brown. “Everybody is excited about the program and the awards. The ladder system is definitely going to work, and we’re the first step of the ladder. The next round back here in Norman should be even better.”   Both Speed and Fleming currently lead the point standings in their respective classes. Through the support of CART, Skip Barber, Inc., Team Rahal, Firestone, Honda, Bosch and SSC Racing, drivers in the Stars of Tomorrow program are once again competing for an unprecedented prize package.  In addition to $40,000 in cash prizes, the first and second-place drivers in the Pro 125 Shifter and Rotax-Max classes at the conclusion of the championship will once again receive a Skip Barber Three Day Racing School and a test in the Team Rahal Champ Car. The winner of the Pro 125 Shifter class also will receive a full season of competition in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship Series presented by Racer in 2002 – the Official National Amateur Championship of CART.  The final two rounds of the four-race Stars of Tomorrow Championship will be held as part of the SKUSA World Finals in Norman, Okla., on September 21-23; and the SKUSA Super Nationals in Las Vegas, Nev., on November 9-11. 
Lights - closest finish in modern history  Conquest Racing rookie Kristian Kolby (Conquest Racing Lola) survived a late charge from Dorricott Racing teammates Damien Faulkner (Dorricott Racing Lola) and Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) to win the closest race in modern motorsports history Sunday in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship Kansas 100 at Kansas Speedway. Kolby led the final 19 of 67 race laps and survived a two-lap dash to the finish following a late caution period for the record victory, his first Dayton Indy Lights win in his fifth race start. As Faulkner made a final run on the high side of Kolby coming to the finish line, the duo appeared to take the checkered flag in a dead heat. Moments later CART Timing, confirmed that Kolby won by a scant .001 of a second. The record margin of victory beat the previous closest finish of .002 of a second that was set twice in the 1999 season. One of those races was a Dayton Indy Lights race at Michigan Speedway in July where Philipp Peter beat then teammate Casey Mears. Earlier that year, Terry Labonte beat Joe Nemecheck by the same margin in a Busch Grand National race at Talladega Speedway.  Kolby was the last of four different drivers to lead the race that was a typical Dayton Indy Lights superspeedway thriller, with nose-to-tail drafting and three abreast racing. Polesitter Mario Dominguez (del Valle/Corona/Televisa Lola), who established the Kansas Speedway track record of 180.881 mph (30.252 seconds) in Saturday's single car qualifying session, led the first 18 laps with Bell and Dan Wheldon (Gemstar Communications/PacWest Lights Lola) running second and third. The lead trio opened up a slight lead over the field in the early going, but soon a surprising Matt Halliday (Conquest Racing Lola), Faulkner, Cory Witherill (WSA Healthcare/Motors Lola) and Rolando Quintanilla (Telmex Lola) joined the fray.
Lessons to be learned from IRL's success in Kansas  By all accounts, the first IRL race in Kansas was a big success.  There are a few of lessons that both the IRL and CART can learn from this - 1) Races in race-starved areas are popular.  We have seen this in Monterrey, Mexico and we will see it in Mexico City and China. 2) Keeping ticket prices low helps.  The ticket prices in Kansas were sold at real bargain prices for the IRL race.  3) When sold as a package deal with Winston Cup tickets, both IRL and CART can get good attendance on some oval tracks
Ron Fellows wins Busch race at Watkins Glen Ron Fellows, in his No. 87 Bully Hill Vineyards Chevrolet, took hold of the GNC Live Well 200 and never let it slip out of his grasp enroute to his third NASCAR Busch Series win in four years at Watkins Glen International. Fellows battled with the No. 60 Grainger Ford of Busch Series rookie Greg Biffle for most of the day. Starting second, Fellows swapped the lead four times throughout the event and lead a total of 35 laps, the most of any other driver in the field. “This was such a good tune up for us,” said Fellows. “ With the rules change in terms of the engines, we certainly learned a lot. I think for the first time we can apply what we learned here at the Busch weekend for the Cup weekend.”
Americans in Europe  American Paul Edwards finished 4th in both Race 1 and Race 2 in the British F3 Championship races at Brands Hatch in Kent, England today.
CART to race in China - more food for thought  The IOC is about to award the 2008 Olympic games to China.  The IOC meets July 13 in Moscow to chose the host of the 2008 Games. Beijing remains the front-runner, but two other leading contenders, Toronto and Paris, could gain ground because of a dispute over China's record on human rights.  Beijing officials say an Olympics would promote human rights in China.  It will also accelerate China's march to a world economic power.  CART would be well served to jump on that bandwagon now, especially if the IOC awards the Olympics to China in five short days.
Kansas Speedway's first race a success  What more can a new track ask for!  A sellout crowd of 80,000 people watched their first race at the new Kansas City Speedway for yesterday's NASCAR Craftsman's Truck race under sun drenched skies.  Another capacity crowd is expected for today's IRL race.  This is the kind of box office success the IRL and the Truck series so desperately need.
Hattori out qualifies the Tiger Woods of racing  Jack Arute calls Greg Ray the Tiger Woods of racing.  That didn't stop Shigeaki Hattori from out qualifying Greg Ray for today's IRL race in Kansas.  After CART pulled Hattori's drivers license for not being good enough to race in CART, Hattori landed in the IRL and has met with much better success.  Soon he may be challenging for the win.  Perhaps after a few years under his belt in the IRL, Hattori will be ready to give CART another try.

Trivia  Here's a little trivia for you that we bet you did not know.  Before Tim Richmond became a NASCAR star, he tried his hand at CART Champ cars.  In 1979 he drove in four races - Michigan, Watkins Glen, Trenton and Michigan.  His best finish was 8th at Watkins Glen.  In 1980 he drove in three races - Indy, Mid-Ohio and Michigan.  His 9th at Indy was his best finish that year.  He ran one more CART race in 1981 and then it was off to NASCAR.  Laps led: 1.
Dan Wheldon leads CART Indy Lights at Kansas  Rookie Dan Wheldon led the way Friday in the opening day of competition for the CART Dayton Indy Lights Championship at the all-new Kansas Speedway. The 23-year-old driver from England turned the day's two fastest laps on the 1.520-mile oval in the debut weekend of open wheel auto racing at the Kansas track. Wheldon set the day's fastest lap of 182.351 mph (30.008 seconds) in Friday's morning session and then posted the day's second quickest lap of 181.897 mph (30.083 seconds) in the afternoon run. His fast lap was .202 of a second quicker than Rudy Junco who followed up on his career-best second-place finish one race ago at Portland as Friday's second fastest driver at an average speed of 181.132 mph (30.210 seconds). Rolando Quintanilla was third quick at an average speed of 180.845 mph (30.258 seconds). As drivers and teams endured temperatures near 100 degrees and a track surface as hot as 143 degrees, Wheldon and the other competitors experimented with drafting and solo runs on the banked Kansas track.  Championship points leader Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) lost most of his track time in the faster morning session due to an oil leak. He was one of the few drivers to post his fastest lap in the afternoon practice and ended up 10th overall at an average speed of 179.581 mph (30.471 seconds).

CART's engine lease deals vs. IRL's do-your-own-thing concept  Jack Arute, an ABC announcer for the IRL and an insider in the series writes on "there are rumblings in the IRL that engine builders have a sliding cost sheet based upon what individual teams are willing to pay -- and want in their engines. Money buys speed ... How fast do you want to go?"  Contrast that with CART where, except for the Arciero/Blair team that is getting 2000 Ford engines because they signed on so late, all Fords are equal, all Hondas are equal and all Toyotas are equal.  If you lease an engine from one of those manufacturers you know you will be getting an engine as good as the next guy.  In the IRL, the teams with the bigger sponsorship are always going to have more HP.  Which do you think is better?  You decide.
Will Watkins Glen and Montreal again be back-to-back?  In the late 1970's and early 1980's the F1 circus would come to Watkins Glen and Montreal in late September/early October and run back-to-back weekends.  The fall foliage that time of year is spectacular in that region of the country.  It's not inconceivable to see the CART circus someday fly back from their European jaunt in mid-September, take a week off, and then do The Glen and Montreal back-to-back since it is not too far for the teams to drive from one race to the other.  Back then, many fans took in both races.  We do remember dressing warm though, especially in Montreal, though it never seemed to bother the Canadians.
Lack of sponsorship continues to hinder IRL teams  Heritage Motorsports has been forced to pull out of the next two Indy Racing Northern Light Series events, which means driver Jeff Ward is out of a ride for now. The team is hoping to rejoin the series for the Aug. 12 event at the Kentucky Speedway. From there the team is planning to run the next two events, but it will not take part in the season finale at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.  Lack of good sponsorship is a big problem in the IRL and the high cost of oval track racing (crashes into concrete walls usually mean big car repair and medical bills) is driving some teams right out of the sport.
Casey Mears tests for Walker CART team  Open-wheel standout driver Casey Mears completed a successful driver evaluation test for Walker Racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course yesterday. The test took place with the permission of the CART FedEx Championship Series and the Skip Barber School, who were testing at Mid-Ohio for the day and shared the track with the Walker Racing CART team.  Casey completed 52 laps in the #5 Pioneer/DENSO Special/ Toyota/Reynard/Firestone car and had a quick time of 70.5 seconds with no offs.  "I'm grateful to Derrick Walker and the team for the chance to test," said Casey. "It was a great experience and I thought we worked really well together. We made steady progress and kept getting quicker and quicker as the day went on."  The 23-year old driver most recently worked with owner Derrick Walker's IRL team on Bump Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when Derrick gave Casey a chance a making the starting lineup for the world's greatest race.  Walker Racing CART Team Manager Rob Edwards was on-hand to supervise Casey's test.  "He did a good job," said Edwards. "Casey was very consistent on the track and gave very analytical and specific feedback to our engineer Steve Newey and he worked well with the rest of the team."  "Casey has shown in the past that he has the ability to drive any number of racecars," Derrick said. "We wanted to give him a chance to see what he could do in a CART car. This is the time of the year when we're very active in talking to potential sponsors for next season. It was a good opportunity to demonstrate Casey's capabilities to help us in our sell. We're also grateful to CART that we were given permission to do this test due to the limited testing rules during the race season."  Casey made his CART debut in 2000 at the season-ending race at California Speedway, where he finished 4th for Team Rahal. He ran in the IRL for Galles Racing in the first three races of the 2001 season, where his best finish was 11th at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

Future IRL star prefers CART  In his latest article for the Indianapolis Star News, Curt Cavin writes "Oval-track racing seems to have a promising young driver in Aaron Fike, the 18-year-old Galesburg, Ill., product who last week in Richmond, Va., became the youngest to win a U.S. Auto Club Silver Bullet race. But his career preference is surprising given his Midwestern roots. "I think CART would be cool," he said. "I don't know about (the IRL). It seems kind of boring to me."  In the same article Cavin talks about the continuing foul language used by the IRL's biggest name, team owner A.J. Foyt, after Eddie Cheever Jr. failed in his bid to pass Foyt's driver, race leader Eliseo Salazar, on the inside at Richmond last weekend: "I like Cheever, but when he gets in a race car, he's a (bleeping) idiot."
Heavy rains in Florida wash out Pepsi 400 Qualifying  UPDATE The rain finally did stop and Mike Skinner turned the fastest practice lap.  Skinner turned a lap of the 2.5-mile track in 48.669sec (184.923mph), faster than Bill Elliott's 183.565 for the pole in February.  They will try to qualify today. 7/5/01 - Heavy thunderstorms in Florida caused the postponement of Thursday evening's Bud Pole Qualifying session for the Pepsi 400. Rain and thunderstorms belted the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway forcing the postponement of Saturday's Pepsi 400. Making their first appearance at Daytona since February's tragic Daytona 500, none of the Winston Cup contenders were able to turn a lap before Bud Pole Qualifying was scheduled to start and the rain continued long into the evening.  NASCAR's plans to hold a single practice session for the Winston Cup cars before the Speedway closes for the night are doubtful.
Cleveland GP sponsor Marconi stock plummets  Marconi PLC shares plummeted 54 percent Thursday as traders reacted to the British telecommunications company's profit warning for the year. Marconi's share price fell as trading in the stock resumed after being suspended Wednesday in advance of its warning that its earnings for the year would be below expectations. The London-based company announced Wednesday that sales this year were likely to fall by 15 percent while operating profits could be halved. It also announced it plans to cut 4,000 jobs, or about 8 percent of its work force. Marconi, one of the world's largest telecommunications equipment makers, said its customers were delaying purchases as they felt the pinch from the global economic slowdown. Company chief executive Lord Simpson warned that the downturn in the U.S. economy had spread to Europe, where firms ``had turned off the capital expenditure tap.'' Shares in Marconi tumbled 132.5 pence to 112.5 pence ($1.57) a share at Thursday's close, down from 245 pence when trading was suspended. The company's shares had peaked at 12.50 pounds ($17.50) in 1999. Marconi's U.S.-traded shares plunged $3.68 to $3.35, a 52 percent drop, on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Chat Live with Memo Gidley  On Thursday at 5:00 PM ET CART Champ Car driver Memo Gidley will chat live on  You can post your question to him by clicking here.
Support, order DRIVEN on DVD  Now you can order the DRIVEN movie on DVD and add it to your home video library.  The DVD edition will have more than what you saw at the movie theaters.  Color, Closed-captioned, Dolby, Widescreen;  Commentary by director Renny Harlin;  Theatrical trailer(s);  2 Behind-the-scenes documentaries: The Making of Driven and Conquering Speed Through Live Action and Visual Effects;  Jo Dee Messina Burn music video;  and more.  List: $24.98, Our Price: $18.74, Save: $6.24 (25%)  Order Today
American Allmendinger grabs Formula Dodge points lead  A.J. Allmendinger finished second in both rounds five and six of the Formula Dodge National Championship Series (the official regional CART amateur championship) presented by Racer held in Grattan, Michigan. In round five on Saturday, A.J. started fourth. He quickly jumped into second off the start. Each lap A.J. slowly gained on the leader setting fast lap in the process at a 1:24:759. At the line he finished second only 1.282 seconds behind the winner. For round six on Sunday, A.J. would start from third on the grid. Once again Allmendinger would jump to second going into turn one. He hounded the leader all race, but eventually finished second only .636 seconds behind. This is A.J. Allmendinger's fifth straight podium most out of any driver in the highly competitive Formula Dodge National Championship Series. In rounds five and six, A.J. was the highest finishing American. He accumulated 32 of the possible 42 points and now leads in the points by six. "This was another great weekend for me. I am thrilled with how consistent I have been because it is so vital to winning the championship. The championship is my main focus right now and hopefully I can keep finishing on the podium and win some races." Pictured L to R: A.J. Allmendinger, Julio Campos, Leonardo Maia

Jaguar courts Villeneuve for 2003, Irvine to start CART team?  According to, Jaguar's Niki Lauda has approached Jacques Villeneuve about driving for the team in 2003.  Villeneuve maintains that he will give BAR one more year to get into winning form or he is leaving the team.  The current Jaguar driver contracts are up at the end of 2002 so don't be surprised if some musical chairs are in the works.  We doubt Eddie Irvine would hang up his driving gloves at that time, but if he does, he has stated on more than one occasion that he wants to start a CART Champ Car team.  We assume CART management has already contacted Eddie to ask them what they can do to help.  If not, we suggest they do.  Mark C.
Is Redback headed for more battles in the courtroom than on the track?  One has to wonder if Redback, the sponsor on the Arciero/Blair team is going to have a bit more action in the courtroom than on the race track in the coming months.  The Law Firm of Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP announced yesterday that a class action has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of purchasers of Redback Networks Inc. The complaint charges defendants Redback, Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. (``Morgan Stanley''), BancBoston Robertson Stephens (``Robertson Stephens''), Lehman Brothers Inc. (``Lehman Brothers''), Dennis L. Barsema and Geoffrey C. Darby with violations of Sections 11, 12(a) (2) and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.  Full Story
NASCAR mandates car changes to accommodate HANS Device  According to this AP article - NASCAR has ordered race-car modifications that will make it easier for drivers to use head-and-neck restraint systems.  NASCAR President Mike Helton said Tuesday the opening of car windows will be standardized to accommodate drivers who need to climb in and out of the car while wearing a head and neck support system, or HANS. The decision to mandate a 17-inch window height is the first time NASCAR has instituted a specific window size, spokesman John Griffin said.  Some drivers have expressed concern about wearing the restraints, saying it could affect their ability to escape from a car in the event of a fire. NASCAR has made the restraints optional for drivers, while other racing leagues have required them. Since the death of driver Dale Earnhardt, most Winston Cup drivers have begun wearing the safety systems.
More on CART Podiums & Car paint schemes  We had numerous e-mails agreeing with Paul Josephson on the article he wrote about the poorly done CART podiums......compared to F1.  This one was the most vocal - Paul, I agree 100% with your editorial at about the placement of the podiums, but I feel you've left out a very important point. While you mentioned that in F1 they are consistent from event to event you neglected to mention just how slick and professional they look. CART has a real image problem and a major part of which derives from the fact that it in many respects it looks second rate. You and I know that CART racing is among the best in the world, but fans are highly prejudiced by images. Until CART presents itself as being visually first rate as well as cool, all that talent - teams, drivers, and great racing will be lost on many casual sports fans. The podiums and the paint schemes on the cars are the two biggest problems. It would be nice if the podiums were the same at every event and placed in front of the maximum number of fans. It would be even nicer if the podiums looked first rate as they do in F1. At present most of them look third rate and Cleveland was no exception. In fact I often must pinch myself into belief of CART's stupidity, frankly, when I see the drivers spraying champagne in front of a painted piece of plywood covered with haphazard appearing banners. This should have been dealt with 15 years ago. The podiums should look slick and first rate and should maybe even include some sort of overhanging screen to soften the often harsh sunlight for better pictures. Duh!  Now for the cars.  An all black or all red car with a bunch of sponsor logos looks like something you might see in the SCCA (no disrespect intended). People don't want posters of or calendars with boring looking cars, therefore the sponsor logos may often be ignored. People want to identify with things trendy. All over the world marketing departments work hard to develop brand image and hip associations, but with CART the ability is lost (Toyota and Honda 
have been the shining exceptions). Other race series such as NASCAR, F1, and Touring Cars do a far better job of painting their cars than CART.  While sponsors Kool, Marlboro, and Players have insisted on historically or graphically strong color schemes, and the sponsorless Sigma car looks pretty wild, most of the remaining field is a graphical failure.  Look at the McLaren, Benetton, Minardi, Williams, Jordans or the Jaguars in F1 - all very cool. Or how about the Delphi cars in the IRL? In CART Ganassi, Newman/Haas, Patrick Racing (or their sponsors) should be ashamed of themselves for the missed opportunity to show off their professionalism while enhancing sponsor image. And if a car is sponsorless such as Jimmy Vasser's or Bryan Herta's; why not use that as an excuse to get some extra flash or notoriety with a paint scheme that really pushes the limits. Hire hip graphic designers. Max Papis' car could feature ice cubes along the sidepods the way the Miller 12-pack holders do, or it could be covered by a pattern of the crest logos from the bear bottles, contrasted with the sponsor logos over the top. If CART can make itself appear cool, more people will watch, get excited, and become race fans. Sponsors will have a more loyal following for their products. Ken   PS-I've work in a company that ships FedEx and I've been waiting for the FedEx calendars featuring the ChampCars for three years!  At least we get the Marlboro ones, but as cool as they look, they never mention the driver's name which leads to another problem with the way CART markets (or fails to market) it's series.

Panasonic to sponsor Toyota F1 team, should not affect CART  UPDATE An insider writes - Panasonic's F1 program should not affect their CART sponsorship for two reasons. Firstly, they probably aren't paying PacWest very much money. That deal is mostly based upon PacWest's use of the Swift engineering wind tunnel. Secondly, that money is truly controlled by Hiro, which is why you have never seen Panasonic really activate their sponsorship through typical media outlets (Print, TV, Radio, etc). It's a Hiro decision to do the sponsorship, not that of their adv/mktng departments or their ad agencies. 7/3/01 - Toyota has announced that Panasonic will be the primary sponsor on their F1 cars when they debut in 2002.  We wonder if this will affect their CART sponsorship.  Maybe not as F1 sponsorship gives Panasonic very little exposure in the key USA market.
Honda comments on appeal victory, Toyota issues their view 2nd UPDATE Ford's Ian Bisco talks about the situation in this interview (PDF) 7/3/01 - Within minutes of receiving Honda's press release, Toyota issued one of their own - Toyota is extremely disappointed with the ruling of the three-judge appellate panel regarding the implementation of a 3/4-inch extension to the manifold pressure relief valve. Instead of focusing on the problem that required the implementation of the extended housing, the panel elected to focus on the implementation process.  The ruling, which reversed the earlier decision by a team of protest judges on June 15, 2001, means that the extended housing designed to prohibit any potential manipulation of the manifold pressure relief valve will be removed for the next three Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) races held in Toronto, Michigan and Chicago. Reimplementation of the extended housing, following the Chicago race, will be subject to a future decision by CART pending the resolution of a mutually agreeable alternative by CART and the three engine manufacturers. "Toyota and Toyota Racing Development (TRD), U.S.A. are hopeful that a reasonable resolution to the manifold pressure relief valve issue can be achieved in order to bring the 2001 CART series to a worthwhile and competitive conclusion," said Jim Aust, vice president of Toyota Motorsports.  Earlier  Honda is pleased there has been a satisfactory ruling on the spacer issue by the CART appointed Appeals Panel and looks forward to its removal at the Toronto race. This decision reverses a flawed implementation process and affirms that the legality of the Honda engine was not an issue.  “We look forward to working together with CART and the other engine manufacturers to find a long term mutually agreed upon method to monitor the boost of turbo charged race engines,” said Robert Clarke, General Manager, Honda Performance Development. “Because racing is a high profile sport, rules disputes can occasionally be expected. We are encouraged that the CART Appeals process works and it gives all parties a method to resolve such issues. We look forward to putting this issue behind us and concentrating on what we do best: putting on the world’s most competitive racing series for our fans worldwide.”

CART pulls a 1.6 rating for Cleveland, IRL pulls 0.45  UPDATE More TV ratings are out for last weekend and the IRL must not be too happy today.  Their live broadcast of the Richmond race on ESPN drew a paltry 0.45 rating (0.366 million households), just barely beating out the CART qualifying show (on ESPN2 and tape delayed nonetheless) which received a 0.37 rating (0.284 million households).  The USA winner was the NASCAR Bus series with a 1.8 rating (1.175 million households).   CART, on a road course, had its best rating so far this year, while the IRL's oval tracks continue to make no headway.  Of course CART gave its sponsors good value by outdistanced both the IRL and NASCAR once again with a minimum of 10 million worldwide households, 1 million of which were in the USA and 9 million divided among the other 199 countries that get CART TV broadcasts. Rating Source: 7/2/01 - According to, the Cleveland CART race pulled down a 1.6 overnight rating.  Although the final rating will likely go lower, it is still the best rating so far this year here in the USA.  However, once again the good news is that the race was seen by at least 10 million viewers worldwide, so the sponsors certainly got their money's worth. [Editor's note - the 10 million could easily be 20 or 30 million...or more.  The 10 million is based on assuming a low of 50,000 viewers per country times 200 countries.  Unfortunately, there is no company that accurately tracks worldwide TV ratings, so the best anyone can really do is use very conservative estimates for now].

Daytona just gets bigger and better  Fans will find even more to love at DAYTONA USA when the “Official Attraction of NASCAR” celebrates its five-year anniversary on Wednesday, July 4 with a new 10,000-square foot expansion. “The new features of the attraction will give our guests a real feel of the race experience,” Speedway President John Graham said. “We’re expanding in response to demand. We’re grateful for our visitors’ strong support of DAYTONA USA and we look forward to now offering even more hands-on, thrilling moments for race fans.” The DAYTONA USA expansion will include “Daytona Dream Laps,” an IWERKS Motion Simulator ride based on NASCAR Winston Cup’s premier race, the Daytona 500. The ride will seat 32 guests for a full-range motion experience of NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing at the high banks of Daytona International Speedway. Another addition to the attraction is “Acceleration Alley,” where guests will hop inside, buckle up and accelerate to over 200 mph in 80-percent scale NASCAR simulators that combine motion, video projection and sound for the ultimate head-to-head racing experience. Guests can enter the race at the reservation desk and once their name is called for their race, they enter into the driver training room where they learn the ins and outs of stock car racing. Once the driver’s meeting is completed, the driver is led to one of the eight simulators for their race. Following the race, each driver will receive a results sheet upon departing the exhibit.
Teams trading paint for Pepsi 400  Sparks aren’t the only thing that’s brought out by the 43rd annual Pepsi 400 on July 7 at Daytona International Speedway. Many of the 43 cars competing in the fastest night show will also be sporting special paint schemes. Rusty Wallace, who’s still seeking his first points’ victory at the “World Center of Racing,” will have a Harley-Davidson paint scheme on his No. 2 Miller Lite Ford. Wallace says he likes the fresh colors. “The Harley scheme is a really cool deal and we unveiled the thing right there at the Harley dealership in Daytona back in March,” Wallace said. It’s only fitting that two-time Pepsi 400 winner Jeff Gordon would have a Pepsi scheme on his No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet for the Pepsi 400. Gordon will have the Pepsi logo on his hood and will trade his DuPont colors and red flames for midnight blue. Michael Waltrip, the 2001 Daytona 500 champion, will celebrate the Independence Day weekend at Daytona with stars and stripes as his No. 15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet will bear a patriotic paint scheme. Meanwhile, Ken Schrader’s No. 36 M&M’s Pontiac will also have stripes and fireworks. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart will have a cinematic feel to their Pontiac Grand Prixs. Both drivers will have dinosaurs on their hoods as their paint schemes help promote the release of the motion picture “Jurassic Park III.”

Zandvoort is another F1 circuit CART can consider  2nd Update Another reader writes to say - "when I checked an atlas I found that Zandvoort is situated by the sea and about 15 miles from Amsterdam and about 40 miles from Rotterdam, the two biggest cities in Holland. It's also within 120 miles of some big affluent cities in western Germany like Dusseldorf, Bonn, Cologne, Essen. (i.e. all closer to Zandvoort than Lausitzring is.)"   6/26/01 - A reader writes - "They hold a F3 and sports car races at Zandvoort every year that gets over 80,000 people (yes, you read that right)".  So perhaps if CART comes they will get 100,000 people.   6/25/01 Bernie Ecclestone will be visiting the refurbished Zandvoort GP circuit in Holland prior to this years Belgian GP at Spa to see if the circuit could stage a F1 race again.  Zandvoort last staged an F1 race back in 1985, but the Zandvoort owners are reportedly confident that they have carried out all the changes requested by the FIA, and have asked for local government support in raising the funds needed to host another GP. FIA President Max Mosley was also said to be impressed by changes to the Dutch circuit, and it is now up to Ecclestone to decide whether the Dutch GP will return at any point in the near future.  The track has been lengthened from the old 2.900 km 'under a minute lap' to a modern 4.250 km circuit. This is the reason the FIA have granted a T1 license, this means Formula One teams are allowed to use the track for testing.  With the F1 schedule being fairly full, we would be surprised if the track gets a F1 date.  With that said, now that they have spent all the money to fix the track up, perhaps CART can bring their circus to town instead. [Track image courtesy of Zandvoort Park Circuit]
Montoya would have been 2nd in France If not for his engine woes, Juan Montoya would have finished 2nd in France.  His teammate, Ralf Schumacher was on softer Michelins after his first pitstop, tires that were not too stable in the fast corners.  Montoya, who ran the harder Michelins that offered better stability through the fast corners, was on course for second place, being right behind Ralf when his engine expired with 20 laps to go.  Or would team orders have come into play?
Sold Out? The Indy Racing Northern Light Series already is a success in the Kansas City area, and the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 hasn't even started. Tickets for MBNA Pole Qualifying on July 7 (read that the NASCAR truck race because there is no possible way the IRL can sell out a qualifying event.  Even Indy has hardly anybody in the grandstands for pole qualifying) and the race July 8 are sold out. This race joins the Indianapolis 500 as sellouts on the 2001 schedule.  What we don't know is how many would have bought IRL tickets if not for the Winston Cup/IRL season ticket packages.  Since Kansas City is not near any other major auto racing venue, this race starved community might just sell the place out for all its races.  The IRL is clearly riding NASCAR's coattails in trying to boost attendance at many of its tracks and the package deal at this track almost gave the buyer an IRL ticket for the price of a Winston Cup ticket.  The $64 question - will it be long lasting, or will the NASCAR fans tire of the Indy Cars after they have at every other oval?  Time certainly will tell.

Pat Patrick to retire in a few years  That's what he told Steve Ballard of the Indianapolis Star News this weekend.  One of the founding fathers of CART, Mr. Patrick is a true gentleman, but he is getting up there in age.  It's time to slow down, relax a bit, and enjoy life a bit more. We can tell you a little story about Mr. Patrick.  In Monterrey, Mexico this past March, Mr. Patrick was faced with the prospect of making his way threw the throngs of fans that packed the circuit of his hugely successful inaugural event.  Already a bit unsteady on his feet, he asked me if I would help him make his way through, to which I gladly obliged.  Once safely through he looked me in the eyes and said thank you very much, and I could tell he really meant it. Pat Patrick, when he does decide to step down, will be sorely missed. Anyone want to buy a well established CART team?  Speak up now before someone else grabs it.  Mark C.

Schrader to switch hit at New Hampshire  NASCAR Winston Cup Series star Kenny Schrader has announced that he will do double duty at New Hampshire International Speedway. On Saturday, July 21, Schrader will race the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet in the New England 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Kenny then plans to race the No. 36 M&M's Pontiac NASCAR Winston Cup Series car on Sunday, July 22. Schrader has captured two Bud Pole Positions at NHIS in NASCAR Winston Cup Series events at "The Magic Mile", and he started third in last year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. "I thought we might pick-up a pick-up win at New Hampshire last year," Kenny said. "I want to see if I can complete some unfinished business." He led 59 laps and finishing a strong ninth in last year's race at "The Magic Mile."

Team Kool Green donates more to Black Men of America Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti scored an impressive win yesterday in the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland to earn $18,881 for the 100 Black Men of America's urban technology program. The victory was worth a bonus of $10,000, in addition to $8,881 paid for laps completed by Franchitti and teammate Paul Tracy. The funds will assist the 100 Black Men of America in providing increased access to computers, technology, and training in urban communities. Through their partnership with 100 Black Men of America, Team KOOL Green, with funding provided by Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, the team's principal sponsor, provides financial donations for each lap completed and overall race performances by Tracy and Franchitti in FedEx Champ Car events. The funds will be used by 100 Black Men of America to support their efforts in urban centers to connect young adults over 21 with new information and communication tools to make a positive impact in their communities, including access to the Internet, new computer technology, and skills training. Sunday's win was hard-earned. Franchitti started 14th, but fell to 22nd after going off-course on the first lap to avoid a multi-car accident in turn one. He worked his way to 12th place and then emerged from the first round of scheduled pit stops in fifth. Following the second round of stops, excellent pit work by the Team KOOL Green crew advanced Franchitti two more positions to third. He took the lead on lap 91 when leader Memo Gidley had to make a third pit stop for fuel. Franchitti finished the race just .305 seconds ahead of Gidley. "It felt really good to be back in the victory lane and I'm very happy to be able to share my success with the 100 Black Men of America organization," said Franchitti. "I'm quite proud of the Team KOOL Green crew, they really put forth a tremendous effort. We almost scored the win and $10,000 bonus in Detroit (finished second), and this time we got the job done." 

Good attendance news from Cleveland  2nd UPDATE  It goes to show you how hard it is to estimate attendance from the track. With rain Friday, Saturday and yesterday, race promoter IMG reported attendance for race weekend was down from last year. There were 58,399 for the race yesterday, compared to 69,571 last year. This weekend's total was 133,000, compared to 165,071 in 2000. The rain all morning in Cleveland must have scared some folks away, but the grandstands looked pretty full, better than the 40,000 + several years ago.  7/1/01 - We have added two pictures below that shows that most grandstands were pretty much full.  Only the stands at the far east end of the track showed many holes. Although the weather was nasty, rain in the morning and a cool stiff wind off the lake during the race, the fans still showed up in mass.  We await the official estimates.  6/29/01 - We spoke to a Cleveland GP representative today who said this years ticket sales are up over last year and IMG is happy.  When asked for an estimate, we were told no numbers will be released until after the race on Sunday.  If sales are indeed up, it just underscores the strength of CART on the road courses. 


Malaysian government wants CART at Sepang Joe Heitzler let the cat out of the bag this weekend that the Government of Malaysia is interested in hosting a CART race at Sepang. Should CART race in Malaysia before China?  Perhaps, but China must eventually happen too.  It will be too large an economic powerhouse to ignore.  As can be seen from the photos below, Sepang is a first class facility throughout.  Notice the width of the pit straight, perfect for a standing start.  While you will never get all the drivers to agree that standing starts at perhaps 3 races per year would be exciting for the fans (change is difficult for some to come to grips with), we have talked to the engine manufacturers and so far the response has been - "no problem, they do a standing start every time they leave the pits now.  They push the button on the wheel, rev the engine, let the clutch out, and away they go.  If they stall, oh well, that's part of the skill of a standing start." 

Were the NASCAR fans mocking the IRL in Richmond? 2nd Update The crowd at Richmond was strong, considering this was the first IRL foray into NASCAR country (and mind you, Richmond is by no means an upscale city on the whole). I would estimate 35-40,000 people. Maybe even up to 45,000. But definitely more than 35k, which is more than CART got at Nazareth. Your question on whether the cheering was from NASCAR fans making fun of the IRL, but I hardly think that was the case. The crowd was loud most of the night, especially during Airton Dare's bonsai moves. They were on their feet and very excited at the start and through the first few laps too. It was evident that there were a lot of NASCAR fans there, but as you say, the bubbas spend the money at races. There was also a fair amount of people wearing CART, F1 and IRL merchandise. The IRL also gave out a ton of red hats at Friday's autograph session, and consequently, there were a lot of people wearing red IRL hats on Saturday. This goes back to the old question of why doesn't CART just give SOMETHING away. Anything. Hats, bumper stickers, something to help get their logo out there. Earlier - Some people inquired where we heard that the NASCAR fans cheered every time an IRL car crashed.  Check out this article7/1/01 -  It certainly seemed to be the case.  Every time an IRL driver crashed their car into the wall and billowed smoke, the estimated crowd of 40,000 cheered wildly.  Were they excited to see the crashes because the rest of the race was boring (compared to the exciting Winston Cup races they are familiar with), or were they there to make fun of the open wheel jet-set?  The only fans who cheer when cars crash, are the ones there to see blood.  No blood flowed on this night so lets hope they were entertained enough to come back next year.  Only 9 cars were running at the finish of the race, yet the NASCAR fans in attendance usually see 35 to 40 Winston Cup cars around at the finish.
Audio from Cleveland  Updated

Wrap-up report voiced by Tom Michaels
Dario Franchitti, who captured the win Sunday
Dario Franchitti on finally getting a win after the long drought
Dario Franchitti on jumping up in the points standings with the win
Memo Gidley on his chances of catching Franchitti
Kenny Brack post-race comments

Max Papis post-race comments

Post Race Press Conference

Memo Gidley Post-race comments

Bryan Herta post-race comments

Memo Gidley interview pre race

Friday top-3 drivers press conference

Preview voiced by Tom Michaels of the CART Radio Network 

Roberto Moreno on last year's win, his only career victory in the CART series. 

Moreno on overcoming doubters for his first CART victory last year, which came from the pole 

Michael Andretti  on the unique layout of the Cleveland track at Burke Lakefront Airport 

Andretti on taking chances on the wide Cleveland track 

Kenny Brack on why he likes racing at Cleveland

Mauricio Gugelmin of PacWest Racing on the bumpiness of Cleveland track 

Orsi holds off Hand on wet track The thunder and lightening show at the start of the race was just a preview of things to come in Round 5 of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race at the Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio. On a rainy Sunday morning, Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) held off a furious challenge by rookie, Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/BG Products Swift) to take his second win of the season, and the championship points lead. “It was an awesome race, and it was one of the most difficult ones,” said Brazil’s Hoover Orsi. “The conditions were really tough with slick tires at the beginning. Fortunately, I had a good car all the way through. The last lap was just amazing. I had a really nice race with Joey running side by side like that. Joey was clean with me and I was clean with him. Joey did a good job. I am really happy to finish first and I have to thank my team for giving me a great car all weekend. I’m glad to be on top again in the points.”
Fans want another airport race? UPDATE Another fans writes, "today's race was so exciting.  I love the wide tracks.  CART, please give us more wide tracks.  As much as I like Road America and Mid-Ohio, they are way too narrow, much narrower than all F1 tracks, let alone an airport. That's why the racing is so follow-the-leader as those venues.  There are other airports around Detroit that CART can consider, but I like the idea of having the race with an air show.  Now that would be awesome.  Talk about a weekend of speed!  Give that Base Commander a ride for his whole family in the 2-seater, whatever it takes.  And what about Sebring?"   7/1/01 -  Immediately after today's race was over we received two e-mails from fans who said "we love the airport races and we like your idea of moving the CART Detroit race to Selfridge ANG airbase."  See our rumors page for more details.  Let's hope CART gives Selfridge, in conjunction with the air show, serious consideration.  It could be another Cleveland in the making.
Jerry Forsythe does it right  On the Saturday before the CART Chicago race, we understand Jerry Forsythe will rent a yacht and invite 300 dignitaries from around the world for a dinner cruise on Lake Michigan adjacent to Chicago.
Sepp Kostner the dominator  Sepp Koster secured an utterly dominant second victory of the season in the sixth round of the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series in support of the CART FedEx Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland. The Dutchman stormed around the Cleveland-Burke Lakefront Airport in his Stora-Drain Dodge Reynard circuit stretching his lead from the pole seemingly at will and setting the fastest lap of the race in the process. He nets 22 points resurrecting his championship bid. American Matt Plumb jumped from third on the grid to second at the start and would remain there for the duration. In spite of a flawless drive in the Premier Nutrition Dodge Reynard, Plumb was no match on the day for the swift racecar of Koster. The second place points however place Plumb firmly in the title hunt as he leaps to third overall, ten points behind championship leader Nicolas Rondet. Gladwynne, Penn. native Marc Breuers drove his Sunoco Special Dodge Reynard to a career best third place finish. 
Track changes to be discussed for Monterrey this week -  There is a Board of Directors meeting this week for the Monterrey, Mexico track and we know that one thing on the agenda will be the discussion of removing one or two of the chicanes.  When we arrived at the Monterrey track back in March, we saw what we thought could be some improvements and published the recommended changes you see to the right.  Let's see what, if any, changes get made.
Rain forecast here in Cleveland -  UPDATE It has rained heavily this morning in Cleveland but the track may drive before the start as it has stopped and it's one hour to race time. Earlier For the second race in a row it looks like we might have a wet race.  There is a 70% chance of rain forecast at the start of the race with temperatures in the 70's and humidity 92%.
CART class of 2001 - Taken on wing of Fed Ex plane, Courtesy Toyota Motorsports

Industry News
Fans in uproar over Speedvision buyout  You have probably heard the news from here at  that Fox will soon be the full owner of Speedvision. The rumor-mill is strongly suggesting that Fox is going to make Speedvision an All NASCAR Network and realtors in Charlotte, NC say they're showing the execs locations for a headquarters. A grassroots effort has been established to send Fox a petition to keep Speedvision's diverse programming and not focus strictly on stock cars. If you like, you can sign the petition here.
IRL releases 2002 schedule  With new events at Michigan International Speedway and Nazareth Speedway, officials of the Indy Racing League announced a 14-race schedule for the 2002 Indy Racing Northern Light Series on June 30.
March 2, Homestead-Miami, ABC television
March 17, Phoenix, ABC
April 21, Nazareth, ABC
May 26, Indianapolis 500, ABC
June 8, Texas, ESPN
June 16, Pikes Peak, ABC
June 29, Richmond, ESPN
July 7, Kansas City, ABC
July 20, Nashville, ESPN
July 28, Michigan, ABC
Aug. 11, Kentucky, ABC
Aug. 25, Gateway (St. Louis), ESPN
Sept. 8, Joliet (Chicagoland), ABC
Sept. 15, Texas, ABC
Making the announcement were Tony George, president and CEO of the IRL and Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Bob Reif and Brian Barnhart.
Sepp Kostner leads Dodge Pro Series qualifying  Sepp Koster of Hemseerk the Netherlands blitzed a lap in the waning moments of qualifying for the sixth round of the Barber Dodge Pro Series to capture his fourth career pole. His Stora-Drain Dodge Reynard stopped the clocks in 1:14.316 sec for an average speed of 102.018 mph around Cleveland-Burke Lakefront Airport's 2.106-mile temporary circuit. American Marc Breuers will start alongside Koster, missing the prime starting position by a mere 0.013 sec. Provisional polesitter Matt Plumb improved on his time set in the first qualifying session but was relegated to the third starting position nevertheless. 
1/3/Sepp Koster/The Netherlands/01:14.316--102.018 mph 
2/94/Marc Breuers/Philadelphia, Penn./01:14.420 
3/4/Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa./01:14.452 
4/8/Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif./01:14.488 
5/18/Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I./01:14.514 
6/31/Ryan Hunter-Reay/Boca Raton, Fla./01:14.620
More highlights from Joe Heitzler press conference  Listen
1. CART will attend a special ceremony in England at the House of Commons this Monday.  Rockingham will be made a 'state'.
2. Germany is not in trouble as we previously reported and as Joe reiterated today.  Other reports you may have read are erroneous and Germany will make their next payment to CART in about 10 days.
3. Races that are actively being evaluated - Malaysia (yes, you read that right), China, Watkins Glen, NY City, Washington DC, Road Atlanta, Tampa and Denver
4. ISC asked, as we previously reported, that CART race at Watkins Glen instead of Michigan.  NASCAR's John Saunders has told CART the estimated preliminary costs (we heard $20 million) to bring the Glen up to CART standards are not a major concern to them, they want to make it work.
5.  Look for more in-car cameras next year
6.  CART and Speedway Motorsports are working to end their lawsuit and do business in Las Vegas, including possibly a mid-week night race at LVMS.
7.  An executive search firm is actively seeking a replacement for Hal Whiteford, Director of Racing Operations.
8.  By taking TV in-house, CART should be able to present a much better package to the viewers
Real reason why CART engines will go normally aspirated  We have come to learn one of the primary reasons why CART engines will changed to be normally aspirated.  There are 2 or 3 new engine manufacturers who have told CART they will come into the series, but if the engines were turbocharged, they feel they would be at a distinct disadvantage to the existing manufacturers who make the current turbo engines.  Hence, everyone will be on a level playing field when the new engines begin use in 2004.
IRL drivers seeing high G's at Richmond  "In practice the IRL cars are turning laps (at Richmond) in the 16 to 17 second range. The G loads the drivers are experiencing are similar to what the CART drivers felt in Texas, but so far no IRL drivers have experienced any vertigo or dizziness." Eliseo Salazar: "You feel the Gs on the corners and after a practice session you maybe get out of the car and, you know, feel a bit dizzy for about like 2 or 3 seconds, but when you're in the car it feels OK. It's a lot of Gs, but it doesn't last a long time because the tires go off, go away after 10 or 15 laps..." Jeff Ward: "I know we're pulling 5, about 4 to 5 Gs, at least that's what it says on our thing. It's more than some other tracks, but I haven't had any problems yet, but then again we haven't done 250 laps around here. But I don't see, uh, the pace is going to slow down during the race anyway, the traffic, it's not going to be as brutal as the 5 or 6 laps guys are doing right now (in practice)."
Matt Plumb leads Dodge Pro Series qualifying  
1/4/Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa./01:15.064 --101.002mph 
2/9/Alexandre Sperafico/Toledo Parana, Brazil/01:15.096 
3/94/Marc Breuers/Philadelphia, Penn./01:15.178 
4/3/Sepp Koster/The Netherlands/01:15.343 
5/18/Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I./01:15.427
Texas - what you didn't know  Prior to postponing the Texas race, CART thought about using a set gear ratio to control the speed, Chip Ganassi stated today.  However, there were not enough of those gear ratios in the Paddock on Sunday morning for all the cars to have one, hence that idea had to be abandoned.  They also talked about erecting a chicane (with cones?) on the back straight.  In the end, nothing would work on such short notice and they had to postpone.
CART and Las Vegas  Joe Heitzler and now several other board members, are exciting by the opportunity of having a significant CART museum, CART entertainment center and CART IMAX-type theater in Las Vegas for the 42 million annual visitors the City gets.  This will expose CART to a large number of potential new fans.
CART Strategic Plan  CART is scheduled to release it's long awaited Strategic Plan on September 15th.  They have done focus group sessions with many fans as well as all other CART constituents.  The plan will form the future direction of CART.  CART will be a very different series three years - in the way its perceived and in the way they do business.
CART engine news  Chip Ganassi, who is on CART's engine committee said the new CART engine will be a bit simpler (read that normally aspirated).  He also said CART is actively seeking new manufacturers to come into the series (read that Maserati, Audi and others). 
CART TV news  Although it has been previously been mentioned, Joe Heitzler said today in Cleveland all races starting in 2002 will be definitely be in a 2.5 or 3.5 hour time slot.  They will also be produced in-house and will feature some neat enhancements.  The TV company broadcasting the races (ABC or CBS) will be responsible for broadcasting the race and will be a marketing partner as well.
New FedEx contract to address international marketing  Joe Heitzler said today in Cleveland that the new contract they are marketing with FedEx will address the lack of international marketing of the CART series.  When the existing FedEx contract was negotiated, CART was not racing in as many overseas venues as it is now.  FedEx, who very much sells in the world market, is very keen on the ability to work with CART around the world.  Could it end up being the 'match made in heaven.'?  The potential is there.  Photo: Chip Ganassi, Joe Heitzler, Mario Andretti, Scott Pruett and Paul Page address the Friday Fan Forum.
Atlantics & Lights to be merged  Joe Heitzler basically let the cat out of the bag today.  Although not officially announced yet, CART will probably put a bigger engine with more HP in the Toyota Atlantics cars to make they harder to drive than they currently are.  That new formula will probably become CART's step just below Champ Cars going forward.  Barber Dodge, already close to Toyota Atlantics, will become the step below Atlantics going forward, once the Atlantic cars have more HP.
Roger Bailey - we were misinformed?  We apologize to Roger Bailey for reporting yesterday that he was let go by CART.  That is not the case, as we have learned in Cleveland.  His status we are told officially is 'stay tuned'.
Kenny Wallace loses ride  Kenny Wallace has been released from his contractual obligations with Eel River Racing and will no longer be behind the wheel of the #27 C.F. Sauer Co. Pontiac. Wallace failed to qualify for the last three Winston Cup races and thought the move was best for all parties involved, "This is a move that I thought needed to be made so that I can move on." Wallace is planning to return to his full time Busch Grand National series ride owned by George diBidart. Wallace also stated that the BGN team may also make a Winston Cup start in the second race at New Hampshire International Speedway. Mike Bliss has been tentatively named the driver of the #27 Eel River Pontiac. 
CART German race on Terrestrial TV  All of CART's races in Germany are shown live on the cable TV station Eurosport.  However, the German CART race in September will be shown live on Terrestrial TV, which is certain to bump the TV ratings way up in Germany for that race.
Fisher crashes, is OK  UPDATE After watching the tape of Fisher's spin, we are surprised she was injured at all.  The car spun and barely touched the wall, resulting in minor damage to the car. She has been released from the hospital as the X-Rays were all negative.  Earlier - Sarah Fisher hit the wall 40 minutes into the IRL's first practice session at Richmond International Raceway today and was taken to a hospital for precautionary neck X-rays.  Fisher hit the wall coming out of turn 2 where the track goes from a slight banking back to level. Her car spun into the backstretch and stopped.  "She is awake and alert," Henry Bock, IRL medical services director, said outside the infield care center, where Fisher was taken on a stretcher after the accident. "She is complaining of neck pain."  Former CART Indy Lights and now Rookie, Felipe Giaffone, was fastest this afternoon in the first practice for the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway with a speed of 160.006 in the No. 21 Hollywood G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Mark Dismore was second at 158.257, with Eddie Cheever Jr. third at 158.144 on the 3/4-mile oval. All three drivers were in the second practice group. The second practice starts at 7 p.m. (EDT).
Car count dropping for IRL races?  Only 19 (only 11 at any one given time) cars took to the track today for the first practice session.  Perhaps more will make an appearance as the weekend progresses.  This is the first year the IRL is running numerous races in a short time span.  It appears the teams are having a hard time keeping up....and they want to expand the schedule further next year.  Bob Reif even talks about going to Germany. Can the teams afford to do more races?  probably not without affecting the quality of the show.  We are hearing that many teams are borrowing parts wherever they can find them to make a whole race car and put it out on the track.  People talk about CART being on its last leg, by the appearances of it, the IRL is in worse shape.  One reader writes - "it's not a matter of if the IRL is going to fold, but when."  We feel Tony George would never let that happen and will continue to keep the IRL afloat.
Firestone to bring slightly better tire to Cleveland  Firestone will bring a new compound/construction specification for this weekend at Cleveland. The new spec uses the same compound mix as last year's tires but a refined rear-tire construction that should improve driver control around the demanding circuit, particularly when putting the power down exiting the slower corners. 
The Donuts are back  OK, so maybe nobody does donuts like Alex Zanardi, but Portland race winner Max Papis, as well as 2nd place Roberto Moreno, both did donuts for the fans after the Portland race.  Paul Tracy did them after winning Portland last year too.  What was a bit different this time that the track was soaking wet and the rubber knobs on the rain tires were flying everywhere.  CART certainly could use a bit more victory celebration excitement after its races. BTW, we added another Picture of the Week by Bill Kistler to our Home page of Max Papis saluting the crowd in Portland.  Enjoy. Mark C.
Harvick was wrong at Sears Point  From where we sit, Kevin Harvick was dead wrong in the way he fought Robby Gordon at the end of the race and cost Gordon the win. First, it was a road course and Harvick, therefore, was not going to be able to pass that many cars even if he did unlap himself.  Second, it was near the end of the race and two guys were battling for the win.  In that situation he had no business getting in the middle of it.  He should have gotten out of the way, held position behind Stewart and watched all the action.  In fact NASCAR should have blacked flagged him and gotten him out of there. Mark C.

Are you in favor of a Triple Crown?  We have a new Triple Crown poll now running on our Home Page.  CART has lost Michigan, or has it?  Suppose Tony George and Joe Heitzler strike a deal whereby CART is the road racing series and the IRL the oval series, but each year they jointly promote and race together at three Triple Crown races using IRL equipment. Would this interest you as a fan?  Would this help generate interest for both series?  We proposed this already, and we also proposed that a good rivalry (Hatfields vs. McCoys) between the two leagues would be good for all concerned.   Would this pacify those CART fans upset that CART is no longer racing at Michigan?  Put your finger to the temple and think...could a deal been struck already?  Is this why CART might be willing to back away from the Fontana oval as well as the Michigan oval so easily and let the IRL have them? Does this mean CART teams get to use their IRL equipment at three races instead of just Indy.  Think it can't happen?  Think again.  Cast your vote today.
CART at Road Atlanta - Don Panoz wants to hear from you  Don Panoz wants to hear from you if you would like to see a CART race at Road Atlanta.  You can call them at 770-967-6143 or e-mail to   To show that he is serious about CART, he continues to improve the circuit.  Latest upgrades include Jumbotron TV for around the track viewing and terracing of the hill inside turn 10 to seat 5,000.  The 2.54-mile track will likely require additional grandstands and safety improvements to turn # 12 where a wall greets the drivers head-on.  The wall will either need to go, or a VERY deep soft wall will need to be added in front of it....on the order of 30' or more.  In this picture, note the concrete walls around the circuit, something Watkins Glen will likely need for CART to race there.
Minardi Team under investigation for tax evasion  According to this AP article, the Minardi Formula One team, including its founder and namesake, is under investigation for possible tax evasion.
Who is to blame, CART or Michigan  UPDATE Another reader writes - why did Bill France, a NASCAR guy, all of a sudden start the Grand Am series a few years back?  Was it to kill off the gain in power by the wealthy Don Panoz and his ALMS series? Divide and conquer.  Oh, and now they are taking over Speedvision too and turning it into a NASCAR channel. They are slowly but surely taking over everything.  Note the bad TV ratings for everything but NASCAR.  They are everywhere.  Heck, I bought Purdue Chicken at the grocery tonight and low and behold, there's even a NASCAR logo on my chicken!  A monopoly indeed!   6/27/01 - A reader writes - "Why is everyone so mad at CART for dropping the Michigan 500?  It's ISC's total lack of marketing a GREAT race that there were only 50,000 fans there.  It's clear ISC's allegiance is with NASCAR.  They would just as soon see CART and IRL die so their Cup, Busch, and Truck series would be the only thing left.  Then they will have a monopoly.  In fact, it's getting close to that isn't it?  Like all monopoly's, the government eventually has to step in and break them up, but we are probably a few years away from that yet, not much more.  And they talk about Microsoft's unfair business practices! [Editor's Note: The opinion expressed herein is that of a reader. takes no position on this issue]
Lazier to replace Hamilton  Sam Schmidt Motorsports announced today that Indy Racing League driver Jaques Lazier would drive the #99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special at the upcoming event in Richmond.  Lazier acknowledged, “I am enormously excited about the opportunity. The team has demonstrated with the assistance of Davey (Hamilton) and Richie (Hearn) that with the exception of some bad luck, they have what it takes to run up front. I already know several of the guys on the team and I’m looking forward to renewing those relationships and building news ones in a pursuit of giving Sam his first top five finish and ultimately the win!”

CART leaves NASCAR TV ratings floundering again  Although NASCAR left CART in the dust in USA TV ratings again last weekend (see below), CART drew an estimated 10 million worldwide TV viewers once again, far outpacing NASCAR, leading one reader to ask, "I'm from Germany and I follow CART and F1, what's a NASCAR?" 
NASCAR continued to shut down all other forms of USA motorsports on TV last weekend:
Winston Cup Race (FOX, 6/24) 5.0 rating / 13 share / 5.2m households
NASCAR Trucks (ESPN, 6/23) 0.78 rating / 2 share / 0.640m hh 
NHRA Eliminations (espn2, 6/24*) 0.68 rating / 1 share / 0.524m hh
CART Race (ESPN, 6/24) 0.61 rating / 1 share / 0.501m hh



CART looking at new road course in Alabama  3rd UPDATE Steve Johnson, who runs the SCCA told - "The SCCA has received several proposals to relocate its headquarters.  Birmingham AL is one of the three cities that has come forward. As President and CEO of both SCCA Inc and SCCA Pro, I owe it to our members and partners to look at any and all opportunities. Currently, the SCCA is not soliciting bids for a new home. I will however, review any proposal that comes in and do a due diligence process to see if the relocation would be good for the short term and long term success of the SCCA as it relates to our strategic plan. I can tell you that the offers have been appealing enough to continue talking to all three cities. I can also tell you that although the offers are appealing, there is not enough information to make a recommendation to the Board of Directors to relocate our headquarters. In conclusion, the SCCA is staying in Denver at this time. We will continue to work with any partners that express interest in having the greatest motor sports organization in the world relocate to their city as long as it makes good sense for the SCCA and it members."  6/21/01 - Although our source was pretty positive the SCCA was moving to Alabama, other sources tell us no decision has been made yet.  Stay tuned.  6/20/01 - You may already be aware of this and how it connects to CART, etc. is not known (CART and SCCA Trans Am have partnered if you recall) but......the SCCA is moving its headquarters from Denver to Birmingham, Alabama. The site will be near the nearly complete Barber Motorsports Park complex. This article describes the track in detail.  This page even rumors that the track might get a 2nd USGP Motorcycle race. At 45' wide, that's probably all its really wide enough for. 11/24/00 - The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum announced plans to build a new museum and road racing track in Birmingham, Alabama.  The Barber Motorsports Park, a $33 million investment, will be largely financed by the museum, with infrastructure assistance from governmental entities. The museum and 2.4-mile road racing track should take 18-24 months to construct, and should be in operation in 2002.  We hear CART is taking a look at the track.  "We want to do this project for several reasons," said George Barber, the museum's founder. "First, we have the largest, and we think the best, collection of motorcycles in the Western Hemisphere, and we want to show them off properly. The new museum and track will display them, both standing still and moving. Second, we expect the museum and road racing track to be a major tourist attraction. We hope to bring in 125,000 people the first year of operation, and many of those people will be out-of-towners who will stay in hotels and eat in local restaurants. Third, we want to provide additional recreational opportunities for people in Birmingham and Alabama. A world-class motorsports museum and road racing track will help do that."  We think the location is ideal. We're close to downtown Birmingham and the airport, adjacent to Interstate 20, and close to Interstates 65 and 59. We're between Mercedes and Honda, both of whom have a great tradition of road racing. We're also between the Mercedes Museum and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame Museum at Talladega, so we form a trio of motoring museums along I-20," said Jeff Ray, the museum's Executive Director.  The site is bounded on the west by the Cahaba River, and plans are to be environmentally proactive by establishing a substantial buffer along the riverbank. Between the buffer and track will be large, wooded camping areas. The stretch of the Cahaba River bordering the site will stay undeveloped and scenic. A canoe launch site with public access is also planned.

(L) Site Plan (C) Track layout, (R) Elevation changes

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