Hot News

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DATE News (chronologically 7/11/01 to 7/18/01)
7/18/01
NASCAR names Hunter NASCAR officials announced today former Darlington Raceway President James H. (Jim) Hunter has been named Vice President of Corporate Communications for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. Hunter assumed his new duties this week, along with three additional new members of NASCAR's communications team. Robert M. Copeland, a public relations strategist for the past 25 years, joins NASCAR as its managing director of public relations. Former Director of Communications for the House Budget Committee, Bill Greene, is coming on board as NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division public relations manager. Former Tampa Tribune Assistant Sports Editor Herbert Branham will join Danielle Humphrey on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. John Griffin, who has headed NASCAR's public relations department for the past six years, will continue to work on special communications projects, including business marketing and television initiatives. Hunter, a one-time motorsports reporter for The Atlanta Journal and author of numerous sports books, returns to NASCAR after nine years as president of Darlington Raceway. Prior to that, Hunter served in a number of capacities at NASCAR, including management of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series.  
7/18/01
IRL sells out another race, only 31,500  UPDATE Steve Levinson writes - A sellout?!?!  According to the Nashville Tennessean newspaper, the track only has 25,000 permanent seats; 5,000 temporary seats, and will add another 1,500. That means at most 31,500 people!  CART had more than that in attendance on Friday (a work day) in Toronto!  Here is a link to the real story of how many seats are at the Nashville track.  Earlier  Race day tickets for the inaugural Harrah's Indy 200 on July 21 at Nashville Superspeedway are sold out, Nashville Superspeedway Vice President & General Manager Cliff Hawks said. The 200-lap race on the new, 1.33-mile concrete oval at Nashville is the debut of the Indy Racing Northern Light Series in Tennessee. The race starts at 7 p.m. (CDT) and will be televised live on ESPN. "We are extremely pleased on how Middle Tennessee race fans have accepted open-wheel racing," Hawks said. "I think the Harrah's Indy 200 under the lights has the potential to be a Tennessee racing tradition for many years to come." This is the second consecutive sellout for the Indy Racing Northern Light Series. The Ameristar Casino Indy 200 on July 8 at Kansas Speedway, another inaugural event, also was sold out with more than 75,000 fans in attendance. "The Indy Racing Northern Light Series continues to gain more momentum with every event," said Bob Reif, senior vice president of sales and marketing and chief marketing officer for the Indy Racing League. "We're pleased that Tennessee race fans have responded so well to our combination of total fan access and exciting racing that's second to none." A limited number of "standing room only" tickets are available at $20 each. The "standing room only" section will be located near Turn 1 and will provide limited visibility. Restrooms and concessions will be available. "We have no more seats available for the race," Hawks said. "Because of continuing demand, we will accommodate people who want to see the race, but don't have a seat." To order "standing room only" tickets, call (866) RACE-TIX.
7/18/01
Racing For Kids® Gets Financial Shot From Bridgestone/Firestone Nashville-based Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. announced today a $25,000 contribution from the Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund to support the Racing For Kids® program. 
Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Project Supervisor Joe Barbieri made the check presentation at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital to Racing For Kids® national spokesperson Robbie Buhl, who will be driving the Dreyer & Reinbold car in this weekend’s Indy Racing League event at the new Nashville Superspeedway. William W. Pinsky, M.D., founded racing for Kids® at Children’s Hospital of Michigan 12 years ago. Since then, the program has raised nearly $2 million in funding. Racecar drivers involved with the campaign, including current national spokesperson Buhl, have visited approximately 12,000 children in more than 160 children’s hospitals in the United States, Canada and Australia. "The success of Firestone, Bridgestone and Dayton brand tires in motorsports in the past century has helped our company grow and prosper,” Barbieri said. “While we’ve been winning on race tracks around the world for many years, we know there are other races far more important, including the race to find cures for children’s life-threatening illnesses, the race to help families deal with medical issues, and the race for doctors and hospitals to continually improve pediatric care. “We’re proud to have supported Racing For Kids® in the past, and hope this additional contribution from the Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund helps provide a win for those involved with healthcare for children.”
7/18/01
CART penalizes Tracy and Takagi Championship Auto Racing Teams Chief Steward Chris Kneifel today penalized drivers Tora Takagi of Walker Racing and Paul Tracy of Team KOOL Green for infractions committed during last Sunday’s Molson Indy, Round 10 of the FedEx Championship Series, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Citing section 8.13 of the CART Rule Book, Kneifel penalized both drivers for unjustifiable risk and put both on probation for differing periods. Takagi, a FedEx Championship Series rookie, was penalized two championship points and placed on probation for the next five events, through the September 2 Molson Indy Vancouver, for causing several incidents of contact with other competitors during Sunday’s event. Tracy was also penalized two championship points and placed on probation for the next three FedEx Championship Series road- or street-course events – the Aug. 12 Miller Lite 220 at Mid-Ohio, the Aug. 19 Motorola 220 at Road America and the Molson Indy Vancouver – for “nose-to-tail” contact with other competitors which caused a pair of spins at Toronto. CART Rule 8.13 states “Any action that represents an unjustifiable risk or reckless endangerment, in the opinion of the stewards, will result in the assessment of penalty(ies) pursuant to Chapter 10 of this Rule Book. Decisions by the stewards and penalties assessed for unsafe acts are not subject to protest or appeal.” Said Kneifel, “We did not want to simply issue probations without accompanying them with a strong signal that actions like this will not be tolerated. Championship points are very hard-earned, and they’re more valuable than money. We want our response to send out the very strong message that this isn’t a slap on the wrist, or a token punishment.” As a result of the penalty, Tracy will enter this weekend’s Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota at Michigan International Speedway with 46 championship points and will remain 10th in the FedEx Championship Series championship. Takagi will lose two of his three championship points and will fall to 27th place in the championship.
7/18/01
Is Herbert's ALMS ride a lead in to CART for 2002? Johnny Herbert makes no bones about the fact he wants to drive in CART in 2002.  Racing in the USA this year certainly can't hurt his chances as it will allow him to attend more CART races.  He makes his American Le Mans Series debut at Sears Point this weekend - but the 37-year-old former grand prix ace is already wanting more.  Herbert will co-drive an Audi with fellow former Le Mans 24 Hour race winner Andy Wallace in the 165-minute event, the third round of the ALMS, and is hoping that a good showing will lead to further outings.  "I want to contest the remainder of the series with the Champion Audi team," Herbert confirmed, "At the moment, I'm confirmed for the Sears race and at Atlanta in October."  
7/18/01

Foyt's IRL Sponsor, Harrah's, to Sponsor CART's Michigan 500  Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. has been named the title sponsor of this week’s CART FedEx Championship Series race at Michigan International Speedway, Harrah’s Entertainment and MIS announced today. The official name of the CART race on Sunday, July 22, is the Harrah’s 500 Presented by Toyota. The race is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) start on ABC-TV. 
7/17/01
Jimmy Spencer leads Brickyard testing  Jimmy Spencer reeled off a lap at 177.560 mph in the morning, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the afternoon group with a lap at 175.425 on a hot, muggy day Tuesday to draw the most attention at the end of a two-day NASCAR Winston Cup Series test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 5. Spencer's lap was the fastest of the two-day test. Two-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon was second fastest Tuesday at 176.481, also in the morning. Spencer, in a second car, was third fastest in the morning at 175.730. Earnhardt's lap came late in the day after Jeff Green had been fastest in the hot conditions at 175.281 for most of the session. "This is a big event, and it's special to come up here to Indianapolis," Spencer said. "We've run well in the past, and we brought up some different cars this time. 
1) Jimmy Spencer, No. 26K Ford, 50.687sec/177.560mph
2) Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet, 50.997sec/176.481mph
3) Dale Earnhardt, Jr. No. 8 Chevrolet, 51.304sec/175.425mph
4) Jeff Green, No. 30 Chevrolet, 51.346sec/175.281mph
5) Jason Leffler, No. 01X Ford, 51.477sec/174.835mph
6) Joe Nemechek, No. 33 Chevrolet, 51.477sec/174.835mph
7) John Andretti, No. 43 Dodge, 51.494sec/174.778mph
8) Mark Martin, No. 6 Ford, 51.517sec/174.700mph
9) Todd Bodine, No. 66 Ford, 51.587sec/174.463mph
10) Ricky Craven, No. 32 Ford, 51.603sec/174.408mph
7/17/01
New Hampshire to break Winston Cup points deadlock  NASCAR's Winston Cup Series drivers begin a tie-breaking process on Friday, July 20 as point standings leaders Jeff Gordon and Dale Jarrett begin practice and qualifying for Sunday's New England 300. Both drivers find themselves with 2,515 points after Sunday's Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland. The New Hampshire race marks the start of the second half of the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season and the competition has never been more fierce as third place Ricky Rudd's Texaco/Havoline Ford is only 18 points behind the lead duo. History reveals that Gordon, the driver of the DuPont Chevrolet, has three New Hampshire NASCAR Winston Cup Series wins while Jarrett's best finish at the one-mile oval is second. Rudd currently has one win at "The Magic Mile".
7/17/01
Robby Gordon to sub for Mike Skinner  Robby Gordon will run one or more Winston Cup races in place of Mike Skinner who broke his ankle in a crash at Chicagoland Speedway last weekend.  Skinner underwent surgery and it's not known exactly how long he will be out of action. 
7/17/01
Speedvision to cover every minute of F1 for USGP  Speedvision will have Friday practice, Saturday practice, Saturday qualifying, the Sunday-morning warm-up,  which they didn't do last year, and, of course, the USGP itself live this year. They are also going to be doing a preview show, the United States Grand Prix Preview Show, on the Thursday evening, which they will shoot when they get to Indianapolis between Wednesday and Thursday. That will air Thursday evening, to get people set for the event.  In other words, all the time the cars are on the track will be live.
7/17/01
Walker speaks out on pop-off valve controversy  CART and its engine manufacturers Ford, Honda and Toyota reached a mutually agreed solution on July 16 regarding the use of the manifold pressure relief valve extension to regulate the allowable manifold pressure at 36 inched Hg absolute at the superspeedway events (Michigan International Speedway and California Speedway) and 37” for the remaining races of the FedEx Championship Series. Following deliberate consultation with its engine manufacturers to identify the most suitable option for all parties involved, CART will require Champ Cars to use the 3/4 –inch case extension for the remainder of the season, beginning with the Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota scheduled for July 20 – 22 at MIS. (From CART press release 7/1601). “It’s good news to hear that finally we have managed to put this pop-off valve issue behind us and move on,” said owner Derrick Walker. “However it has highlighted some of the procedural issues which have in some respects have distorted our focus on what has really happened here. I also feel pleased that Toyota has received justice and that the extension will now remain on for the rest of the season, as it should. The important thing now is that we reorganize the process and the organization to give CART the ability to police the series effectively in the future.”
7/17/01

Ecclestone - some F1 tracks may lose race.  Is CART ready to pounce?  Bernie Ecclestone has once again warned European organizers not to get too complacent as they could lose their F1 race at any time to a whole host of countries wanting one (China, Egypt, Bahrain, Russia, etc.).  CART should be prepared to jump in and snatch one or two of the best ones up.
7/17/01
RJR to concentrate sponsorship on NASCAR  "To comply with the 1998 tobacco settlement, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. officials will announce today that their sole sponsorship next year will be bankrolling stock car racing's Winston Cup Series," according to CNNSI.  Meanwhile, RJR "will abandon its relationship with the NHRA Drag Racing Series," while "no decision has been made concerning RJR's future with golf's $1.6 million Vantage Championship."  Under the terms of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), signed Nov. 23, 1998, by the major U.S. tobacco companies and 46 states and a number of U.S. territories, cigarette manufacturers were allowed to continue brand-name sponsorships under contract as of Aug. 1, 1998, for three years or until the contracts expired, whichever came first. At that time, Reynolds Tobacco sponsored NASCAR, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), and the Vantage Championship, a SENIOR PGA TOUR event. To comply with the MSA, Reynolds Tobacco will relinquish its 27-year partnership with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) at the conclusion of the 2001 season. The company will announce a decision regarding the Vantage Championship, an event that has been held at Tanglewood Park near Winston-Salem, N.C., since 1987, in the near future. RJRT could continue its involvement with the SENIOR TOUR event as a corporate-name sponsorship in accordance with a MSA provision that allows non-branded sponsorships by cigarette manufacturers. 
7/17/01
Can pop-off valve still be beat?  Even though the spacer will be used under the CART engine pop-off valve, consider this - The fast moving air that creates the Bernoulli effect can be shifted to trick the valve again. It is impossible to stop this from happening unless there are infinite sensor points to measure boost or if CART gets the instruments that the manufactures have to read the pressure at all points and test each plenum after a race.
7/16/01
Insuring open wheel racing, an interesting proposition  UPDATE As can be expected, Accordia is not the only company offering insurance to race teams.  Conseco Risk Management, Inc. offers an on-track insurance program through the London Insurance Market, but not for Champ Cars that we are aware of.  Chubb has international capabilities in house under one roof and is located in Warren, New Jersey. Their website is at www.chubb.com. Another international underwriter has previously spent two years in China, is very familiar with insurance in China. Very few non-Chinese companies are licensed to transact in China, Chubb is but one of two US domiciled companied that have direct access to the Chinese market. 7/15/01 - Here are some interesting insurance facts regarding the insurance many of the CART Champ Car teams carry in case one of their cars are involved in an accident:
Average claim high-speed ovals: $225,000
Average claim short ovals: $175,000
Average claim street & Road: $100,000
About 50% of the Champ Car teams carry coverage, 30% of the Lights teams, 20% of the Atlantics teams and 25% of the IRL teams.  Each team has a deductible which influences what their insurance costs are.  Like with any insurance policy, you don't have to have one, but it certainly helps you to sleep better at nights, and it helps to budget what your costs will be for the year not worrying about any big surprises/accidents. A total car write-off can be as high as $600,000, ouch.  The average number of claims per year from a team is around three. In addition to car insurance, Other insurance that teams purchase include transporter, race shop, general liability, workman's compensation and prize indemnity insurance.  We know of at least one insurance company, Accordia Motorsports, that offer teams this sort of coverage.
7/16/01

IRL riding NASCAR coattails in Chicagoland too  The IRL played before a near full house in Kansas because all tickets were part of a Winston Cup deal, with prices set such that the IRL tickets were almost free. In the latest Bear Stearns Weekly Pitstop Report dated July 14th they report - "For its inaugural Winston Cup/Busch Grand National Weekend, the new Chicagoland Speedway, as of our most recent calls this morning (this past Saturday), was not yet completely sold out. It is important to note that the Winston Cup tickets are not being sold individually.  In other words, the track is requiring fans to purchase a package of tickets for four separate events, one of which is the Winston Cup event. This helps ensure that the track maximizes attendance at the less popular events (read that IRL), which would likely otherwise see far smaller crowds. While the Winston Cup event may not completely sell out, the overall attendance across all four events will probably make up for the shortfall."
7/16/01
Update - Americans in Europe  2nd UPDATE A note from Alex Gurney - I felt compelled to write in after seeing the 'Americans in Europe' write up on the Hot News section. While we all appreciate getting some press, saying that Edwards and I were 2 and 3 seconds off our teammates in qualifying while giving no further information is a bit unfair.   Just FYI, it was a total lottery. 15 seconds covered the field and that is not normal by any stretch!  In massively wet conditions with cars hydroplaning all over the place, we got a total of 7 laps, some got 8 laps, which were interrupted by a red flag in the middle. It was pretty much a waste of time. The water was clearing somewhat in the last two laps and those that weren't in traffic in those two laps improved in chunks of about 3 to 4 seconds. That also ended up being our one and only session for the weekend until Sunday's race which was dry. In the race, Paul finished 11th, I was 12th and Jones was 14th. Not too bad given the circumstances. Anyway, just wanted to clarify that we are not that far off our teammates. I can't speak for the others but when I have a trouble free session, I am usually about 3 to 4 tenths off my teammate and I am working harder and getting better all the time at erasing that gap. Thanks otherwise on one of my favorite websites.  [Editor's Note - we thank Alex Gurney for writing and providing information we were not aware of here in the USA].  7/15/01 - In British F3 Sato won by 11 seconds.  Edwards(11th) and Gurney (12th)!   Who said Japanese can't drive?  7/14/01 - Not a good weekend for the Americans in Europe so far - In F3000, Finally Derek Hill is about .9 seconds slower than his DAMS Teammate Sebastain Bourdais.  In British F3, Paul Edward is almost 2 seconds off his teammate Priaulx, and Alex Gurney is over 3 seconds off his Fortec partner, Gianmaria Bruni.
7/16/01
CART announces that pop-off valve spacer is back for good  CART and its engine manufacturers - Ford, Honda and Toyota - have reached a mutually agreed solution regarding the use of the manifold pressure relief valve extension to regulate the allowable manifold pressure at 36 inches Hg absolute at the superspeedway events (Michigan International Speedway and California Speedway) and 37" for the remaining races of the FedEx Championship Series. Full Press Release (PDF)
7/16/01
CART promoters can learn from Toronto  A reader writes - I don't know if you guys were in Toronto this weekend, but what an impressively run race by Molstar.  Everything went off like clockwork, there was entertainment for everyone, the facilities were clean, the workers were courteous and helpful, the setting was beautiful and the City really backs the event.  I look for Montreal to be much the same as it is also in a beautiful setting.  It's time CART only approve races in venues that can put on a proper event worthy of world class recognition.  I have been to Michigan.  Great race, but it's hard to get too excited about sitting in aluminum grandstands all weekend without not much else to do except for the race itself.  Toronto is an 'experience', and as you guys have said, a 'happening'.  I was more entertained at Toronto and felt for my money, I got more value in Toronto.  I guess it's whatever wets your whistle.  Goodbye Michigan, Montreal here I come."
7/16/01
Audio from Toronto (Real Player)

Andretti Post-Race interview (Real Player)
Post-Race Top-3 Press Conference (Real Player)
Tom Michaels Wrap-up report
Michael Andretti who spun early on before finding his way to victory lane
Michael Andretti on his day and recovering from the early spin
Alex Tagliani on his run to his career-best second-place finish in his home country
Adrian Fernandez who finished third, on his near victory after stalling
Kenny Brack on DNF at Toronto
Kenny Brack on the rough nature of the Toronto race and street racing
Max Papis on finishing eighth at Molson Indy Toronto.
Max Papis on heading to Michigan
Press Conference
- Top 3 Qualifiers (Real Player Format)

Kenny Brack on Toronto qualifying. 
Max Wilson on his accident with Nakano. 
Bruno Junqueira on his qualifying woes. 
Max Papis on Toronto qualifying.
Tom Michaels qualifying wrap-up
Gil de Ferran on beating his teammate Helio Castroneves for the pole 
Helio Castroneves on finishing second in qualifying
Kenny Brack on qualifying third 

Dario Franchitti talks about Toronto and the HP gains by Honda w/o Pop-off spacer
Michael Andretti on his Friday practice
Gil de Ferran talks about his top speed effort and pop-off valve spacer 
Alex Zanardi
talks about Toronto past and present and avoids pop-off valve issue
Dario Franchitti
talks about his team's success in Toronto
Christian Fittipaldi on his Friday practice
Gil de Ferran talks about the development of the Penske car on street circuit
Gil de Ferran on the performance of his car on Friday
Tom Michaels of the CART Radio Networks recaps Friday's practice session

Preview voiced by Tom Michaels of the CART Radio Network 
Michael Andretti trying to explain his success there 
Michael Andretti when asked if the Toronto street circuit fits his driving style 
Patrick Carpentier on the increased time constraints and pressure of racing in home country 
Alex Tagliani on what he likes about the Toronto circuit 

7/15/01
Ryan Hunter-Reay wins in Toronto  American Ryan Hunter-Reay captured his second career victory in a dramatic seventh round of the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series supporting the CART FedEx Molson Indy Toronto. Hunter-Reay in the No. 31 Barber-CART Scholarship Team Dodge Reynard passed polesitter Matt Plumb inside of turn-3 on the 21st of 27 laps raced. The pair running nose to tail had spread their wings in the early going to distance them selves from the field. As Hunter-Reay executed the pass, Plumb lost the momentum on the outside line allowing a hard charging Sepp Koster to sneak passed into second place and the three would remain in that order until the finish. 
7/15/01
It's official, Toronto breaks attendance records  UPDATE It was nice to see that the attendance at the CART race in Toronto and the NASCAR race in Joliet today were about equal, which is rare. Earlier - The announced attendance for today's CART race in Toronto was 73,628, a new race day attendance.  The 3-day attendance of 169,023 was also an event record.  Is there still any doubt about how popular CART can be outside of the USA if promoted properly.....especially on street and road circuits?
7/15/01
Blowing Honda Plenum's - Food for thought  UPDATE  We checked with an engineer from one of the engine manufacturers who said "we all inject fuel into the plenum, it's one of the ways we deliver our air/fuel mixture, but it's only part of the whole fuel injection system."  We don't know what ignites the air/fuel mixture in the plenum, it's a mystery as to the exact cause.  7/15/01 - A lot of people have speculated as to why Honda keeps having plenum's blow up.  Another occurred this weekend in Toronto on Tony Kanaan's car.  Some speculation has been that the pressure within the plenum is so high (far higher than the 37" allowed) it's blowing the plenum apart.  That of course is nonsense because 37", 40" or even 45" are all pretty low pounds per square inch.  We think it's possible Honda might be injecting some fuel into the plenum in an effort to cool the air before it enters the intake runners.  Just a guess as Honda would never admit it to us.
7/15/01
Seen in Toronto  We saw Mo Nunn hosting Lord & Lady Thompson this weekend in Toronto.  Doing a little checking we found Lord Thompson is the 9th richest man in the world, worth a reported $17.5 Billion.  Some have speculated that perhaps Mo is trying to woo him into a sponsorship program.
7/15/01
No Montreal circuit changes for CART?  We hear from Dennis Morgan of the Toronto Star that Roger Peart of ASN Canada, the Canadian arm of the FIA, told him that no current changes are planned for the F1 circuit in Montreal to accommodate the Champ cars.  They are, however, going to make changes to the circuit anyway before next years F1 race.  They are going to shorten up the hairpin area to provide more runoff area for both races.  On another note, there is talk of installing floating docks behind the garage area for the CART transporters and other CART support equipment.
7/15/01
Townsend Bell wins another Indy Lights race  Townsend Bell has won the Toronto Indy Lights race over Mario Dominguez and Damian Faulkner.  Dominguez just held off Faulkner at the end.  Bell is one impressive driver, dominating Indy Lights.  Champ Car teams had better look at this young man long and hard.  In other Bell news - Bell is leveraging a past relationship to benefit his future goals. Bell has entered into a marketing alliance with the Barber Dodge Pro Series that will see him take on a spokesman's role on behalf of the series that launched his career into the Lights Series. Bell will run a Barber Dodge Pro Series decal on his DirecPC Dorricott Racing machine for the balance of the lights season as well as make a public relations appearances on the Pro Series' behalf. In exchange Bell will use Skip Barber Racing and Driving programs to enhance his current marketing partnerships as well as to secure future partners. "I have learned and benefited extensively from my relationship with Skip Barber over the last several years as both a student and a driver. I look forward to working with them in this new capacity. Thanks Skip," said Bell, 26.
7/15/01
Green to RCR  NASCAR Busch Series champion Jeff Green will drive a third car for Richard Childress Racing next year on the Winston Cup circuit. Green already has driven a third car for Childress in two races this season. In 2002, the driver from Owensboro, Ky., will joining Mike Skinner and rookie Kevin Harvick full time on NASCAR's top circuit. "Jeff is a driver who knows exactly what it takes to win races and championships," Childress said Saturday.
7/15/01
Andretti to own CART team  In this Toronto Sun article, once again Michael Andretti states his goal is to own his own Champ Car team when he retires.  We assume his father Mario would also be involved.  Michael and Mario have both told us the same thing in previous interviews.  Will they do it when Marco is ready to drive?
7/14/01
Kudos to AutoRacing1  Mike from Las Vegas writes - I just wanted to write that you folks at AutoRacing1 have by far the best website, especially for CART inside news and information.  The best compliment I can give you is the fact that another website, 7t***** , copies much of your news and rumors about 2 or more days later.  Then in their forums people post stuff from AutoRacing1 but they are not allowed to say AutoRacing1 or their post gets deleted, unless it is something bad.  It's pretty funny and pretty pathetic really.  Keep up the good work, everyone knows what site is really best. [Editor's Note: Thanks for the feedback.  At over 1 million hits per day, we have noticed the increase in volume in the last 6 months and have had to upgrade our servers.  We thank all of our readers for their support].
7/14/01
CART's future engine direction  There is a lot of talk about what CART's new engines will be.  Here are links to two good articles from On Track on the subject.
CART Engine Roundtable Part 1 - Ford/Cosworth | Powering Uncertainty
7/14/01
Atlantics - Rutledge leads all the way  Make it two for two for the home country drivers in Canada. Vancouver’s David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift) won from the pole in his home country for the second time this season and in the process, took over the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship points standings. Rutledge also won in Montreal earlier this season. After winning this third $1,000 “Toyota Pole Award” of the season (fourth of his career) on Saturday, Rutledge led every turn of the 35-lap event in Toronto to take a four point lead over Brazil’s Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift), who finished 3.697 seconds behind Rutledge in second place. Rutledge now leads with a total of 94 points with Orsi close behind with 90 points.
7/14/01
CART Chicago Correction  In an earlier News Tidbit we broached the subject of a CART race in conjunction with The Taste of Chicago festival.  Good news, we were wrong when we stated 225,000 show up for that event.  A reader writes to say - The Taste of Chicago drew 3 million people this year. Not 225,000 as your article stated. (source NBC TV5 Chicago).  We stand corrected.
7/14/01
Curry won't be allowed to run his IRL team from prison  Curt Cavin reports in this Star News article that IRL team owner Larry Curry, imprisoned for committing mail fraud against Team Menard, will not be allowed to coordinate his race team's activities while he is confined, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, D.C., said this week. The clarification was in response to a story that appeared in The Star last week quoting Curry's driver, Jon Herb. Herb said Curry could communicate car setup information from the Federal Correctional Institution in Jesup, Ga., where Curry is scheduled to be held for the next three years. Not so, the spokeswoman said. Inmates are not allowed to bring computers to prison. They also cannot run a business while confined. 
7/14/01
Just another coincidence, or was The Call on again?  A reader writes - "Did NASCAR place The Call again this weekend?  All of a sudden the Kmart sponsored cars of the Carl Haas team come out of nowhere to win a Winston Cup pole.  It's no coincidence that Kmart headquarters isn't too far away [actually Troy Michigan] and they have a big Chicago presence.  It's also no coincidence that Carl Haas himself lives in a Chicago suburb.  I have watched quietly as NASCAR has done this for years.  It's just a wee bit too good to be true."
7/14/01
Lights - Bell bags another pole  Dayton Indy Lights Championship points leader Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) set another track record Saturday to win a series-leading third Dayton Indy Lights Championship pole in final qualifying at the Molson Indy Toronto. Bell held the overnight pole with a Friday lap of 98.220 mph (64.325 seconds) and improved to 98.408 mph (64.202 seconds) Saturday to take his third pole in the last four races and his fifth-straight front-row start. Bell's Friday lap broke the previous track record of 98.049 mph (64.437 seconds) that was set by Geoff Boss who, ironically, returned to the series for his first race of the season this weekend as a teammate to Bell. "I was looking for and really thinking I'd get one more clear lap after my fastest," Bell said. "I thought it might take a '.53' to win the pole. The track is very bumpy in a couple of spots and that makes it challenging when you're looking to knock off a hundredth of a second or two. This is the most bumpy circuit I've ever driven. It gets your attention and keeps you honest. Any time you're racing a track with sections that are really difficult, unpleasant to deal with, or there is a high risk factor involved, I think good drivers like it because it's a portion of a track where the better drivers can distinguish themselves."
7/14/01
Ovals would die for this - another record crowd for a CART street race  Saturday's announced attendance in Toronto was another record 51,579.  That added to Friday's  record 43,816, gives a total so far this weekend of over 95,000 and race day is yet to come.  How many CART or IRL oval track races get that sort of crowd for an entire weekend let alone just Friday & Saturday? Toronto has already surpassed last weekends successful 80,000 attendance in Kansas for the IRL race, which was a 2 for 1 ticket deal with Winston Cup.  How competitive is the field?  One second covers 1st through 26th.
7/14/01
Matt Plumb wins pole in Toronto  
Pos/Car/Driver/Hometown/Time 
1/4/Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa./01:11.908 
2/3/Sepp Koster/The Netherlands/01:12.105 
3/31/Ryan Hunter-Reay/Boca Raton, Fla./01:12.315 
4/94/Marc Breuers/Philadelphia, Penn./01:12.524 
5/9/Alexandre Sperafico/Toledo Parana, Brazil/01:12.588 
6/8/Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif./01:12.590 
7/24/Nicolas Rondet/Melle, France/01:12.696 
8/18/Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I./01:12.790 
9/26/Rhonda Trammell/Pittsboro, Ind./01:12.842 
10/27/Akihira Okamoto/Osaka, Japan/01:12.995 
7/14/01
F1 speeds out of control  As we have written on numerous occasions, the tire war in F1 has made the speed increases over last year absolutely phenomenal.  That was no more evident than during today's qualifying for the British GP at Silverstone where Michael Schumacher took pole, some 5 seconds per lap faster than last year! 
7/14/01
Mo Nunn Racing engages IMG  Mo Nunn Racing announced today the engagement of IMG Motorsports as the two-car race team's exclusive sponsorship and marketing agency. Mo Nunn Racing, which campaigns 1998 Rookie-of-the-Year driver Tony Kanaan and two-time series champ Alex Zanardi in the CART FedEx Championship Series, is in its second year of operation. The team's manager and principal owner, Morris Nunn, formed the relationship with IMG Motorsports to enhance the team's current marketing partnerships and to secure new corporate sponsorship revenue. "As everyone in this business knows, sponsorship is key to the operation of any race team and I think we have done quite well so far," said Nunn. "Our current partners - Honda, Hollywood, Pioneer Electronics and WorldCom - provide us with a terrific foundation. However, with IMG's assistance, I am confident that our team can stay ahead of the sponsorship curve for many years to come." "We have known Morris Nunn for quite some time and have great respect for his accomplishments," said Denny Young, IMG Motorsports Senior Vice President and General Manager. "IMG's ongoing work with the team's current sponsors will make our arrival a very easy transition. We look forward to supporting their programs and are eager to design new marketing platforms with the express purpose of generating additional revenue."   Full Story (PDF)
7/14/01
Update - Americans in Europe  Not a good weekend for the Americans in Europe so far - In F3000, Finally Derek Hill is about .9 seconds slower than his DAMS Teammate Sebastain Bourdais.  In British F3, Paul Edward is almost 2 seconds off his teammate Priaulx, and Alex Gurney is over 3 seconds off his Fortec partner, Gianmaria Bruni.
7/14/01
P0002714.JPGReynard teams copy some Lola aero stuff  As can be seen in the photo to the right, Michael Andretti's Reynard has some new aero pieces that look very much like what we see on the Lola cars.
7/14/01
Brian Stewart rips Bobby Rahal In this Dan Proudfoot article, former Lights Team owner Brian Stewart says Bobby Rahal is to blame for the demise of te Indy Lights series.  "You know Rahal tried to do Lights (as a team owner) and didn't have very good success, so during his time as president he sat down with Vicki O'Connor (Atlantic CEO) and they cooked up a deal where they would have only one series," Stewart said yesterday. "So the bottom line is, Rahal killed Lights, knowing he was moving on to Jaguar in Formula One anyway, because his team had such poor success in Indy Lights." Stewart responded angrily to a newspaper report that CART was ridding itself of Lights as a redundant series. "The so-called redundant series is the one that has put all the drivers into the CART cars," he said, pointing to the fact that Lights has produced more drivers (including Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Oriol Servia, Adrian Fernandez and Tracy, Herta and da Matta) than Atlantic (Patrick Carpentier, Alex Tagliani, Memo Gidley, Michael Andretti and Jimmy Vasser).
7/13/01
Atlantics: Orsi tops charts in Toronto For the fifth time this season, an existing track qualifyng record as fallen in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift) put himself on the provisional pole today along with breaking Andrew Bordin's one year old track record. The Nazareth track record was not broken after qualifying was washed out and the field was set based on practice times. Rutledge swapped the top spot on the time sheets in the final third of the session with Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift). Orsi finished second in the session with a time of 1:06.633 seconds (94.818 mph), followed by Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/BG Products) with a time of 1:06.849 seconds (94.512 mph). Orsi and Hand were also under the pre-existing track record. "Man, what a great car," said a stoked David Rutledge. The Vancouver driver stands two points behind Orsi in the Championship. "The track was better than this morning and we made a few adjustments during the session that really brought the car to top form. There's more left in it, and if the weather holds, we'll be going quicker tomorrow. Setting the car up to handle under trail braking into the turns seems to be the key, and we'll explore that more tomorrow."
7/13/01
Lights: Townsend Bell stays hot in Toronto Dayton Indy Lights Championship points leader Townsend Bell moved halfway to his third series pole in the last four races Friday in first round qualifying at the Molson Indy Toronto. Bell set a new track record of 98.220 mph (64.325 seconds), breaking the 1999 record of 98.049 mph (64.437 seconds) set by Geoff Boss who, ironically, returned to the series for his first race of the season this weekend in Canada. "This is my first time in Toronto," Bell said. "I was here once before for a day but this is the first time I've raced here. My first lap was Thursday on a scooter when I checked the track out. We're running Geoff Boss in place of Jon Fogarty and Geoff was pretty helpful yesterday in pointing out the track subtleties. It is a bit bumpier than some of the other street circuits we go to. All in all, it was a good qualifying session. We had a problem this morning with a fuel pick-up hose falling off inside the fuel cell. I ran my morning laps with a big loss of power. I need some time to learn the track but things have worked out well so far." Bell was followed by his teammate Damien Faulkner who clocked in at and average speed of 96.900 mph (65.201 seconds). Faulkner trails Bell in the championship by 11 points. PacWest driver Dan Wheldon was third fastest Friday at an average speed of 155.265 mph (96.480 seconds). Luis Diaz and Kansas winner Kristian Kolby rounded out the top five.
7/13/01
Audio from Toronto 

Dario Franchitti talks about Toronto and the HP gains by Honda w/o Pop-off spacer
Michael Andretti on his Friday practice
Gil de Ferran talks about his top speed effort and pop-off valve spacer
Alex Zanardi
talks about Toronto past and present and avoids pop-off valve issue
Dario Franchitti
talks about his team's success in Toronto
Christian Fittipaldi on his Friday practice
Gil de Ferran talks about the development of the Penske car on street circuit
Gil de Ferran on the performance of his car on Friday
Tom Michaels of the CART Radio Networks recaps Friday's practice session

Preview voiced by Tom Michaels of the CART Radio Network 
Michael Andretti trying to explain his success there 
Michael Andretti when asked if the Toronto street circuit fits his driving style 
Patrick Carpentier on the increased time constraints and pressure of racing in home country 
Alex Tagliani on what he likes about the Toronto circuit 

7/13/01
CART in China - food for thought  UPDATE Another reader writes - But Zhuhai is only 50 miles from Hong Kong, and can draw from Hong Hong, Taiwan, Japan, Macao and Australia. The weather is very Temperate in Zhuhai.   Beijing in summer is very hot, humid and smoggy.  Beijing in the summer is not a good idea!  7/13/01 - A reader writes -  If CART could secure a long term contract with a track in Beijing (instead of Zhuhai) - they could conceivably tie the CART race in with 2008 Olympics. They could tap the huge influx of people (and corporate sponsors) coming to Beijing for the Olympics. We are not sure if the locations match up - but theoretically, many tourists would be traveling to the country already. It would be a great thing for the sponsors and might be the highest profile race of that season.  Granted, that is 7 years away, but it'd be nice to know it's coming. 
7/13/01
Another record crowd for a CART street race  Today's announced attendance for Friday in Toronto was 43,816, another new record.  Before the weekend is out, over 160,000 are expected.  43,816!  Some ovals are lucky to get that on race day.
7/13/01
Zakspeed no more  The Zakspeed part of the Zakspeed/Forsythe team is no more.  The team is now called Forsythe Championship Racing.  Zakspeed was never able to come up with any sponsor for a German driver.
7/13/01
More on Heitzler's CART stock buy  We reported previously that Joe Heitzler showed his confidence in where CART was going by purchasing a fair amount of CART stock.  Here are the details - he bought $612,681worth - 40,375 shares at $15.17 per share
7/13/01
Drivers want more tires  In the press conference today the drivers were saying that they wish they had more than 7 sets of tires for the weekend.  They end up sitting around on Friday so they can conserve tires for the rest of the weekend.  CART made the rule to cut costs (less tires, less miles on the engines) and to help out the less wealthy teams who can't afford to always run unlimited laps.
7/13/01

NASCAR tries to bully ALMS and CART out of Miami streets  3rd UPDATE We understand from people connected with Ralph Sanchez in Miami that ISC has hired a PR firm and is distributing pamphlets against a CART or ALMS race in downtown Miami.  This we hear, has infuriated Don Panoz and he will likely start his own campaign.  There is no love lost between Panoz and ISC, after the ISC started the Grand Am series in an effort to kill the ALMS. Perhaps this will get very ugly before it's over, with Panoz starting an anti-Homestead campaign to have a negative impact on their races as well. Don Panoz has a lot of money, don't expect him to roll over easily.  We expect CART to stay somewhat in the background as they still have business ties with ISC. ISC can throw their weight around north of Ft. Lauderdale, but it remains to see who is more powerful in Miami.  7/11/01 - According to this article, which only mentions an ALMS race and not a CART race, City of Miami commissioners yesterday "slowed their run toward hosting" an American Le Mans Series race downtown, "cautious in the face of uncertainty over the financial implications," according to Sara Olkon of the Miami Herald. The commission voted to defer until July 16 a decision on a race. Raceworks LLC, which is attempting to bring the race to Miami, agreed to pay the city 1 percent of its gross revenues for the first two years of the race, with the percentage increasing to 3 percent in the fifth year and thereafter.  City Manager Carlos Gimenez said that the deal was expected to bring in $2 million to the city over 10 years. In turn, Gimenez said that the city "would provide about $850,000 in initial street improvements and $320,000 annually for fire, police and solid waste expenses, among other provisions."  Under that estimate, the city "would lose a total of more than" $2 million over the 10 years. The race is scheduled to run April 5-7 next year.  Sarah Talalay writes in the Sun-Sentinel that Miami commissioners instructed Gimenez "to negotiate an agreement that will bring" the race to downtown Miami "and will also ensure the city benefits financially." Raceworks Principal and Course Designer Willy Bermello estimated the race could attract 70,000 spectators [Editor's Note - a CART race would likely draw over 100,000 given they drew 90,000 the one year they were downtown in 1995] and bring about $20 million into the local economy.  Since there is no mention of CART, we are beginning to think maybe CART is really negotiating with Miami 'Beach' rather than the City of Miami.  7/10/01 - We have added an image of the proposed Miami street course that CART and ALMS would use to the right. We can also tell you that Don Panoz and Joe Heitzler are testifying today in favor of the track.  Stay tuned...Chopin Plaza is where the Hotel Intercontinental is located. Very nice, large, upscale, high rise hotel. At the top, between the track and the marina is the Bayside open air market place. Good restaurants, great for hospitality events. The area in between along the water is a smooth concourse paved with concrete.  Remember, you read it at AutoRacing1.com first!  Earlier -Are you surprised?  Now that NASCAR has found out that ALMS and/or CART may race in the streets of Miami (see rumors page), ISC is putting a full court press to stop it, to protect their Miami Homestead oval.  The Miami ABC affiliate had a story last night showing the Homestead Speedway Owned by ISC, read that NASCAR) general manager making the rounds at Miami City Hall, lobbying commissioners against the race.  See this related article and this related article. Even NASCAR realizes how big a downtown street race in Miami will be. NASCAR is quickly becoming a monopoly.   The FIA banned CART from racing on road courses outside of North America.  They exhibited all the same monopolistic characteristics that we see with NASCAR.  The European Union eventually stepped in, charged the FIA with being a monopoly and the FIA has now backed down and CART can race anywhere.  If the EU stepped in against the FIA, we wonder if the US government will step in and break up NASCAR or put a stop to their monopolistic ways.  We would not be surprised if one or more of the wealthy CART or ALMS team owners are not already on the phone to their Congressmen.
7/13/01
P0002718.JPGRoger Bailey - we were misinformed?  2nd UPDATE We spoke to Roger Bailey and got it from the horse's mouth.  He is still with CART but they are negotiating a buyout and Roger says it's time to move on.  Other sources say the buyout will have a non-compete clause so don't look for Bailey to be working for the IRL.  Earlier - Roger Bailey, who was recently bought out from his role as CART’s Indy Lights director, will not join the IRL in a similar effort.  6/29/01 - 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'.
7/13/01
NTN steps up sponsorship role with PacWest  NTN Bearings has once again expanded its partnership with PacWest Racing Group to take on a more visible role for round 10 of the CART FedEx Championship Series in Toronto, Ontario Canada. For the Molson Indy Toronto, NTN has agreed to be the primary sponsor for Scott Dixon's #18 Toyota powered Reynard. NTN will be represented through primary car signage on the sidepods of what will be referred to this weekend as the #18 NTN PacWest Toyota. They will continue to remain on the #17 Nextel PacWest Toyota, driven by Mauricio Gugelmin, as an associate sponsor. "We're thrilled to be part of the show this weekend at the Molson Indy," said Rick Thomas, President, NTN Bearing of Canada. "We know Scott is a heck of a driver and we are confident he will do very well here. We had hoped to work further with Scott this year, and we made it possible with this agreement." NTN provides technical assistance on bearing packages to PacWest, with a strong focus on applications and research and development to help PacWest capture the FedEx Championship. "NTN produces cutting edge bearing technology, and we are excited about expanding our partnership with them," said Bruce R. McCaw, President of PacWest. "Toronto is a very important market for CART, and even more important for NTN. We're really looking forward to putting on a good show this weekend for all of the NTN customers in attendance." 
7/13/01
Is Redback headed for more battles in the courtroom than on the track? UPDATE This link will give you more info on the lawsuit. 7/4/01 -  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
7/13/01
McLaren's lead opening practice in England  
1) Mika Hakkinen, No. 3 McLaren/Mercedes/Bridgestone, 1:22.827/138.844mph
2) David Coulthard, No. 4 McLaren/Mercedes/Bridgestone, 1:22.894
3) Rubens Barrichello, No. 2 Ferrari/Bridgestone, 1:23.578
4) Michael Schumacher, No. 1 Ferrari/Bridgestone, 1:23.619*
5) Heinz-Harald Frentzen, No. 11 Jordan/Honda/Bridgestone, 1:23.877
6) Nick Heidfeld, No. 16 Sauber/Petronas/Bridgestone, 1:24.096
7) Pedro de la Rosa, No. 19 Jaguar/Cosworth/Michelin, 1:24.116
8) Ralf Schumacher, No. 5 Williams/BMW/Michelin, 1:24.222
9) Jarno Trulli, No. 12 Jordan/Honda/Bridgestone, 1:24.343
10) Kimi Raikkonen, No. 17 Sauber/Petronas/Bridgestone, 1:24.387
7/13/01
Reif and Barnhardt disagree on IRL support series  According to a report in AutoWeek, Bob Reif, the IRL’s executive VP, said he is beginning to think Tony George should not debut the IRL’s planned support series in the summer of 2002, as hoped. Team sponsorship is the concern, he said. Seven of the 22 cars that started last week’s Dayton Indy Lights race in Kansas do not have major sponsors. “You start looking at $750,000 [for projected annual team budgets] multiplied by 20 teams and you’re talking $15 million,” Reif said. “In this economy, where is that kind of money going to come from? I think the series is a 2003 proposition, at the earliest.”  Brian Barnhart, who as the IRL’s vice president of operations is responsible for developing the support series, said he remains on track for next year. “I agree with Bob’s concern but not his assessment,” he said. “I’d say it’s 50-50 for next year.” 
7/13/01
Sigma Motorsports signs new sponsor UPDATE The SIGMA car is a show car in our photo gallery, there was no MOTOR in it and it was parked outside the LOLA transporter.  The SIGMA car that went through TECH Inspection was painted in the teams usual livery with the sponsor "JACK VICTOR"  on the side . They also signed VIA RAIL CANADA and it was on the winglets of the sigma car. 7/12/01 You will see a new blue and white car in the CART paddock this weekend in Toronto.  It is the Sigma Motorsports car with their new sponsor, Jack Victor, a Men's fashion company.  See our Robert Barkin photo.
7/13/01
John Hammer interviews Memo Gidley  John Hammer caught up with Memo Gidley in Grand Rapids recently and filed this audio interview (MP3 format) for us. CART would do well to talk to John Hammer about doing work for them in an official capacity.  He is that good if you take the time to listen.  The file is not our usual Real Audio streaming format, but a 1.4 MB MP3 file that you must download and then play with your Windows Media player or Real Media Player.
7/12/01
Laguna Seca shows the way USA road courses are about 25 years behind the standards set in Europe and elsewhere in the world.  For the most part, upgrades to USA road courses pale in comparison to world class F1 road courses.  Finally, Laguna Seca is stepping up to the plate and installing luxurious F1 style garages along pit road topped with suites to entertain corporate guests and with places for corporate advertising.  Tracks like Road America, Portland, Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta, as nice as they are, should take note of the standard being set by Laguna Seca.  Part of the success of F1 and NASCAR is the 'experience' and ambiance the fans and teams feel when at an event.  The garages and suites being built at Laguna Seca hopefully sets the stage for upgrades at other circuits as well.  Silverstone England will be spending over $50 million to upgrade their track.  Laguna Seca's upgrade is just $11 million. Our hat's off to F1, look what they made Tony George build at Indy before it could have a F1 race.  They set a standard.  Either meet it, or no race. Because CART allows fans to access the pit area the garages serve as a barrier if the butt right up against the back of pit lane.  The solution, is to set the Garages back about 20 feet like Fontana sets back their suites that line pit lane for example. M. Cipolloni
7/12/01
Chicago almost had a street race before UPDATE We have added a sketch of the track that was proposed in Chicago in 1981 to the right. Notice how it is not too different from this idea we referred to below.  7/11/01 -  In late September of 1980, Chicago Mayor Jane M. Byrne announced that on July 2-5, 1981, the $500,000 Chicago Grand Prix Festival would be held on a 2.7mile, 11 turn circuit.  It was to be with Indy-Style cars on Saturday July 4, and Can-Am cars on Sunday July 5.  Restaurateur Arnold Morton was the Chairman of the Racing Organization Committee who was the force behind the race. The race was to be held in conjunction with the annual "Taste of Chicago".  The cars were to have raced south on Lake Shore (Outer Drive ) around the Museum of Natural History to McFetridge Dr., then north along Columbus Dr. (with a loop around Congress Drive) to Jackson , then east on Jackson, and back to Lake Shore Drive. For various political reasons, the race never came about.  Various political and citizen groups objections overrode the intentions of Arnold Morton and his Racing Organization Committee.  Perhaps now, 20 years hence, it's time to take another look at what would have been a huge event with a spectacular backdrop of the Chicago Skyline. S. Levinson
7/12/01
Tony Stewart's apology  "While I still disagree with the black flag penalty our team received prior to the finish of the Pepsi 400, I accept the fine and probation that NASCAR has issued to me as a result of my post-race conduct. Specifically, my treatment of reporter Mike Mulhern and Gary Nelson of NASCAR was inappropriate, and for that I apologize. By the time the first practice session gets underway Thursday at Chicagoland Speedway, I'll have met with Mike and I'll have apologized to him face to face. I will look for the same opportunity with Gary Nelson as well. For others I may have offended following the race, I regret that also. I will continue to work with all those people who support me on handling these types of situations better in the future. We've got a race this weekend in Joliet (Ill.), and that's what we're focusing on now. As frustrating as Daytona was for our race team, we're moving on and putting the past behind us."  
7/12/01
MRN's Rick Lewis found dead  In an apparent murder suicide attempt, MRN's studio voice Rick Lewis was found dead and his wife with a bullet wound to her temple.  Richard Lewis, 52, the studio voice of MRN for more than 18 years, died Wednesday, July 11, at his home in South Daytona. Lewis, a native of Lake Wales, Fla., had been involved in radio since 1968, broadcasting football, basketball, baseball and doing track announcing. As a contract voice talent, MRN had been a client of Lewis since 1982. Listeners knew him as the voice that opened and closed every MRN broadcast.  "All of us at MRN are saddened at the loss of Richard Lewis," said David Hyatt, President of MRN. "Rick was a part of the MRN family for more than 18 years. Our listeners knew him well as the studio voice of MRN and the man who opened and closed each and every broadcast. Rick loved radio and the sport of racing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his children and family. We have lost a good friend. He will be sorely missed." 
7/12/01
Davey Hamilton - The worse moment of my life was...  On RPM2Night Davey Hamilton was interviewed by Bob Jenkins.  During that interview, he stated the worse moment of my life was when I was in the infield care center of Texas Motor Speedway, in severe pain and doing a lot of screaming, when he heard someone say, it looks like we have a double amputee situation here He said that on the TV interview, not the printed interview that follows).  Luckily the doctors were able to save his feet, but he said his right leg will now be 1.5" shorter and his left ankle is frozen.  Our prayers continue to be with you Davey. Interview
7/12/01
CART getting closer to Las Vegas move, CART City, USA  This is an update to previous rumors and news.  The Championship Auto Racing Teams series is moving closer to delivering a race to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and moving its headquarters to Las Vegas. A source close to CART, the country's oldest Indy-style racing series, said plans are continuing to relocate the series headquarters to Las Vegas from Michigan. Those plans include an elaborate miniature city that will serve as a unique road course to conduct "street races" a couple of times a year and be used as a major interactive motorsports park and tourist attraction the rest of the year.  Note the 'CART City' to be created.  Full story
7/12/01
TMS won't get 2nd Busch date either  The Dallas morning News reports Texas Motor Speedway general manager Eddie Gossage said Wednesday that NASCAR officials have turned down his request for TMS to play host to a second Busch Grand National race next season. "They've told us that we're on their short list, but this is the third year in a row that they have turned us down,'' Gossage said. "It's frustrating for us and it's frustrating for our fans, who want to see more NASCAR events.'' Gossage had asked NASCAR to give TMS a stand-alone Busch date in addition to the Busch race that takes place the day before the annual Winston Cup event. He said NASCAR executive vice-president Brian France gave him the news a few days ago that TMS would not get a second Busch date. 
7/12/01

Did you notice?  Did you notice how recent news and rumors have, step-by-step, been putting most of the pieces of the puzzle we proposed back in May for CART and the IRL to coexist peacefully. See the latest China rumor on our rumors page today.  Take a look at our proposed joint schedule in that May article and see that many of those races now look closer to reality if you believe the rumors and news reports.  We did send the article to Tony George and Joe Heitzler. Recently Tony George suggested exactly what we proposed. Others within CART are starting to see the light.....we hope, as peace is the only way for both to somehow survive and prosper.  Is somebody listening or is all this just a freak coincidence?  You decide.
7/12/01
How fast is a CART Champ Car?  Consider this  Pat Carpentier recently had a drag race against a F-18 fighter plane at a Quebec airport. "The pilot of the plane was on the afterburners, they had taken off the machine guns and most of the fuel just to do the drag race, and Carpentier beat the jet fighter all the way up to 200 and something mph."  This article by Dan Proudfoot tells more.
7/11/01
TMS reconstruction update  Maintenance on Texas Motor Speedway's racing surface is at the midway point with work progressing right on schedule, according to speedway officials. The 1.5-mile speedway surface is being re-paved with a granite-based asphalt compound that will dry much faster than the current limestone-based compound. Crews are working on a concrete base over the tunnel areas which extends into turns one and two and turns three and four. Milling is also progressing on the front and back straightaways. Once that is completed and the concrete has cured, crews will begin preparations to lay down the asphalt which is scheduled for early August. "We are right on schedule with the project," said Jim Stufflebeam, the speedway's director of development. "Work is underway on the concrete slabs in the turns. The concrete base should stabilize the ground under the surface." 
7/11/01
Laguna Seca - did you know?  Did you know that a race day crowd of 100,000 witnessed the motorcycle races at Laguna Seca last weekend, yet CART has seen a poor showing the last several years.  2000 may have been up slightly, but only by a small amount.  The race drew well when it was the season finale, but clearly, if the bikes can draw that many, something is being lost in the marketing of the CART event.
7/11/01
Just a slap on the wrist for Stewart  NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Tony Stewart for his actions and conduct following Saturday night's Pepsi 400 at the Daytona International Speedway.  Stewart, driver of the No. 20 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was fined $10,000 and his probation sentence extended from Aug. 29th to Nov. 21st. Further violation of this probation may subject Stewart to a fine and/or loss of championship points, and/or loss of finishing positions in an event and/or suspension from NASCAR.   He was penalized under Section 12-4-A in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rulebook: "...actions deemed by NASCAR Officials as detrimental to stock car racing..."  In addition to this fine and having his probation extended, Stewart will be required to issue a formal apology to a media member for his confrontational actions on Saturday night, as well as issue a formal apology to NASCAR fans.
7/11/01
DRIVEN opens in France  Update A reader from Norway writes - Hi, Just read the news item about the premiere of Driven in France with the lack of any focus on CART. The same goes here in Norway. The movie opens July 27th and reviews are already starting to pop up. There is absolutely no mention at all about CART or IndyCar. (no one knows the 'CART' name, but everyone knows that IndyCar is the American little brother to Formula 1).  One review even called the racing scene in the movie a Formula 1 race on several occasions during the review. On the Norwegian web page for the movie there is no mention of CART, but you could win a trip to a car race in Canada (probably Vancouver).  It will be really interesting to see how many will think it is about Formula 1 when the movie opens and the reviews in the big papers and television appears. How CART can miss this big opportunity for some nice promotion is beyond me... Olav [Editor's Note: And beyond us as well].  Earlier - The movie DRIVEN has opened in France.  A French fan writes - The Driven movie is just arriving (today) in France, and a lot of people are talking about it, but there is no mention for CART whatsoever! Who dropped the ball on that? Although CART is getting very popular very fast in Australia, Japan, South America, CART is still considered like a fringe sport by the French people who watch auto racing and unknown by most of the general population. The more quickly CART can market itself as a true international series, and not just an American series, the more it will get the attention of the foreigners. Arnaud
7/11/01
CART RPM Band to perform at Wayne Gretzky's in Toronto  R.P.M., the newly formed rock band featuring CART drivers Kenny Brack of Team Rahal and Patrick Carpentier of Player's Forsythe Racing, will make its debut Friday at Wayne Gretzky's Restaurant in Toronto during the Molson Indy Drivers VIP Party. Full Story
7/11/01
Both Daytona races now get higher TV ratings than the Indy 500  UPDATE A reader writes - If you check the records, you'll see that Winston Cup owns the first 9 top-rated TV races for 2001 [Editor's Note - actually CART owns the top-10 TV ratings on a worldwide basis.  NASCAR does only in the USA]. The IRL 500 comes in at No. 10. This is for USA based series.  F1 actually beats everyone....easily.  Earlier - The final TV ratings are in for last Saturday nights Winston Cup race.  The rating of 6.1 during prime time TV is very stout indeed.  Only the Daytona 500 and one time the Talladega 500, receive higher ratings. Speedvision
7/11/01
Does CART want to create a 'big' event in Chicago? 3rd UPDATE Yet another reader sends us this link with an idea for a street race in Chicago.  7/10/01 - No sooner did we write-off the CART Taste of Chicago grand event idea than we received these two proposals - From Joe V-D: Here is a proposed course (see picture to right) for a downtown Chicago Champcar race. Please note the alternate layouts available. This layout would in no way interfere with Taste of Chicago, as it is set south of the food festival and centered around 4 of Chicago’s lakefront landmarks (Soldier Field, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, & Adler Planetarium). From my knowledge, all areas of this course would have proper width with the possible exception of the Adler Planetarium alt. layout. Another reader writes - Uhmmm...if you have ever tried to get downtown during the taste of Chicago, forget it. Public transpo only, or helicopter. Point being, Lakeshore drive and a couple of other streets are already closed. Plenty of "paddock" space available. Lake shore drive is very wide and smooth, and very scenic. You could even run it around the Soldier field complex and museum campus, and then loop up LSD toward the Taste happenings so that it all combines nicely. The point is that the area is a hopeless situation of street closures and traffic nightmares anyway, so holding a race then would not really be an issue of closing roads and such for a few days. The connecting roads through the park (between LSD and Mich. Ave.) would not be of consequence, and actually have some nice curve to them. I think its a good idea, and would not be any more inconvenience than the TOC already is. But yes, Meigs field would not work at all. They do operate private jet craft out of Miegs, with reverse thruster equipment only. They have landed a larger airliner there, but had a navy pilot do it (so he could catch the 3 wire I guess!). As I understand it , he had the wheels five feet over the water just before touch down and reversed engine thrust before he even hit the runway. Basically lined it up and stalled it, and dropped it on the runway. They did it to get the plane in the museum, or something like that. Anyway, I think it would work. You would need some serious political "influence" (maybe even the kind Sam Giancana would have used!) to get it done though. Micahel Jordan could get it done I am sure. Yeah, make Mike a team owner, and then...Another reader writes: What about an airport race/air show combo in Chicago?  Check out this link.  From the home page you can see just how close to Chicago the airport truly is. Gary/Chicago is similar to Burke in many ways and should be suitable for a CART event. I know most people's reactions when they hear "Gary" are not positive, but the area is changing for the better. Gary is host to the Miss USA pageant and has several gambling boats on Lake Michigan (5 minutes from the airport). The close proximity to Chicago would allow visitors to enjoy the city as well as the attractions in Northwest Indiana.  Earlier - A reader writes, I believe this airport has only 1 runway which is predominantly used by single prop aircraft. There is no where to create race circuit on the property. Second, there is no place for a large amount of spectators to view such a race. The airport is on the other side of a boat harbor and not part of the lakefront land. Also, trying to tie in a race with the Taste of Chicago will never happen unless it was in a different location than the lakefront. The Taste is already the premiere attraction the week around the Fourth of July. And although there are many people there for the event, there is no where to have a race for the same people to watch. This suggestion is completely different than the Detroit air show / CART combo suggestion which was at a larger airport, with fans already set up to potentially view race cars as well as planes. Editors Note: I guess we can nix the airport idea in Chicago.  7/9/01 -  Taking nothing away from Chip Ganassi's oval in Cicero, but can you imagine this scenario - 250,000 turn out for the "TASTE OF CHICAGO" each year.  Imagine a combined CART race with that event which is held at Meig's Field right on the Lake Front....a perfect race setting!  Steve L.

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