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DATE News (chronologically 8/12/01 to 8/24/01)
Reader comments  UPDATE We stand corrected - CART was even more popular back then than we realized.  We are told by someone who had connections with both Phoenix and New Hampshire that CART had close to 60,000 the last year it was at Phoenix and more than 50, 000 by police estimates at New Hampshire (the track tried to short-sell its numbers because of the announced move to IRL and still announced more than 47,000).  8/24/01 -  Dear AutoRacing1,  I somewhat agree with your commentary, but also disagree. CART did loose at least 2 of the short ovals at the start of the CART / IRL split, the track owners sided with the IRL. The Phoenix race always seemed to have a healthy CART attendance (Editor's Note - about 45,000 the last year), the other short track I think was New Hampshire, attendance seemed to be much better than the IRL (Editor's Note - better yes, but still no more than 30,000), and the IRL was dropped by the track due to no attendance, not the IRL. My general opinion of the rash of mile and mile & half race tacks that have pock marked the land over the last ten years, are little dogs with a big bark. Mr. Pook may have had the correct location, but I feel he just did not think large enough. The market he entered is now diluted with mirror images (KS, KY, IL, TN,) of what he built, a big time bull ring for small time racers, with over priced seats. The one key factor that no one has mentioned is the years of poor TV coverage my ABC / ESPN, and the general promotion of the CART series in general. The commentary for years has been bad, except for when Bob Varisha and crew did the coverage. The general production/camera coverage has always been below average for the CART series. The only other opinion I would like to express about the CART series, is that I hope that they can manage to have at least 3-4 oval races a season (Editor's Notes - we agree, Fontana, Germany, England and Japan), that would be on tacks of at least 2 miles long. The series should consider giving awards / recognition for the best performance on ovals, as well as road courses at seasons end. The series would still have the standard over all winner, but at least recognize the best in the categories of the series to show how diverse it is. David R. Smith, Louisville, Kentucky

With F1 about to drop Nurburgring and Imola, should CART step in? 2nd UPDATE Bernie Ecclestone's exact quote from yesterday: "In order to integrate new races into the calendar - beginning with the Russian Grand Prix in Moscow, the first edition of which should be at the end of Spring 2003, and then a race in the Middle East - we must necessarily eliminate European dates. At least three in the short term because we hope to limit the season to 16 races. I do not want to get rid of European races for the pleasure of getting rid of them but we have to. It's not logical to have two Grand's Prix a year in Germany or in Italy. I expect to announce a decision by October." What will be the 3rd GP to be dropped? 8/23/01 -  If F1, as Bernie Ecclestone suggests, is going to take two weeks off in the European summer (this year they had one break, with two or more planned in the future years) for their teams' vacations -- wouldn't it behoove CART to have their two-race European swing(s) during those breaks? No F1 races in Europe opposite the CART races - no F1 on TV to divide interests, etc.  Nah, that makes too much sense.   8/22/01 -  Bernie Ecclestone has told the French sporting newspaper L'Equipe this week that he plans to drop 2 or 3 European F1 races in a year or two to make way for new races in Russia and the Middle East.  Those most likely to go are the countries with more than one race.  Those track owners are not going to be happy because all have successful events going and have invested a lot of money in their facilities.  How can Bernie appease them?  That's where CART comes in. CART would be wise to approach Bernie with a proposal - CART will guarantee to never steal a race from F1, if Bernie recommends CART fill the void left behind by F1 in Italy, Germany, or France (Paul Ricard).  In fact, take it one step further, let Bernie be the promoter of those races so he stands to make a financial return, and perhaps even offer him some CART stock.  CART would be wise to make an ally with perhaps the most powerful man in all of motorsports.  Remember how critical Bernie used to be of CART?  Recently he has toned down his attacks.  Business makes strange bedfellows.  In this article we had recommended CART do a 4-race swing in Europe to increase the awareness of CART, and attract manufacturers like Audi and Maserati.  Perhaps now is the time to further the globalization of CART.  Imola, Paul Ricard, Nurburgring - all state-of-the-art road courses.  They don't get much better than that. Mark C.
ABC, not Speedvision, to televise USGP  Did Tony George help out his buddy Bernie Ecclestone?  The USGP will be televised LIVE by ABC in 2001. Speedvision will carry all other on track sessions LIVE, but will defer to ABC for the race coverage. SV will carry the race a week later, with enhancements from F1 Digital TV. 
Speedvision Broadcast Schedule All times Eastern 
Practice Fri, Sep 28 12 noon – 4pm, second session replayed at 10pm and 2am 
Practice Sat, Sep 29 10am 
Qualifying Sat, Sep 29 1:30pm 
Sunday Warmup, Sep 30 9:30am 
Race Sun, Oct 7, 8pm ET, 9pm PT - Specially enhanced delayed telecast. 

Interesting IRL/CART article You may be interested in reading this article on the IRL and CART in today's St. Louis-Post-Dispatch.  It talks about CART being the premier road racing series and the IRL the oval track series, as we have promoted for a long time.  What one has to ask - can open wheel racing survive on the ovals without a 2 for 1 ticket deal with Winston Cup?  Low attendance is expected for the Gateway IRL race (we are told), which is typical for all IRL races that don't have a 2 for 1 NASCAR deal, i.e. are standalone so-to-speak. This isn't really noteworthy as we're sure most don't expect much of a turn-out in St. Louis, but the thing we find most interesting is that Chris Pook (everyone's end-all, be-all promoter) works for the company that owns Gateway (Dover Downs) and this is in a major metropolitan area, yet it still will not support open-wheel racing on ovals. You have a great promoter, a good facility, a major metropolitan area in which to draw fans/customers, yet attendance stinks both for CART and now the IRL.  Is the IRL gaining momentum on ovals?  If this race is an attendance failure, will Gateway drop it? How come St. Louis will not support (open-wheel) auto racing?  Our take - Beating a dead horse, where's my fork?
HANS Device saved Gidley's life 2nd UPDATE It turns out we were misinformed, and our original assumption was correct, the HANS Device is still voluntary on the road courses, CART was going to mandate by Mid-Ohio but still has not.  Our guess is that it will happen soon. 8/21/01 - Several readers reminded us that CART made the HANS Device mandatory after the Mid-Ohio race on all circuits. We call upon all racing series to do the same. F1, NASCAR, IRL - are you listening? There are no longer any excuses.  It's time to take the blinders off and do what's right, mandate the HANS Device to save lives.   8/20/01 We are being told that Memo Gidley wears the HANS Device even on road course (as does Jeff Gordon).  We also hear it probably saved his life yesterday at Road America.   It's time to mandate it on all tracks.
TNT and CNN/Sports Illustrated Re-Introduce No Brakes Coverage TNT and CNN/Sports Illustrated will televise the Sharpie 500 Pole Qualifying with no regular commercial breaks when CNN/Sports Illustrated brings back No Brakes Coverage this Friday, August 24, at 3 p.m. (ET). The announcement was made today by Turner Sports President Mark Lazarus and CNN/Sports Illustrated Executive Vice-President Steve Robinson. In order to provide continuous race coverage, commercials will only run before and after qualifying so that racing fans will see every car qualify live for Saturday night's Sharpie 500, never missing a lap. A similar format was used by TBS Superstation last year in its coverage of NASCAR and met with overwhelming support from both fans and the press. 
Another CART road race, another huge crowd  Vancouver General Manager Stu Ballantyne told TSN today that ticket sales for this year's race are already ahead of last year when over 155,000 people attended the Vancouver event. "We've been in the press a little more this year because of the situation, whether the race was going to stay or not," he said. "As a result, it's been good news at the box office." The Vancouver Indy's largest crowd was in 1995 when over 169,000 turned out to watch local hero Greg Moore clinch the Indy Lights championship and Canadian Jacques Villeneuve battle for the overall CART title. 
Race Team to assist in locating missing children  Something a bit different will happen this weekend at the popular Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington. Ohio. The #10 Valvoline/800THELOST/Don Sak Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro competing in the Trans-Am Series Race for the BF Goodrich Tires Cup-America's oldest road racing series-will be looking to win more than just the race this weekend. Due to a unique partnership between sponsor Valvoline, Driver/Car Owner Don Sak and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the team will use the hood of their racecar to display the photo of Columbus, OH native Kenneth Savage, missing since 8/4/99. Kenneth, now just a two-year old, is thought to be 1'-6" tall at 28 pounds. He is of African-American dissent with black hair and brown eyes. The possibility exists that he is bald and has been taken to Fayetteville, North Carolina by his non-custodial mother when Kenneth was just five months old. The Valvoline/Don Sak Motorsports Team decided to give up this, the most prime sponsorship positioning on the racecar, in order to assist various law enforcement officials and child abduction search/return organizations. Additionally, Sak had recently become a Grandfather and felt himself experiencing a definite change in his feelings about life's priorities. "I just can't imagine what these families have had to go through in these times," Don Sak commented from his suburban Detroit headquarters as his crew worked to ready the car; including adding the large decal showing Kenneth's face. "If we can help just one child to be returned home, then all of the effort is worth it." Sak and his crew had no idea that their goal would be met so quickly with the recent announcement that a 7-yr. Old Michigan girl, featured on the car during the Detroit Grand Prix in early-July, had been located and returned home to her custodial father. Authorities have publicly credited the team with the return of Tori Wollangur after she fell victim to her non-custodial mother's failure to return her following a regular visitation period, taking Tori to Mexico. "Because of the selfless efforts of these great people, a little girl and her rightful family are reunited once again," commented Cheboygan County (MI) Sheriff Detective Tim Cook. "Our department, the family and countless others credit Don Sak Motorsports with assisting us so much in such a short amount of time. Theirs is a wonderful program and we're thankful we had the chance to work with them." This Trans-Am Series event, part of the American LeMans Series weekend at The Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, will take the green flag this Saturday, August 25 at 4:00 PM (EST). The race is round 9 of 11 in the 2001 Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Cup. For more information on the series, visit
New picture of the week  We have added another Picture of the Week to our Home Page.  This one came in late, but as they say, sometimes it's better late then never.  This one was taken by Loran Hygema/KOZDPI  while Memo Gidley was upside down.  Notice how the tub of the car broke.
Trulli signs with Benetton  If you can't win with one driver, why not swap places with another driver who hasn't won much and prove you can't win with the new one either.  First we had Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jean Alesi swapped seats. Now it's Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella. One day after Jordan announced that Fisichella had signed a three-year contract with them from the start of 2002, a Benetton announced that Trulli would replace Fisichella.
CART website traffic peaks during Road America weekend  Championship Auto Racing Teams announced today that the official web site of the FedEx Championship Series – – established a two-day record for visits to the site over its Road America race weekend. Over this past Sunday, received 81,121 visits and saw another 70,125 visits on Monday, for a total of 151,246 visitors over the two days. The spike in traffic can, in part, be attributed to the fact that CART's U.S. television broadcast partner, ESPN, was forced to conclude its CART coverage due to other programming commitments after weather-related delays in Road America’s Motorola 220 event. As a result, many fans turned to for its live Timing & Scoring coverage, as well as its live streaming of the CART Radio Network race broadcast. "We knew we were going to get a flood of visitors when ESPN switched programs, and we had several of our employees on standby to monitor the situation," said Coniah Chuang, president of VFX Digital Solutions, Inc., CART's Internet partner. "We doubled, then tripled our traffic in the first 15 minutes. We ended up with four times more traffic at one time, and while the front page load time slowed slightly, the servers and the live timing and scoring were able to keep up. We learned a few things that will allow us to enhance the system so we can do even better if we have a situation like this in the future."
Alex Barron lands ride with Sam Schmidt   It is with a great deal of confidence that Sam Schmidt announced today that Alex Barron would assume the duties of the #99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special. Barron, who has demonstrated the ability to perform well with limited resources in CART, has been on Schmidt’s shortlist for a long time. “I spoke with Alex back in May at Indy. We have raced against each other in Formula 2000 and I have kept up with him ever since, ” stated Schmidt. “He has had some great runs in CART with several teams despite not always having the best equipment underneath him. I believe that Alex is strong on oval tracks and having run at St. Louis already, I am frankly just looking forward to having a great weekend at the race track.”  Barron spent the 2000 season running with Dale Coyne Racing. He has led a total of 22 laps with a best finish of 8th at Fontana. Other prior CART experience includes; Penske and Dan Gurney’s All-American Racers. He was the Series Champion in Toyota Atlantics in 1997 as well as Rookie of the Year. A native of San Diego, California, Barron seems pleased with the opportunity at hand.  “It’s always exciting when you know you have an opportunity in a competitive car. Sam Schmidt Motorsports has certainly demonstrated their ability this season. I know that Sam is anxious to continue making progress through the year-end and I believe we have the tools to do just that. The car will have a great baseline set up on it and all though there are lots of variables at St. Louis and it’s a new field of competitors for me, I think that my experience in running at Gateway will be an asset,” stated Barron.  The will be Barron’s first appearance in the Indy Racing League and the Indy Racing League’s first appearance at Gateway International Raceway.
Bells impressive in 2nd Champ Car run  Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series leader Townsend Bell ran his second successful test for Patrick Racing today at Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, Illinois. Bell, who was testing a Champ Car on an oval for the first time, ran a total of 240 miles at CMS. He had the fastest lap of the two drivers testing today (Newman/Hass Racing's Cristiano da Matta also tested) running a quick time of 24.28 seconds. "Townsend did a great job," said Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee. "We ran on full tanks and tried several different things. He had a good feel for the car and was very consistent. We have been very pleased with both his tests. He has done an excellent job," McGee noted. Bell, who previously tested for Patrick Racing on the road course at Mid-Ohio on Monday, August, August 13, said, "Just as in Mid-Ohio, Patrick Racing gave me a car that had a good setup. We fine-tuned the car for the weather and track conditions and then experimented with some different things. Overall, I think it was a good test considering it was my first time on an oval in a Champ Car. I learned a lot."
Atlantics: DSTP re-signs Hand  Dede Rogers, owner of DSTP Motorsports, today announced that the team has re-signed driver Joey Hand to contest the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship series. Hand, 22, currently is the leading rookie and maintains fourth overall in this year's championship by virtue of three podium finishes and one fastest race lap in the #27 DSTP Motorsports - BG Products Swift. "Joey has certainly exceeded our expectations for his first year in the series," said Rogers, whose team captured the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic title in its rookie season with driver Buddy Rice. "He's been an absolute delight to work with and his commitment to winning is second to none. We hope that next year will be our year, but in the meantime, we have a season to finish and a rookie of the year title to win." 
Humpy Wheeler Earnhardt statement -- A statement from H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and chief operating officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., concerning the results of NASCAR’s investigation into the Feb. 18 death of seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt follows: “Anybody who saw the press conference today had to be impressed with the thoroughness of the investigation. It was certainly the most thoroughly investigated accident in the history of motorsports anywhere in the world. Even the investigation into the death of Formula One star Ayrton Senna several years ago didn’t go to the extent of this investigation. The investigation certainly cleared the air as far what happened to Dale Earnhardt and how he died. “Closure is a very important thing to the whole grief process. We’ll never know 100 percent exactly what happened, but the fact that such a thorough examination was done gives us closure. This announcement has been eagerly awaited, it was perhaps one of the most eagerly awaited things in the history of auto racing and the tremendous media attention it is being given will help everyone move along. “I think the conversation about head restraints, seat belts and seats was good but there is room for improvement in the area of energy absorption. I’ve said before, it is going to take four things working together—the six-point seat belts, the head restraints, better seats and I’m strongly pushing this energy-absorbing bumper for the front of the car. I think the results we have seen in testing of the bumper have been very favorable and we will crash test a Winston Cup car out here at Lowe’s Motor Speedway next Tuesday to conclude the extensive testing we have done. “I feel really good about the fact that we have a lot of safety things in place in these race cars as we head to Bristol this week, and I’m hopeful this composite bumper will be on some cars by the Oct. 7 UAW-GM Quality 500 here. We will have to work really hard to accomplish that, but I think we can do it. “I still feel some concern about the seat belt as far as Bill Simpson is concerned personally because he has devoted a tremendous amount of his life to the betterment of safety not only in NASCAR, but Formula One, Indy Car racing, NHRA, etc. The fact that the belt ripped because of dumping wasn’t the fault of the seat belt.” 
Alex Gurney finishes 8th at Knockhill  Alex Gurney secured his 4th top ten finish of the 2001 British F3 season by taking a very competitive 8th place at a wet and rainy Knockhill circuit in Dunfermline, Scotland. The race was held under appalling conditions that eventually forced the race to be stopped at 22 laps instead of the scheduled 26. Anthony Davidson of Carlin Motorsport declared, "those were the worst conditions I have ever raced in!" The standing water on the track made it very difficult to get down the straights let alone around the corners. Alex made a great getaway from 15th on the grid to grab 9th at the first corner. He then spent the first few laps holding off the Jaguar of Andre Lotterer who eventually spun behind him. From that moment on, he battled for the duration of the race with his Fortec teammate, Gianmaria Bruni as well as Bruce Jouanny. Alex turned a faster lap in the race than both Bruni and Jouanny but the spray from the cars ahead made it very difficult to find a way past, eventually settling for 8th. "It was very difficult to see anything, really, but it was nice to be competitive in the wet and to have a good battle with Bruce and Gimmi. Still, I find it difficult to get too excited about finishing 8th!" said Alex. The race was won by Takuma Sato who is now just a few points from clinching the 2001 British F3 title. The second race was cancelled due to the weather. The series next heads to Thruxton in two weeks time for the Round 11 weekend of the championship. It has been a difficult season for Alex thus far but recent improvements to the Fortec team's Renault engines have allowed him to fight for higher positions. There may be some further engine updates which will come in time for the final three rounds of the season. .
Burton Supports MDA -- This Labor Day weekend, Jeff Burton's #99 CITGO SUPERGARD Motor Oil Taurus will sport a special red, white, and blue paint scheme to help raise money and awareness for the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. Following the race, fans can place bids on Jeff's MDA racing suit and helmet worn during the Pepsi Southern 500. All proceeds from the items auctioned off following the race will benefit MDA. "It makes Jeff and me feel really good knowing our sponsor cares for more than just the bottom line," said Kim Burton, Jeff's wife. "Let's face it, the space on that car is worth a lot of money and CITGO could sell it. Instead, they donate the space in hopes of raising awareness about a cause that means so much to them."
Paul Edwards loses British F3 ride  Young American driver Paul Edwards is out of his British F3 ride with Alan Docking, replaced by a Japanese driver.  We are not sure why at this time.
Bruno Junqueira press conference  Motorola 220 winner Bruno Junqueira was the quest this week on CART's weekly media teleconference.  Here is the full transcript of that teleconference.  Transcript (PDF).
Gidley expects to race in Vancouver  Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Memo Gidley, who experienced a major crash during Sunday's Motorola 220 in Elkhart Lake, Wis., is expected to compete in the Sept. 2 Molson Indy Vancouver, the next CART FedEx Series event. According to Dr. Terry Trammell, Gidley suffered a bone contusion of his right femur, but should not have to miss a race.  "If his recovery continues as expected, he will be able to return to the car in Vancouver," Trammell said on Tuesday afternoon. The 30-year old American has competed in 7 CART FedEx Series races this season, scoring two top-5 finishes and currently stands 5th in laps led. Gidley is anxious to get back in the seat of his No. 12 Target Toyota/Lola. "I'm feeling fine, so it's great to hear from the doctor that I should be able to get back in the car at Vancouver," said Gidley, who joined four-time FedEx Series champions Target Chip Ganassi Racing in Portland. "I've worked hard and long to be able race for a team like Target Racing, so it would have been very disappointing to miss a race. I'm healthy and confident that I can follow Bruno's (Junqueira) example and give Team Target two wins in a row."
NASCAR Earnhardt investigation leaves as many questions as it answers -- Today NASCAR released the results of the investigation into the accident which claimed the life of Dale Earnhardt. After the press conference in Atlanta, fellow Winston Cup driver Mark Martin made the following statement. "There were no real surprises in the report," Martin said. "The impact of the accident was much greater than it looked to most people. I've been involved in enough accidents to know how violent they can be, even when they don't look that bad. I think the research done on the accident itself was very thorough and conclusive. The medical report was unsettling to me, I guess because it is just hard for me to understand that something like that could happen the way it did. "I applaud NASCAR and the team of experts they assembled for their efforts. It was a very complex accident and there were many factors that contributed to Dale's death. I'm sure based on this investigation that some good will come out of it that will improve safety and research for every driver at any level of racing."  Burton/Roush Reaction (PDF)
Eurospeedway President has high hopes for CART race  In a column in the August 16th issue of Autosport, Eurospeedway President Hans-Jorg Fischer had this to say regarding the upcoming CART race:
1.  We expect 70,000+ fans on race day this year and are shooting for 100,000 in 2002.
2.  We have spent over 1 million British Pounds on advertising nationwide.  We even co-operated with the US Military's radio stations and magazines to attract US servicemen.
3.  Our site is 1,500 acres, bigger than even Indy
4.  Our date in 2002 won't conflict with F1 (Italian GP)
5.  When the Champ cars come back we expect 34-second laps (210 mph)
He did not rule out an IRL race (in addition to a CART race) in 2003 and he admitted the CART contract is for 5-years
Will CART tell the Stories and make the Heroes?  Dear Mark Cipolloni: -- In response to your article about heroes and stories... It will be interesting to see how well CART takes advantage of the extra hours in 2002 to TELL THE STORIES. Without these stories, it's just a race - good, bad, or indifferent. Without these stories, there are no heroes - only drivers. No storybook endings - only wins. Now, more than ever, CART needs to tell the stories of the drivers. We should know them - their families - their backgrounds, dreams, struggles, and conflicts. These are people that risk their relationships (if no their lives) for the opportunity to be involved in a race team. It's never just a race, or just a job. People don't work that hard without having the dream and desire to accomplish something. You could write a book on every team, every season, and they could all be compelling reads. (I know I can with the Arcieros...) There's always plenty to tell. You just need to have the right people looking for it, and the right people crafting the tales. CART is going to Rockingham. Does the average CART fan have a clue about Rockingham and its people? Are we going to see video of our drivers, knocking down brews at the local Rockingham pubs? Checking out the local museums? There're quite a few British Subjects in CART racing... will we see any sort of homecoming piece? When will the ladder series enjoy some exposure WITHIN the CART telecasts? Seems like all of these would be smart long term plays to me, but... its not likely we'll experience any of them this year. Anyone with even a modest connection to racing knows the depth of the characters that exists within it. The fans on the outside, however, are dependant upon us - the teams, the series, the drivers, and the marketing people - to expose that character. A few good websites like can't carry the burden - it has to be a top-down devotion to building romance back into the sport. With romance comes devotion, persistence, and desire - in short, all the things you would want out of a fan. You want globalization? Nothing goes global quicker than a good story. The idea that CART has heroes and dreamers - who experience everything from the absurd and hysterical to the intensely dangerous and difficult - must be cultivated. It's an essential asset.  Brian Franklin, Miami, FL.
Industry News
IPS Soft Wall wins another contract The “Circuito Internationale di Napoli”, at Sarno, Italy will host the FORMULA SUPER A WORLD AND EUROPEAN KARTING CHAMPIONSHIP.  Eurointernational Inc. announced today that IMPACT PROTECTION SYSTEM (IPS.) barriers have been installed on the 1.070 km Sarno Karting Track. This event will be first time ever worldwide that a Karting track  for a CIK World Championship is fully equipped with the revolutionary energy-absorbing IPS. barriers.  Impact Protection System is the only energy-absorbing barrier tested and approved by the FIA, CIK and FIK.   IPS. are today the only barriers approved by FIA for International FIA approved tracks.   IPS barriers are made of a honeycomb structure of PVC and several layers of rubber, with special connection to build a continuous soft wall.  Since 1998 over 100 crashes against IPS. barriers (F1, Moto, Kart, X) without drivers injuries have confirmed their incredible energy-absorbing performances at racetracks around the World.  Eurointernational

Delphi cuts back IRL effort  Further justification of why an all-American approach, in a NASCAR saturated market that sucks the sponsorship well dry, won't work, and why CART MUST think globally.  Kelly Racing, one of the IRL's best funded teams, will cut back to a single car effort in 2002 because Delphi and another of their sponsors don't see the value in their IRL effort (which gives only USA exposure) and are cutting back.  Unfortunately nice guy Mark Dismore will be out of a ride.  And the IRL wants to start a Lights series?  That will suck more potential sponsorship from already hurting IRL teams.  The USA market is completely saturated and CART must provide a global reach to attract new BIG sponsors like Eli Lilly (Newman Haas) who want and need to sell product around the world.  It's future depends on it.
Stock car driver dies UPDATE The official report is that Roper died of a heart attack. 8/20/01 - Stock car champion Dean Roper died Sunday from injuries in an ARCA event at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, 10 months after his son, Tony, was killed in a NASCAR truck series race in Texas. Roper, 62, of Fair Grove, Mo., was pronounced dead at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, said hospital spokeswoman Roberta Churchill. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.  AP
Yes, some CART sponsors understand and appreciate the globalization of CART  In his latest article on, Steven Levinson talks about the inevitable globalization of CART. Interestingly, at least one current forward thinking CART sponsor appreciates the global reach of CART.  In the August 20th edition of Autoweek (page 41) in an article on CART sponsorship, Ed Sachs, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Pioneer Electronics USA had this to say - "Our parent company in Japan recognizes open-wheel racing.  CART offers international exposure, and quite frankly it's more bang for the buck.  I'd have to spend more in NASCAR for the same branding, if for no other reason than you get buried in the crowd.  For the same money I wouldn't get far on a Super Bowl telecast." So although Mr. Sachs represents Pioneer Electronics USA, similar to Philip Morris USA, Toyota USA, Honda USA and all the other USA subsidiaries of global companies that have sponsorship in CART, it's up to those USA subsidiaries to work with the rest of their company to put together a global marketing effort leveraged around CART, at a far less price than F1.  And in CART you have a good chance of actually winning a race so you can flaunt your achievements. In F1, unless you are with Ferrari, McLaren or Williams, the cash/benefit flows just one way. Mark C.
TV ratings and heroes  Last year we wrote Do heroes make a sport, or does a sport make heroes? Heroes, NASCAR has them, CART doesn't.  It's interesting to note that golf's TV ratings have plummeted now that Tiger Woods is in a slump.  Who are CART's heroes?  Does the general population know their names?  Their faces? Until CART figures out how to promote its drivers and make them household names, CART will remain in a slump. Mark C.

CARA Charities Indy Race Shop Tour  A new event in the 20th Anniversary celebration season of CARA Charities, the inaugural CARA Charities Indy Shop Tour, Thursday, Sept. 27, will showcase some of the top open-wheel auto racing facilities in the U.S. when the international motorsports community focuses on Indianapolis for the SAP Grand Prix of the United States at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The CARA Charities Indy Shop Tour will include guided tours of top CART and IRL team race shops, a luncheon at the Columbia Club at historic Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis and several surprises and guest appearances by motorsports VIPs. Among the guest hosts already confirmed is 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner and current Indy Racing Northern Light Series star Eddie Cheever Jr. Race shops on the tour include CART FedEx Championship Series competitors Patrick Racing and Team Green and Indy Racing Northern Light Series championship leaders Panther Racing. Shop tour guests will be given a complete tour of each facility by personnel from each team in addition to a full question and answer session at each location. Race fans and members of the media alike are welcome to participate in the CARA Charities Indy Shop Tour. "We are grateful to our CART and IRL team partners for their assistance with the inaugural CARA Charities Indy Shop Tour" said Mary Lou Bogner, National Director of CARA Charities. "This is a great opportunity to open up to the world our fine race shop facilities in Indianapolis while raising some funds for CARA Charities and the various organizations we support."

Texaco to be merged with Chevron  This LA Times article talks about a change that may help or hurt CART and NASCAR racing sponsorship.  Texaco Inc., the oil giant whose 1960s advertising campaign made that slogan a household phrase a generation ago, is about to be bought by rival Chevron Corp. And the name of the new company would be ChevronTexaco Corp.  Some industry observers say the name could survive, for a few years at least, if the new owner provides licensing rights to Texaco dealers. But others believe that the name's days are numbered. "We suspect that the Texaco brand is dead," said Will Woods, executive director of the Automotive Trade Organizations of California, a Tustin-based association of gasoline dealers.
RCR sacks Mike Skinner, Gordon signs 3-year deal? -- After a less than spectacular 4-year career with Richard Childress Racing, it was announced today that RCR and Mike Skinner would go their separate ways at the end of the year. In what was deemed a mutual parting, Skinner will stay behind the wheel of the #31 Lowes Chevrolet for the remainder of the 2001 season. During this time Skinner is free to pursue other driving opportunities. "We've been together for seven years and, for whatever reason, haven't won a Winston Cup points race," said Skinner, who has made more than 160 Winston Cup starts without a regular season points victory." "We've won every other kind of race -- a Truck Series championship, two Japan races, all sorts of non-points races including one of this year's 125-mile qualifying races at Daytona, rookie of the year and finished in the top-10 and top-12 in the points. But with Lowes moving to the Hendrick camp next year, and Cingular Wireless taking over primary sponsorship of the #31 for next year, one thing becomes painfully obvious in this million dollar sport, if you are not going to win, don't even bother to show up for the race.  This was a very tough decision because Mike and I are friends and he's been a part of the RCR family for the past seven years," Childress said. "Mike is one of the most talented drivers out there but, for some reason, we haven't been able to win. We've had some great runs but this sport is about winning." While not yet announce, next year it appears that Robby Gordon will be in the vacated drivers seat, Gordon reportedly signed a three year deal with RCR in replacing Skinner.
NASCAR gets TV shows that CART can only dream of  NASCAR: THE FASTEST SHOW ON ... TV? NBC BUYS TWO PROJECTS SYLVESTER STALLONE has "sold a pitch ... to [NBC] in conjunction with Brad Grey TV" for a TV series about NASCAR, according to Michael Schneider of DAILY VARIETY, who notes Stallone starred in and wrote the screenplay to the CART- based movie "DRIVEN." While Stallone would not star in the TV series, he "would most likely write and direct it."  Schneider also writes NBC bought a pitch from GARY SCOTT THOMPSON, who wrote the screenplay for the film "THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS." Thompson's project is set up through Regency TV. NBC execs said that the NASCAR pitches "include a mix of relationship drama and adrenaline-fueled action" (DAILY VARIETY, 8/20). Thompson is teaming with writers MICHAEL BERNS and MATT PYKEN, which is about a family involved in NASCAR (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 8/20 issue)
Mo Nunn re-signs Kanaan  It was stated on yesterday's broadcast that Mo Nunn has picked up Tony Kanaan's option for another year.  We have updated our 2002 CART Silly Season accordingly.
Interest phenomenal in Mexico City already  We learned over the weekend at Road America that ticket requests for CART's Mexico City GP in 2002 have already exceeded 150,000 and the race has not even been announced yet!  We spoke to the people who have been down in Mexico City on a daily basis.  They tell us 300,000+ attendance is to be expected, as we have reported previously.  We asked, how can you handle that many people?  They told us no problem, 'we had over 1 million people at the track when the Pope was there.  They are getting all the final bids in to build the grandstands and other track improvements.  Once all the costs are know, they will finalize the ticket prices and announce the race.  Ticket prices are expected to start as low as $20 USD for race day General Admission only, and going up from there.  At that price, we expect walk up general admission alone may exceed 100,000.
Atlantics: Hoover Orsi wins again  Brazilian driver Hoover Orsi led every lap on his way to a 1.3 sec. victory in the 17-lap CART Toyota Atlantics event at Road America.  With the win, Orsi now has a 47-point lead in the 2001 championship over David Rutledge.
Memo Gidley accident  UPDATE Target/Chip Ganassi driver Memo Gidley, who was involved in a serious single-car incident on Lap 21 of Sunday's Motorola 220 at Road America, sustained a small fracture of the non-weight bearing portion of his right femur, according to Dr. Steve Olvey, CART director of medical affairs. The updated medical condition came following further examination and precautionary x-rays at St. Nicolas Hospital in Sheboygan, Wisc. Olvey said that Gidley was expected to utilize crutches upon his release from the hospital later this evening. According to Olvey, Gidley will meet with Dr. Terry Trammell, CART's chief orthopedic consultant, in Indianapolis Monday for further evaluation of the injury. Trammell's examination will assist in determining whether Gidley will be able to compete in the FedEx Championship Series' next event, the Molson Indy Vancouver on Sunday, Sept. 2 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Earlier - Memo Gidley had a pretty bad accident at Turn 16, hit the bridge abutment, and the car has gone upside down.  He was reported alert and talking to his crew while the car was upside down.  They are trying to determine the extent of his injuries, if any, after the car is turned right side up and he is extricated.  The car's chassis broke in half.  The instant replay showed Gidley hit the curbing, lose the backend of the car and then go hard into the bridge abutment at about a 20-degree angle and 145 mph.
Townsend Bell to test again for Patrick Racing  In preparation for a possible Champ Car debut in 2002, Townsend Bell will test for a second time on Wednesday this week with the Patrick Racing team. This time they will test on the oval in Chicago, whereas last time they tested him on the road course at Mid-Ohio.  It's an off-weekend for the FedEx series next weekend.
Michael Waltrip Crashes and Burns -- Michael Waltrip qualifies 7th but will start last in a backup car following a Happy Hour crash today. The car was loose under a full load of fuel, and looped in the fourth corner to hit squarely on the fuel filler area. His car came to rest with the driver's window against the wall, which proved to be a real problem when spilled fuel ignited. Waltrip, one of the largest drivers in NASCAR, took off the HANS device and scampered through a maze of roll cage piping to exit out of the passenger's window. Waltrip was uninjured, although clearly disappointed, as lots of his sponsor's corporate types are in attendance due to their sponsorship of the BGN event. 
Cars to watch tomorrow -- Rusty's baaaack.... he was fasted in happy hour. Harvick and Rudd have been fast all weekend. Don't look now, but somebody finally put Viagra in Mark Martin's car, and it was 4th fastest in Happy Hour. Then there's that Jeff Gordon guy. Some of the Dodge Boys are strong this weekend, including Elliott (unless he wasn't sandbagging in practice after all), Sterling Marlin, Ward Burton and Dave Blaney. Sigh... Dodge boy Buckshot Jones didn't make the field, and Kyle Petty wasn't optimistic when I asked him about his chances tomorrow. Rumors are flying that King Richard is pondering the fate of the 44 and 45 teams as they continue to struggle.
Ryan Newman Wins BGN, and Sets Burnout Standard -- Penske's hotshot rookie prospect Ryan Newman dominated the Busch Grand National NAPAOnline 250 today. Kevin Harvick finished second, Tony Raines third, Jimmy Johnson 4th, and Mike McLaughlin 5th. The most memorable part of the race, though, was Newman's burnout at the start-finished line. He came to a rest with the car's nose pointed up the banking and proceeded to burn rubber until the rear tires both popped, something that even John Force has never done in competition. Rumor in the 'Cup garage area is that the #24 crew has been doing further testing on burnouts, and are studying tapes of Newman's burnouts. 
Cracker Barrel sues NASCAR, FOX TV  Cracker Barrel has filed a lawsuit against NASCAR and FOX TV because they feel their new policy of hardly mentioning the race sponsor during the TV broadcasts is unfair, especially compared to previous years when the race sponsor was mentioned numerous times.  The problem stems from the fact that FOX has to raise so much money in order to meet the terms of their contract with NASCAR, that it demands sponsors buy expensive TV advertising time from them, including the race sponsor.  Cracker Barrel says in the federal lawsuit filed in Nashville that it paid $1.4 million to be the title sponsor during the Fox broadcast of the race in March, but that its name was mentioned only a few times. Cracker Barrel dropped its sponsorship after the race for the same reason. Also named as defendants are Atlanta Motor Speedway and the racetrack's parent corporation, Speedway Motorsports Inc. 
Koster keeps pole  With dark clouds looming on the horizon, most of the Barber Dodge Pro Series drivers spent the morning fretting about the impending rain. Most that it is except Sepp Koster, the overnight polesitter. As it turned out the rains came well after the Barber Dodge qualifying session ended, but Koster's top spot on the grid remained secure. His provisional time stood the test and as such earns a championship point. His best lap on Friday was recorded at 2:12.859 sec. for an average speed of 109.686 mph giving the Stora Drain Dodge Reynard driver from the Netherlands a six-tenths of a second gap over his nearest rival. 
Reader thinks new CART TV deal good  After reading the posts in these discussion forums about the Speedvision/CBS deal, I am still convinced this is a step forward for CART. ABC/ESPN have basically embraced the IRL, and that's fine. What CART needs is a TV partner that will put some new enthusiasm into the series and promote it better. The bottom line for me about this deal is, better to have a smaller network that caters to motorsports fans and will potentially have a larger audience, even with a smaller area, than a bigger network that is losing interest and can't deliver as large a viewership as the smaller network, even if the larger network has a larger area of market penetration. Besides, even though Speedvision has a smaller audience now, that will change, especially now that Speedvision is connected to FOX. Remember the cynical comments made about ESPN2 a few years ago when it was launched? No one's laughing now, as it has grown to be almost as big as ESPN. There is no reason to believe that the same growth will not happen to Speedvision. I'm sure that people laughed at Speedvision (a cable channel devoted to motorsports? Somebody needs to go to the Betty Ford Center) when it first started, but that's not happening anymore either, is it? CART needed to do something to shake things up. This was a good move. Even if it doesn't work right away, at least Heitzler is showing that the status quo ain't good enough anymore.
Gomide wins 11th straight pole  Luciano Gomide continued his incredible streak of success in USF3 with his eleventh pole position in a row at Mosport International Raceway, during the Gran Turismo 3 Grand Prix ALMS weekend. The Brazilian broke his own F3 track record (1:14.525) with a 1:14.460, despite track conditions that were imperfect. Marbles built up on the track surface due to the ALMS cars. "Today the car was just perfect," said Gomide, "and I think I could have gone under 1 minute 14 if another car had not slowed me down on my flying lap." For the fourth time, John C. Antonino completed the front row for Eurointernational with a time of 1:15.450, despite running only half of the qualifying session due to engine problems. "I think that this time I was very close to Luciano," said Antonino, "but my session was too short. Tomorrow in the race, it will be different." USF3 newcomer and F2000 driver Paul Dana took the third position with a time of 1:15.910.
New Mario Andretti book due out  A new Mario Andretti book will debut at the Houston race.  The book was written by Gordon Kirby and will be published by David Bull publishers.  The book will be titled 'Driving Passion' and will be around 250 pages long and sell for $29.99.  A special expanded Publishers version will be available at a higher price.  The book will be the most complete history of Mario's career ever published, and it will parallel an unprecedented time in racing history.
Mathematics for Schumacher to win crown  If Michael Schumacher scores 3 points more than David Coulthard he will be world champion. But what about Ralf Schumacher? A fourth place for Michael Schumacher and a no-points for Coulthard would put Michael 40 pts ahead with 40 possible points to win remaining, but even if Coulthard wins all 4 grand prix remaining Michael will still be world champion on the number of second places. However, if Ralf Schumacher were to win tomorrow he'd have  51pts to Michael Schumacher's 87, a deficit of 36 pts with 40 pts remaining. Same goes for Barrichello, who only trails Ralf by 1 point. Therefore Michael Schumacher has to beat Coulthard by three points AND finish no less than 3 points behind Ralf and no less than 4 points behind Rubens.
Audio from Road America  
Post race Press Conference - De Ferran, Vasser, Franchitti
Jimmy Vasser
Gil de Ferran
Memo Gidley
Bruno Junqueira
Friday wrap by Tom Michaels
Kenny Brack
Max Papis
Atlantics:  Rutledge fast  With four races left, David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift) served notice that he aims to get back in this Championship fight. On a beautiful Wisconsin afternoon, Rutledge set a new track record of 2:02.635 seconds (118.831 mph) on his way to a provisional pole heading into tomorrow’s final qualifying session. If Rutledge can secure the pole tomorrow, he will then attempt to win his fifth race in a row after starting from the first position. Dating back to last year, all four of Rutledge’s career wins have come from the pole. Rutledge’s lap broke the one year old record held by Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing/3b Engine Valves Swift) at 2:02.734 seconds (118.735 mph). 
Mayfield, Jones featured in Sports Illustrated  Jeremy Mayfield and Buckshot Jones are the "tutors" in the Sports 101 section of Sports Illustrated this week (Aug. 20 cover date). They are the only two drivers quoted in a story on how to do "burnouts" on the race track. It was a result of Jeff Gordon's less-than-spectacular burnout attempt after his Indianapolis victory, rectified with a much better one following his Watkins Glen win. The Scorecard section is one of the most popular, and widely-read, sections of the national magazine, which has a national circulation of approximately 4,500,000.
Koster takes provisional pole  Sepp Koster took his Stora Drain Dodge Reynard to the provisional pole for round 10 of the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Uniquely at Road America, the rules permit the checkered flag lap to count as the mammoth 4-mile track's timing beams are not at the customary start/finish line but at the exit of the final corner. Koster streaked beneath the fluttering checkered flag to set the standard and then kept on going lowering the mark yet again before swerving into the pit lane. Just shy of the qualifying record, the Dutchman stopped the clocks in 2:12.856 sec. for an average speed of 109.291 mph. Roger Yasukawa provisionally starts alongside while Matt Plumb ended the session third overall. "Everyone is aware that it might rain tomorrow, so that highlighted the importance of this qualifying session. And as you know in recent races I haven't been performing up to standard even though I have been racing well, so I was really focused on this one," recounted Koster. "The changes we made to the car's set-up were spot on and the car was really sweet to drive. I think the pole is still under threat as we are really good drivers and we'll go faster tomorrow, so I'm really looking forward to it." 
Friday crowd at Road America  While no official numbers were released yet, walking around the Road America track today Gordon Kirby said it's the biggest Friday crowd he ever saw here and he has been coming since 1973.  Today's weather was beautiful, but tomorrow's forecast is for rain which might hold the crowd down slightly.  However, it's safe to say CART's road course success continues.
2002 Indy 500 schedule announced Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials today announced the schedule for the 2002 edition of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," the 86th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. After rave reviews from fans, sponsors and participants following the 85th running of the race, the schedule for the 86th Indianapolis 500 will largely reflect the 2001 schedule, which saw the race return to its traditional three-week format. Opening Day for 2002 Indianapolis 500 practice is Sunday, May 5, with a full week of practice scheduled for May 6-10. 
Drivers and teams will compete for the most coveted qualifying award in motorsports - the MBNA Pole Award and its $100,000 bonus - on Pole Day, Saturday, May 11. Second-day qualifying is May 12. The track will close May 13-14 and will open for four days of practice on May 15-18. Bump Day, the final, tension-filled day for drivers to make the elite 33-car Indianapolis 500 starting field, is May 19. The 500 Festival Community Day is scheduled for May 22, and Coors Carburetion Day, the final opportunity for the starting field to practice before Race Day, is May 23. Following the two-hour final practice, which begins at 11 a.m. (EST), Coors Carb Day will feature the Coors Indy 500 Pit Stop Competition and the Coors Concert. Race Day for the 86th Indianapolis 500 is Sunday, May 26
Are Champ cars about to get cheaper?  Indictments are expected within weeks in the Justice Department's probe of price-fixing of graphite and carbon fiber used for golf clubs, airplanes and others industries.  The USA government is focusing its case on Japanese producers. Story
CART still looking at Watkins Glen  We were told here at Road America that CART continues to visit Watkins Glen to inspect the track and continue discussions about the possibility of racing there in 2003.
What if Jeff Gordon never went to Winston Cup  You may find this Jerry Bonkowski article about how close Jeff Gordon came to becoming a CART or IRL driver instead of a Winston Cup driver interesting.  NASCAR's gain, CART/IRL's loss.  But then, would CART or the IRL know how to market Jeff Gordon into the Superstar NASCAR has made him?
Mood upbeat on new TV deal  Contrary to erroneous reports you may have previously read, so far those we have talked to here at Elkhart Lake are upbeat about the new TV deal.  Everyone thinks it's more important to have a TV partner that is behind you and wants to grow with you...together, as ESPN did with NASCAR years ago.  A lot of people think that having CART and NASCAR programming on Speedvision will significantly increase the number of households that get Speedvision over the next several years.  The key will be retaining sponsors the first year when the number of households is 50+ million.
Ganassi makes it official with Brack Chip Ganassi and Kenny Brack met the press today to formally announce Brack driving for Ganassi starting in 2002.  Highlights:
1.  The deal will include the Indy 500 with Target
2.  He will not decide on his 2nd driver until after 2001 is over. He has options on Memo & Bruno
3.  Ganassi went out of his way to say Toyota was behind it 100%
4.  The deal is a multi-years with options
5.  The deal is for open-wheel only, though Kenny might test or run a Cup race or two in the future
6.  Brack really didn't want the word to get out this early, but once the press ran with it, the cat was out of the bag so they had to make the official announcement.
NASCAR ratings up 62% at Watkins Glen  NASCAR's "Race for the Championship" on NBC and TNT, through six races, is averaging a 5.1 national rating/14 share, 36 percent better than last year's 3.7/11 average over the same time period (5 telecasts). Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Racing from Watkins Glen on NBC finished with a 4.7 national rating/13 share, 62 percent ahead of last year's adjusted national rating of 2.9/10 for the same race on ESPN, according to figures released today by Nielsen Media Research. For four consecutive races, NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing on NBC has been the top-rated network sports programming each weekend. NBC's coverage of Sunday's Watkins Glen race was the highest-rated sports programming of the Aug. 11-12 weekend. NBC's Saturday coverage of the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring race from Watkins Glen earned a 1.6 national rating/5 share. There was no comparable telecast last year. Watkins Glen was the sixth NASCAR Winston Cup 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.  By comparison, the IRL race at Kentucky got a final 0.9/2 share rating on network TV (not good for network TV) and CART received a dismal 0.48 rating on cable TV for its Mid-Ohio race.
Labonte seeks first win at New Hampshire  Bobby Labonte, reigning NASCAR Winston Cup Champion, is seeking his first win at New Hampshire International Speedway during the New Hampshire 300 on September 16. Labonte has registered six top-5 finishes and eleven top-10 finishes in his career at "The Magic Mile". Bobby's last two NASCAR Winston Cup Series runs at NHIS have been strong. Last September, Labonte sat on the pole and finished second. In July, Bobby started thirty-fifth and worked his way up through the field to finish seventh. "The best thing we can do for our first day at Loudon is to roll the Interstate Batteries Pontiac off the truck and have no problems. If we're ready for Bud Pole Qualifying and get a good starting position, a lot of our race strategy will be solved."
John Menard fires Greg Ray UPDATE It's official now.  Jaques Lazier has replaced 1999 Indy Racing champion Greg Ray as the driver for Team Menard in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series, team owner John Menard confirmed Aug. 16. Lazier, 30, from Vail, Colo., will make his first start in the No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone at the Gateway Indy 250 on Aug. 26 at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. Team Menard made the official entry change at noon (EDT) Aug. 16.  Given the recent circumstances, it's rather interesting that Ray, who IRL journalist Jack Arute called the 'Tiger Woods of Auto Racing' earlier this year, went from being the IRL's biggest name, to now collecting unemployment. We wonder how this, in another long line of IRL embarrassments (this years Indy 500 being the biggest), will be spun.  Earlier - We received a press release from Sam Schmidt Motorsports saying Jaques Lazier was leaving the team.  Then, according to this article by Robin Miller (and this article by Curt Cavin in The Indy Star News) on, John Menard decided to make a change with only three races remaining in the 2001 season. "It's a bit disappointing how it's happening since I've been there longer than any other driver and I've won 15 pole positions, five races and one championship," said Ray from his home in Plano, Texas. "John has decided to try something different for one race and I know he was talking with Jaques Lazier tonight. We're still talking and I may fly to Eau Claire (Wisc., Menard's home) tomorrow to see what, if anything, the future holds. "At this moment I don't think I've decided how it's going to continue or how it's going to end." Ray sounded like there was still a chance he could drive for Menard, but Lee Ann Nash, the team publicist and marketing director for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, confirmed that Lazier had definitely given his notice to that team.  Statement from Sam Schmidt On Jaques Lazier’s Departing to Team Menard - “I think it’s an awesome reflection on the quality and talent of our race team. We took a driver that wasn’t even on John Menard’s radar map and put him in a position to replace a championship driver. I am not pleased with John Menard and I am disappointed in Jaques. The Lazier family has always been known for keeping their word. You take a look at Buddy who has stuck with Hemelgarn all these years, even through the lean times and I thought that that’s what we were building with Jaques. As for St. Louis, we will pick up the pieces again and go on!” – Sam Schmidt
More on CART TV deal Just a few tidbits from today's pres conference.  Full transcript to follow
1.  The deal includes CART's ladder series
2.  CBS will put their touch and personnel on the CBS broadcasts
3.  With NASCAR and CART coming onto Speedvision, it's expected Speedvision will soon reach far more households than it currently does.
4.  Street and road course races will have 3 hours of programming, the 500 milers 4 hours
5.  CART will be on TV 11.5 hours per week  More details to follow....
Cingular to sponsor Childress car  Last night , Richard Childress Racing and Cingular Wireless announced that Cingular will become primary sponsor of an RCR car beginning in 2002. No details were forthcoming at to which car.  We can only assume Cingular would become sponsor of Childress's No. 31 car, replacing Lowe's, but we though Lowe's had another year left on their contract. Cingular currently is sponsor of Chip Ganassi's No. 01 car driven by Jason Leffler.
TMS trying to gouge CART? Speedway Motorsports reports that they saw a 3 percent rise in profits in the second quarter, despite a sluggish economy that dragged down corporate ticket sales. The Concord-based company said it would have had a 9 percent increase in profits without a $3.5 million charge from the cancellation of a Championship Auto Racing Team race at Texas Motor Speedway. Excluding the charge, Speedway met analysts' estimates of $1.03 per share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial. The company owns and operates six tracks, including Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, which play host to NASCAR's Winston Cup races. (That's Racin').  Interestingly, the lawsuit is for a reported $22 million, yet they mention a $3.5 million charge they hope to realize.
Gordon hoping Atlanta track time pays off  Jeff Gordon knows his Goodyear tire test Tuesday and Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway likely won't glean much insight for November's NASCAR Winston Cup season finale, the NAPA 500. This week's test was held in the oppressive heat of the Georgia summer, a stark contrast to the milder temperatures expected in November, but that didn't keep Gordon from squeezing the most from the track time. "This time of year, the track is a lot hotter and more slippery than we're used to, but that doesn't change the layout of the track or the fact that you're still logging miles," Gordon said. "Anytime you're on track you have the opportunity to learn something. Not that Gordon has much left to learn in Atlanta. He has three wins, one pole position and one amazing runner-up finish in last March's Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500, when he was a bumper shy of besting rookie sensation Kevin Harvick. "For some reason, Atlanta has really become one of my best tracks," Gordon said. "We just seem to have clicked here."
NASCAR changes TMS Cup date  NASCAR has changed Texas Motor Speedway's 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series dates to April 6-7. The change by NASCAR comes only one day after the speedway publicly announced its 2002 schedule. "We were surprised but pleased to get the call from NASCAR about a new date," said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage. "The new date offers warmer, dryer weather than the mid-March date which was previously announced. This is good news for NASCAR's fans and competitors." NASCAR moved the 2002 Winston Cup date to April 7. The NASCAR Busch Series race will also move to April 6 with qualifying for the two races on Thursday and Friday, April 4-5. "We're in the process of trying to get the word out to our fans as quickly as possible so they can make the appropriate plans, particularly those who have to travel a great distance to get here," said Gossage. "We're just concerned that many may have already started booking flights and rooms as a result of yesterday's announcement of our 2002 season schedule."
More details on CART's TV deal, triple the number of hours UPDATE We neglected to mention that Clear Channel (formerly SFX) who negotiated the deal for CART stated that the new deal will provide triple (you read that right) the number of broadcast hours for CART. Therefore, although Speedvision reaches half the number of households as ESPN, they may actually get more overall viewers, especially as Speedvision grows now that FOX bought it and will move some NASCAR programming to it. In addition ARD will broadcast the European CART races live in Germany.  ARD is the biggest station in Germany. In addition, it looks like ITV or channel 4 will broadcast both races in England.  This is the best news CART could get. EVERYONE gets ITV and Channel 4 in the UK.  ITV also does F1, which might clash with Monza qualifying, but that might run right into the CART race (not a bad thing).  5 million viewers watch F1 on ITV , lets hope most stay for the CART race.  Earlier Today -  According to USA Today's Rudy Martzke, CART will pay CBS to broadcast each of its 7 races next year for about $550,000 per race.  Advertising revenue is far higher than that, but CART must also foot the production bill, so it remains to be seen if they can turn a profit on it.  The remaining 15 races will be a revenue sharing deal with FOX. We have also learned that CART had an offer from ESPN to renew, they chose the FOX deal for good reason.
Why not FOX too? A reader writes to ask - Why is CART only buying time on CBS for seven races?  NASCAR is done with FOX after July 4th and football season does not start until Labor Day.  On top of that, three of CART's fall races (Germany, England and Australia) would be shown prior to any football game broadcasts.  Therefore, why can't CART races be shown on FOX (again a time-buy) between July 4th and Labor Day, plus the three overseas races in the fall, instead of Speedvision?  That would help to improve CART's TV ratings because Speedvision just does not reach enough households. Editors Note:  Good question.  We will try to find out.
CART and Baseball share similar problems? This article in the New York Times covers some of major league baseball's problems, trying to re-energize fans and get them to come out to the events. Some are not really applicable to CART, though we think the IRL has latched onto the minor league cities stuff. What was most interesting to us was 1) the idea that MLB should expand internationally and 2) the idea that because MLB is now going after the more affluent crowd by selling skyboxes it is having a difficult time building a fan base. Perhaps CART could do what Peter Ueberoff suggested a few years ago when he asked all the teams to keep a certain number of seats available to families at a reasonable price.
Franchitti re-signs with Team Green UPDATE Here is the full transcript from the press conference (PDF format)  Earlier -  Dario Franchitti has agreed to a new contract with Team KOOL Green that will see him drive for the Indianapolis-based Champ Car team through the end of the 2003 season. Franchitti originally joined Team KOOL Green in 1998 and has since earned seven wins in the CART FedEx Championship Series, including his most recent victory in the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland. A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, Franchitti has ten Champ Car poles to his credit (including nine with Team KOOL Green) and finished runner-up in the 1999 FedEx Championship driving the KOOL Honda-Reynard. "I'm very pleased to renew my association with Barry Green, KOOL, Paul Tracy and all my teammates at Team KOOL Green," said Franchitti. "During the past three and a half seasons we have grown as a team and established lifelong friendships together. Although we've enjoyed our share of success, I think everyone at Team KOOL Green will agree we still have a lot of work to do. There's a championship yet to be won this year, and then it will be on to 2002 and 2003 where, I believe, the best is yet to come for myself and Team KOOL Green." 
CART decides on European race wing package  After recommendations from Dale Coyne's team that tested at Rockingham and Eurospeedway recently, CART has decided to use a higher downforce setup.  The road course wing main plane will be used without the Handford Device rear vertical flap.  Originally the Handford Device was to be used for both races.  The higher downforce setup should make for better racing.
CART to announce TV deal Thursday  CART has called a press conference for Thursday with Joe Heitzler and other key executives to announce CART's new domestic TV deal.  The details of the international distribution will come later, as they always do.
Jeff Gordon wears HANS Device on road courses too  Did anyone notice that Jeff Gordon was wearing his HANS Device when he hopped out of the the car after winning at Watkins Glen last weekend.  Looks like you can win on any track wearing a HANS Device.  What's the drivers excuses now?

IRL close to announcing 'Lights' series  According to this Indy Star article, the Indy Racing League is ready to wave the green flag for its new support series, a league official said Saturday at Kentucky Speedway. Brian Barnhart, the IRL's vice president of operations, said the yet-to-be-named junior division will begin next summer, most likely at the June 16 race at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo. The inaugural season will have at least six races.  The article mentions the IRL hopes to get the 12 existing CART Lights teams to participate.  If so, we wonder how CART feels about that given they are hoping those teams would merge into the Toyota Atlantics series.
Feedback on AR1 CART TV article  Good day and I just finished reading your article about the TV deal. One thing that excites me very much about the deal is that IF CART does decide to market and try to brand itself, I can think of no better place to start showing commercials than on CBS during the month of March, which coincides with the start of the 2002 season. The reason I am so optimistic is that CBS literally has the entire nation watching March Madness (Basketball playoffs) and for CART to run promo's during this time would really help them reach the demographic they are looking for. I see a lot of positives in this deal. CART really needs to produce some commercials and run them during March Madness and if CBS does half the job FOX did on running NASCAR program promo's during football playoffs, this thing just might work out. Anyhow, good article. Dan K.
CART not on TMS 2002 schedule  The Texas Motor Speedway released their 2002 schedule and it did not show a CART race on Labor Day weekend, to no ones surprise.  We guess it's safe to assume they don't want a CART race on that weekend opening the door for CART in Denver on that weekend.  We would have thought the released scheduled would have shown the CART race as 'tentative' if TMS had any desire to bring CART back.  The ALMS won't be back at TMS either. 
Houston race news  Advertising has started for the Grand Prix of Houston. It started in earnest a week from last Sunday in the Houston Chronicle sports section. If you buy a General Admission ticket to this years race you can get children 12 and under in free Frida, Saturday or Sunday). Also Sat night there will be a Third Eye Blind concert which will be at the track. All you need to do is stick around after the days racing activities are over.
Harvick to run Cup/Busch Michigan doubleheader  Kevin Harvick is the busiest driver in NASCAR today, having competed in 43 events already this season - more races than most regulars in the Winston Cup Series will compete in all year. Not that he minds the rigorous schedule that often has him traveling cross-country in the same weekend to Busch Grand National and Winston Cup races at different tracks. "The travel really isn't that big of a deal," Harvick said. "Our goal is to just keep racing." Harvick, 25, is on pace to set a NASCAR modern-era record by competing in 69 of 70 events. "We want to win Rookie of the Year in Cup and stay in the top 10 in points," Harvick said. Harvick has made three previous starts at MIS - all in different series. In 1999, Harvick was 11th in the debut of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at MIS. Last year, he finished ninth in the 250 after starting third. In June in the Kmart 400, Harvick started eighth and finished 10th. Harvick was a lap down in that race but made his way back into contention. "We ran good at California, and we came back and ran good here and had the fastest car at the end of the race," Harvick said. "We just couldn't capitalize on it." 
Herbert tests IRL car UPDATE Here are some quotes directly from Johnny Herbert -- "Another successful test was had today. Again settling in quickly to achieve a fastest lap of 214.7 mph in race trim. I am sure that with a little more time, I could have achieved a 216 mph with small fine tuning of the G Force chassis. "It was encouraging to beat the pole time of 214.5 mph set at this weekend's race. This was also very satisfying being able to out pace IRL and Heritage regular driver, Jeff Ward, who set a best time of 213.2 mph. "This is a step in the right direction in securing a drive in next year's series with the goal of winning the Indy 500 with a competitive package. After the completing the two tests, I now feel confident that this goal is within my reach. "I would like to thank Infiniti, G Force and Heritage for making this test possible and I look forward to securing a drive for next year."  8/13/01 -  How easy are ovals for road course veterans?  Last week he burned up Rockingham.  This week, Kentucky was even easier with an incredibly steep IRL 12-degree wing angle.  Formula One veteran Johnny Herbert turned speeds faster than 214 mph (compared to regular driver Jeff Ward's 210.575 mph qualifying effort) during his first Indy Racing test today at Kentucky Speedway at Heritage Motorsports. Herbert tested for more than three hours on the 1.5-mile oval with first-year team Heritage, which fields the No. 35 Heritage Motorsports Firestone Menards G Force/Oldsmobile in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series for veteran Jeff Ward. It was a strong showing from Herbert, driving on an oval for only the second time during his distinguished career. It took just three laps for Herbert to exceed 200 mph in a G Force chassis powered by an Infiniti 35A engine. His top speed of more than 214 mph would have put him on the front row for the Belterra Casino Indy 300 Indy Racing event on Aug. 12 at Kentucky Speedway. "I'm very happy with the test today," Herbert said. "I bit into this weekend's pole speed. With this ride, I could have qualified on the front row of yesterday's race," Herbert said. "This is a very drivable engine. It's very powerful in the right places on the track. It provides a very interesting drive, which I enjoyed.  I was able to keep the momentum up all the way around the oval." English native Herbert, 37, has three career victories during his Formula One career from 1989-2000. He also was on the winning Mazda team at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1991. Now his final goal is to win the Indianapolis 500. His only other oval experience was a short test in a Champ Car last month on the new Rockingham oval in England. "I've only accumulated about a day's worth of experience on the oval tracks, but I've thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities," Herbert said. "Winning the Indy 500 is my last major challenge, and I'm doing all I can to get there. This was a great package to run with, and I really hope I'm competing here next year. "My goal is to get as much experience with a team before going to the Indy 500. Right now, I'm trying to figure out all the possibilities and looking at the strongest packages. I'm looking for the best opportunity to win the Indianapolis 500."  
Miami - did CART lose out on a big one?  Shame on CART if they don't get a race in downtown Miami.  In this Speedvision article, Ralph Sanchez states "But I can tell you, regardless of whether there's a Winston Cup race or an IRL race down in Homestead, I can tell you that a street race in Miami is going to have a full house. If these guys (Raceworks) do the promotional job that I think they can do – because I did it and I'm nothing special; I learned by doing – if they do some of the things I did, they'll have a full house there every race."  Luckily Raceworks contract with the City calls for up to two races per year, so CART still has a chance.  If successful, it's likely this race will become CART's best attended USA venue instantly. We would only assume it's getting CART's highest attention.
Can Sears Point soon host a CART race?  Watkins Glen too?  2nd UPDATE The new image to the right shows some of the upgrades for Sears Point.  During this new construction, part of the track will be closed until March 10th, 2002.  Temporarily they will be using turns 1, 2, 3, 3a, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8a, 9. Turn 9 will then make a right turn into Turn 1.  The track was recently modified by constructing a link between Turns 9 and 1 on the permanent course.  8/12/01 - Winston Cup driver Jimmy Spencer, in this article, is calling for NASCAR to drop both the Watkins Glen and Sears Point races from the already crowded Winston Cup schedule, and add oval races to replace them.  We have heard rumors that might be NASCAR's long term plan and why ISC is keen to see CART race at Watkins Glen.  Will Bruton Smith want CART at Sears Point were this to happen?  8/10/01 -  Phase two construction will bring this track much closer to CART standards, including better run-off, improved safety, and a wider track surface.  Perhaps we can add this track to the list of additional Natural Terrain Road Courses CART can race at (along with The Glen, Road Atlanta, and Sebring)
1. Construction of 30,000 hillside terrace seats alongside Turns 7-9, bringing the total to 64,000 hillside terrace seats. 
2. Construction of a go-kart track on the south side of the property. 
3. Construction of a 10,000 seat permanent grandstand at Turn 7. 
4. Construction of a 15,000 seat permanent grandstand along the west side of start/finish line, bringing the total to 25,000 permanent grandstand seats. Twenty-two suites will be built along the top of the grandstands. 
5. Creation of a 660-foot concrete launching pad for drag racing and separation of the road course from the drag strip. Construction of drag strip return road. 
6. Increased run-off on the road course at Turns 8, 8a, 9 and 10. 
7. Enlargement of pit road to accommodate a 43-car starting grid for road-race events. 
8. Repaving of the road course and drag strip. The width of the road course will also increase from 40 to 50 feet. 
9. Expansion of paddock by more than 70 percent. 
10. Pedestrian tunnels under start/finish line and Turn 10. 
11. Remodeling Trackside Tower, Media Center and Driver's Lounge.  
NASCAR History - Did you know?  Forty-six years ago, nothing about a pair of '55 Fords in the starting field of nearly six dozen cars in that Labor Day weekend's Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway stood out - except, perhaps, for the garish purple paint jobs and the caricatures of snorting wild boars on the front fenders.  Those two cars, though, are a very important part of Ford Racing's history. The very vivid vehicles, known as "The Purple Hogs," were the first factory-backed Fords to compete in NASCAR.  By 1955 Chevrolet was starting to embrace "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday" - advertising any and all race victories. GM's Oldsmobile Division had won 58 races between 1949 and '54, second only to mighty Hudson, which had won 78. In addition, in the battle for the hearts and minds of young people who were interested in performance, Chevrolet had introduced an overhead-valve, small-block V8 engine for the 1955 model year.  Ford had already introduced the slightly more powerful OHV V8, the "Y block" engine, but was having a difficult time with winning on Sunday - or any other day. At the time, the NASCAR Grand National Series had been around for six-plus years and Ford Division had managed exactly one victory, by Jimmy Florian in the summer of 1950, in the series' first 210 races.  So, Ford began its first major involvement in the increasingly popular sport of stock-car racing by contracting with Buddy Schuman, a former driver, to organize and manage a factory-backed team. Two cars were built in Ford's experimental garage in Dearborn, Mich., and were sponsored by Schwam Motors, a Ford Dealer in Charlotte, N.C.  Curtis Turner, who was 31 years old and had scored 10 NASCAR victories and nine poles, drove one of purple cars, No. 99; and Joe Weatherly, who was 33 and just getting started in NASCAR, drove the other, No. 9. Both qualified near the front of the 1955 Southern 500's 69-car field; Weatherly qualified seventh with a speed of 109.006 mph, and Turner qualified 15th, clocked at 106.000 mph.  Turner moved his Ford to the front of the field, leading laps 110 through 123 of the 366-lap event, but a tie-rod problem ended his day on lap 133. Weatherly led twice, for a race-leading 140 laps (150 through 278 and 307 through 317), before a crash on lap 317 ended his effort. Although a Ford didn't win that day, a Ford would drive into victory lane twice before the 1955 season was over. Speedy Thompson would win a 300-miler in LeHi, Ark., on October 9th, and Buck Baker would win a 100-miler in North Wilkesboro, N.C., on October 23rd. So, within two months of the debut of "The Purple Hogs," Ford tripled its all-time win total.  And that was just the beginning.  In 1956, John Holman was hired to manage the racing effort, and Ford won 14 Grand National races that year alone - and its first Manufacturers' Championship.  The next year Ford won 17 of the first 23 races and 27 of the season's 53 races - and another Manufacturers' Championship. Since then, Ford has won over 500 races in NASCAR's premier series, more than any other manufacturer, including a record 48 in 1965.  And to think it all started with a couple of cars nicknamed "Purple Hogs." Ford
Oval track attendance continues its slide  As with CART, the IRL continues to struggle with attendance on oval tracks.  The only solution appears to be a 2 for 1 Winston Cup package deal as the IRL did at Kansas City a few weeks ago.  At Kentucky this past weekend, an IRL standalone event, a crowd was announced at 47,000 (though our sources on site say it appeared far less than that), down from 61,000 the previous year, a drop of 23%.  Sucked dry by the success of Winston Cup, the open wheel oval track market continues to suffer.  In contrast, CART had yet another successful road course race at Mid-Ohio this past weekend, where track employees who asked not to be named said the crowd was up from last year, though they could not provide any exact figures.  Our estimates are 65,000 to 70,000 for race day and 140,000 for the weekend.
Bell has successful Champ Car test, to drive for Patrick?  Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series leader Townsend Bell had a very successful test for Patrick Racing today at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Bell, who captured his Indy Lights Series high fourth victory yesterday at Mid-Ohio, was testing a Champ Car for the first time in his young career. Running approximately 200 miles, including some on full tanks to simulate race conditions, he turned an unofficial fast lap of 66.6 seconds. The time was competitive with the other drivers testing today and would have put him well into the field for yesterday's Miller Lite 200. "We were pleased with what we saw today," said Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee. "Townsend ran very well. The seat didn't fit correctly and it was his first time in a Champ Car so he had to adjust to the additional power and brakes. It was a complex day for him but, he handled things very well and was very consistent," McGee noted. Bell, who drives the #30 DirecWay Dorricott Racing Lola in the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series, was obviously thrilled with the opportunity to test one of the Patrick Racing Toyota Reynards. "This thing is a blast to drive," Bell exclaimed. "Patrick Racing's setup at this track is very good as evidenced by the fact that Jimmy Vasser qualified well and ran up front in yesterday's race. My main goal today was to get some laps, keep improving and learn all I could. These cars are incredible. The power of the Toyota engine is awesome and it is a real gas driving a Champ Car. The whole experience was just incredible," Bell said. Commenting on jumping from a Lights Car to a Champ Car Bell said, "The Dayton Indy Lights Series has given me a good education in developing a feel for what the car will do and how to adapt to the increased speed of a Champ Car. Some of the characteristics of a Champ Car are similar to a Lights Car, but you have much more power and awesome brakes," he noted. Bell went on to say, "It was good to have Mr. Patrick here and working with people with the experience of Jim McGee and Jimmy Vasser is invaluable. They have a first class operation and I am grateful for the opportunity to test with Patrick Racing. I did my best to live up to their expectations and my own. Today is a big day in my career, but in many ways it is just the beginning. I am ready to go," Bell concluded. Bell was the Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series "Rookie of the Year" in 2000. In addition to leading the 2001 Indy Lights championship standings with 126 points and having the most wins, four in eight races, he is tops in poles with four. The San Luis Obispo, California resident has six career Lights victories. "I was very impressed with Townsend's performance today," Pat Patrick said. "We plan on testing him again at Chicago after the Road America race and hopefully, we can work out something to get him into a CART race before the end of the season." 
Industry News
Mickey Thompson murder suspect arrested  The Associated Press reports that the primary suspect in the 1988 murders of former auto racer Mickey Thompson and his wife was arrested Sunday. Michael F. Goodwin was taken into custody at his Dana Point home after a Los Angeles County warrant was issued for his arrest, said Sgt. Matthew Barr of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Goodwin has been the focus of an Orange County grand jury probing the shooting deaths of Thompson and his wife, Trudy. The Thompsons were shot and killed at their home in Bradbury, about 20 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, by gunmen who escaped on bicycles. Goodwin's attorney, Jeffrey Benice, asked a court last month to dissolve the Orange County grand jury's investigation, claiming the district attorney is mired in a conflict of interest. A Superior Court judge had been assigned to hear the motion Aug. 20. 
Busch series to run with Cup in July  The NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division kicks off its season in February with a 300-mile race during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, the circuit’s richest and most prestigious event. In 2002, the Busch Series will make a second stop at the “World Center of Racing” serving as a companion event to the 44th annual Pepsi 400 on July 6. The 250-mile, 100-lap race will be held on Friday, July 5 and will share the night with the final Winston Cup Series practice session nicknamed “Happy Hour.” “Having the Busch Series race is a great addition to the Pepsi 400 weekend,” Speedway President John Graham said. “The combination of the Winston Cup Series and the Busch Series in July at Daytona gives us an event schedule second only to Speedweeks in February.” 
Lights: Fogarty out for year  Jon Fogarty, of Portola Valley, Calif., announced today that he has decided to forego hopes of returning to the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship and will sit-out the remainder of the season due to a herniated disk located in his cervical vertebrae. The 26-year-old driver of the No. 32 Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Lola has missed the last three races at Portland, Kansas, Toronto, and announced earlier this week that he would not race at Mid-Ohio today. Fogarty and Dorricott Racing welcomed back veteran Indy Lights driver Geoff Boss, of Narragansett, R.I., to drive in the place of Fogarty at Mid-Ohio. Boss also drove for Fogarty at Toronto where he finished an impressive sixth place. 
Rockingham offering 3-day discounted tickets  Rockingham Motor Speedway has begun offering 3-day discounted tickets for the upcoming CART race at a 30 British Pound discount off the same tickets if bought separately.
Frenchman Nicolas Rondet wins at Mid-Ohio Frenchman Nicolas Rondet took his No. 24 Mini Vacations Dodge Reynard to his second consecutive Barber Dodge Pro Series victory in round 9 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in support of the CART FedEx Miller Lite 200. Rondet took advantage of a weaker retstart by polesitter and early leader Matt Plumb following a full caourse caution on lap 10 of the of the 26-lap contest. Plumb kept his title bid in check however by finishing second. The drive of the race might have gone to Sepp Koster who battled his way to a third place finish, also keeping his title dreams afloat. 
1/24/Nicolas Rondet/Melle, France/20/$13,000/26/Running 
2/4/Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa./17/$8,750/26/Running 
3/3/Sepp Koster/The Netherlands/15/$6,500/26/Running 
4/31/Ryan Hunter-Reay/Boca Raton, Fla./12/$4,500/26/Running 
5/8/Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif./11/$2,750/26/Running 
Lights: Townsend Bell wins at Mid-Ohio Townsend Bell extended his points win with another win at Mid-Ohio.  Bell led every lap on the way to his series leading 4th win and 2nd in a row at Mid-Ohio.  Bell was in another class of his own on this day, leading by as much as 10 seconds before a late caution closed up the field.  Dan Wheldon finished 2nd while Bell's Dorricott teammate Damian Faulkner was third.
Live Network TV for German 500 Live television coverage for the German 500 is signed and sealed. ARD has committed to broadcasting live coverage of the race on Saturday 15th September starting from 1:00 pm to 4.00 pm on their main channel.  Qualifying will be shown live on Friday, the 14th September on ARD's third channel. In addition Eurosport will be covering the German 500 showing the race on the evening of the 15th. This ensures that the European premiere of the world's fastest race - the Champ Car series - is guaranteed major media attention with live coverage going out at peak time on Germany's major TV network plus coverage on Europe's largest sport channel.  Eurospeedway
CART owners vote down two items The CART team owners met late yesterday afternoon here at Mid-Ohio.  They voted down the suggestion to make changes as to when pit stops can occur with the hope of changing race strategies and, hopefully the race action.  They also voted down the notion to run the road courses in Rockingham and Eurospeedway if the weekend is a washout.  They will instead run on Monday in front of empty grandstands.  Pray it doesn't rain all weekend, or CART's future in Europe may be over after the first year.
Will Mexico City surpass Indy 500 first year? UPDATE We checked with Jerry Forsythe, co-owner for the Mexico City race, today to confirm what we were told, that the plan was to have 275,000 grandstand seats for the Mexico City race was accurate.  He informed us that our information was off slightly.  He stated, "we will erect between 280,000 and 300,000 seats for the race." We then said, with General Admission that will make the race bigger than the Indy 500, is that right?  "That's our goal," stated Forsythe. 8/11/01 -  We are now being told a hot topic of discussion at the last CART board meeting was the fact they will build 275,000 grandstand seats for the Mexico City race plus 50,000 will be allowed in as General Admission.  That puts total race day attendance at 325,000, more than both the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 which had around 300,000 in attendance.
Confirmed - CART free to race on any circuit  We had a long chat with Kirk Russell, CART's Technical Director, about the ruling made by the FIA General Council about one year ago.  He confirmed that because they ruled CART is now a recognized "International Series" CART is free to race on any type of circuit anywhere in the world, as long as it does not conflict with their FIA F1 championship.  He used the example, CART can't race at Imola on the same weekend F1 is at Monza.  Assuming they avoid those sort of conflicts, getting approval is pretty much a formality.  The local FIA ASN organization (USA's is ACCUS) merely applies to the FIA for approval, pretty much what they do for any race anyway.  Therefore, we put to bed once and for all any confusion about where and when CART can race.  If CART wants to race on road courses in Europe, or countries such as China, there isn't much standing in their way.  300,000 in China, or 25,000 in Milwaukee, or 35,000 in Chicago?  Both races are on TV, so most sponsors should not care where the race actually is, exposure will be essentially the same.  Far more eyeballs watch on TV than at the track.  

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