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8/25/01 to 9/3/01)
Only 50% of fans show up for sold out
Chicagoland race UPDATE Some folks
wrote to say we we low balled the attendance figure for the IRL race. For
those doubters, we direct you to this article
by Mark Shapiro in the Chicago Tribune. He estimates attendance at
40,000 to 45,000, but he made a slight mistake in saying there are 70,000
seats. The actual number is 75,000 seats as per this Chicagoland press
release. 40,000/(75,000 + infield capacity) = 50%. Perhaps it
was 55% or even 60%. The point is that some 30,000 fans who had a
ticket in their hand for the IRL race, chose to either toss it in the
trash or they were not able to find someone to give it to to attend for
free, so it went unused. Not a knock on the IRL, just an analysis of the
facts. CART would have not done any better. 9/2/01 - Touted by
the IRL as a sold out race, it was surprising to see only 50% of the
75,000 seats filled for today's Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland
Speedway. Forced to take an IRL ticket when purchasing their NASCAR
Winston Cup ticket, it appears 50% of the ticket holders chose to stay
home for the IRL race, and of the 50%, many were sold to others or given
away. Too bad because they missed a better race than the Winston Cup guys
put on. We wonder how long the fans will stand for the gimmick
whereby they have to purchase a ticket they really don't want. Did
you that today's race included:
1. 10 drivers with CART experience
2. 9 drivers with Lights/Atlantic experience
3. 5 Bonafide Short Trackers (including Jon Herb)
4. 7 Foreign Born drivers (including Jeff Ward)
CART sold out race really sold out UPDATE
A reader writes - "you forgot to mention the thousands of fans who watched the race from outside the gates on the concourses surrounding nearby BC Stadium.
I was one of them." 9/2/01 - Whereas the IRL had trouble filling their
touted sold out race, CART didn't have such trouble in Vancouver where
every single seat was full for today's Molson Indy Vancouver. Sunday's
attendance was announced as a stout 65,385, up from last year's 63,677. The three-day total for this year
was 160,545, up from last year's three-day total of 155,937.
Management shakeup at PacWest
According to this Autosport article,
the PacWest team has undergone a management shake-up as Vice-President of Business Operations Steve Fusek was sacked during the weekend in Vancouver following
a disagreement with Bruce McCaw, the team owner. Fusek had been under increasing pressure from team boss Bruce McCaw to generate revenue for the
team. PacWest was unable to maintain relationships with Motorola and the team's other primary sponsor, Hollywood cigarettes from Brazil. Motorola now sponsors Michael Andretti at Team Green, while Hollywood is affiliated with Mo Nunn Racing. In addition, PacWest's marketing operations lost a large number of quality personnel while under Fusek's management. Mike Lowry, a cost-cutting and efficiency expert who has worked with McCaw in some of his other business ventures, joined PacWest in early 2000 and has assumed control of the day-to-day business operations for the team.
In the same article McCaw once again dismisses rumors he is getting out of
Atlantics: Hand wins battle, Orsi war
Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/BG Products) gave the 2000 Championship DSTP team its first win of the season at the Molson Indy Vancouver. Hand grabbed the lead from Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) on the 17th lap of the race and held on to the 1.25 second win over Vancouver's Michael Valiante (Lynx Racing/Italian Motors/Copart Auto Auctions Swift). The win was the first of the season for Joey Hand, and also the first for a CART Toyota Atlantic Championship rookie this season. Hand was not the only winner on Sunday. Orsi captured the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, but not after losing all of his Championship points earned with his third place finish. David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift) dropped to a ninth place showing after he and Orsi made contact on the 22nd tour around the 1.781-mile Vancouver street circuit. The damage to Rutledge's Swift caused him to pit for repairs and subsequently, a loss of a lap to the lead lap cars. The contact took place when Orsi was pushed high on the exit of turn 6 by Valiante's inside pass. Rutledge tried to follow Valiante through, but Orsi moved over and touched the left front of Rutledge's Swift with his right rear tire. "I was on the outside line and Michael (Valiante) dived inside and pushed me really wide," said Orsi on the incident with Rutledge. "I like to be lower to stay away from the tires, but he pushed me up to the tire wall. I was coming out of the corner onto the straight and David (Rutledge) was trying to pass me and we touched a little bit." After the Series Chief Steward, K.C. Van Niman, and Stewards, Cliff Dawson and John Bornholdt, reviewed video tapes of the incident and the ruling was made to fine Orsi the 14 points he earned with his third place finish. The Stewards found that rule paragraph 8.13 per the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Rulebook had been violated by the driver of car #9. Therefore, the Stewards decided a penalty of loss of all points from the race, but not the bonus point for the pole position. Other rewards and finishing position results are to stand as provisionally posted. The ruling leaves Hoover Orsi with 157 points, 44 ahead of David Rutledge who stands with 113 points in the Championship. Orsi, however, has still clinched the Championship with the 44-point lead with two races remaining on the schedule. Given the scenario of Rutledge taking all 22 points available in each of the remaining two races, and Orsi not scoring any points, Orsi would still be Champion based on the tie-breaker procedure of "Best Finishing Position(s)".
Audio from Vancouver (Real Audio format)
Michaels Race recap recap
Roberto Moreno who claimed his
second career CART series victory in Sunday's race
Roberto Moreno on his battle with series champion Gil de
Roberto Moreno on the importance of the win
the late Greg Moore
Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske on his exciting second-place
Michael Andretti of Team Motorola, who wound up third in the race
Michaels Saturday Qualifying recap
Alex Tagliani on what the achievement
means for the Canadian Player's Team
Alex Tagliani on his emotions after winning the Greg Moore pole award,
Patrick Carpentier, qualified second and
will start tomorrow alongside Tagliani
Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske on
qualifying third for tomorrow's race
Michaels Friday practice recap
Alex Tagliani on his day, posted the fastest
time in front of his home crowd in Vancouver
Alex Tagliani on the handling of his car on the tough Vancouver street
Alex Tagliani on the recent success of the Player's team
Kenny Brack on Friday Practice
Max Papis on Friday Practice
Michaels race preview
Paul Tracy of talking about returning to his native Canada looking to defend his
Dario Franchitti on what it's like to race on the tough street course
Michael Andretti who has 10 victories
in Canada seven in Toronto and three in Vancouver
Kenny Brack on the Vancouver track and race
Max Papis on Vancouver track and race
Tracy and Takagi removed from probation
CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel announced after the race
today that Paul Tracy of Team KOOL Green and rookie Tora Takagi of Walker Racing had been removed from probation. Both had been disciplined for infractions that took place at the July 15 Molson Indy in Toronto. Takagi's probation lasted for five events, while Tracy was on probation for three road- or street-course events.
Chicago ABC affiliate ignores IRL race UPDATE
A reader writes - Even though ABC7- Chicago did not cover pole day, they did do a full piece on Sarah Fisher and her car, making an appearance at a local school. The piece was to show that Sarah is in school while racing, so kids have no reason to drop out.
9/1/01 - The local ABC affiliate in Chicago did not do a report
on the IRL Pole Qualifying at Chicagoland on their 6:00 PM news and
sports! Apparently they are not aware of the "Full Press" being put on
by Tony George and ABC's all out push for the IRL! Strangely enough, the local CBS
(one of CART's future TV partners) affiliate in Chicago did a 20 second report
on the Pole Qualifying!
After losing NASCAR, then CART, ABC/ESPN
extends IRL contract Faced
with losing the two biggest USA racing series (NASCAR and CART) to other
broadcasters, it was announced today that ABC/ESPN decided it was best
they lock in the IRL through the 2007 season with an exclusive open-wheel
contract. With IRL on ABC/ESPN, NASCAR on FOX/NBC/TNT and CART on
CBS/Speedvision, each network can then get behind their respective series
without favoring one over the other.
BBC to televise Rockingham 500
Britain's fastest ever motor race, the Rockingham 500 Champ Car event, will
be shown on BBC2 Grandstand on Sunday 23rd September, the day after the race is run at Rockingham Motor Speedway, near Corby in Northamptonshire.
Over one and a half hours of Sunday Grandstand will be allocated to the CART FedEx Championship Series race, which will be one of Britain's premier
sporting events of the year. The BBC coverage will preview the race with footage from previous rounds of the Championship, which is known as "the
fastest closed circuit racing in the world". Viewers will be treated to the sight of the turbocharged, single-seat
racers howling through Rockingham's four banked corners at speeds of up to
four miles per minute. No less than 14 track cameras, including two 'robocams' mounted on the crash wall and an aerial camera on the Goodyear
Airship, will ensure that not one millisecond of the action will be missed.
Interviews with key personalities from America's premier motor racing series will also give British viewers an in-depth insight into the
spectacular sport. The BBC coverage will be presented by Suzy Perry, with race commentary from Lee Diffie and expert analysis from former Formula One
and Champ Car ace Mark Blundell. "We are delighted to win the rights to this premier event, which adds to
our motorsport portfolio" said Pat Young, Head of Programs and Planning, BBC Sport. "Only the BBC can bring these major events to the mass audience
they deserve". "The agreement between BBC Grandstand, CART and ESPN has created a unique
package of TV coverage for what will be one of the greatest spectacles British motor sport has ever seen" said David Grace, Chief Executive of
Rockingham Motor Speedway. "We are delighted that sports fans up and down the country will be able to enjoy access to the sport - and with the help
of BBC's team of experts, we can be sure that all the nuances will be well
interpreted for casual viewers and keen enthusiasts alike."
McLaren to give Wilson test drive McLaren's
Ron Dennis has confirmed that his team will test newly crowned F-3000
champion Justin Wilson in one of their F1 cars in the coming weeks.
He has already had a seat fitting with the team.
Rahal opens up to media in Vancouver Bobby
Rahal held a press conference in Vancouver on Saturday to discuss what
happened at Jaguar and some of his views on CART. This article
by Steve Mertl summarizes Rahal's comments. Some key quotes by
1. "We concluded that his priorities were in the United
States and that's what he has gone back to concentrate on," said
Lauda, who took over as Jaguar team principal. But Rahal curtly rejected
Lauda's explanation of his sudden departure. "I didn't spend much
time here on CART stuff," said Rahal, back overseeing his CART team
for Sunday's Vancouver Molson Indy. "It was not my decision to leave,
necessarily, other than if you don't have the mandate to do what you're
asked to do then there's no point."
2. Rahal, 47, said his position at Jaguar started eroding
when chairman Neil Ressler, who hired him, retired. His replacement,
Wolfgang Reitzle, brought in Lauda last February to oversee Ford's major
racing programs. Lauda was part of Reitzle's new management team,
Rahal said. "I made it clear there could only be one boss and
felt that if I didn't have the support, you can't be accountable if you're
not given the power," said Rahal. "One guy needs to be calling
3. "It was probably naive to think that we (he and
Lauda) were going to arm-in-arm skip happily down the path to
progress," said Rahal. "Personally I like Niki. That's not an
issue. It's just that he has very strong opinions and I have strong
4. Rahal said he enjoyed his stint in Formula One and gained
some insights on how to make CART's cars better. Enormous budgets - $150
million US or more for top teams - make F1 a cost-no-object game.
"The budgets allow you to take things to a limit that we don't
necessarily have here," said Rahal. "That doesn't make the
racing any better. It's almost secondary to the show. But it was
interesting to be a part of it and have seen it." Rahal said unlike
CART, Formula One guards its exclusivity. Fans are barred from the paddock
by security-conscious teams and must worship their heroes from afar.
"I think fans are viewed as a necessary evil," he said.
"The paddock area is a very sterile experience in Formula One because
there's no fans, no nothing." The money-fuelled technology war has
made F1 races uninteresting and predictable. "The races are usually
won or lost by fuel strategies," said Rahal. "And fairly
reliably you know that somebody in the first two rows is going to win the
race - and probably the guys in the second row only if the guys in the
first row have a problem."
5. Exclusivity extends to the clique that controls F1, headed
by Bernie Ecclestone. Rahal said he respects the F1 chief for transforming
the series from a gentlemen's pastime to a lucrative business. "But
without question you don't cross him," said Rahal. "You don't
cross the people that work for him, because if you do roadblocks get put
up in the way. Passes all of a sudden don't show up. "You toe the
line. Everybody understands that and does it." [Editor's note -
sounds much like NASCAR, also very successful]
6. CART remains more democratic, if sometimes frustratingly
slow to deal with problems, said Rahal, who was CART's acting president
before departing for Jaguar. "Having said that, there's an awful lot
to be said for being able to participate in the process," he
7. Rahal said he favors adopting a version of the IRL's
less-powerful engine specification as a way of promoting more
cross-competition. He also plans to field an entry in the
IRL-sanctioned Indianapolis 500 next season. But he rejected IRL's focus
on an all-oval series. "Frankly I'm very uncomfortable with a
series that's just ovals," he said. "It's pretty dangerous,
particularly in an open-wheel car."
Fans vote on April Darlington race In a NASCAR.com online poll that ended this week, the website asked fans an interesting hypothetical question: "What should happen to the spring race at Darlington?" The choices were: 1) give it to Texas; 2) give it to Las Vegas; 3) give it to Fontana or 4) keep it at Darlington. More than 52,000 race fans cast their votes in the poll. An overwhelming 72% said leave the race at Darlington. However, 16% of fans voting would move the race to Texas. That was 2˝ times the number voting to move it to either Las Vegas or Fontana which received 6% of the vote each.
Antonino wins first USF3 pole
Rookie John C Antonino, from Bakersfield, CA will start from the pole
for tomorrow Round 5 of the 2001United States Formula 3 Championship Powered by
Volkwagen. John C Antonino with 1'16"090, took the first pole of his young career breaking the Brazilian Luciano Gomide's streak of eleven poles in a row in USF3.
"After the problem at the last race, this is a very important result for me "said John C
Antonino,"and now I am looking forward for the two races on Sunday. The track conditions and the heavy traffic did not allow me to complete one lap without problems but starting in front will be a great advantage. In this special moment I would like thank again Robert Corsaro for all support and help that he has given me for my racing program and my Team, Eurointernational, for all work done with me this year".
Luciano Gomide, second with 1'17"010 is disappointed for loosing his incredible streak of eleven poles in a row but is thinking more to tomorrow races "Today was impossible to complete one lap without have someone to pass. Too much oil and marbles on the track, so with only one line possible, was too dangerous try to do better. I qualified near 2 " from my track record time, therefore I think tomorrow starting from the front row will be better and I will have a great battle with John (Antonino). I am happy that has been my teammate to brake my streak of eleven poles but in the race will be different. There is a special record to grab and I cannot miss it".
Luciano Gomide is tied with Ayrton Senna's record of eleven wins in a row, and tomorrow can make history if he will win Round 5 of the USF3 Championship.
Canadian Jacek Mucha (Orion Ralt ) qualified third in front of American Josh Schreiber and Canadians Mario Urbano and Kyle Herder, to complete the top six.A record of 34 cars
attempted to qualify today.
Roger Yasukawa wins in Vancouver Roger Yasukawa has been carrying a monkey on his back for nearly three years and today in Vancouver he set that monkey free. In dominant style, leading from the first corner to the checkered flag, Yasukawa took his Tokyo Ueno Clinic Dodge Reynard to his first career victory in round 11 of the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series. Assuming the lead around the outside of turn-1 at the start, Yasukawa withstood the pressure of championship leader Nicolas Rondet for all 25 laps of the 40-minute race. Rondet finished second, tightening the grip on his title bid ahead. Ryan Hunter-Reay blazed from 14th on the grid to finish
third, earning the Conseco Step Up Award for gaining the most positions over his starting spot.
Another big crowd for a CART road course
Today's announced attendance for qualifying in
Vancouver was 51,243. That, combined with Friday's 43,917 means the
race has already attracted over 95,000 fans so far this weekend. We
expect the 3-day attendance to be upwards of 160,000. Compare that
to the average oval track attendance for a Friday and a Saturday of
perhaps 1,000. Toyota driver Roberto Moreno sat in the grandstands
with the vast crowd and watched the remaining action after his car stalled
out on the track.
Orsi wins 4th pole in row
Despite slamming his Swift into the turn 8 wall and only completing two laps, Brazil's Hoover Orsi (Hylton
Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) held on to the pole for Round 10 of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship in Vancouver. Orsi set his track
record time of 1:09.759 seconds (91.911 mph) during Friday's qualifying and the time was good enough to hold onto the pole despite a strong
challenge by rookie, Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/BG Products Swift).
Castroneves leads Saturday AM practice in
Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves
(1:00:742 min) and Gil de Ferran moved to the top of the speed charts in
Vancouver this morning, 3/4 sec. ahead of third place Cristiano da
Matta. Max Papis was 4th and Dario Franchitti 5th. The 75-minute session was the final opportunity for drivers to run before this afternoon's qualifying, set to begin at 4:45 p.m.
Players confirms they are out of racing
Players confirmed this weekend in Vancouver
that their sports sponsorship will have to end three races prior to the end on
the 2003 season due to Canadian tobacco legislation. This is not a
surprise as this was known all along.
Texas court denies CART lawsuit request
A federal court denied an attempt by CART to dismiss or move to another venue a lawsuit stemming from
the cancellation of the April 29 race at Texas Motor Speedway. TMS sued CART in May, seeking millions of dollars lost because of the postponement of the inaugural Firestone Firehawk 600 just two hours before it was to start. CART postponed the race after 21 of 25 drivers experienced dizziness or disorientation during two days of practice at more than 230 m.p.h. on the 1˝-mile track. The court said in its Aug. 23 ruling that the defendants would not be denied a fair trial if the case were handled in Texas.
Reader feedback on Chicago attendance
Dear AutoRacing1 - Here is an interesting note for you. The Joliet IL IRL race is 25 minutes
from my doorstep but I am not going. I did attend the CART Chicago race of
course though. Here are some interesting observations regarding the IRL race:
(1) I read the SunTimes almost everyday on the commute home. The week of the
CART race there were plenty of stories leading up to the race. This week
hardly anything regarding the IRL. (2) Supposedly the race for Sunday is sold out - thanks to the NASCAR fans
being required to buy IRL tickets too - like in KC and other places. Funny
thing is though that I got a call from an acquaintance who is a NASCAR fan
offering to give the IRL seats to me. I said "no way!". She said that in
January when they were told they were required to buy the IRL tickets too she
thought 'no big deal - i will just sell them.' She has been trying since then to sell them and now has got to the point where she is willing to give
them away. Lots of other people I hear are in the same boat. So don't be too
surprised if you see a decent crowd on hand for the IRL race... but anything
less than a full-house is a slap to the IRL in that all the tickets have been
purchased but people are choosing to not go - even though the weather is supposed to be awesome.
Mark in Chicago
IRL support series announcement transcript
TONY GEORGE: It is my pleasure to finally be in a position to make the announcement that in the year 2002 the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series will make debut mid-season. This is a major step in the growth of the Indy Racing League and will provide a key link to driver and team development. We expected it to greatly add value to our fans, sponsors and to create a more exciting atmosphere in the Indy Racing weekends. We expected our season to consist of approximately six or seven races as it is being introduced next season.
Rondet continues to impress Frenchman Nicolas Rondet is driving like he wants to win the Barber Dodge Pro Series title. Taking the provisional pole in the No. 24 Mini Vacations Dodge Reynard for the penultimate round of the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series has edged him a little bit closer. Needing to leave Vancouver with 29-point margin over his nearest competitor would clinch him the overall honor with one race to spare; the point for pole would fit well into the plan. Rondet set a new provisional record of 1:15.349 sec. around the 1.781-mile Concord Pacific Place Circuit for an average speed of 85.092 mph. Ensuring that his title hopes remain afloat, Roger Yasukawa lines up provisionally alongside Rondet on the front row
while Marc Breuers fills the third spot on the grid.
Nextel expands sponsorship to Dixon's car
PacWest Racing Group, in association with Nextel Communications, is pleased to announce that Nextel has become a sponsor on the #18 car of rookie Scott Dixon for the remainder of the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series season. Nextel, which currently sponsors the #17 PacWest entry of Mauricio Gugelmin, has elected to expanded their involvement with the two-car team to begin with the Molson Indy Vancouver. Nextel initially began their affiliation with PacWest Racing with successful projects at St. Louis in 1997, and Rio in 1999 before taking on their current level of involvement on Gugelmin's car at the start of the 2000 CART season.
Another road race, another record crowd
Despite threatening skies, today's attendance
for the Friday practice in Vancouver was a record 43,917 strong. How
strong is that? It's probably larger than the IRL will get in
Chicago for the oval race itself (their Friday attendance was measured in
the 100's) and more than all the CART oval race day crowds so far this
year except Motegi. And you wonder why we stress CART must focus on
being the premier road racing series in North America? That's where
the demand is.
CART announces live German broadcasts
Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (CART) and ESPN International, its worldwide television rights holder and partner, have made an agreement with Germany's dominant national television network, ARD, through its exclusive sports rights acquisitions arm, SportA GmbH, Munich. ARD is to provide extensive live coverage of the German 500 weekend, scheduled for Sept. 13-15, 2001, at EuroSpeedway in Lausitz, Germany. ARD will carry the live broadcast of the German 500 on Saturday, Sept. 15 beginning at 1:03 p.m. local time on its main channel. The network will also offer live coverage of Friday's qualifying session on its third channel, ORB, and Eurosport will provide tape-delayed coverage throughout Europe on the Sunday evening of September 16th. "As the exclusive global television representative for CART, I am pleased that ESPN International was able to negotiate this agreement to bring the excitement of the CART FedEx Championship Series to German fans," said Mark Reilly, vice president and general manager of international sales for ESPN, Inc. "The involvement of a prominent television network such as ARD further validates the placement of the CART series among the premier motor sports events in the world." "The addition of ARD to the CART broadcasting family is a huge win for the series," added CART Vice President of Broadcasting, Keith Allo. "This will allow us to not only cater to the thousands of CART fans that already exist, but it gives us the opportunity to introduce our exciting brand of racing to millions and millions of sports fans in Germany that are not already familiar with our series." Said Steffen Simon, Head of Sports of ARD / ORB, "We are proud and enthusiastic about having the chance to further develop this exclusive brand of motor sport in Europe by broadcasting the German 500."
The German 500 and the Rockingham 500 at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, England on the following weekend (Sept. 20-22) mark CART's first foray into Europe. Both events will be held on newly constructed oval tracks, exposing most European race fans to the high speed and close competition of the FedEx Championship Series for the first time.
IRL announces new support series
[Editor's Note - when you read this keep in mind that the IRL has gone
with essentially a detuned version of the IRL engine for their Lights
series (same 3.5 liters but with only a 8,100 RPM limit), exactly what AR1
proposed for CART's Lights series]. The Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, a new racing series created on the same founding principles of the Indy Racing League, will make its debut in mid-2002 with an inaugural season of up to seven races in conjunction with the Indy Racing Northern Light Series. Indy Racing League President and CEO Tony George and Indy Racing League Vice President of Operations Brian Barnhart outlined the details of the new series during a press conference Aug. 31 at Chicagoland Speedway. Infiniti Q45 engines will power new Dallara Automobili chassis built exclusively for the series. The V8 engines will produce approximately
450 horsepower for the single-seat winged chassis, providing an ideal training ground for the 650-horsepower, single-seat winged cars of the Northern Light Series. "The launch of this new series is the natural evolution of the Indy Racing League," George said. "It was a goal of the Indy Racing League to debut the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series with a sound business model in place. With our partners at Dallara and Infiniti, this will be a successful series that will add value to promoters when they
host an Indy Racing League weekend." Similar to Indy Racing Northern Light Series regulations, costs and development for the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series will be controlled tightly by the Indy Racing League. It is estimated that a full season of competition (12 races) for a single-car team will cost approximately $800,000, Barnhart said. "In discussions we've initiated with many of the tracks that host Indy Racing League events, the response has been extremely enthusiastic," Barnhart said. "It would be easy to let emotion take over and try to debut the series sooner, but we want to allow teams adequate time to form, take delivery of cars and market their teams." This series also extends Infiniti's extensive involvement with the Indy Racing League. The company has produced engines for the series since 1997. "The Infiniti Q45 has set the new standard for performance in the highly competitive premium luxury class, and one of its outstanding characteristics is its powerful V8 engine," said Steve
Kight, director of marketing, Infiniti Division, and director of motorsports, Nissan North America, Inc. "This engine features technology from years of research and motorsports experience, and represents the pinnacle of our performance technology. The fact that the Indy Racing League selected this production engine to power its new racing series is one of the best accolades we could receive. We continue to be impressed with the growth of the IRL, as demonstrated by this new support series, and look forward to our expanded involvement." Additional details of the series will be released when they become available, including tire supplier, television package and series logo.
Capacity: 3.5 liters
Configuration: 90-degree V8
Horsepower: 450 at 8,100 RPM
Fuel Capacity: 25 gallons minimum
Data Acquisition: Specification system supplied with chassis to measure steering angle, shock travel, wheel speed, throttle and one
Minimum Weight: 1,430 pounds
Wheelbase: 120 inches
Track: Front: 67 inches Rear 64 inches
Aerodynamic Specifications: Ground-effect stepped plane
Configuration: Six-speed sequential with gears mounted forward of the differential
Cockpit: 19 inches wide with Indy Racing League-approved headrest construction Collapsible steering column
SWEMS: Approved SWEMS on wheels and rear-wing assembly
More on Gidley's crash ESPN.com did a short video sequence with Jon Beekhuis about the wreck, and you can watch it on the ESPN website. It's a pretty amazing that Memo got away with it. Click
Friday AM times from Spa, Belgium
1 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m48.655
2 Jarno Trulli Jordan 1m49.404
3 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m49.456
4 Mika Hakkinen McLaren 1m50.239
5 Ralf Schumacher Williams 1m50.801
6 Jean Alesi Jordan 1m51.631
7 Kimi Raikkonen Sauber 1m51.645
8 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m52.436
9 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m52.829
10 Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton 1m52.943
11 Jos Verstappen Arrows 1m52.955
12 Eddie Irvine Jaguar 1m53.087
Wet in Vancouver The
forecast for Vancouver this weekend is wet and cool. Rain is
forecast both Friday and Saturday, with clearing on Saturday night, so the
race might be dry. The temperature Saturday night is supposed to get
down to 460 degrees F. It looks like qualifying may very well be in
the rain this weekend, not unlike Spa.
CART/IRL analysis We
encourage you to read this Car & Driver article
by Bob Zeller. He does a pretty good job of putting in perspective
the entire CART/IRL situation. Perhaps the most significant
statement - furthermore, this last Indy 500 race settled all doubts about who the leader of open-wheel racing is, CART or the IRL. The three CART owners who participated — Roger Penske, Chip Ganassi, Barry Green — had to buy IRL cars to run in the 500 (they paid a bargain-basement price of about $350,000 for chassis and engine, as opposed to $800,000 or $900,000 for a CART car). And when the Indy 500 was over, CART teams had swept the first six finishing places.
The IRL's best self-destructed. Pole winner Scott Sharp, whose team had lustily celebrated its victory over the CART teams in the pit-stop challenge on Carburetion Day, crashed in the first turn of the first lap. Sarah Fisher, who got the largest ovation of any driver during the public drivers' meeting, crashed and took Scott Goodyear with her; Goodyear fractured his lower back. Sam Hornish Jr. and Robbie Buhl spun out of contention. Greg Ray had mechanical trouble. Driver Eliseo Salazar, driving A.J. Foyt's car, was the IRL's highest finisher — seventh, one lap down.
The article, however, goes on to point out CART's many woes as well.
Tony George fostering deal to get F1 on ABC
in 2002 According to this USA Today report,
ABC Sports will take over USA coverage of the worldwide Formula One auto racing circuit, starting with next month's SAP USA Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Spearheaded by Tony George, IMS officials are close to finalizing a deal that will see live broadcasts of F1races move from cable channel Speedvision to ABC and its cable sports network affiliate ESPN next year.
"It's close, but it's not a done deal," IMS president Tony George said. "I think it's going to happen."
Added IMS spokesman Fred Nation: "We're working on it. It's very close." George, who has cut a deal with F1 commercial czar Bernie Ecclestone to broker broadcast rights in the USA, may announce the new TV pact during Sunday's Delphi Indy 300 Indy Racing League race at the Chicagoland Speedway in
Jolliet, Ill. The USA GP deal is expected to lead to F1 filling the gap in ABC Sports' and ESPN's motor sports schedule left by CART's move to CBS Sports and Speedvision next year.
George is said to be using the Indy 500 carrot to convince ABC execs that
a 17-race combined IRL/F1 package would good for ABC, stating -
"there are a lot of synergies and cross-promotion opportunities
between F1 and the IRL."
Feedback on CART globalization and race in
India I'm all for CART's globalization. As a publicly traded company, it only
makes sense for them to conduct events that will maximize their revenues. Additionally, I believe Bernie Ecclestone will
ultimately encourage CART's presence in Europe and around the world, if for no other reason that it will
keep the EU's regulators off his back and keep charges of monopoly status at
bay. In regards to promoting CART in India... Though his name escapes me, there
is a cricket player who is the biggest sports star in the country. When I
was in India two years ago, I couldn't flip through the television stations
without seeing a cricket match, especially the ones that he was playing in.
He carries numerous endorsements and personal sponsorships. You should take
the time to look into this, as he is one of the people that CART would need
to tap to be on board in the event that such a race moves from the realm of
fantasy to reality. Also, India has a thriving and prosperous motion picture industry. Most, if
not all, of India's motion picture stars have strong and enthusiastic followings. If CART was to gain the support of the motion picture
industry in India, it would be quite a feather in their cap. David
Attendance analysis at Gateway, a lesson in
damage control 2nd UPDATE Here's some more feedback on the ticket prices at Homestead for CART vs IRL. Our seats for the last CART race were in row 28, and cost $75 for a Sunday-only grandstand ticket. My $75 CART ticket would've cost only $35 for the same seat at the IRL race. And the youth tickets (up to age 18, even) are only $15 for any seat in the house. Or, the $70 3-day package they offer for the IRL race would've cost me $145 for CART ($10-practice, $25-qualifying, $35-paddock, $75-race). These prices were slashed far more than at Gateway, and still the IRL crowd didn't surpass the CART crowd. Maybe the bigger question is this -- Should the prices for CART race tickets be reduced? At least at venues with poor crowds, my answer is Yes.
8/27/01 - Dear
Just a note on the Gateway attendance for the IRL race. The crowd did not improve in spite of Gateway slashing the ticket prices compared to the CART
race (we now have reports that the attendance was closer to 18,000).
Row Adult Child
1-10 $38 $18
11-36 $55 $35
37-50 $75 $55
1-19 $37 $17
20-50 $57 $27
So a family of four in the top row would've spent $92 less for the IRL race, and even that wasn't enough of a lure to get more fans. Or put another way, the same family that sat in row 11 of the CART race could've had the top row for the IRL race, and still saved $12.
Homestead, based on my memory, cut ticket prices even more, and even called me on the phone to find out why I didn't renew (I told them I had no interest in the IRL). Let me know if you want me to look up the Homestead price cuts.
Keep up the great work on your web site! Alan Saliwanchik 8/26/01
- Last year CART
ran on Sept 17th at Gateway International Raceway ran opposite a St.
Louis pro Football game at TWA dome with 65,000 in attendance and a St.
Louis Cardinals Baseball game against Sammy Sosa and the Chicago
Cubs. Despite that CART had 25,000 in attendance, nothing to brag
about in our book, and down from the 60,000 or so when it was a Memorial
Day weekend event. Reports directly from
Gateway, and head-on TV
shots indicate this years attendance was the same or worse than last year,
despite no conflicts with other major sports in town. Despite ABC's
best efforts to not show any head-on shots of the grandstands, when one or
two slipped through it was quite evident just how poor the attendance
was. The IRL understands the importance of image control, and made
sure ESPN minimized showing the head-on crowd shots. CART allows
ABC/ESPN to show many head-on shots of the sparsely filled oval track
grandstands, which were/are very bad for their image. CART would be
wise to negotiate that sort of control over the TV broadcast with their
new TV contract, especially if it intends to continue to race on USA
ovals. By having complete control over everything, the IRL is much
better at damage control than CART. Of course, if CART were to
abandon the USA ovals, there would be no need to do any damage control.
Paul Edwards loses British F3 ride UPDATE
A reader writes - "Let me give you a bit of background. Paul has concluded his F3 season due to a lack of finances. He is working on putting together a program for next year, but we all know how difficult this can be. This year Paul nearly won his first ever F3 race, and claimed pole in only his fourth ever event. He was the first Yank in nine years to claim a
British F3 pole. Paul is clearly one of the best young drivers in the world and Alan Docking has stated that Paul is the best rookie driver he has seen since Mark Weber drove for the team many years ago."
8/21/01 - 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.
Andretti in Sports Illustrated
John Andretti, driver of the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, is featured in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated (cover date: Sept. 3). The story, written by Mark
Bechtel, concerns Andretti's versatility as a driver. He is the only active driver in motorsports with a regular history of competition in NASCAR Winston Cup, CART and major league drag racing. The story marks the second straight motorsports mention for Petty Enterprises in the national magazine. Buckshot Jones, who drives the #44 Georgia-Pacific Dodge, was one of two drivers featured in the last edition.
Glen Wood to be honored The
National Motorsports Press Association announced earlier this month that
Glen Wood would be inducted into the National Motorsports Press
Association Hall of Fame. The 76-year-old auto racing legend will be
honored in a formal ceremony to be held at the Darlington Country Club in
Darlington, S.C., on September 1, 2001. He will be inducted with fellow
racing champions A. J. Foyt, the late Dale Earnhardt and NASCAR chairman
Bill France. Glen Wood got his start in racing more than 50 years
ago when he founded Wood Brothers Racing in Stuart, Va., and formed his
first team. The family business quickly grew out of his love for auto
racing. He has served as both car driver and car owner. His brother,
Leonard, has been with the company since it's inception in 1950. The two
have often been credited for creating the first organized pit stop.
Together they have set the standard for the circuit. As a driver, Glen
earned four wins with 14 poles in 62 starts in the Grand National
division. He also won top honors while driving in the modified series. As
car owner, Wood has amassed more than 97 victories and 116 poles. 51 years
later, Wood Brothers Racing continues to be a family business. Brothers
Len and Eddie serve as team owners while Kim, the youngest of the
siblings, serves as the team owner / office manager. Glen's wife, Bernece,
greets guests at the museum.
Gordon wins 3rd Quarter NASCAR True Value
Driver voting Jeff Gordon strongly believes in helping children and families in need. Gordon, a three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion, has dedicated a large amount of his time to support various charitable organizations. His continued commitment and dedication has earned him the recognition of being selected as the third-quarter nominee for True Value’s Man of the Year. True Value, the Official Hardware Store of NASCAR, is once again sponsoring the NASCAR True Value Man of the Year. The award is designed to honor a driver not only for their accomplishments on the track, but for their community service contributions and charitable efforts. Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6
Pfizer/Viagra Ford and Rick Mast, driver of the No. 27 Duke’s Mayonnaise Pontiac, were the recipients of the first and second quarter nominations, respectively. Gordon, the 1996 recipient of True Value’s Man of the Year award, recognized the need to ensure that children were given the opportunity for a safe and healthy life. Therefore, in December 1999, Gordon and wife, Brooke, established The Jeff Gordon Foundation. “Brooke and I wanted to use our personal efforts and resources to assist those children and families that are less fortunate,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo. “Through the foundation we are able to benefit charities that are dedicated to helping the needy throughout the country.”
CART names Dole Support Series Promotion
Manager CART today announced that Robert Dole has joined the company as its Support
Series Promotions Manager. Dole will lead efforts to promote and build presence for the CART
Development System, with a particular focus on CART's partnership with the
Skip Barber Racing School. The position is part of an ongoing relationship
between CART and Skip Barber to create a training-development-realization cycle, or ladder system, that is unprecedented in
motorsports. The CART development ladder is comprised of a variety of racing programs,
including Champ Car driver Bryan Herta's 'Stars of Tomorrow' karting program; the Formula Dodge Race Series; the Formula Dodge National
Championship; the Barber Dodge Pro Series; the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship; and the Dayton Indy Lights Championship. All series are
designed to provide development opportunities leading to CART's top racing
series, the FedEx Championship Series. Dole comes to CART after five years with the Derek Daly Performance Driving
Academy in Las Vegas as Marketing, Sales and Public Relations Director.
Robert has a good base of experience in motor racing and, specifically, with the driving school side of our business," said Rich Henley, CART Senior
Vice President of Marketing. "We are fortunate to have someone with his level of experience and expertise joining our marketing group. We believe
there is significant opportunity to grow CART racing and the CART brand through initiatives created in support of our development series."
test the Humpy Bumper AutoRacing1's Pete McCole was at
yesterday's test for the Humpy Bumper. He reports - "This bumper really does work as advertised and
I hope Nascar gives it a try. I was disappointed there weren't more Nascar
drivers present for the test." Full report to follow later today,
with more images and a short movie!
NASCAR has another good TV ratings week
NASCAR continued to lead the TV ratings war with a 4.1/3.665 million
household rating for it's Saturday night Bristol race. The
ALMS came in with a 1.0 rating for its Saturday Mid-Ohio race on NBC, and
the IRL showed no gain in momentum despite what their PR department
claims, with a lowly 0.43/0.365 million households (behind Cup, Busch,
ALMS, and Trucks) on ESPN Sunday afternoon. Except for NASCAR, all
the other series (CART, IRL, ALMS, Trans-Am) all get around a 1.0 rating
on network TV and 0.4 to 0.8 on cable TV. It seems to be a direct
correlation with the number of households reached, and not much to do with
what type of racing. As one TV wag once told us, if it's on network
TV you are almost guaranteed a 1.0 at least. Why does NASCAR get
such high ratings and all the rest don't? It's simple, NASCAR is
branded and mainstream, the rest are not. (Ratings source:
Helping kids in need The Arciero-Blair Racing team, Max Wilson and many other drivers that are helping Elf by visiting local hospitals at each race or bringing children and families to the track.
This page shows photos of the Driving 101-Lola-Ford car that carries a name of a local child or hospital for each race. Max and Arciero-Blair Racing has been very helpful and instrumental in expanding this program by assisting these children, hospitals and families. Gary Milstein at Elf has worked hard to coordinate and implement this program. Max will be visiting children at Houston and Germany and the car will carry
decals at all of the remaining CART events.
Lauda blames Rahal's CART commitments on
his departure from Jaguar Niki Lauda tells F1Live.com - "The change was necessary because Bobby realized the big operational differences between his CART business in America and his commitments to Jaguar Racing. At the end of the day, Bobby and I agreed that it was impossible for him to manage both businesses simultaneously. We concluded that his priorities were in the United States and that's what he has gone back to concentrate on."
A little different scenario than what Bobby provided.
Did you know? The first driver to hit the wall during an oval race
at the new Rockingham Motor Speedway in England was American Mark Claussner, who had been leading the first ASCAR
(Europe's version of NASCAR) race on August 27th. Mark was suitably shamed faced about this
honor as he is an experienced oval racing driver back home in the United States. Mark is also an instructor with the Richard Petty Driving Experience and had taught most of the ASCAR field about the finer points of oval racing. This was one lesson they didn’t want to follow.
Did you also know that the slowest recorded lap by a vehicle competing on the Rockingham oval is a time something around 15 minutes (we got tired of waiting for it to reappear). The lap at an average of just under 8 mph though, was the most economical in motoring history. It came during the Shell Eco-Marathon when French based Team Microjoule achieved a staggering 10,227 miles per gallon, beating the previous record by nearly 400mpg.
Martin tests at Kansas Mark Martin and the Viagraâ (sildenafil citrate) racing team spent Monday and Tuesday testing at the new Kansas Speedway. It was the first time Martin had seen the new 1.5-mile facility, and after testing on it, he anticipates a very fast race next month. "I know I'm going to do my passing on the inside," Martin said. "I'm not going to be out there where there isn't much of a groove worked in yet. The track is very smooth, but it always takes a while to get enough rubber on the track to create another groove." The team brought two cars to the test, but spent most of their time concentrating on a new car, JR-92. In addition to testing it for the Protection One 400 on September 30, the team hopes to run that car this weekend at Darlington. They spent most of the two-day test session working on race set-ups. "A lot of our focus at our tests this year has been on our race set-ups," Martin said. "It is important to qualify well, but it is a lot easier to come up through the field if your car is working well in the race. At some of these new tracks with fresh pavement, there aren't a lot of cautions so you do not have as many opportunities to make adjustments throughout the race. That means you have to have your car right from the start. If you don't, you will lose precious time on the track pretty quickly. Our goal is to have our car dialed in perfectly by the time the green flag drops."
Why countries will want F1, CART UPDATE
We are happy to report that a very key CART board member (who shall remain
nameless at this time) told AutoRacing1 that 80% of what is in the Bain
report is excellent, the other 20% he does not agree with, particularly
the part about reducing the number of overseas venues. As he put it
"CART's future growth will largely be international
based." He also said CART is currently evaluating several
proposals for a race in China. He sounded very upbeat about
China. Based on this report
by Allan Ng, who lives in China and is very versed on its culture,
politics and economy, we feel CART will be best served by a race in
Shanghai, though we know a race at Zhuhai and we believe one in Beijing
are also on the table. And, as we have stated previously, CART will
likely do Japan and China on back-to-back weekends, which helps both
promoters and reduces travel for the teams. Don't look for a China
race in 2002 though. 2003 appears to be the target if the circuit
can be ready in time. Time should not be a problem if it is a street
race. 8/27/01 - Last
week the Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks highlighted the economic benefit of the Australian GP when he said: "Formula One racing is one of the highest profile sports events in the world, and the Australian Grand Prix is now the biggest sporting event in Victoria and in this country. It showcases Melbourne and Victoria to the world and brings significant benefits to the state. If I could just indicate some of those benefits: an annual economic benefit of more than $130 million; tax receipts of nearly $10 million, and they don't go unnoticed either; 3,000 jobs directly created; nearly 50,000 Interstate and overseas visitors; and an international viewing audience of 350 million people in 150 countries". He furthermore said: "As I've described many times, in presenting some of our major events in Victoria, we have the equivalent of a Sydney Olympics every year in Victoria, and that's a fantastic thing to have. These are major benefits, benefits that are growing year by year, and benefits that will continue to grow over the coming years, at least until 2010 and hopefully beyond".
AutoRacing1 has written on numerous occasions
that there is a huge demand for major league open-wheel racing that F1
can't supply. On top of that, tracks like Imola, Italy and
Nurburgring, Germany are going to lose their F1 races, so the demand is
about to increase. It's alarming to hear that CART's Bain report
recommended that CART reduce the number of overseas venues and focus on
the USA, when everyone recognizes the severe over saturation of the USA
motorsports scene. The IRL race at gateway only had 25,000
spectators and the NASCAR truck race at Nazareth had maybe 2,000
spectators. CART has seen a drop in attendance at its USA venues as
well. How many races has the IRL and CART dropped from their schedule due
to fan apathy and market saturation? Yet, above is an example of the
impact F1 has when it brings its circus to countries begging for bi-time
motorsports. When CART goes to places like Australia, Japan, etc, a
similar economic impact occurs. As the Daniel Smith letter points
out below, do the people who wrote the Bain report realize that as long as
they continue to go after the same market share as NASCAR, the IRL and
ALMS, The France family, the George family, and Don Panoz are going to do
everything in their power to prevent CART from succeeding. Can you
blame them for wanting to protect their companies/organizations market
share? CART appears to be the odd man out right now. Some
sort of alliance with Bernie Ecclestone, to supplement F1 where demand
exceeds supply, appears to be CART's best chance for success.
Hopefully with Bobby Rahal back, and his now first-hand knowledge of how
big F1 is (even compared to NASCAR) he has a better appreciation of where
CART should be headed. He already agrees with us on one thing,
CART's future appears to be road courses, at least in the USA.
Two new IRL entries for Chicago Two new Indy Racing teams will join the field for the inaugural Delphi Indy 300 on Sept. 2 at Chicagoland Speedway, as 26 cars are entered for what could be the pivotal race of the Northern Light Series season. Racing Professionals and Conquest Racing will make their Indy Racing League debuts on the new 1.5-mile oval with rookies Jon Herb and Laurent
Redon, respectively, behind the wheel. Herb also is the owner of Racing Professionals, which will field
the No. 18 Star Registry G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Herb, a Chicago native, has made four Indy Racing starts this season, with a best finish of 16th on April 28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Former Formula One test driver
Redon, from Chamond, France, will drive the No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Longtime open-wheel sponsor Mi-Jack is returning to the sport with Conquest Racing, which has fielded cars in Indy Lights in recent years. Two-time Indianapolis 500 starter Eric Bachelart is the chief executive officer of Conquest Racing.
meets NASCAR The Starting Lineup for Haas/Carter Motorsports this past weekend in Bristol:
(left to right:) Carl Haas (CART and NASCAR team owner), Jimmy Spencer
(Hass NASCAR driver), Christian Fittipaldi (Haas CART driver), Todd Bodine
(Haas NASCAR driver) and Travis Carter (Haas team partner) at Bristol.
Everyone impressed with CART's 5-year plan
Today we talked to several people who attended last Thursday's
presentation by CART's Director of Marketing, Rich Henley, on the new
5-year strategic plan. The feedback was very positive. One
team owner told us - "that was the most positive thing ever produced
by CART." Another stated, "I wasn't so sure before, but
now I am very bullish on CART. Henley gave a superb presentation and
had good answers to all the questions. My hats off to Joe Heitzler
too. Not only did they put together a good 5-year plan, Joe is the
first President to actually get the funding approved by the board to
implement any sort of plan, let alone a 5-year plan! It's the first
time I ever went to a CART meeting where everyone around the table
agreed!" This news is of course good, but after all the accolades
subside, it's now up to Joe Heitzler and Rich Henley to follow through and
implement the plan to perfection. In the past CART has failed
because the devils in the details, and CART failed to look after the
details. Hopefully CART will be more diligent this time. Mark
NASCAR tests more aero stuff at Talladega
The following are comments from Gary Nelson, NASCAR Winston Cup Series director, regarding Monday's test by NASCAR at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. This test was designed by NASCAR for its teams to test various changes to the current aerodynamics package in place for Daytona and Talladega. Drivers participating in the test were: Rusty Wallace, Kevin Lepage, Bill Elliott, Johnny Benson, Michael Waltrip, Tony Stewart, Elliott Sadler, Ward Burton, Jerry Nadeau, Jimmy Spencer, Ricky Rudd, Joe Nemechek, Ken Schrader, Sterling Marlin, John Andretti, Buckshot Jones, Bobby Hamilton and Todd Bodine. The No. 29 team participated with Dave Marcis as the driver. The teams tested, among other things, three different restrictor-plate sizes (15/16ths, 29/32nds and 7/8ths) and the removal of the roof air-deflector. It was a very productive and informative day. We were able to learn many things. We couldn't have learned the things we did in a single-car test or in the wind tunnel or
dyno-type tests. We needed a pack of cars to help us obtain all that we did. Our next step is to take the information gathered and analyze all of it. That will obviously assist us in our decision process. "We started the morning with 20-car drafts in 20-lap runs. Then we reduced the number to 15-car drafts and 15-lap runs. The idea was to make the current aero-package more efficient and to do so, we changed the plate size, rear spoiler angle and removed the air deflector on the roof. "At one point, we even had the teams use a combination that was similar to the aero-package the NASCAR Busch Series currently use (60 degree spoiler angle and no roof air deflector or rear spoiler deflector). "One example of the data we were searching for was to find a balance between aerodynamics and restrictor-plates. The way we did this was to reduce the aero-drag on the car, which in turn picks up speed and then we off set this with a smaller plate. The current aero-package in place is a high aero-drag combination.
"Now keep in mind, the speeds at Daytona and Talladega, more so Talladega, have been satisfactory. We wanted to maintain that pace but with a lower drag combination. "With the number of teams here testing, we received an unprecedented amount of input from the drivers. We were able to zero in on what the driver was feeling after a run."
Clueless in Troy UPDATE
AutoRacing1.com wants to be clear on one point - we do not agree with
the points stated in this letter, it is strictly the opinion of the
author. 8/26/01 - Dear
AutoRacing1, I have to vent my frustrations with CART and I hope you print
my letter. I was shocked to read the highlights of the Bain
report. They paid $1 million to come up with conclusions that people
have already said repeatedly for five years now? Talk about wasting money.
On top of that the report states CART should reduce its overseas venues
and concentrate on the USA. Do these people have their head in the
sand? I had to laugh when I read they interviewed all of CART's
existing constituents to come up with these conclusions? They talked
to a bunch of Americans who don't understand a bit about global politics,
global economics, or where to take the sport. Do they really think
they are going to go up against the likes of Bill France, Tony George and
Don Panoz on USA turf and win? These people carry a lot of clout and
will do everything and anything to destroy CART. As an example, do
they find it surprising that CART could not get a network TV
package? Of course not. Tony George saw to it that ABC/ESPN
treated CART like second cousins, yet he made sure his buddy Bernie
Ecclestone got his USGP on ABC this year. Tony's contract with ABC assured
him that IRL received preferential treatment. Ditto for NBC and FOX,
both in the NASCAR and ALMS camp. ISC is helping the IRL anyway they can
to fill the grandstands (2 for 1 ticket deals), yet they won't properly
promote a CART race (remember Nazareth, Homestead and Michigan), because
they don't want CART to succeed. I hear Don Panoz laughed about the
notion of CART running a doubleheader with the ALMS in Miami. Where
is CART going to race in the USA? Panoz won't pay CART's fees at
Road Atlanta, ISC will never properly promote a CART race at The Glen,
ALMS already beat CART into Miami and Washington DC. CART has no
alliances in the USA, they are the odd man out, the series everyone wants
out of their way. They hired John Lopes to be their head of racing?
He can't even run a winning IRL team. Are they going to go back to
Detroit? Michigan? Speedvision? Who the hell is going to watch
that when most the home don't get it? CART's President, Marketing
Director, and 5-Year Strategic Plan firm (Bain) have no experience in
racing, yet they are the ones putting together the 5-year strategic
plan! These are same people making bad decision after bad decision
because they just don't have the experience, and they are leading CART
down a rats hole. I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.
Regards, Daniel Smith, Orange Co., Calif.
Food for thought Will Australia
remain on the CART calendar for many more years? As successful as
that race is, CART has yet to get any Australian/New Zealand sponsors into
the series for such drivers as Scott Dixon and Jason Bright. We also
wonder how many existing CART sponsors see Australia as a big
market. We think that in years to come, you will see CART move races
like Australia to new markets such as China where sponsors see more market
potential. From where we sit it's a bit disappointing that Fosters
never came back into CART (they were once with Derrick Walker) or Qantas
never stepping up to the plate to support the Australian CART race.
Sure they support the Australian F1 race, but that's only one race per
year! We suspect if they don't step up to the plate soon, Australia
will eventually lose its CART race. Mark C.
Fans electrocuted at Bristol race
According to an AP report, two people were electrocuted after Saturday
nights Winston Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Yoong granted Super License, to race at
Monza Alex Yoong will debut with the Minardi team at the Italian Grand Prix in three weeks after being granted a super-license by motorsport's governing body, the FIA, on Monday. "I'm very happy that the FIA has seen fit to grant me a
super-license," said Yoong. "Not especially for myself, but for my country. I'm looking forward to the challenge of Formula 1 because it is the pinnacle of motorsport and the place where every racing driver wants to compete." He will replace Tarso Marques.
Lights: PacWest teammates 1-2 at Gateway
PacWest lights drivers Dan Wheldon and Mario Dominguez finish 1-2 in an 80-lap shoot out in St. Louis, round 9 of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship. Starting third, Wheldon got a great start and moved into second almost immediately, then tried to catch Townsend Bell for the first 69 laps. When Bell went out of the race on lap 70 with mechanical problems, Wheldon took the lead for good and won his first ever Lights race by a margin of 23.822 seconds over teammate Mario Dominguez. Dominguez started this race in fourth position and, because a great start, was running third for most of the race. While running second after Bell went out, Halliday passed him with about 5 laps to go, but Mario fought back for the position and finished this race in second place. The results kept Wheldon in third position in the championship with 103 points, just six points away from second, while Dominguez moved into fourth position in the championship with 95 points.
Stock car driver killed UPDATE
A reader writes - Dear AutoRacing1, It does not surprise me that another stock car driver died. This has been happening a little local oval tracks all the time, as long as stock car racing has been around. The thing of it is, that stock car racing, on a local level is often times done in cars that personally, as a racing driver myself, I would never get into ( and I like to drive rally cars, if that says anything). They are often run by guys who are volunteer gearheads working out of someone's garage, wrenching on the car between beers and Skoal bandits. The tracks are terrible. I have seen local dirt tracks lined with trees, and no catch fence at all, even between the track and the stands. There was just a wall there in front of the stands, nothing else.
Have you ever seen the cars that hit the track in these local stock car racing events? I certainly would not get into one of them if someone paid me, and I am a driver. Brave and daring is one thing. Stupid is another.
The technology for sticking throttles is probably far too expensive for guys like that. Just like the HANS device. Someone might say its not an option, but to the guy racing, it might mean racing or not racing.
Historically, its always been the wealthy that have been able to live longer lives, as they have the means to take care of themselves, protect themselves, good medical care....etc. I am not saying its right, but its a social fact.
If you were to report every death at a local track, I suspect that you would have something to talk about every day of the week except Mondays, as there is usually no Monday night racing.
I can tell you for a fact that you do not see this kind of carnage in the SCCA regional, or even national levels. You don't even see this kind of death rate in Karting. I would venture to assume that even motorcycle racing
does not produce the deaths equivalent to stock car racing. I grew up near a local track in Indiana, and it was at least an annual event to hear about one of the local guys getting killed. If not at our track, then at another one on the circuit. Early model stock car racing is little more than demolition derby, only faster and more dangerous. Just look at the cars. They are rolling balls of foil, flattened and smoothed out with a bodywork mallet, with a beefed up engine out of dads wrecked 89 Camaro race car from last year...etc.
But then again, that's stock car racing. Personally, I believe that is why NASCAR has been so behind on safety issues (more than typical stock cars, but far behind other forms of racing). Regardless of the big business image, the people inside, they are still a bunch of down home stock car racers at heart.
I think all of this stuff about safety devices being a drivers choice is bunk. One of the main reasons that a ruling body exists is to regulate for the sake of fair (well, you should probably insert the word entertaining instead of fair) and the safest competition possible. In my opinion, NASCAR cars more about money than safety, or fair competition.
If they require seat belts, why cant they require a Hans Device, or equivalent item? What is the difference. It is a seat belt for your melon....right? All of their supposedly philosophical crap makes me sick.
If we are talking about the government and laws, then no, it should not be made a law. But it should be made a rule. NASCAR is not a body whose job it is to uphold the Constitution. NASCAR has even called
it self a benevolent dictatorship. I like that reference, and feel it is accurate in many ways. A dictator (benevolent or otherwise), is mainly concerned with how much wealth they can suck out of their working class subjects and citizens. Usually a dictator is the only one of wealth or means.
I mean c'mon, think about it. There is no valid reason for not having a specialized
traveling medical team, other than cost. Even a trained EMT will tell you that racing accidents are special cases, where their training often times would be inferior to someone who is trained to handle that kind of accident.
Randy Willis 8/26/01 - A stock-car driver lost control of his car during a race at
the 1/4-mile Barberton Speedway in Ohio on Saturday night and died after crashing through billboards at the edge of the track and hitting
trees (what were the trees doing there?). Tim Boswell, 35, of Copley, Ohio, died at 7:55 p.m. at Akron General Hospital, a nursing supervisor said.
Driver Kevin Swank said Boswell's car sounded as if its throttle was stuck
open (there is technology to prevent this!). ``The car went down the front stretch at full speed,'' said Swank, who was watching from the pit area. ``I could see smoke coming from the tires. He was on the brake.''
CART Lights team makes lateral move to the
IRL UPDATE Not wanting to step down to
Toyota Atlantics, and with no more Lights series in CART to consider, here
is today's official press
release on the Conquest team's move over to the IRL. We would not be
surprised to see all the Indy Lights teams make the lateral move over to
the IRL, although we hear one may move up to Champ Cars. 8/22/01
- CART Indy Lights team Conquest Racing is scheduled to make its first appearance in the IRNLS at the Chicagoland Speedway September 2 with former Formula 1 test driver and current road-racing ace Laurent Redon at the wheel of the Eric Bachelart-owned Dallara/Aurora.
We recommended for quite some time that the CART Lights teams campaign IRL
equipment that could also be used at the Indy 500 each year. Funding
for CART Lights teams were not much less than an entry level IRL
team. That recommendation fell on deaf ears with CART so now we have
no Lights series at all, Lights teams moving laterally to the IRL (instead
of down to Toyota Atlantics), and
CART scratching it's head trying to figure out an engine rules package for
Champ Cars that is close to the IRL engines so its teams can run the Indy
500 each year. CART should go with the turbo 1.8 liter engine for
Champ Cars and retain its unique identity built over 25 years. It's
easy enough for CART teams to lease IRL engines once a year for the Indy
500, and Honda has received far more publicity for having the Indy 500
winner drive for them all year than Oldsmobile got for Helio winning with
one of their engines. Imagine that!. Free publicity for having
the Indy 500 winner driving your car for a full 12 months. Total
cost to Honda $0.00. And you wonder why Honda and Ford don't want to waste
money doing an IRL engine. Why should they? For $0.00 they can
get all the free Indy 500 publicity they want by just letting their Champ
Car drivers run the Indy 500. They are smarter than you thought,
huh? Mark C.
Formula One Silly Season Here
is a synopsis of driver contracts with F1 teams for 2002 and beyond.
However, lets not forget that in F1 contracts are meaningless and are
broken almost at will. Next year we'll have 4 factory teams - Ferrari, Toyota, Jaguar and Renault, following many years of Ferrari being the lone wolf factory team. Maybe Honda will join this trend and buy out BAR in the next few
Michael Schumacher - confirmed to end of 2004
Rubens Barrichello - confirmed to end of 2002
No confirmation, options on both David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen
Ralf Schumacher - confirmed to end of 2004
Juan Pablo Montoya - confirmed to end of 2002
Renault (formerly Benetton)
Jarno Trulli - confirmed for 2002
Jenson Button - loan contract from Williams to end of 2002
Jacques Villeneuve - confirmed for 2002
Olivier Panis - confirmed for 2002
Giancarlo Fisichella - confirmed to end of 2004
Second driver to be confirmed
Nick Heidfeld - existing contract to end of 2003
Kimi Raikkonen - existing contract to end of 2003
Jos Verstappen - confirmed for 2002
Second driver to be confirmed
Eddie Irvine - contract to the end of 2002
Pedro de la Rosa - contract to the end of 2002
Fernando Alonso - loan contract from Renault
Second driver to be confirmed
Luciano Burti - confirmed for 2002
Second driver to be confirmed
Mika Salo - confirmed for 2002
Allan McNish - awaiting official confirmation for 2002 Autorace.com
Local ABC affiliate may not air USGP Local Indianapolis television station WRTV-6
(ABC) will not broadcast this years USGP September 30th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway if network and track officials have their way.
There are still a lot of unsold tickets for sale. General manager for the station, Don Lundly commented with: "It would be premature to say it's not going to happen, but I just don't have the answers I need yet".
Food for thought With a 3-day
attendance of 600,000 expected for next years CART race in Mexico City,
plus a 4-day attendance of close to 400,000 at the Monterrey event where a
lot more seats are being built (they had 316,000 this year), CART will
draw more people for those two races (1 million) than the IRL will draw
for the entire 2002 season!
Barnhart slaps Sharp with biggest IRL fine
ever Brian Barnhart slapped
Scott Sharp with the IRL's biggest fine ever after blatantly blocking Robbie Buhl and Sam Hornish
Jr. at the Kentucky event. "Sharp blatantly blocked me out there and if Brian Barnhart doesn’t do something about it, he is going to lose some credibility," said an angry Buhl after the event.
"The Indy Racing League has established a reputation for presenting close, exciting open-wheel racing," said Barnhart. "Instrumental in this style of racing is a code of ethics that's been developed by the drivers and league officials which creates an atmosphere on the track that allows for wheel-to-wheel racing. Scott's actions were not appropriate at Kentucky."
SCCA and Panoz scoring snafu eliminate
Brian Simo from championship The 2001 BFGoodrich Trans-Am Series
continued today, in the ninth of eleven races, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Tom Gloy Racing team entered two Qvale Mangustas
that carried the Tommy Bahama banner for the weekend. #88, Brian Simo, the
2000 BFGoodrich Tires Cup Trans-Am Champion finished 12th. #4 Tony Ave finished 26th.
Simo started tenth and ran as high as ninth on the 13-turn road course. While racing on lap three, the yellow Tommy Bahama entry was mistaken for
another yellow entry for jumping the start of the race. The officials brought Simo in for a stop-and-go penalty, for "improving his position before
the start of the race." The team spoke with officials in pit lane asking for
a review of the television tape. Simo and the team did not agree with officials before or after the penalty was issued. He returned to racing in
30th position after the penalty was assessed. While running in ninth, Simo
and Tommy Drissi made contact and Simo went from ninth to twelfth position
near the end of the race. After the race, SCCA Chief Steward Dick Templeton and Panoz Executive
Director John Clagett admitted to team owner Tom Gloy that Simo was penalized
in error when Simo was mistaken for another car.
Eli Vukovich dies Eli Vukovich,
brother of Bill Vukovich, died today at 85. He always blamed Ed Elisian for starting
the crash that killed his brother at Indy. S. Levinson
Lights: Bell to start from pole at Gateway Series points leader Townsend Bell (DIRECWAY Lola) earned his third straight Dayton Indy Lights Championship pole with a little help from rainy skies Saturday at Gateway International Raceway. With qualifying and most of the weekend's practice sessions washed out, Bell was awarded the pole when the grid for Sunday's race was determined by point standings. "It's a shame we didn't get a chance to qualify just like Milwaukee," Bell said. "These are the only two short ovals of the season. I love single car qualifying on these tracks or other ovals where you can take the car to its limit. It's fun and a challenge. It's disappointing I didn't have a chance to earn a bonus point if I could have won the pole. We have a decent car and we've been quickest both practices. As long as the track gets clean from the Silver Crown rubber tonight, we should have a good race tomorrow." Bell's teammate and closest title challenger Damien Faulkner (Dorricott Racing Lola) will start second. Dan Wheldon (Gemstar Communications/PacWest Lights Lola) and Mario Dominguez (del Valle/Corona/Televisa Lola) will fill row two.
beats hare again In a nerve-racking race at Mid-Ohio, Team Audi
learned, that it is not always the fastest car that takes the checkered flag first. For almost two hours, the two Infineon
Audi R8 sportscars of Rinaldo Capello/Tom Kristensen and Frank Biela/Emanuele Pirro were the dominate cars. At half distance, the third
place Panoz was already a full lap behind. However, in the end some
unusual circumstances saw David Brabham (pictured right) and Jan Magnussen,
in their year-old Panoz LMP-1 Roadster, win their second race of the year,
and 2 out of the last 3. Finishing 10th and 11th overall, were the works Corvettes, the No. 3 of Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell edging the No. 4 of Kelly Collins and Andy
Pilgrim, to take their fifth GTS victory of the season. BTW - laps
times for the swift Audi's were 9 sec slower than the CART Champ cars
recently ran at Mid-Ohio.
Does Hornish need a veteran teammate?
Despite a strong start with two wins and a perfect finishing record, Sam
Hornish, Jr. has seen his lead in the IRL points race fade to just 25 points
over veteran Buddy Lazier. It is not that Hornish has had a rash of DNFs - in fact, he has finished
every race and, with the exception of a 14th place finish at the Indy 500 (6th among IRL regulars) he has compiled six podiums, including three
second-place finishes and has never finished below sixth. On the contrary,
it seems that without the benefit of a veteran driving partner, the 22-year-old former Formula Atlantic driver has lost some of the edge that he
and Panther Racing had at this year's first race at Phoenix and subsequently
at Homestead, where they were able to benefit from Michael Andretti's
Homestead test recommendations. Heading into the season's final three races, it appears that Lazier has an
edge over Hornish and is poised to take over the top spot in the point standings that his younger rival has selfishly defended all season. Going
into next year, it might behoove the Panther Racing squad to look for an experienced driver to partner with Hornish, someone with the pedigree of
Mark Dismore. Jim Allen
Ken Tyrell succumbs to cancer
77-year old legendary F1 team owner Ken Tyrrell died at his home in Surrey in the early hours of Saturday morning, his family said. Jackie Stewart, who won several F1 title with Tyrell said, "he did not just take an interest in his drivers, he really cared in the deepest sense about everyone who worked with him," said Stewart. "We didn't have a contract after our first year because, quite simply, we didn't need one." Tyrrell sold his team to British American Tobacco in 1997 and had been battling cancer since 1999.
I remember being in the lounge at Mexico City talking with Tyler Alexander
in the late 1980's and Martin Brundle walked in and Ken's wife
said..."MAH-TIN", in that VERY, VERY British accent. Will never forget it!
organizer feedback Since our recent article
on the proposed CART race in Tampa, we have had some dialogue with the
race organizers, in particular our concern for any real good passing zones
on the 1.8 mile track. We received this feedback from them: Hello Mark: I'm one of Mike's partners in putting
together the CART race in Tampa and am more involved in the operations
side of the organization. First,
I wish to thank you for your great article covering our proposal.
Tampa is a great town and I am certain that when the racing
community gets to know what Tampa and our venue have to offer, they'll
become as enthusiastic as we are. Mike forwarded your reply to me and I
just wanted to take a moment to respond to your request for a braking area
for passing. Your comment was
right on the mark and I'm afraid the graphic that you have doesn't provide
sufficient detail of the course. First
of all, our philosophy has been to develop the course in order to showcase
the quality of racing CART has to offer spectators.
That means lots of passing, no wagon trains and great vantage
points from which spectators can view the race. The original track is 12 m
(40') in width, which meets FIA's minimum width. We are lengthening the
start/finish straight to approximately 1800' to 2000'. The first turn will
be a 90 degree turn, but instead of maintaining a 12 m width, we plan to
widen the entire series of turns to 60' to 65' in order for the second or
third cars coming out of the first turn will have an ample opportunity
overtake the first car through the subsequent turns.
We want to encourage as much side by side racing as possible,
similar to Cleveland and Sepang. We'll
do the same thing in the series of turns diagonally opposite of this set.
This series leads to a long straight which, as you can see, has a couple
of kinks. We may replace the
subsequent sweeping turn leading to the start/finish straight with a 90
degree turn. Please keep in
mind all of the above is subject to final engineering, how we will handle
certain barriers/runoff areas and CART's review.
We're in the process of finalizing the drawings, so I'll send you
an update when they're completed. I have thoroughly enjoyed your
editorials concerning CART and Autoracing1.com's overall coverage of
motorsports, especially CART. It is an incredible racing series. Thank you
again for your article and your comments. Best regards, Tom Read
VP/Operations. Editor's Note: We propose these
modifications. Note two additional heavy braking areas.
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