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DATE News (chronologically 9/16/01 to 9/29/01)
9/29/01
Michael Schumacher regards ovals as unnecessary risk  Excerpt from Friday's USGP Press Conference from the current World's best driver - Michael, putting aside your obvious focus on Formula 1, when you come here to Indianapolis, do you ever imagine what it would be like to drive on a high-speed oval and how competitive you might be in a very well set-up car? Schumacher: "Honestly, I have never really looked into it and thought about it because I simply don't see a point in it. There's two reasons for it. First of all, I feel it is too dangerous, from my point of view.  The second point is I feel Formula 1 is the highest challenge you can have in motor racing. So, obviously, I'm doing well here and I don't see a point to prove anything in an Indy race, IndyCar or Champ Car or whatever."
9/29/01

Argentinean drivers coming moving up in CART and F1  Last year it was Norberto Fontana in Champ cars.  Next year Argentinean driver Martin Basso was moving up to CART next year.  The European Minardi F1 team and the Motor Club of Argentina have agreed to work together to promote young Argentine drivers on the ladder up to F1. The Motor Club of Argentina has announced a comprehensive program for its drivers competing abroad, in order to provide them with all necessary support for their motor racing activities. Minardi, which assisted Argentine drivers Esteban Tuero and Gaston Mazzacane to make their debuts in F1, will make available to the Motor Club of Argentina both its facilities and its experience to achieve their goals for this program. 
9/29/01
NASCAR announces seatbelt rules change UPDATE A reader writes - "Does the flat silky material that the label is made from allow the belt to twist easier during impact, thus allowing the belt to dump?" With Bill Simpson stating bluntly on RPM2 Night the other day that he is going to sue NASCAR, I see this silk label rule as nothing more than another diversion of NASCAR's. Kenny Wallace on RPM2 Night this week made it quite clear that the seat belts must be installed correctly in order for the belts to function as designed. Bill Simpson has been saying that for years. But NASCAR refuses to acknowledge the simple truth. What a surprise! NASCAR continues to clown around in motorsports right under everyone's noses. Mike C.  9/27/01 NASCAR just made this change in the rules, but we think it might be pointing at a bigger picture. Mayfield crashed over the weekend and his belt dumped, when Earnhardt crashed his belt dumped. Looking at the Earnhardt seat belt photo you can see the belt buckle was over the "Simpson label" when it dumped. Perhaps the same was true in Mayfield's accident. Does the flat silky material that the label is made from allow the belt to twist easier during impact, thus allowing the belt to dump? Obviously NASCAR thinks so, otherwise, why the rule change? NASCAR ANNOUNCEMENT - NASCAR announced today the manufacturer’s label on seat belts must not be located under the adjusting mechanism when the driver is buckled into the seat and has tightened the seat belts and shoulder harness. If the label is under the adjusting mechanism, the label must be removed or relocated in a manner that does not affect the integrity of the belt material. The date of the manufacture must remain visible on the belts at all times. This modification goes into effect immediately for NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series, Busch Series, Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Touring Series. Frank R
9/29/01
Seen at Indy  Roger Penske, whose team scored its 11th Indy 500 victory this year after Helio Castroneves led teammate Gil de Ferran to a one-two sweep of the race, visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday along with his two drivers. Emerson Fittipaldi, who won the 1989 and 1993 editions of the "500" (driving for Penske) and the Formula One World Championship in 1972 and 1974, also visited the track Saturday.
9/29/01
Order Autocourse 2001_2002  Autocourse is the oldest and most famous annual on Formula 1, World Championship motor racing in the world. As a book of record it is widely acknowledged as the 'Bible' of motor racing, and has become a prized collector's item. The 2001-02 edition will be the 51st for this famous annual. Ever since the first edition back in 1951, Autocourse has built its reputation on being the most accurate, comprehensive, entertaining and beautifully produced book to cover the world's most glamorous sport. It has become renowned for its breathtaking photography and illustrations, and its extensive coverage of the world of motor racing.  Order Now List Price: $54.95 | Our Price: $38.46 | You save $16.49 (30%) 304 pages, Over 275 photos Avail. Dec.
9/29/01
Tickets a dime a dozen at USGP  Went to the GP practice Friday. Mika was the fastest.  Juan was 9th. It may have only been in the low 60's at best today. Williams was hurting with the cold weather. I sat in the Paddock Penthouse, man it was very loud. The noise just echoes through the old speedway grandstands. I love the noise, they really scream. I bought a $140 penthouse ticket for $25!. So I have a great seat for the race. I have 2 free tickets that I can't GIVE away. I called several clients and there is no interest. I hope it warms up for Juan. Scott P. from Indianapolis
9/29/01
A view from Canada  Dear AutoRacing1 - I have been following CART for about 10 years. I first got interested when Scott Goodyear, and Paul Tracy got into the series. I am a big PT fan as "I AM CANADIAN" I think the CART formula as it is now is the best formula for racing competition. I do not see a lot of racing in F1 but find myself interested because of JV. I think that CART going global is the only way for the series to be as successful as it has been in the past. For me CART has always been a global series as I live in Canada. Three races up here next year. I am very upset with Toyota, buy your way to the top!  Honda and Ford are committed to CART with the current rules. KEEP THE TURBOS! If CART gives into Tony George & Toyota it will be the end of the series as we know it. I think there is too much fighting about going global or not, it's a no brainer!  I don't care if there is only 3 Americans in the series, It should be the best drivers available. USA think outside of the box please.  CART is an international series with many nationalities. I like street, road, and oval racing and I love the sound of the turbos. 11 different winners out of 16 races to date. CART has had a tough year with Rio and Texas, the die hard fans will stick with CART, they will get up Sat. morning to watch Germany & England live. CART needs to keep growing world wide, if the races in the US are poor turn outs then get rid of them (ovals) Regards, Duane Deinum
9/29/01
What has Indy done for Oldsmobile?  2nd UPDATE Dear Steven Smith - You're right about the departure of Toyota from the CART series, it's for 2 reasons: 1) they have not been able to win the championship (like Mercedes, except one time), and because of Honda, their Japanese arch-rival always beating them. In IRL the Nissan budget is low as is GM, so Toyota has a great chance of winning with half the budget they spend in CART; 2) They will spend so much in F1 with chassis and engines that if they wanted to keep their feet in US racing, they have only the IRL option (ALMS was too expensive I suppose) and they have to do an entire F1 car. With an international world watching the F1 series, they will double (engine and car) tarnish their image. Arnaud Marguerite (Frenchcart fan), FRANCE  9/29/01 - Another reader responds - Dear Steven Smith - What about Pep Boys, Northern Lights, Excite@Home and all the other sponsors who basically went belly up after getting into the IRL? Why is Delphi cutting back, as did Menard? Where was the value in the IRL for them?  Michael Jones, Los Angeles, CA.  9/29/01 - Dear AutoRacing1.com - What does Toyota think they are gaining by going to the IRL?  Oldsmobile has won the last few Indy 500's and yet GM is closing the doors due to poor sales.  It seems the Indy 500 and the IRL did nothing for Oldsmobile because the average person remembers that Juan Montoya won the Indy 500, not Olds.  Helio Castroneves won the Indy 500, not Olds.  Winning the Indy 500 doesn't seem to carry much weight anymore, at least not for the engine folks.  Like most of the teams and drivers before them, it seems Toyota is going to the IRL because they have not been able to beat the best in CART, and feel the IRL is their best chance of winning.  Steven Smith, Indianapolis, IN
9/28/01
NBC Dover race TV ratings soar Sunday's MBNA Cal Ripken, Jr. 400 on NBC finished with a 4.5 national rating/10 share, 88 percent ahead of last year's 2.4 national rating/7 share for the same race on TNN, according to figures released today by Nielsen Media Research. The 4.5 national rating for NBC's coverage of the MBNA Cal Ripken, Jr. 400 ties the previous best for any auto race in history competing head-to-head with the NFL. The DieHard 500 from Talledega, Ala., on CBS on October 12, 1997 posted a 4.5 rating/12 share. Sunday's coverage peaked with a 5.5 rating between 5:00-5:30 p.m. when Dale Earnhardt Jr. crossed the finish line to win his second NASCAR Winston Cup race of the year. "NASCAR really is the ratings success story of the year," said NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer. "We made our deal knowing that NASCAR would compete with the NFL in the second half of the season. Our NASCAR ratings continue to exceed our expectations and projections - we're well ahead of where we thought we would be."
9/28/01
Basso stepping up to CART Following a successful Champ Car test this week at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway aboard Dale Coyne Racing's 2000 Ford-Cosworth/Lola, Argentinean CART Toyota Atlantic Championship contender Martin Basso has firmed up plans to graduate into the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series with Dale Coyne. "I'm excited," said Coyne this morning. "It's been difficult for all of us on the team not to be racing regularly this year. We've been talking to Martin and his father, Jose, for a while and it was good to get out there and test this week. "Martin did a good job. He handled the [850-plus] horsepower really well and his [lap] times were very good considering the track's been closed for a couple of months while they did some repaving work, so it was very green. Story | Updated 2002 CART Silly Season Page
9/28/01
NASCAR Winston Cup Kansas test speeds
1. (8) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 177.819
2. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 177.749
3. (2) Rusty Wallace, Ford, 177.708
4. (1) Kenny Wallace, Chevrolet, 177.509
5. (40) Sterling Marlin, Dodge, 175.055
9/28/01
NASCAR Cup car stolen  This WNBC TV station is reporting that a Winston Cup racing team is without its pride and joy. Police are searching for the team's stolen race car. The team is expected to announce the theft soon, ask for help finding it, and offer a very substantial reward to get it back. In Lakeside Park, right under the water tower that says Race City USA, you'll find some of the biggest names in racing such as Penske, Roush, Yates and Wallace. At sometime over the past weekend someone stole an official Winston Cup race car from a race team's parking lot. Investigators are not saying which team owns the car. But they are saying the car is worth $200,000. Investigators say it was locked inside a white trailer when someone pulled up, hooked it up and drove off.
9/28/01
Talk of USGP losing its luster  This Indy star article discusses the issue of a downturn in interest in the USGP due to terrorist events of recent times, as well as the first-year novelty has worn off. J.C. Welch
9/28/01
Talk of redesigning Indy track surfaces again  This Indy star article discusses the driver's awareness of the latest American tragedy. Then it goes on to discuss the possibility of redesigning the infield portion of the track. Evidently, the some of the drivers find it "amateurish". We've heard that over the summer Tony George had engineers looking at that possibility, but couldn't be completed for this year's event. One possibility was taking out a turn or two, the other was banking the last turn into the "regular" 1-2 short-chute, so better speeds could be obtained entering the "oval" portion of the track. Ether way, we hear they are seriously looking at modifications. And with all the F1 teams in town, this is the time to look for a decision.. J.C. Welch
9/27/01
Mears to replace Zanardi in #66 American Casey Mears, a 23-year-old Dayton Indy Lights Series and Indy Racing League veteran, will drive the Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard beginning with Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. Story
9/27/01
Toyota issues engine ultimatum to CART UPDATE We assume this means Toyota will not be in CART after 2002.  Ford and Honda are not prepared to do a normally aspirated engine by 2003, and we don't see CART going with the IRL engine in 2003, effectively telling Ford and Honda to take a hike.  9/27/01 -  Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., today announced that, beginning in 2003, Toyota will only supply a 3.5-liter, normally aspirated V8 engine for top-tier, open-wheel racing in the United States. The powerplant will meet Indy Racing League specifications, which were announced earlier this year. Toyota has been an engine supplier in the CART series since 1996 with the current spec 2.65-liter, turbo-charged engine. Discussions regarding CART's future engine plans have been ongoing for more than a year; however, no final decision has been reached by CART. "Our timetable for business planning reached a critical point, and we simply couldn't wait any longer - Toyota has made its decision," said J. Davis Illingworth, Jr., Toyota senior vice president. "From a financial perspective, it is not prudent for Toyota to supply two different engine specs for U.S.-based, open-wheel racing while also in the early stages of a Formula One program internationally. "As for future engine specs, we are certain CART will decide what is best for its shareholders and participants. If CART adopts the same engine specifications as the IRL, and it makes good business sense from both a financial and marketing standpoint, Toyota would consider again participating in the series." For 2002, Toyota will compete in the CART FedEx Championship Series with all of its current contracts in place, and once again make an all-out effort to win the Driver's and Manufacturer's Championships. Photo Courtesy Toyota Motorsports
9/27/01
USGP observations from Indy On a quick drive over to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one could tell that this is an epic weekend for motor racing in America. While the F1 vendors were setting up shop, you could also see signals that other racing disciplines are in town as well. Team Motorola, Gurney's All American Racing, and IRL vendors and trucks were everywhere. While its been cold the last few day, with temperatures in the 40's overnight, the forecast calls for sun and 70's thru Sunday. Practice begins tomorrow, with F1 cars rolling out at 11 am. We'll keep an eye out today to see who else is in town.  J.C. Welch
9/27/01
Montoya holds court in Indy  In Indianapolis, at the Downtown Nordstrom's, JPM held a packed house in awe as nearly a thousand fans lined up for a chance to meet and get autographs from the rising F1 superstar. Accompanied by his fiancé, father, and his staffers, he delighted the crowd for 1 hour Wednesday. Signing shirts, posters, books, replica cars and photos, JPM saw an array of fans. As I talked with some of the fans, there were Columbians, Americans, French and Britons among the crowd. In talking with a couple IMS workers, the only other F1 driver appearance slated is Jenson Button at a local appliance store promoting the new F1 game for Playstation2. Winners will get a chance to play him Saturday night at Jillians downtown. Many local fans will remember JPM's dominance at the 2000 Indy 500. Do American fans demand more public appearances of their favorite drivers? We think so. If that's true, JPM did the right thing by making himself available to a very enthusiastic crowd. Perhaps American fans don't buy into the mystique of F1 drivers that enthralls our European friends. J.C. Welch
9/27/01

CART drivers talk about F1  This excellent Indy Star article, with remarks from Kenny Brack, Mo Nunn, Mario and Michael Andretti and Dario Franchitti, gives interesting perspectives on the relationship between CART drivers and F1 rides. Brack would rather stay away, Dario still dreams, and Rahal isn't looking back. Also interesting to note that Dario feels F1 drivers have no sense of what CART is all about, yet they "wax" on the series. After the feedback from CART's recent European swing, F1 may lose a few fans to the more competitive oval racing that the CART series runs as part of its road, street, oval and superspeedway mix of courses. Perhaps Europeans are tired of the "parades"? J.C. Welch
9/26/01

Denver race to be announced Wednesday  5th UPDATE This article appeared in the Denver Post.  9/26/01 - This is the website for the new Denver Grand Prix. We assume it will show content soon after the official announcement.  9/25/01 - The CART Denver race will finally be announced officially tomorrow.  It will be interesting to see how close our track layout below is to the official one, and whether Denver gets the Labor day date they covet.  9/10/01 - Kurt Makse writes - Based on what I saw while visiting the site recently, I drew a yellow line on the aerial shot of the Denver circuit area showing what I though could see changed to the circuit. The part I'm pretty sure of was the part on the bottom because of the heavy work going on.  They are not only widening, but also improving the road and area around there. There is a lot of work clearly going on.  They seem very close to finishing the portion next to the tracks "the backstraight". Of course I might be wrong and they may just be improving the roads and everything in the 5th and 7th street area for the media compound or the support paddock. Either way I think the circuit will be an excellent layout.  

9/9/01 - A reader writes - I was in Denver about 2 weeks ago and took a look at the area around the Pepsi center and there is a flurry of road work going on in the entire area. From what I saw I believe the circuit will be changed to probably at least 2.0 miles long based on the large area that was having road work done to it, especially the area of 5th and 7th street.  9/9/01 -  In this article back in early June, we summarized our visit to the site of the new Denver GP circuit.  In that article we expressed concern with the layout of the track in that it afforded little opportunity for over taking.  Our concern was expressed to CART directly as well.  AutoRacing1.com has learned that apparently these recommendations are taken seriously as the track has been reconfigured from what was published in the local Denver newspapers.  We suggested some possible changes, shown in black in the diagram. The 'official' revised configuration will be published when the official date is announced.

9/26/01
Rahal confirms return to Indy 500  This article on Autosport.com says that Team boss Bobby Rahal told this week's Autosport magazine: "We're absolutely looking forward to going back to Indy. We've tried to do it for the past couple of years, but just haven't had the funding. We do now and will be announcing the details later. There was no resistance from [engine supplier] Ford."
9/26/01
Bell to be featured on RPM2Night  Television network ESPN2 has advised that Dorricott Racing's Townsend Bell is scheduled to be a feature story TODAY on RPM2Night, Wednesday, Sept. 26. The telecast airs at 6:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. PT) . Please check your local listings as programming is subject to change. Bell, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., leads the Dayton Indy Lights Championship's by 22 points over teammate Damien Faulkner, of Ireland, 131-109. He has won a series leading four races in 2001 with dominating wins Long Beach, Milwaukee, Toronto and Mid-Ohio. Bell has also posted "fastest race lap" on five occasions this season driving the Dorricott Racing-prepared DIRECWAY Lola. His success caught the eye of famed Champ car owner Pat Patrick prior to Mid-Ohio and subsequently led to a couple of Champ car tests with Patrick Racing. Bell's tests were impressive enough to warrant an invitation from Patrick Racing to drive for it at recent CART events in Germany and England. Round 10 of the 12-race Dayton Indy Lights Championship will be at Road Atlanta and the Petit Le Mans, presented by Audi, on Friday, Oct. 5. 
9/26/01
USGP tickets available for dirt cheap  This story - tells of ticket sales at almost giveaway prices. Ticket brokers and tour operators are scrambling to unload thousands of tickets that they expected to make money from. This has a silver lining for Midwestern racing fans: Make the drive! Due to the tragic events of September 11th, many Europeans have cancelled their plans, leaving all kinds of tickets available at less than face value. You can call or email any of the ticket brokers in Indianapolis, or try your luck in front of the gate on any day from here on out. Ticket "scalpers" do not break the law in Indiana, as brokering by anyone for any price is legal. At last count, IMS alone had 25,000 tickets available. Also of note, fans can get a rare glimpse of F1 emerging superstar Juan Pablo Montoya who will sign autographs at the downtown Nordstroms today from 3-4 pm.  
9/26/01
Scientists study driver dehydration  NASCAR veteran driver, Mark Martin, and 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year, Matt Kenseth, were the subjects of a hydration study that was conducted at the Chevy Monte Carlo 400 in Richmond, Va. Scientists from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) monitored Martin and Kenseth throughout the 400-lap, three-hour and 13-minute event to determine how well NASCAR drivers replace the fluids they lose through sweat during a race. In the grueling heat of a race, cockpit temperatures can often soar well beyond 115 degrees, placing drivers at risk for dehydration, heat illness and impaired performance. Martin's estimated total sweat loss during the race was 4.5 liters (153 ounces), nearly equivalent to 10 lbs. of bodyweight. However, Martin replaced 78% of his total sweat loss by drinking 3.52 liters (119 ounces) of fluid. Martin still experienced a final bodyweight loss of more than 2 lbs., and a post-race urine sample indicated significant dehydration even with this modest 2-lb. fluid deficit. "Although Mark did a pretty good job of replacing the fluids he lost, he was significantly dehydrated before the race even began," said Bob Murray, Ph.D., director of GSSI. "That means Mark has an increased potential for heat-related problems and is more likely to experience a deterioration in physical and mental performance." Kenseth also completed the race, but was off the track and out of his car for nearly an hour due to a mid-race crash. Because he spent less time exposed to intensive cockpit temperatures, Kenseth's fluid loss was less dramatic than Martin's. According to GSSI, Kenseth lost 2.1 liters (70 ounces) of sweat. Yet, by drinking 1.66 liters (56 ounces) of fluid during the race, Kenseth was able to replace 81% of the fluid he lost, leaving him fairly well hydrated.
9/25/01

Andretti to preview CART Legends program in LA   Mario Andretti will be in Los Angeles on Friday, September 28 to preview the 2001 CART Legends Program and the Marlboro 500 presented by Toyota. He will be hosting a media luncheon at Prego Ristorante in Beverly Hills. Prior to the luncheon, Andretti will drive a vintage racecar through the streets of Beverly Hills. For the second consecutive year, the Legends Program highlights those racing greats that have contributed to the rich heritage of Champ Car racing. The Legends will be in attendance at the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota November 2-4 at California Speedway. Throughout the weekend, the Legends will be participating in a number of media activities including the Thursday afternoon media go-kart challenge at Universal Studios and a Friday morning press conference at the track. Among the Legends scheduled to attend are Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, Rick Mears, Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Bobby Unser, Dan Gurney, Danny Sullivan, Gil de Ferran, Parnelli Jones, Jimmy Vasser, Wally Dallenbach and Tom Sneva. 

9/25/01
Industry News

Now Available: "Ford: the Dust and the Glory, a Racing History, Volume 2"   Author Leo Levine charts Ford Motor Company's involvement in motor sports from 1968 to the present day in his latest book offering, "Ford: The Dust and The Glory, a Racing story, Volume 2." Coinciding with Ford's centennial racing celebrations, the book not only details the historic accomplishments of Ford in the racing arena, but also provides comments from Levine's interviews with some of the greatest Ford drivers, including Mario Andretti, Junior Johnson, Parnelli Jones, Bob Glidden, Sir Jackie Stewart and Bill Elliott. Levine's second book (the first covered Ford's racing history from 1901-1967 and was reprinted earlier in the year), the publication also tracks the growth of the sport in America from a regional attraction to a national phenomenon.  With an emphasis on Ford's groundbreaking accomplishments, this volume of 'The Dust and the Glory' also serves as a comprehensive history of international racing since 1968. Thus, in addition to the stories of the drivers closely associated with Ford - Cale Yarborough, Dale Jarrett, Mario Andretti, Bob Glidden, and Bill Elliott, to name but a few - the book also provides information on the careers of superstars such as Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. The results of different racing circuits' major events, and their year-end rankings, are provided for each year. But 'The Dust and the Glory' is more than a series of dates and facts about racers and their victories. The ideas, the decisions, the foresight - and in some cases, the mistakes - of car owners, engineers, sponsors, and corporate management are also a large part of the story. Levine explains why Walter Hayes is "the most important man in Ford's 100-year history of motorsports involvement." Also discussed are topics such as Ford's shutdown of motorsports operations in 1970, the early days of Formula Ford, the company's early 1990s re-emergence in the CART business, and the 1999 introduction of the Focus. Great owners such as Robert Yates, Roger Penske, and Jack Roush are also profiled.

Order Volume 1 1901 - 1967 Vol. 1 Hardcover - 676 pages ($39.95)

Order Volume 2 1968 - 2000  Vol. 2 Hardcover - 432 pages ($39.95) 

9/25/01
Giving Toyota credit, where credit is due  2nd UPDATE We are also reminded - Don't forget the Tundras that the Safety Team drive, plus the Celicas for the Toyota Celebrity Race!  9/25/01 - We neglected to include another key aspect of Toyota's support of CART - the Toyota Atlantics series, now the key rung on the ladder before Champ Cars.  The success of that series can be directly attributed to Toyota's support, for without it, where would CART's support series now be since Lights is gone? Certainly Dodge's support of the Skip Barber Pro Series would still be there, but CART does not own that series. 9/25/01 - Because Toyota was the first (and so far only) of the CART engine manufacturers to announce they were going to the IRL, they have caught a lot of negative flack from CART fans.  However, consider this - 1) They have never made any demands on CART,  2) They have always been, by far, their biggest sponsor among manufacturers and probably second biggest overall behind only Marlboro.  They have sponsored Long Beach, Miami (before it was dropped), Nazareth, Cleveland, Michigan, Road America, Houston and Fontana.  They were also the official CART truck sponsor at one time  They also do quite a bit of advertising.  3) They have done much to promote the series, offering up drivers for pre-race promotional days, etc., despite a limited number of appearance days they are given.   They are also picking up a fairly large portion of "The Legends" package....and the $1 mill purse given at Fontana, which was done to try to give CART a big event.  4) They were the injured party in the pop-off valve cheating controversy, yet, by CART's desire not to say anything, perhaps were portrayed as the bad guy - along with CART  5) Through all these years when others have been so quick to address all of CART's problems and jump all over them in a public forum, Toyota has never publicly badmouthed or questioned them, despite more than a few opportunities. We'd hope that everyone keeps in mind that if Toyota does ever go solely into IRL, CART will not only be losing an engine manufacturer, but one of the two largest sponsors in American open-wheel racing today -- yet, they've never played that card with CART in 18 months of waiting on engine specs as far as we know.  From where we sit, Toyota has been a true friend of CART, even if they were the last manufacturer to get involved.  One hopes they remain in CART for a long time.  Mark C.
9/25/01

Ferrari to push weight around to keep two Italian GP's  On Autosport.com, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says he will use all the influence of Formula 1's most famous team to ensure Italy retains two races on the Grand Prix calendar.  He goes on to mention how important a market China will be in a few years.  CART had better wake up to that reality soon as well.  Even if F1 does keep both Italian races, there remains no barrier to CART racing at Monza or Imola, they just can't race there within a month either side of the F1 race.  The FIA would not approve it.  The FIA does not want CART taking ticket sales away from F1 and vice versa.  With Maserati considering CART (after the new engine specs are announced), a race in Italy will go a long way toward getting them into the series.  Perhaps we will one day see CART fly to Europe twice per year for two oval races (England & Germany) and a 2nd time for two road course races (Italy and France).  We predict within a few years both CART and F1 will race in almost all the same places (USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, China, Australia and Brazil).  The exceptions will see CART in Mexico versus F1 in Russia or the Middle East.  At that point both series will be equally diverse and both true World Championships. 
9/25/01
Skinner out, Gordon in rest of year  Robby Gordon will pilot the #31 Lowes Chevrolet for the remainder of the year after it was announced today that Mike Skinner would be undergoing knee surgery on October 2nd. Gordon, who was scheduled to take over the ride in 2002, will now assume driving responsibilities for the final 10 races in 2001, starting this week in Kansas. "We are very sorry to see Mike leave before the season is over because we wanted to win a race with him," said team owner Richard Childress. " But he needs to go ahead and have his knee surgery so he can heal up and do a great job for whatever team he drives for next year.” Skinner started 23 races this year for Richard Childress Racing. Injuries, sub-par performance, and sponsorship pressures all took its toll on the team, which only managed a single top 10 finish all year. Skinner has not announced plans for where he hopes to drive next year.
9/25/01
Zanardi update  Alex Zanardi has had his final operation and everything is looking good for a recovery. Mo and Kathryn Nunn visited Alex on Sunday before they came home from Europe. They inform us he was in reasonably good spirits considering what he has gone through. They believe he will be released in about 10-15 days to go home. He'll get a few weeks off and then he'll start the rehabilitation phase. Mark C.
9/25/01

USGP news  Nice article in the Indy Star about Juan Pablo Montoya. He's as cocky and confident as ever.  After last week's win, and coming back to Indy after his 500 victory 2 years ago, we think he's the favorite and so does Mario Andretti. The extra speed that Williams has shown will surely help him at the IMS track, with its long straightaway. Add that MS already has the season championship, JP is out for the win with nothing to lose, and everything to gain. If there's one name people remember in Indy, when it comes to F1 drivers, its Montoya.  Our sources in Indy tell us tickets are going for ridiculously low prices.  In talking to a ticket broker yesterday,  he stated he has "tons" of tickets available, plus "hundreds" of hotel rooms.  Looks as if most of the Europeans are staying home. They have also cancelled the "Grand Prix Ball", which was sold out of $10k sponsor tables. They cite a lack of Europeans making the trek. MC

9/25/01

Fan Excitement 101   How is it that NASCAR always manages to produce crowd pleasing finishes for 'key' races?  Whether it be Richard Petty at Daytona, Dale Earnhardt at Daytona, Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Daytona, Dale Earnhardt Jr. waving the American flag at Dover after the terrorist attacks, etc., etc. etc. etc., etc.  NASCAR always comes up smelling like roses.   Meanwhile, for CART, if anything can go wrong it will - be it injured drivers, cancelled races, weeping tracks, rivers running across tracks, political fights in Brazil that cancel a race, etc..  NASCAR seems to be awful lucky, or the man upstairs certainly is smiling down on them.  This Dover press release (PDF) sums up yet another headline making, crowd pleasing NASCAR event. It even had another heated rivalry in the making, with Ricky Rudd and Rusty Wallace going at it after the race, getting their fans in a feeding frenzy.  This is an entertainment business after all, and NASCAR, with the blessings from up above, certainly knows how to entertain their paying customers.  Alex Zanardi knew how to excite the CART fans with his donuts. Castroneves knows how to do it with his fence climbing.  Perhaps the rest of the CART contingent could take a lesson from Mr. Zanardi, Mr. Castroneves and from the NASCAR camp on Fan Excitement 101. 
9/25/01
NASCAR belts tear again, Simpson blames the cars  NASCAR officials discovered a partially-torn seat belt in the No. 12 NASCAR Winston Cup Series car driven by Jeremy Mayfield following his accident in Sunday's MBNA Cal Ripken, Jr. 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway. Mayfield received only minor injuries in the accident. The partially-torn left lap belt was found by officials during the standard post-accident review of the car. The lap belt apparently "dumped" at some point during the accident. The act of dumping occurs when the seat belt webbing is pulled or moved significantly to one side of the metal adjustment device through which the webbing is threaded. NASCAR has outside experts reviewing the damaged belt and plans to offer recommendations to its teams prior to this coming weekend's activities.  On RPM2Night Bill Simpson said the problem will continue because NASCAR's cars are too stiff and too much energy is being transferred back to the driver.
9/25/01

Soft noses wanted  The crash that cost CART star Alex Zanardi both legs was one that no race car yet devised could have withstood, according to America's leading racing safety expert, Dr. John Melvin. Paradoxically, CART's intensive safety engineering may have exacerbated Zanardi's trauma while it saved the driver who hit him, Alex Tagliani, from serious injury. Zanardi had spun sideways and almost stopped on the EuroSpeedway oval at Lausitz, Germany, last Saturday, when his car was hit on its left-front side by the onrushing car of Tagliani at more than 200 m.p.h. The front of Zanardi's rear-engine car was ripped away by what amounted to a horrific, penetrating bullet--the ultra-strong nose of Tagliani's car. "It was a penetration problem," said Melvin, a biomechanical engineer. "Because the cars were built to hit a wall nose-first, they're very strong [nose cones are reinforced with ballistic composite materials]. And if they hit another car from the side, it tears the [other] car apart. "We're working on how to solve that. One way is to blunt the nose, so it isn't so pointy. Formula One still has a pointy nose, but it's soft [with a blunt, more rigid structure just behind the nose to protect the driver's feet and legs from frontal impact]. "Another is improving the sides of the cars." Indy Racing League cars, for example, "have side pods that are extended quite forward" of those in CART and Formula One cars. "[Still] I would say that nobody's car would have held up well under that particular hit," Melvin said, referring to the three series widely considered to have the safest cars--Formula One, IRL and CART.  Ed Hinton, Chicago Tribune - "Zanardi never had a chance"

9/25/01
Industry News

SpeedVision to move offices  Our John Hammer reports on this weeks edition of Pit Pass that Speedvision, like RPM2Night before them, are moving their offices from Connecticut to North Carolina.  NASCAR country.  Speedvision was originally going to be an all-NASCAR channel when FOX bought it, but last minute it was changed to be perhaps 50% NASCAR and 50% other motorsports.  Based in Charlotte, it looks like other racing will take a back seat to NASCAR, just like it does on RPM2Night. The sooner CART can get out from under the USA NASCAR auto racing monopoly, and spread it's wings like F1, the better off it will be.  Right now there's NASCAR and more NASCAR.  In the USA, you can have your racing any way you want it, as long as it is NASCAR. MC

9/24/01

Feedback from England  UPDATE You may find these comments from F1 fans interesting as well. 9/24/01 - A British fan writes - A couple of things I wanted to contact you about. One is my experience of the Rockingham 500 (briefly). The other is the pathetic article linked to on your hot news page entitled: "Speedway: Waiting game for the fast and the furious", by Catherine Riley. Firstly I would like to say that I have been to 5 previous F1 races around Europe and this was my first CART event having toyed with the idea of heading across the Atlantic in the past to either the US or Canada to see an event. I have followed CART very closely for 5 years now, as best I could with uncertain TV coverage periods over here, so knew pretty much what to expect and certainly what can and can't be done on a 1.5 mile oval like Rockingham. Lets get this straight here, its not Michigan or Fontana. Improvements can and should be made of course, with great attention paid to what the drivers views are. Despite the waiting, it actually turned out to be the best motorsport event I have attended, easily. To be able to see the whole track and everyone on it was far more enthralling than watching F1 cars come by for a few seconds, then see the rest of the lap on a TV screen. Granted, my in-depth knowledge of the series enabled me to recognize every car I was seeing and keep track of race positions where others may have become confused. Even with the wait I could fill the time in by strolling around the pit garages watching mechanics hard at work, team owners and personnel amongst us. Not to mention glimpses of drivers as they were in and out of portakbins no doubt finalizing race details and attending team meetings. The money I paid for the center-transfer combined with my grandstand ticket was still less than I would pay just for a ticket in a stand at Silverstone. Its a new circuit, there are bound to be problems. But as long as they are swiftly addressed things should improve. As for articles like the one I mentioned above, that's exactly the reason I don't get national newspapers, they print absolute rubbish. So some spoilt brats get caught in the VIP carpark, oh dear. I got out easily enough in the regular carpark, maybe they should have tried that. I sat for 4 hours in a traffic jam at Silverstone before getting in with little over an hour to spare before the race.  They clearly have no idea about CART or ovals and expect constant overtaking. Plus if you looked around you there was plenty of overtaking to see, Dario Franchitti providing a lot of it. They can hardly complain about things like that anyway with the borefest that is F1 these days. All in all it was exactly what I expected and more. With a few changes for next year it can be even better. Edd Davis. MC

9/24/01

Race Scheduling 101  UPDATE A reader writes - "My British pal warned that if CART moves the Rockingham race to August, instead of 3/4-full stands, they might be 1/2-full, because Europeans generally take most of the month of August off for their summer vacations. That's why Bernie instituted a F1 hiatus at that time." One has to wonder, however, if Bernie did it to give F1 team members a vacation with their families, since we have not noticed any poor F1 race attendance in August.  In fact, one would think a race fan may go to see a race as part of their vacation.   9/22/01 - If CART wants to cut down on the amount of travel by teams so the team members don't get burnt out, and the weather is good (i.e. not too wet, hot or cold) here's a little lesson in race scheduling 101.  The venues shown are where we see CART eventually migrating to after all the weak ones are jettisoned.  We might have 1 or 2 wrong, but you get the idea.  With a strong schedule like this, CART will 'look' and be successful. MC

Feb. 
1. Miami (Season Opener 1st weekend in Feb.)
2. Monterrey (Weekend after Daytona 500)
March 
3. Brazil
4. Houston 
April 
5. Long Beach 
6. Australia 
7. Japan (back-to-back with China)
May 
8. China (1st weekend)
Some teams qual for Indy pole on 2nd weekend
9. Laguna Seca (3rd weekend)
Some run Indy 500 on 4th weekend of May
June 
10. Portland 
11. Vancouver 
12. Cleveland 
13. Toronto 
July 
14. Mid-Ohio
15. Road America 
16. Italy or France 
Aug. 
17. Germany (During F1 hiatus)
18. England (During F1 hiatus)
19. Montreal 
Sept. 
20. Denver 
21. Mexico City 
22. Fontana or Tampa
Season over before too far into Football season
4-month off-season.
9/24/01

Rockingham 500 replay For those of you who might have missed Gil de Ferran's and Kenny Brack's spectacular late race battle at Rockingham, the replay is scheduled to air at 3:00 AM on ESPN on Saturday September 29, 2002 in the USA.  Set those VCR's.   MC

9/24/01

Americans in Europe update  In British F3: Alex Gurney got off to a slow start but in the last 7 races he scored 6 top ten finishes. In British Formula Ford: American Patrick Long has a chance to win the title, he trails by 2 point with one race remaining. Side note: Patrick Long has been seen with Bobby Rahal at Rockingham and at the British Grand Prix, Can we read anything into this? MC

9/23/01

Brits call for Rockingham overhaul  Kevin Eason writes in The Times of London "What the inaugural Rockingham 500 CART FedEx race in Britain lacked in quantity, it made up for with driving of the highest quality. But the questions over the future of the Rockingham Motor Speedway are many and likely to force a radical overhaul of the £50 million track and its surroundings before the CART circus will be willing to pitch its tents again in this corner of Northamptonshire."  What the article does not mention (but his other one does) is the totally inadequate, Silverstone-like, 2-lane roads going in and out, and inadequate parking facilities.  And lets hope the scoring pylon works by next year. MC

9/23/01

CART has changed British motorsports forever Andrew Baker writes in the London Daily Telegram "YEARS from now, greying petrolheads will bore their grandchildren with tales of the day at Rockingham Motor Speedway that changed British motor racing for good." One thing we left unsaid yesterday was the fact that the majority of fans stayed for about 1-hour after the race to take in all the victory celebrations, on a podium located on top of the garages behind the pitlane and in full view for all fans to see.  Very F1-like and very much a requirement at all CART races (other race promoters take note).  Frankly, some of CART's USA victory podiums are a joke and require immediate fixing. This isn't club racing anymore folks.  MC

9/23/01

2002 German 500 tickets on sale Hans Jörg Fischer, President of Eurospeedway, told us at Rockingham that they have already started to sell tickets for the 2002 American Memorial German 500 CART race.   MC

9/23/01

2002 French GP date change.  German date set  Since the French team is defending its World Cup soccer title, the organizers have requested a change in their 2002 F1 date to avoid conflict with the World Cup held between May 30 and June 30, 2002.  The request was granted and the race will be July 21, 2002. The German GP at Hockenheim will be the following week, July 28, 2002.  We await the official 2002 F1 calendar. MC

9/23/01

Coulthard would consider CART if......  Speaking to John Oreovicz on CART.com David Coulthard, who was visiting the CART race in Rockingham, England Saturday, stated that CART Champ Cars were the only other form of racing he would consider, but only if they drop the ovals.  Coulthard, like many other top racing drivers in the world, views ovals as entertaining, and probably a blast to drive, but not worth the unnecessary risk that comes with it, especially after seeing what happened to his good friend Zanardi.  MC

9/23/01

Does Luciano Burti want to be a Champ Car driver?  Want to know if F1 driver Luciano Burti is interested in driving Champ Cars?  Listen (3:10 min. Real Audio) MC

9/23/01

British fans blown away by CART UPDATE It looks like it wasn't only the British fans that were blown away by CART.  In Sunday's London Daily Telegram, one of the more respected London newspapers, the Brough Scott race report stated, this racing, referring to de Ferran's last corner, last lap pass for the win, made F1 look like a walk in the park.  Without question, CART has arrived in a big way on the international scene.  Now we shall see if it has the marketing savvy of a Bernie Ecclestone to grow it into a big international powerhouse, or remain just a North American phenomena that occasionally sticks it's toe in international waters, afraid to take the full plunge for fear of getting eaten by the F1 sharks.  Certainly CART can remain a North American series, competing with the likes of NASCAR and the IRL.  CART is more than that, much more.  9/22/01 -  Alison Hill (a Brit) tells us she phoned her brother-in-law after today's race.  He is a big F1 fan and a highly critical person.  He came to see the race today because Alison always told him how good CART was. He said to her, "Alison, I was totally blown away.  That was the best racing I ever saw."   MC

9/22/01

Audio from Rockingham  
Tom Michaels of the CART Radio Network, does a race wrap-up

Gil de Ferran after a spectacular final lap battle with Team Rahal's Kenny Brack
Kenny Brack talking about the final lap battle

Helio Castroneves talks about his team's superior work in the pits

Roger Penske on the performance of his drivers

Patrick Carpentier
on passing on the England track

Tom Michaels of the CART Radio Network, previews the race
Christian Fittipaldi talks about running on the Rockingham circuit for the first time
Cristiano da Matta, on what he expects at the Rockingham track 
Cristiano da Matta, on how you prepare for tracks that you've never run on before

9/22/01

Andrea Montermini update We caught up with former CART driver Andrea Montermini today at Rockingham and quizzed him about the previous rumors of him hooking up with some Russian sponsor for a team.  He said he was hopeful of putting together a sponsorship package for himself to run with an existing team.  He said the Russians said they were not going to go forward because of lack of money, but recently said they do.  Andrea said he will believe it when the money is in the bank.  Until then, he move forward with his own plans.  MC

9/22/01

Castroneves demoted to 4th After a protest was filed by the Newman Haas team claiming 3rd place finisher Helio Castroneves passed Da Matta on the pit exit before the line, CART reviewed the tapes.  As a result of that review, Castroneves was demoted one position to 4th, but Team Penske plans to appeal. MC

9/22/01

Rockingham attendance Today's attendance at Rockingham Motor Speedway was announced as just over 38,000. While not as high as the very successful Germany race, it was a reasonable crowd given the extremely high ticket prices. MC

9/22/01

More sightings at Rockingham 2nd UPDATE Also seen - Former Lola designer Eric Broadley, Johnny Herbert and Justin Wilson.  9/22/01 - We ran into Nicolas Minassian today.  He said he was trying to put together a program in CART next year, with a fall back being the IRL if he can't raise enough money to do the bigger series.  We got the sense he feels he got a bit of a raw deal with the Ganassi Team.   9/22/01 -  We are seeing more F1 sightings at Rockingham.  David Coulthard joins Juan Montoya, Mark Blundell, Jenson Button, and Luciano Burti.  More to follow.  MC

9/22/01

Latest news on Zanardi  We spoke to Kathryn Nunn today who said Alex's spirits are better than anyone expected.  He was asking who had the pole for today's race and was giving the nurse's a hard time already.  MC

9/22/01

Things are looking up at Rockingham  Practice went off well, with Kenny Brack topping the charts at over 215 mph, which is faster than Germany, which is a bigger track.   It's now 1:45 hours to the green flag and the sun is out.  It appears we will race.  MC

9/22/01

Montoya gets engaged  We missed the announcement, but Juan Montoya has gotten engaged on his Birthday to his girlfriend Connie Freydel.  Congratulations to both.  Both were full of smiles all weekend here at Rockingham.

9/22/01

Rockingham update  UPDATE Due to the delay and threat of darkness, the race has been shortened to 168 laps or 400 km from 500 km. The green flag will now drop at 4:30 PM local time.  Practice will continue for another 30 min.  Teams will then change engines to their race powerplant (takes 1.5 hours to complete) and start engines will happen at 4:15 PM.   9/22/01 - The track is better, but there are still wet spots.  The track dryers are working, the question that remains is - will the weeping wet it again or will has the overnight drilling worked.  10:00 AM practice is already delayed 1-hour. MC

9/22/01

CART teams & drivers rally around Zanardi  Championship Auto Racing Teams will donate $100 for every lap leader from today's inaugural Rockingham 500 to the charity fund designated by recently injured two-time FedEx Series champion Alex Zanardi. A $100 donation will be sent on behalf of every driver who leads a lap in the 210-lap event and the collective donation of $21,000 is earmarked for the World Association To Aid Children. The fund was designated by the Zanardi family for donations in lieu of flowers for the Champ Car star who lost both legs in a tragic race accident last week in Germany. "We thought this was a very fitting way to make a contribution to a charity that is close to Alex's heart as well as exhibit to him and Daniela that they will be in our thoughts throughout the race," said Mike Zizzo, CART Vice President of Competition Public Relations. "Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with them and the CART community looks forward to helping them cope with their new challenge in life."   Several teams and drivers, including several that will make private donations, are joining the sanctioning body in donating to the fund through their performances in today's Rockingham 500:
· Honda will contribute $100 for each lap led by a Honda-powered driver with a minimum donation of $10,000.
· Team Green will contribute $100 for every lap led for each of its drivers, Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy.
· Team Motorola will contribute $100 for every lap led for driver Michael Andretti.
· Team Penske will contribute $10 for every lap completed by drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves as well as $25 for every lap led by each of them. 
· Individually, de Ferran and Castroneves will match the Team Penske donation with $10 for every lap each completes and $25 for each lap led.
· Fernandez Racing will donate $10 for every lap completed by drivers Adrian Fernandez and Shinji Nakano with a minimum donation of $3,500.
· Patrick Racing will donate $100 for every lap led by drivers Jimmy Vasser, Roberto Moreno and rookie Townsend Bell.
· Target Chip Ganassi Racing will contribute $10 for every lap completed by its drivers, rookie Bruno Junqueira and Memo Gidley.
· PacWest Racing will donate $100 for every lap led by its drivers, Mo Gugelmin and rookie Scott Dixon.
For others interested in donating to the World Association to Aid Children, checks in Zanardi's name may be forwarded to: Assosiation Mondial pur l'Aid des Enfant, Star Team For Children, 20 Avenue de Fontvieille, MC 98000, Monaco. Cards and letters can be sent to Mo Nunn Racing; 2920 Fortune Circle West, Suite E; Indianapolis, IN 46241.. MC

9/21/01

F1 technology at its best/worst  We had dinner tonight with one of the BAR F1 team engineers who provided a description of some of the latest F1 technology.  Did you know that F1 transmissions are so sophisticated they shift themselves? It's more than just your regular automatic transmission though.  The cars go out on Friday, pass a beacon transponder at the S/F line (which synchronizes everything) and do a few laps in anger with the driver shifting the transmission with the paddle levers.  From the data collected from those few laps, the computers, with the map of the circuit in memory, knowing the speed of the car, the throttle percentage, brake pedal pressure, etc, will automatically shift the transmission the rest of the weekend.  The driver just sits back, turns the wheel and brakes and accelerates.  Fascinating technology, but how long before we no longer need the driver?

9/21/01

CART's lack of exposure in the USA quite evident  Juan Montoya drove in CART for two years, and not even one in F1 so far.  Just to show how much better informed European fans are about F1 vs. USA fans about CART, read this letter from a reader -  I just read your update on Juan Montoya being at the track today, and being mobbed by autograph seekers.  I think it is awesome that the F1 fans recognize him as pure talent and a serious contender to dethrone the Schumacher boys.  I was at the CART race in St. Louis last year.   Juan, his father Pablo ,and a couple of friends came into the TGI Fridays while I was eating there.  They waited for a table for like 15 minutes.  The hostess yells "Montoya table for 5".  They enjoy dinner-and then the server announces "its Juan Pablos birthday!" and sang Happy Birthday to him.   No one in the place (200 people?) recognized him, except my table.  I was lucky enough to get an autograph.  He is a very nice guy. it is hard to believe that was exactly 1 year ago."  And it's hard to believe what the great F1 press coverage in Europe can do for ones popularity. 

9/21/01

Rockingham race TV coverage changed  Due to the race being moved back 2.5 hours tomorrow, the race will now be shown tape-delayed in the USA at 12 PM noon EDT on Saturday September 22, 2001.  It was originally scheduled to be shown live on ESPN at 7:30 AM EDT.  This change does benefit west coast USA viewers.  The race will still be shown live in Brazil.  No word on other countries yet.  MC

9/21/01

Luciano Burti shows at Rockingham  Recently injured F1 driver Luciano Burti is here at Rockingham and was seen talking with Max Wilson.  With Villeneuve and Montoya proving CART drivers can do well in F1, and with CART racing in Europe, drivers are starting to take a serious look at CART.  Now if they can just get on the track to race......MC

9/21/01

Mark Blundell - "I would have driven"  We had a chance to speak with former CART Champ Car driver Mark Blundell who is here at Rockingham doing TV for BBC.  During our conversation he did say "I would have loved to drive in this race, if only I was asked.  I think it would have helped attendance."  MC

9/21/01

Townsend Bell to address Skip Barber seminar  Skip Barber Racing School Graduate and Barber Dodge Pro Series race-winner Townsend Bell is currently at the top of his game. With an Indy Lights title close at hand and an impressive Champ Car debut in the books, Bell has come a long way in the dog eat dog world of motorsports. Much to his credit, Bell has not only shone on the track but off it as well, creating sponsorship programs that have funded his road to success. On October 1, Bell will talk about his views on sponsorship along the ladder to the top at the Skip Barber Motorsports Marketing Seminar at the Conseco Conference Center in Carmel, Ind., a suburb of Indianapolis. "My sponsors, Direcway, Maxim, PC World, Toshiba, and others have been critical to my success on the track. In short I wouldn't be here without them," said Bell as he prepares to make his second Champ Car start with Patrick Racing in Rockingham, England. "I don't believe that any young driver today, regardless of their background, who aspires to make a career of motorsports can underestimate the value of a proper sponsorship program. From what I've seen of the Seminar's program, it will definitely get you off on the right foot." Much has been written in the past of Bell's marketing savvy. That trait was cultivated from early on in his career when he created an ingenious sponsorship program that began in his early days of racing in the Skip Barber Race Series. Bell saw value, where others didn't and leveraged it to his full benefit. Bell will speak about his experiences and take questions form the audience during the seminar.

9/21/01

Juan Montoya to be at Rockingham 500  2nd UPDATE Juan Montoya was at the track today with his girlfriend Connie.  After his win last weekend at Monza, he was mobbed for autographs wherever he went.   9/21/01 - Jenson Button and Johnny Herbert, among others, will also be on hand.  Also, Juan Montoya is 26 today.  9/20/01 - We learned this morning that former CART champion and recent Italian GP winner Juan Montoya will be here at the Rockingham race this weekend along with many others from F1.

9/21/01

Track update at Rockingham 500  It's almost 9:00 AM here at Rockingham and the weepers look as bad today as yesterday, despite all the overnight work.  They are still working on the track, but the real possibility exists that they may not be able to run again today.

9/20/01
British F3

Americans in Europe - Gurney runs well at Brands hatch  Alex Gurney raced to two more impressive top ten finishes this past weekend in round 12 of the British F3 championship at Brands Hatch. In what was arguably one of the most competitive F3 grids ever, Alex proved to be more than capable of mixing it with F3's best. Qualifying turned out to be a game of hundredths not tenths. Amazingly, the top 15 were separated by just half a second in qualifying for the first race! In qualifying for the second race, it was just 4 tenths separating the top 15 cars. Alex and his Fortec teammate, Gianmaria Bruni were separated by just 9 hundredths of a second and two hundredths of a second respectively in the two qualifying sessions, Alex edging his teammate in the second. Grid positions were important but the first lap proved to be even more important as overtaking on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit proved extremely rare this weekend. From 12th on the grid, Alex made a great start and emerged from the first lap in 8th position and held it to the finish. In the second race, starting from 10th, Alex again made a good getaway. Then, in a bid to gain track position on that vital first lap, Alex dove to the inside of Bruce Jouanny for 8th at Graham Hill bend and made side to side contact. Jouanny spun off into the grass while Alex continued but the hold up allowed Alex's teammate to slip past. Alex was able to continue on to finish in 9th place. This was another solid performance in a season that is continually changing for the better. There is only one more round in the championship left and that will take place at the Silverstone International circuit on September 28th and 29th. "I feel very good about our chances at the last race. Silverstone should suit our engine slightly better than Brands and we've made big gains in the setup of the car. I think we'll be very strong, rain or shine!" said Alex. 

9/20/01

Thursday Rockingham attendance  Attendance on Thursday was announced at 10,000 people, though it appeared a bit less to us.  Tomorrow, Friday, is a work day so we don't expect a whole lot more.  Still, not bad for a weekday at an oval venue.

9/20/01
#93 to carry Red-Cross and NYPD logos  In keeping with industry-wide support for victims of last week’s attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. and to those engaged in the support efforts, the #93 Amoco-Siemens team will feature special design elements for this weekend’s NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Dover Downs (DL) International Speedway. Replacing the Amoco Ultimate branding on the hood of the #93 entry, the logo of the American Red Cross will appear exclusively along with contact information (1-800-HELP-NOW……1-800-435-7669) for the organization, which is primary to the on-going relief efforts following terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. on September 11. In addition, the official shield of the Fire Department of New York will replace the deck-lid signage on the #93 Dodge occupied weekly by Siemens, the team’s major associate sponsor, which joined Amoco in waiving their space on the #93 entry for this weekend’s race. Car Owner Bill Davis and driver Dave Blaney will also join many other NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams in generating additional funds in a lap-to-lap fund-raising program at Dover Downs, initiated by Penske Racing and drivers Jeremy Mayfield (#12) and Rusty Wallace (#2). Along with sponsors Amoco and Siemens, Davis and Blaney will contribute $10 per-lap each for every lap run during the MBNA-sponsored 400-lap race this weekend at Dover, totaling $40 per-lap and as much $16,000 to the Disaster Relief Fund of the American Red Cross. The Amoco funding for the driver-driven project with Blaney and the #93 team is in addition to the $5 million in corporate contributions to U.S. disaster relief made last week, including $1 million to the American Red Cross and $2 million each to the Emergency Services Relief Fund in New York (serving members and families of the NYPD and FDNY) and to a broad range of other organizations responding to the relief efforts following the events of September 11. Siemens has pledged $2 million to support emergency assistance agencies in New York and Washington and the company will match contributions from its 460,000 employees in 193 countries worldwide.
9/20/01

CART Legends have won over 400 races and 400 poles  Andretti, Mears, Unser, Sullivan and Gurney are some of the legendary drivers that put Champ Car racing at the forefront of motorsports. For the second consecutive year, these Legends, along with other racing greats, will celebrate Champ Car racing's rich heritage at the CART FedEx Championship Series season finale -- the Marlboro 500 presented by Toyota, scheduled for Friday, November 2, to Sunday, November 4, at California Speedway in Fontana.  The Legends, who are expected to make up one of the most illustrious groups of Champ Car drivers ever assembled, include Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Bobby Unser, Bobby Rahal, Parnelli Jones, Tom Sneva, Danny Sullivan, Dan Gurney and Wally Dallenbach, along with current CART stars Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser and the 2000 CART FedEx Series champion, Gil de Ferran. Together these drivers have won more than 400 races and 400 pole positions.  The Legends will participate in several fan-focused activities throughout the race weekend, including autograph sessions on Saturday, November 3, as well as Fan Forums, where race fans can ask questions to their favorite Legends. California Speedway, in partnership with the California Highway Patrol, will distribute Legends posters to fans in attendance.

9/20/01

Ticket sales down for USGP  So far 160,000 tickets have been sold for next weeks USGP, down some from last year.  They expect to sell, 190,000 before race day.  Still 190,000 is a good crowd, but it's likely we will see some empty seats this year.  We hear scalpers are taking a bath and tickets can be had for $10 in some cases.

9/20/01
TMS wants to buy postponed NH date UPDATE New Hampshire has told TMS no thank you.  Basically having the race in Texas would not allow their New Hampshire fans to attend.  The following is a quote from Texas Motor Speedway General Manager Eddie Gossage after New Hampshire International Speedway owner Bob Bahre declined Bruton Smith's offer to move the rescheduled New Hampshire 300 on Nov. 23 to Texas. "We made an offer last week to move the New Hampshire race to Texas, pending NASCAR approval," said Gossage. "Bob Bahre declined the offer today but we told him the offer is still on the table. We made the offer for all the right reasons. We believe this would have been a 'win-win' situation for everyone involved - Mr. Bahre, the fans, NASCAR, the drivers and the sponsors. If Mr. Bahre reconsiders, we will be happy to follow through on our offer."  9/20/01 -  According to this article in the Dallas Morning News, Bruton Smith's Texas Motor Speedway wants to but the postponed New Hampshire race date and move the race to the warmer Texas track.  The Loudon, N.H. facility was scheduled to play host to the Winston Cup race last weekend, the second of two annual dates for the 1-mile oval track, but the race was postponed until Nov. 23 because of the terrorist attacks. Smith called Bahre last weekend after the postponement was announced.
9/20/01

Did you know?  Did you know that Methanol is highly corrosive?  Yes, Aluminum is very much affected by Methanol and the Champ Car teams have to flush the engines with gasoline/petrol at the end of each day or the Methanol will crystallize and hold the fuel injectors in the open position.  This process is known as 'pickling.'  This is just one of the issues an engine manufacturer must deal with when producing a Methanol engine.  MC

9/20/01

Alex Zanardi takes news well  2nd UPDATE It turns out our original report was correct, Alex does know and he did take the news much better than expected.  How good is the CART safety team?  Alex's heart apparently stopped, due to loss of blood pressure, and they got him going again and stabilized for the helicopter trip.  9/20/01 - We received this correspondence from the Mo Nunn team.  "The latest on our man, Alex, as of this (Thursday) morning is that the fiery spirit is emerging. He's awake in the hospital, although still fairly sedated. But he's swearing up and down at every little thing. He's not been made aware, yet, about the extent of his injuries, and he hasn't asked any hard questions. Although he did look around his room and figured he's not doing too well, so he looked Daniela in the eye and said "I'm dying." She said, "No you're not," and he just smiled, and said "Okay." Things seem to be getting better and better every minute. That's just incredible, all things considered. 9/20/01 - We are told Alex Zanardi was informed by his wife of his condition after he was fully awake (which he is now). We hear his reaction was "that is OK, as long as I have you and Nicolo."

9/20/01

Schumacher has bitter feelings toward Montoya  It's beginning to become evident to everyone that former CART champion Juan Montoya is the better of the two drivers on the Williams BMW team.  The tide is turning, with attention now shifting from Ralf Schumacher to Juan.  How bitter is Ralf about being out driven by the CART driver in his rookie F1 season?  On the podium in Monza Ralf was sour-faced and refused to shake Juan's hand.  Welcome to F1 Juan.  Juan certainly will be a championship favorite in 2002.

9/20/01

Reynard and Lola to build IRL cars  Autosport magazine is reporting that British car manufacturers Reynard and Lola are planning to sell IRL chassis's starting in 2003.   Both hope to have their test cars ready to run by next summer, pending the finalization of the spec IRL transmission.  By IRL rules, both companies would have to formally notify the IRL of their intent to supply cars by April 1, 2002.

9/20/01

Weather nice in Rockingham  The track is damp from overnight rains, but the sun is out now and they should be able to get at least one practice session in today.  Showers are forecast for later in the day, so it will be close.  We hear race day will be sunny.

9/20/01
Northern Lights to officially terminate IRL sponsorship  IRL series sponsor Northern Lights was not very visible in the IRL this year because they were not able to meet their obligations of $10 million a year for 5 years.  However, it was said early in the season that they were still the official sponsor and would be back stronger in 2002.  That won't happen.  The Northern Lights deal will be officially terminated after this year and the IRL is faced with no series sponsor at the moment. 
9/19/01

Tagliani affected by Zanardi accident  This AP article talks about how much Alex Tagliani was affected by his accident with Alex Zanardi.  "There's not five minutes that go by that I don't start thinking about him," Tagliani said Wednesday as he prepared for Saturday's Rockingham 500. "I brush my teeth, I think about him ... In the shower I think about him. I don't think about the crash; I think about the guy. Nothing will take Alex out of my head, probably forever." Zanardi's legs were amputated at the knee. He faces a fourth operation but his condition is improving and doctors expect to bring him out of an induced coma in a few days. Tagliani said he was consoled at the clinic by Zanardi's wife, Daniela. She assured him he wasn't responsible. The Canadian driver also described how Zanardi's wife sent a letter to Tagliani's mother, Gabriella, in Montreal. "She was really nice with me," he said. "She didn't want to see me with the feelings, the responsibility of guilt. She sent my mom a letter to help. ... When I was talking to my mom after the accident, I was crying and didn't feel right." Tagliani said only one thing will keep him from thinking about the crash.

9/19/01

Senna film in the works  According to this BBC article, a film in which Antonio Banderas will play motor racing star Ayrton Senna will shed new light on the driver's life and death, according to reports. The film will focus on the time leading up to Senna's fatal crash, and could even reveal new information about the crash itself, according to the Observer newspaper. Banderas is working with Senna's family. Spanish actor Banderas, known for roles in Desperado and The Mask of Zorro, has led the project about the Formula One legend.

9/19/01
Martin laps Kansas  Next weekend marks the inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. Mark Martin spent two days testing his Viagraâ (sildenafil citrate) Taurus there last month. After becoming familiar with the track, Martin described a lap around the new 1.5-mile tri-oval. "Kansas is a little different race track than Chicago," Martin said. "It doesn't have as much banking and it doesn't have quite as much grip. Starting at the start/finish line, as you get ready to set-up to enter turn one you've got to get right out by the wall at the end of the frontstretch to make your turn in. As you turn into the corner it has a little bit of a feeling of a dip as you enter the corner. After that it feels a whole lot like a Las Vegas-type turn. It's a little bit slippery, but not much, it seems to be real forgiving and the exit of turn two is pretty easy. It doesn't have any trouble spots. "Then going down the backstretch it's straight instead of having a bend to it. It has a real difficult entry into turn three. It is real flat turning into three and it's real easy to get loose turning in there. After you get turned in there, the front end always wants to slide up the track. Exiting turn four there is a lot of room so you can always let the car move up the race track if you need to because it seems like the wall is far away from you. "The frontstretch is just one big, continuous turn. After you come out of turn four you sort of let the car come down the banking, down to the bottom of the race track at the start/finish line and then start your way back out toward the wall to get set up for turning into turn one."
9/19/01
Roush to support NY firefighter  Jack Roush announced today that his three main operating companies, Roush Racing, Roush Engineering and Roush Performance together with the support of nearly 1800 employees, will be contributing to the support of the families of the firefighters lost as a result of last week's attack. "We have elected to support the Uniformed Firefighters Association Widows' and Children's Fund," says Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president "in order to directly help what is expected to be over 1,000 widows' and orphans left behind by these gallant Americans." 
9/19/01
Many changes in store at Martinsville  Fans will not only notice a couple of additions to the facilities at Martinsville Speedway when they arrive for the Old Dominion 500 Winston Cup race or the Taco Bell 300 Late Model Stock race, they'll also notice a deletion of sorts. A pedestrian tunnel has been added in the fourth-turn area to allow personnel traffic in and out of the infield while cars are on the track. And the pond located adjacent to the fourth-turn area … well, it's no longer adjacent to the fourth-turn area. The better-than four-acre body of water was filled in during the summer and will now be used for souvenir vendors and drivers' motorhomes. "We have always tried to move ahead at Martinsville Speedway and I think that's what we've done with these two projects," said Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell. "The tunnel will give drivers, crews and the media easier access to the infield. The new souvenir area will make it much easier for fans to visit the vendor trailers on race weekend." The tunnel consists of 26 pre-cast reinforced concrete boxes that are eight feet wide and eight feet high. The 160-foot long tunnel is 15 feet underground in its lowest point. A section of the track in the fourth turn was torn up to create the tunnel, but has since been replaced with concrete in the bottom two lanes and asphalt in the top two. The tunnel will alleviate the long waits crews and media members often had while cars were practicing on the track. It also will make it possible for people to get in and out of the infield during the race.
9/19/01
IRL awards ceremony postponed until Oct 7th  Due to the postponement of the final IRL race until October 6th, the IRL awards banquet has been postponed until October 7th at the TMS Speedway Club. The crowning of 2001 IRNLS champion Sam Hornish Jr is now set for for 8:00 p.m., preceded by a reception and followed by a concert featuring K.C. and the Sunshine Band.
9/18/01
Ford Cosworth would not mind supplying entire CART field  During the very interesting tour of the Ford Cosworth engine facilities in Northampton, England today (article later) we quizzed one of the Ford Cosworth guys about their capability of supplying the entire CART field if the need arose.  The answer that came back - we did it before and we would welcome the opportunity.  With no competition, the R&D effort would be reduced and the cost savings funneled back into rebuild costs.
9/18/01
Kenny Brack thinks international expansion good for CART  We had a conversation with Team Rahal Ford/Cosworth driver Kenny Brack (pictured right talking with team owner Bobby Rahal at today's Ford Cosworth hosted dinner for the media in a Castle in England) today.  Included in the discussion - what were his feelings on CART becoming more international?  He is of the opinion that is the way for CART to go.  He mentioned how impressed he was with last weekends Germany race, in spite of the tragic Zanardi accident.  Michael Andretti has gone on record as also saying that the international races are really what has kept CART going.  Will Shanghai be in CART's near-term future?  Can it afford not to be?
9/18/01
Many teams to wear Old Glory at Dover  When the Robert Yates Racing teams return to the track this weekend for the MBNA Cal Ripkin, Jr. 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Dover Downs International Speedway, they will be sporting a patriotic look honoring America in response to the recent tragedies in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. With the teams turning their attention to the 2001 Winston Cup Series championship, both the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford and the No. 88 UPS Taurus will have the American flag prominently displayed on the front hood of each car. The tragedy our country faced was terrible," said Robert Yates. "Our sponsors have given up their space so we could put American flags prominently on our cars. We are a strong nation and I'm confident we will overcome these tragedies. I'm happy to be able to provide a visible way for us to show our pride in our country." Also, Ricky Rudd, Texaco/Havoline and Robert Yates Racing will each contribute $10 per lap completed in Sunday's 400-lap race to The Disaster Relief Fund for The American Red Cross, which will help the victims and families affected by the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. In an unabashed show of patriotism, many other teams will be running special paint schemes prominently displaying the American Flag. Both Joe Nemechek, driver of the #33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet, and Bobby Hamilton, driver of the #55 Square D Chevrolet will be running American flags on their hoods.
9/18/01
GM and UAW renew Lowes agreement through 2005  Extending a partnership that began in 1995, officials of the UAW International Union and General Motors Corp. announced they have extended their sponsorship of the UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Under terms of the new agreement, UAW and GM will continue to back the UAW-GM Quality 500 through the 2005 season with an option for the 2006 race.  In other LMS news - Representing an increase of more than $1 million over the prize money and awards posted just one year ago, Lowe's Motor Speedway officials announced today that drivers participating in the UAW-GM Quality 500 Week events Oct. 4-7 will be battling for a record purse of $4,675,072. The figure represents a 29.8 percent increase over the purse for the 2000 events and is $2.5 million more than what NASCAR and ARCA competitors raced for in the same events just five seasons ago.
9/18/01
Alex Zanardi a bigger sport figure than you might have thought  In a brief look at all of the news that did NOT get much coverage in this last week due to the tragic New York circumstances. Among them: 
- A bridge collapse 
- The deaths of the Univ. of Montana Team 
- the fact that Michael Jordan's comeback has been ignored 
YET 
- Alex Zanardi's terrible accident got a lot of coverage. 
One doesn't draw any conclusions from this outside of the fact that Alex's place in the ranks of world news was NOT forgotten.  God bless you Alex.
9/18/01
Greg Ray was seeking Busch ride  According to this Speedvision article, once touted as the Tiger Woods of auto racing,  Greg Ray, was looking to run the NASCAR Busch series next year in addition to the IRL.  Now it looks like he will remain in the IRL, as his Busch deal has fallen apart.  He also made it sound like he had an offer to do CART, but he was casting his lot with Tony George and the IRL.  We suspect what really happened was that the CART deal fell through too, and he was accepting the fact he would have to remain in the IRL.  Once touted as the Tiger Woods of auto racing by an IRL TV announcer, Ray was recently fired from his Jon Menard ride and isn't called the Tiger Woods of auto racing anymore since melting under pressure from CART driver Michael Andretti at Indy this year, and scraping the wall for the 2nd straight year.  Ray is going to have to start winning again to get out from the shadow that's following him right now.
9/18/01
#66 to skip Rockingham  The #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard will not compete in this weekend's inaugural Rockingham 500 CART FedEx Championship Series event in the wake of serious injuries suffered by two-time champion Alex Zanardi in the closing laps of last weekend's German 500.   Mo Nunn - "All our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Alex as he continues on his road to recovery. The doctors say he is progressing about as well as can be humanly expected and that is about the best news we can hope for at this stage. We're not going run the 66 car this weekend. Alex's wife, Daniela, would very much like the show to go on with the Pioneer-WorldCom team this weekend at Rockingham. Especially since both Alex and Tony were running so well in Germany until the accident happened - she feels there is unfinished business to tend to at Rockingham. However, some of the guys on the Pioneer-WorldCom team are understandably so devastated by what happened that we believe it would be difficult to fully concentrate on the task at hand. And that could pose a safety risk as we compete on another oval track this weekend. We've consulted with our sponsors, and they concur with this decision. Last week's tragic events back home in the States were tremendously unsettling, as it was. And the accident Saturday was just a terrible thing to endure for all of us. The best thing to do is to send the 66 team home early, let them take the proper time to get themselves together, and to come back strong at Houston. Meanwhile, I'm sure everyone on the Hollywood side, including Tony, is highly motivated to go out and win this one for Alex."
9/17/01
Zanardi  UPDATE The following update on Champ Car driver Alex Zanardi was provided earlier Monday by Dr. Walter Schaffartzik, Director of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine Unfallkrankenhaus (Hospital) Berlin: A scheduled surgery was conducted to clean out wounds and make sure no pieces of debris from the injury remained. The procedure lasted two hours and went well. This procedure is consistent with the practice for this type of injury. It is expected that this type of surgery will be performed every 48 hours over the next several days. Zanardi is in critical but non-life-threatening condition. He is stable and doctors are starting to reduce medication, which has placed him in a medically-induced coma. Zanardi's family has asked that donations be made to the World Association to Aid Children. Checks in his name may be forwarded to: Association Mondial pur l'Aid des Enfant, Star Team For Children, 20 Avenue de Fontvieille, MC 98000, Monaco. Cards and letters can be sent to: Mo Nunn Racing; 2920 Fortune Circle West, Suite E; Indianapolis, IN 46241. 
9/17/01

Dover Pre-Race audio (Windows Media)
ANDY WARD  1:33 (378 KB download) Andy Ward, pit crew coordinator and trainer for the pit crew of the #12 Mobil 1 Taurus (Jeremy Mayfield), discusses how he trains and sets up the team's over-the-wall gang. He also looks at the comparisons of pit crew members and football players.
ANDY PETREE 1:14
(303 KB download) (Andy Petree, owner of the #33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet (Joe Nemechek) and #55 Square-D Chevrolet (Bobby Hamilton), discusses car setups for Dover, and the difficulties the track presents.
MIKE WALLACE 1:14
(320 KB download) Mike Wallace, driver of the #7 NationsRent Taurus, discusses the difficulties of the one-mile Dover Downs (Del.) International Speedway.

9/17/01

Germany attendance observation  Germany has grandstands 3/4 of the way around the track.  The other 1/4 (back straight) is general admission standing room only.  The price of that admission was in the $30 range.  The general admission area for the race was absolutely packed wall-to-wall the entire length of the straight.  We also noticed that the lower grandstands all the way from turn 1 to turn 2 had perhaps more people than the upper grandstands, indicating that fans coming across the border from Poland and The Czech Republic were able to only afford the lower cost seats.  The promoter in Germany was wise to offer a wide range of ticket prices to meet everyone's needs.  BTW, we conversed with track personnel who are confident of getting 100,000+ attendance in 2002.

9/17/01

Zanardi  UPDATE Monday update.  According to this Reuters article, Alex is still in very critical condition and fighting for his life. The loss of blood apparently is a major concern. The good news is that Tagliani was release from the hospital.

9/17/01

CAM sets up relief fund  In response to requests made by various crews within our series, the Championship Association of Mechanics, Inc. has set up a Disaster Relief Fund to aid organizations as they provide support for those attacked on September 11th, 2001. "We will donate 100% of the funds received to one or more of the relief organizations as a united contribution from the crewmembers of our series." said Winkle. Crewmembers and anyone else wishing to donate on behalf of the crews can send check or money order to: 
CAM 
8435 Georgetown Rd
Suite 200
Indianapolis, IN 46268 
If anyone wishes to donate with a Visa or MasterCard, call the CAM office at (317) 802-0001. And if you wish to donate online visit. In all cases, please be sure to mark funds "NYC Relief".

9/17/01

German TV ratings  About one million people in Germany watched the German American Memorial 500 race live on state television ARD, a 9.2 share.  At the same time, 3.24 million (a 30% share) watched qualifying for the Italian GP in Monza on the private station RTL.   On Sunday, the Grand Prix itself drew 10.31 million viewers, a share of 54%.  Not bad for CART given it was their first race in Europe where they are still not that well known. However, they still have a long way to go to catch F1 TV numbers in Germany.  Because Schumacher is a 'god' in Germany, fans really turn out to watch.  CART would be wise to line up a top German driver for future years.  Also note - look how popular racing is in Europe - a 54% share.  10.31 million viewers from Germany alone.  NASCAR doesn't even get that big an audience in the USA and the USA population dwarfs Germany.   We hope this helps you to understand why CART can have a very good future in Europe by adding a race or two (Italy and maybe France) and getting a German driver and another British driver on the starting grid.  Auto Racing outside the USA is big, very big.  CART must position itself to take advantage of the world's thirst for big-time open wheel racing.

9/16/01

What can CART learn from recent events?  Dear AutoRacing1: I'm a bit numb, but I am glad that Alex is alive and will pull though. He has a Champions will, and he will overcome these injuries. CART does need to address a situation that I have feared for some time. I have been concerned about the pit speed restrictions, and they're position relative to pit-in and pit out. I have seen numerous occasions where cars lock up just as they get to the cones at Pit-in. The situation showed its ugly head last year at Homestead when Tag came in hot, locked the tires up and injured a crewman for PRG.  Equally scary is the number of times I have witnessed cars getting on the gas just as they hit the pit-out cones, and the car gets very nervous. Having not been there (Germany), I can not say for sure if this caused Zanardi to lose it and spin up onto the track [Editor's Note - traction control might help, but do we really want that?  Perhaps they should go to a redundant fly-by-wire system which would allow the control of driver throttle position, and actual throttle position based on longitudinal tire slip]. Other safety issues that should be addressed: 
a. Stronger/wider chassis from the front of the cockpit opening to the front bulkheads. Something to keep the cars from splitting open as they did in Memo and Alex's crash. 
b. Additional crash structure or rib running alongside the cockpit out side of the tub, but inside the body work. 
c. Instead of a single rear bulk head, they should make a collapsible rear bulkhead. Instead of using a single machined aluminum, they should use two bulkheads, mounted together with a 1-2" spacing between the engine mount location and the rear of the chassis to absorb energy on rear end impacts. 
d. The roll bars structure should be widened by 1" from the side out, to further project the driver' head. 
e. Complete evaluation of all circuits and establishment of consistent baseline rules for barriers, sand pits, grass strips, embankments, etc. 
Now is the time to look forward at the what-ifs, to prevent further injury to our heroes. Jeff Kitchen

9/16/01

Montoya first Skip Barber grad to win F1 race Juan Pablo Montoya took his first Formula 1 Grand Prix victory today in the Italian Grand Prix at the historic Monza in only his 14th G.P. start. In doing so, Montoya, who took his Skip Barber Three Day Racing School at Sears Point in 1991, becomes the first Skip Barber graduate to win an FIA Formula One Grand Prix.  Montoya raced in the Barber Pro Series in 1994 where he garnered two race victories including his professional debut at Miami in the opening race of the season. His second victory came at Mid-Ohio in August of the same year. Montoya also scored one pole and 114 points in 13 starts to finish that year's series third overall. 

9/16/01

Latest on Alex Zanardi  UPDATE As is typical with major trauma injuries, Reuters reports that "Zanardi has been put in an artificial coma," a spokeswoman for the Berlin hospital where the Formula One driver was being treated said. "His condition can no longer be described as extremely life-threatening but remains critical," she added.  9/15/01 - According to Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs, Zanardi was airlifted to Klinikum Berlin-Marzahn hospital following a two-car accident with Alex Tagliani, which occurred as Zanardi exited the pit lane following his final fuel stop on the 142nd of 154 laps. He underwent a three-hour procedure that resulted in the traumatic amputation of both legs above the knee. A CT scan of Zanardi's head was normal. He sustained a moderately severe concussion and was beginning to show signs of purposeful movement before going into surgery at about 6 p.m. local time. He also sustained several small fractures of the pelvis that did not require surgery. As of late Saturday night, Zanardi was in critical but stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital, where he is expected to remain for the next several days. 

9/16/01

German race to remain American Memorial  According to EuroSpeedway President Hans-Jorg Fischer, the German 500 will be called the American Memorial for the foreseeable future.  Except for Zanardi's tragic accident, he was happy with the way the event proceeded and with the attendance. 


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