Hot News

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DATE News (chronologically 9/30/01 to 10/11/01)
G-Force says "we will lose our shirts with Lola & Reynard"  G-Force has publicly stated that when Lola and Reynard enter the IRL, all of the manufacturers will lose money.  They feel there is not enough room in any series that caps its prices so low, with so much competition.  With prices capped, the only way for a manufacturer to make enough money to keep its doors open, is on volume.  With Dallara, G-Force, Reynard and Lola competing head-to-head, there just isn't enough customers to make up on volume, what you lose because of price caps.  The open wheel race car business is not like the mass production car business, where a manufacturer has volume in the hundreds of thousands.  It's a low volume, very expensive manufacturing process.  With Lola and Reynard entering the IRL, we fully expect them to drive the final nail in G-Force's coffin that Dallara has come so close to doing in 2002.  Mark C.
Mario Andretti agrees with AR1 - more international races  In this Autosport article, Mario Andretti says - "CART have no choice but to spread their wings.". "I know from my travels that Champ Car races have a bigger following than the NASCAR Winston Cup on a worldwide basis." Due to that fact that the Winston Cup fan base is so large within the US, Andretti believes that CART needs to play to its strengths and concentrate on holding races where it will be most welcome. "We will continue working towards increasing fan interest in the US," he said. "But you also have to go to the markets that want you. We felt so welcome in Mexico [this year], with over 200,000 people [AR1 note - over 300,000] there. Why shouldn't we go to those markets and showcase a great American series?" It seems Jerry Forsythe and some major CART stock holders feel the same way. The problem in CART is that many of its sponsors are funded out of USA marketing budgets, an issue we addressed in this article titled 'As CART goes global, what about its sponsors?' CART's biggest challenge for successful international growth will be to both convince existing sponsors to internally put together a global marketing budget for their CART efforts, and to find new sponsors who understand we are in a global economy. AR1 feels Arnold Worldwide will go a long way in helping CART accomplish that.  Meanwhile, we will see some sponsors possible go to the IRL and their USA-only reach, replaced by new sponsors who are willing to pay larger fees to reach a larger audience.  At over 1 billion annual TV viewers worldwide, CART's reach dwarfs that of NASCAR and the IRL. So while some may think the IRL gives better North America exposure to a sponsor, in fact it does not. CART races as many times a year in North America as the IRL, many of its teams are going to the Indy 500 too, plus CART gives the added benefit of its worldwide reach. Mark C.
ISC reports record 3rd Qtr.  International Speedway Corporation is reporting record results for the third quarter and nine months ending August 31, 2001. Total revenues for the 2001 third quarter increased to $132.1 million from $107.2 million in 2000. Operating income for the third quarter increased to $39.4 million compared to $27.5 million in the prior-year period. Net income was $21.8 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, compared to $12.8 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, in the 2000 third quarter. ISC hosted eleven major event weekends at several facilities during the third quarter, including Michigan, Richmond, Daytona, Watkins Glen and Nazareth. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series anchored five of the successful event weekends, with capacity crowds on hand for Michigan's two Winston Cup events. The third quarter also marked the much-anticipated opening of the Kansas and Chicagoland Speedways, with both facilities receiving high marks from the fans, drivers and media. Kansas Speedway opened on June 2nd with a double-header featuring exciting ARCA RE/MAX and NASCAR Winston West racing. The facility's successful inaugural season continued in July with a sold-out weekend of exciting Indy Racing Northern Light Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition. Also in July, a capacity crowd at Chicagoland Speedway witnessed the top talent of NASCAR competing for bragging rights in the facility's inaugural Winston Cup and Busch Series races. ``In addition to a significant increase in television broadcast rights fees, during the third quarter we benefited from better than expected inaugural merchandise sales associated with the opening of Kansas and Chicagoland. These two new world-class facilities are located in key media markets which expand our premier portfolio of racing facilities and events while broadening our marketing reach and appeal,'' commented Mr. James C. France, President and Chief Operating Officer of International Speedway Corporation. Although operating in a challenging economic environment, the Company currently expects to generate earnings for the 2001 fourth quarter in line with its previously announced earnings guidance of $0.54 to $0.56 per diluted share. ``We posted solid results for the third quarter and anticipate a strong finish to the year,'' continued Mr. France. ``As we look to fiscal 2002, we continue to assess the impact of the economy and world events on certain aspects of our business, particularly in the areas of ticket pricing, seating capacity and corporate spending. To best position the Company in this challenging operating environment, we are maintaining our disciplined approach to supply and demand as we budget capital spending for fiscal 2002. As such, we currently do not anticipate any seating additions for 2002 and are scaling back other capital spending plans as well.'' 
Montoya has Ralf Schumacher shaking in his boots   Well not exactly, but already he is calling for team orders in the WIlliams team next year.  He claims if there are no team orders, they can't win the World Championship in 2002.  Suffice it to say, Ralf would like nothing better to be the team's #1 driver.  However, given it appears Montoya has his measure now, we don't expect that to happen.
TAG Heuer Timing & Scoring Technology  Timing is everything, and it can easily apply to the ever-changing world of motor sports. Powered by watch giant TAG Heuer in conjunction with Siemens Communications, the sophisticated timing technology provides accurate timing and scoring for the high tech world of Formula One racing.  Full Story by Kevin Ma
Did N/A engine announcement chase CART TV fans away?  Perhaps it was the USA's attack on Afghanistan that hurt all racing TV ratings last weekend, but suffice it to say CART got its lowest rating of the year.  A 0.21 / 178,000 household rating is not good, even for ESPN, but based on the flood of anti-IRL engine e-mail AR1 received, one has to wonder if that had any effect given many said if CART does it, they are gone.  The IRL got a slightly better rating on ESPN2, a 0.37 / 301,000 household rating, still nothing to get excited about.  NASCAR had perhaps its worse rating of the year, a 2.7 on TNT.  Of course CART had far more worldwide viewers than both NASCAR and the IRL, the above numbers are strictly USA.
Bernie gives green light to Kirch  The future ownership structure of Formula One looks that much clearer today following reports that F1 honcho Bernie Ecclestone has approved the takeover of the sport by German media giant, The Kirch Group. According to the Financial Times, Bernie Ecclestone reserved the right to veto Kirch’s control of the sport, but talks between Leo Kirch and Ecclestone before the weekend resulted in Ecclestone approving Kirch’s assumption to a majority stake in SLEC. It is now thought that Ecclestone and Kirch will run the sport jointly and that a profit-sharing agreement could be hatched with the carmakers in the near future. Financial Times
Finalists announced for Greg Moore Legacy award  Patrick Carpentier, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan of the FedEx Championship Series, Dan Wheldon of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship, and David Rutledge of the Toyota Atlantic Championship have been nominated as the finalists for the second annual Greg Moore Legacy Award. The award, which honors the Canadian star and fan favorite who lost his life in the 1999 season finale, reflects the driver who best typifies Moore's legacy of outstanding talent on track as well as displaying a dynamic personality with fans, media and within the CART community. It is designed to encompass candidates from the FedEx Championship Series as well as its two development series, the Dayton Indy Lights Championship and Toyota Atlantic Championship. There is a minimum of one driver from each series represented for the award. The winner will be announced at the CART FedEx Championship Series Awards Banquet on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Helio Castroneves of Marlboro Team Penske captured the inaugural award last season. 
As death toll mounts, NASCAR close to mandating HANS Device  UPDATE When it comes to driver safety, Dale Jarrett is becoming the leading advocate on the Winston Cup tour. Earlier this year Jarrett expressed concern over racing in the anticipated cold weather of the rescheduled November race date at New Hampshire International Speedway. Then with last weeks fatal accident at Lowes Motor Speedway, which claimed the life of ARCA driver Blaise Alexander, Jarrett continued to plead his case for mandatory head and neck restraint systems. "We've looked at these things, we've learned what they do and we know they can save lives," Jarrett said. "It's time to stop playing around and get them on everybody." Dale Jarrett has worn the HANS Device for the better part of the racing season, and along with Jeff Gordon have become proponents for the HANS, which has been made mandatory in CART and F-1. While all of the drivers in Winston Cup have adopted the HANS or the complex series of tethers named the Hutchens Device, only Tony Stewart continues to defy the odds and race with out any sort of head and neck restraint system.  10/7/01 - Sometimes it hard for people at the top to admit they have a problem.  After a 5th death in 16 months, finally NASCAR admits there may be a safety problem inherent in their 1950's technology stock cars.   Mike Helton is now saying NASCAR will soon likely mandate the use of head and neck restraint devices for its top three divisions, Cup, Busch and Trucks.  Meanwhile, they need to also fix their cars.  As we pointed out in this article back in February, stock cars are too stiff in the front end and need a crumple zone added.  Blaise Alexander, like the four other killed drivers before him in the last 16 months, did not hit the wall particularly hard, but it was hard enough to kill him instantly, and all signs point to a basilar skull fracture again.  We refer you to this AP article.  How many more will die before NASCAR reacts?
Food for thought for CART  CART teams are leasing all the engines from Ford, Honda & Toyota. When they change engine rules, the teams are not stuck with the leftover inventory, the manufacturers are. This makes it easy for the CART teams owners to change engine rules. The manufacturers know they are going to have to scrap whatever parts are left after 2002 (the last year for the current engine), so they are going to try to build as few new parts as possible and even reuse parts of marginal quality. The scrap cost is small compared to the overall company finances, but it is significant to the racing division, which is what the managers look at. While not a safety concern, the number of DNF's is bound to increase. At the same time their PR departments will be saying that they are doing their best to win the championship. By the end of the year, some teams may be suffering from parts shortages and a lack of spare engines. Teams may have to loan each other engines in order to have full fields for the last few races. After scrapping the remaining inventory, manufactures will be reluctant to get into this leasing thing again and will want to make CART teams buy their engines. Manufacturing managers would love the idea of CART using IRL engine supply rules (i.e. buying their engines) because when team owners decide to change the engine rules in the future, they will be stuck with the useless scrap, not the manufacturers. To prevent this problem in 2002, CART would be well advised to think about having the leftover 2.65L turbos rebuilt in a detuned mode (13,000 RPM 650 HP) for the upcoming Legends series. Mated to leftover Champ Car chassis', CART can retain an important part of its heritage in terms of engines, cars and drivers.   The Legends series will then become a big hit overnight.
Turbos not unique to CART, What about wheel-mounted gear selection?  UPDATE All this nonsense that there is no place for turbos in racing. Even GM is using turbos.  In ALMS, Cadillac (GM, the same firm that makes an IRL engine) will have a revised version of the twin-turbo 4.0-liter Northstar V8 for 2002. Changes include a revised induction system and redesigned cylinder heads to complement the 180deg crankshaft and upgraded engine management system introduced in 2001. And did someone say CART was too high-tech.  Nonsense!  Also new for next year on the Cadillac will be a semi-automatic sequential gearbox, with steering wheel-mounted paddles for gearchange activation. Perhaps CART needs to take a hard look at F1 (and now ALMS) wheel-mounted paddle gear selection activation to further differentiate itself from the so-called low-tech IRL.  CART must clearly define its brand and its image.  If CART is going to call itself the highest tech open wheel North American series, CART had better walk the walk. New N/A engines should scream like a F1 engine and not groan like an IRL engine, transmissions should not hang out the back of the car like a lead weight, and cars should retain the profile of the current cars (see related article Preserving CART's Identity). Turbos are loved by CART fans, but if CART is careful to preserve it's heritage in every other aspect, the series will thrive even without them.  The 2002 schedule is strong, sponsorship is healthy, and Arnold Worldwide might just be the breakthrough CART has been waiting for. 10/7/01 - The picture to the right is that of the 3.2L Audi turbocharged ALMS engine used in their Audi R8.  Too bad CART wasn't able to convince Audi to build a turbo for the CART series.  It certainly would have avoided the major fan backlash that has occurred over the adoption of a normally aspirated engine.
Crack's in NASCAR's Armour  With safety concerns growing after the death of Blaise Alexander, the fall of advertising revenue and attendances and hospitality income dropping, good television ratings may not be enough to stop commercial backers re-evaluating their NASCAR investments. One NASCAR source commented: "The race last weekend at the Lowe's Motor Speedway was played out in front of a vastly reduced crowd in the grandstand and the sport's hospitality business is facing a major slump. NASCAR may be performing well in the TV ratings but other elements of the business are suffering." This worrying combination, many elements of which have been out of the hands of the NASCAR organizers, has not been helped by a very public row over advertising dollars between host broadcaster NBC and the president of the Lowe's Motor Speedway, Humpy Wheeler. For the full story on NASCAR's current position, see the features section of (this is NOT a free service, you will have to pay to read it).
Sato to drive for Jordan  Honda announced today that Takuma Sato will partner Giancarlo Fisichella at Jordan next year.  That means Jean Alesi is out of a ride.  Is he CART bound as previously rumored?

Stark reminder that CART far healthier than the IRL  Everyone likes to talk about the many issues CART is facing with engine manufacturer unhappiness, but AR1 remains bullish on CART.  If you think CART has problems, compared to the IRL, think again.  As Curt Cavin, a pro-IRL reporter points out in this Star News article, only four IRL teams have funding in place for next season. As Cavin points out, Winston Cup is fortunate many of its teams have long-term contracts with Fortune 500 companies. The same is true to a lesser extent in Championship Auto Racing Teams, but the IRL is different. Except for the elite teams, arrangements are year-to-year, or in some cases, week-to-week. In addition, the series is without a title sponsor and attendance is still very soft at many venues.  Because of a lack of money, driver turnover and team stability is a problem, making it hard for the IRL to establish a loyal long-term following.  The poor economy is not helping matters.  However, the general feeling is that the IRL is somehow riding this rocket ship to the stars and CART is crashing and burning.  Perhaps CART is not getting their message out.  Far too much negative press is overriding the good.  The CART community airs it's dirty laundry in the press while NASCAR, F1 and the IRL do a better job of airing it behind closed doors.  Didn't CART just hiring Arnold Worldwide, a major advertising firm?  It's time they start improving the image of CART...sooner than later.  Arnold made a presentation to a majority of existing CART sponsors in Houston this past weekend to rave reviews.  All walked out Bullish on CART.
Stock analysts think CART should go back private  Keep in mind that this one analyst has not always been kind to CART, but Dow Jones reports at 9:43 AM this morning - Analysts have come to the conclusion that motorsports company Championship Auto Racing Teams (MPH) should go private. "The market looks for growth opportunities, certainty and consistency, and Championship Auto Racing is going to have a hard time meeting those demands in the immediate future," according to Legg Mason analyst Breck Wheeler. CART Director Gerald R. Forsythe intends to explore opportunities to enhance the Detroit based racing company's value by looking at the possibility of changes to the board and management. He also said he wants to look at the possibility of an "extraordinary transaction." 
Stewart family hit by cancer again  First it was son Paul, now it's reported that Jackie Stewart's wife Helen has breast cancer.  In an interview with The Daily Mail, Sir Jackie gave these thoughts on the family's second cancer battle: "We just felt devastated. It was a huge blow to the whole family, particularly for Paul because Helen has always been so strong. As a family we've had to go through a lot recently, and seem to have built up a certain expertise and strength in dealing with situations like this. We have been amazed at our ability to cope."
Possible date conflict  If the 2002 CART schedule listed on our rumors page (it's a rumor until officially published) is correct, the "new" May 19th date for Laguna Seca's CART race is scheduled on the SAME DAY as Sears Point's ALMS race!  Sears Point is slightly north San Francisco, while Laguna is just south and each track is supported by the same fan base.  One would think this should be avoided if at all possible.
Japanese GP on despite attacks  Despite rumors circulating that the Japanese GP might be cancelled due to attacks in Afghanistan, officials have announced nothing could be further from the truth.
CART names new advertising agency  As first reported by AR1 weeks ago, Championship Auto Racing Teams’ Senior Vice President of Marketing Richard Henley took a significant step in establishing the sanctioning organization’s marketing direction today when he named Boston-based Arnold Worldwide as CART’s advertising agency of record. It should be noted that having Arnold Worldwide onboard should bring new sponsors into CART that 1) respect the Arnold name, 2) are existing Arnold customers who will see synergy and opportunity in a true global product. Story
Many CART fans unhappy with new engines, Forsythe to the rescue  2nd UPDATE In this article on Autosport, Gerald Forsythe (right) says he is ready to fight to get the engine decision overturned. As reported earlier by AR1, Jon Vannini and James Grosfeld (some of CART's largest shareholders) will support Mr. Forsythe in this battle.  He states - "I question whether the franchise board can make a decision that affects the future of CART," Forsythe said in Houston. "I believe the board of the directors is the only group who can make a decision like that. I don't consider what they did valid. We're consulting legal counsel to take a look at this matter. "The franchise board is mandated to determine rules, regulations and venues. It's not their mandate to make long-term decisions that affect CART and this is certainly a decision of that type. That decision, or whatever they want to call it, is not going to hold up." Forsythe said he believes CART must pursue it's own path, entirely separate from the IRL. "We don't need to be associated with the IRL," Forsythe said. "We're a separate series that is very different technically and as far as venues and so forth that has so much to offer the race fan. And you and I know that the merger of the two series will never happen. "We are a very different product from the IRL and must maintain that difference. I have absolutely no doubts about that."  We here at AR1 have offered that same opinion on numerous occasions.  This should get interesting. 10/5/01 - AR1 continues to be flooded with anti-IRL engine e-mail, too much to publish here.  We knew the turbo engines meant a lot to CART fans, but didn't realize just how much until today.  Of course it's the most hard-core fans that are speaking the loudest, but based on what we can tell, CART's attendance and TV ratings may take a big hit unless CART can do some damage control quickly.  Most see Toyota as the only engine supplier in 2003, and with their focus on USA races only, most doubt Toyota will see any value in supplying engines to CART who has a big international following and quite a number of successful overseas races.  Most feel sorry for Ford and Honda.  Both supported CART far longer than Toyota, and feel CART betrayed their most loyal manufacturers (remember it was Toyota who jumped ship to the IRL first, yet came into CART last), especially since the decision came so late they can't possibly have an engine ready for 2003. We also hear some of CART's biggest stockholders are 100% against the engine vote. One reader wonders if Mr. Jerry Forsythe, Mr. Grosfeld and Mr. Vannini (who together own nearly 30% of CART and oppose the engine vote), will now step in and take control of CART. Honda's Motegi race now is questionable.  While they have a contract with CART, one fans says "I won't be surprised if Honda pays CART to break the Motegi contract, out of protest, and I doubt Honda and Ford will do anymore advertising in CART since that would be like investing in the Toyota Racing Series in 2003."  There you have a sampling of what AR1 has had to respond to today.  10/5/01 -  Fan e-mail is running 10:1 against the new announced CART engine rules. We believe fans are jumping to conclusions too early, without knowing the details of the new engine, but here is a typical letter - Gentlemen: I have been a fan and supporter of CART for years. I realize that you have come to this decision (new engine formula) after much discussion and have made what you feel is the best business decision. Unfortunately, this is the course that I feared would be taken under the circumstances. Although I respect your position and wish you much success going forward, as a result of your adoption of the IRL formula, I must inform you that CART has lost my support as a fan. I do not watch Stock Car racing or the IRL and I don't even watch the Indy 500 at all anymore. I even turned down an offer of free corporate tickets to the 500 simply because I was just not interested. Now that CART has followed Tony George's "low tech" path, I have effectively lost all interest in your series as well. My wife and I had planned to attend both Toronto and Montreal next year (in addition to the F1 race in Montreal) but to do so now would be something akin to attending a funeral. Going forward, I simply cannot justify spending $2000 for a weekend to watch a "scaled-down" version of CART, nor does the prospect of watching an IRL-type series interest me at all. I will spend $200 to attend Mosport and the ALMS series where the prototypes are high-tech, first class and track records are being set with each year however. I was looking forward to this weekend's event in Houston but now this is no longer an option as it would be much too painful to bear. I suppose my wife and I will now be able to take our Sundays and catch a movie or finish up some shopping. I realize that all things must come to an end at some point in time and I suppose it is fitting to salute you with "Hail and Farewell" as it has been an enjoyable run. Doug Bray
Motegi race in doubt for 2003 UPDATE Let's not forget, however, that if Honda cancels the Motegi race, it opens up the possibility of CART racing at the Mt. Fuji track that Toyota recently acquired. Mt. Fuji hosted F1 races back in the late 1970's and is not a bad road course. 10/7/01 -  On 10/5/01 below, one fan wrote that he assumed Honda would cancel the CART Motegi race after 2002 because Honda was upset about the new engines being announced for 2003, a year earlier than anticipated, and too soon for them to be ready.  In this Speedvision article, David Phillips writes - With Honda all but certain to withdraw from the CART series in 2003, it is a safe bet Twin Ring Motegi will not be on the CART calendar beyond next year. Although the current contract between CART and Motegi runs through 2004, those close to Honda say the company will surely pay whatever the buyout clause rather than have a Toyota-powered car (assuming of course, Toyota supplies engines to CART in 2003) win on their home track in a Honda-less Champ Car race.
Houston attendance a bit soft  The race day attendance was announced (in a  CART press release) as just over 60,000 and the 3-day attendance 93,700 for the Texaco/Havoline GP of Houston.  Those numbers make Houston the worse attended street race on the CART circuit.  Though still better than most of its oval races, CART would be well served to reconfigure the circuit to make for better racing, or move it to a more attractive part of town.  A track reconfiguration has been rumored for two years, but with so much construction in the area, one wonders if it is possible.
FIA moving back to Paris  FIA headquarters will be moving back to Paris, France from Geneva, Switzerland effective January 2002.  Max Mosley has been re-elected President of the FIA.  Summary of elections - Presidency - Max Mosley has been elected President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) for another four-year term (expiring October 2005). Deputy President (Touring and the Automobile) - Robert L. Darbelnet (United-States), has been elected for a four-year term (expiring October 2005). Deputy President (Sport) - Marco Piccinini (Italy) has been elected for a four-year term (expiring October 2005). Senate - Rosario Alessi (Italy), Jean-Marie Balestre (France), Michel Boeri (Monaco), Robert Darbelnet (United-States), John Large (Australia), Otto Flimm (Germany), Max Mosley (Great-Britain), Marco Piccinini (Italy), have been elected or are ex-officio Members of the Senate for a four-year term (expiring October 2005). The President of the Senate will be elected by the Members of the Senate at its next meeting. 
Ralf Schumacher gets married, Villeneuve engaged  Spokesperson for Ralf Schumacher, Heiner Buchinger confirmed on Friday that Ralf Schumacher has married his girlfriend Cora Brinkmann on Friday in a private civil ceremony in Austria. The newly wed couple are expecting their first child in November and according to Buchinger, are planning a church wedding after the birth.  Jacques Villeneuve's official website confirmed on Thursday his engagement to Elly Green, but did not give any specific date for the expected wedding.
Atlantics: Hand wins 2nd straight race  The fans at the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston may have got a glimpse of what next year’s Championship will look like on Sunday, as Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/BG Products) took advantage of a first turn melee to win Round 11 of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. The California rookie is already secured for the DSTP seat next season and is putting his stamp as the man to beat for the Championship trophy next year. Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing/3b Engine Valves Swift) led the field to the green flag after winning the $1000 Toyota “Pole Award” on Saturday, but his lead was short lived as 2001 Champion, Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print) challenged Basso for the lead on the inside heading into the first turn. The cars made contact sending Basso spinning and Orsi nudging the tire wall. The ensuing chaos behind the pair collected the cars of David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift), Case Montgomery (Condor Motorsports/Ariba ERG Swift), and Rodolfo Lavin (Michael Shank Racing/Corona Swift). Hand was able to sweep by the mess from this third place starting spot to take over the lead as the yellow flag waved. Hand went on to lead the rest of the race on his way to a 0.594 second margin of victory. 
PacWest, Dixon pick up new sponsor UPDATE The Enron people we talked to this weekend seemed pretty happy with the PacWest relationship, so as reported back on 10/4/01, there is a real possibility Enron will come onboard with PacWest fulltime in 2002.  Enron is a true global company (North America, South America, Europe and Japan, just like CART), and a good fit for CART which brings them a global presence. 10/4/01 - Scott Dixon and his PacWest team to pick up the backing of the Enron Corporation. "The weekend is very important from a sponsorship standpoint," Dixon admits, "The Enron Corporation has signed on to be the primary sponsor on my car this weekend, so I really want to put on a good show for them since they are headquartered in Houston and maintain such a high profile in the city. "Because of Enron's involvement with us this weekend, we will also proudly display United Way and Houston Astros signage on the #18 car. Enron will have a lot of employees and guests in attendance, so I plan on representing them well and hopefully we can continue our relationship with them in 2002 and for years to come."
Audi wins Petit LeMans  Audi closed its successful 2001 motorsport season with a superb 1-2-3 victory at the “Petit Le Mans” and managed to repeat a hat-trick for the second time in row: Just as last year, Audi won the three long distance classics at Sebring, Le Mans and Road Atlanta. The incredible reliability of the Infineon Audi R8 was once more a key to success in the season´s final race of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Race winners Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro encountered not one technical problem during the 1000-mile distance and gave Team Audi Sport North America its eighth victory in the tenth ALMS race of the season. With their second ALMS victory in a row Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela also decided the Drivers´ championship of the American Le Mans Series for themselves. Because of the controversial ALMS point system, which gives various extra points, Emanuele Pirro secured the title. Frank Biela has to be content with the second place in the championship by a narrow margin.
DRIVEN gets a 2nd life  The movie DRIVEN did not do so well at he box office, but it is enjoying somewhat of a 2nd life.  Last week it was the 3rd most popular rented movie in the USA. 
Audio from Houston (Real Audio)
Tom Michaels qualifying wrap-up

Gil de Ferran who earned his fourth position of the season on Saturday

Gil de Ferran on he and his team's emotion after winning the pole

Kenny Brack, on his battle with de Ferran for the pole and for the points race

Bruno Junqueira who qualified second after a hard morning accident with his teammate

Kenny Brack on qualifying

Max Papis
on qualifying

Tom Michaels previews Houston
Jimmy Vasser on what it was like winning last year's race 
Jimmy Vasser previews this year's event 
Jimmy Vasser recalls last year's win 
Kenny Brack talks what he expects this weekend on the streets of Houston 
Gil de Ferran on the battle for this season's championship
Gil de Ferran on the design of the Houston street circuit 
Atlantics - Martin Basso on pole  Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing/3b Engine Valve Swift) came into Saturday’s qualifying session holding the provisional pole after pacing Friday’s CART Toyota Atlantic Championship’s first qualifying session on the wet streets of Houston. Basso snatched the pole in the final minute of qualifying Saturday with a time of 1:06.880 seconds (82.195 mph), giving him a great shot at getting his first win of the season in tomorrow’s race. Today’s pole was the second of the season for Basso and the third of his Atlantic career. Basso won his first pole last year at Road America and collected his second one earlier this season at Cleveland. 2001 Atlantic Champion, Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) held the pole going into the final minute and looked like he would nab his fifth consecutive Atlantic pole before Basso’s fastest lap. The lap turned by Orsi stood up for second quickest at 1:06.905 seconds (82.164 mph). Orsi entered into this weekend winning poles in the past four races at Chicago, Trois-Rivieres, Road America, and Vancouver. Basso earned the important bonus point for his pole cutting his deficit for second place in the Championship to 13 points behind David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift). Rutledge was fourth quickest with a time of 1:07.057 seconds (81.978 mph). 
Houston - De Ferran fastest again  For the second day in a row, reigning CART Champion Gil de Ferran set the fastest time in practice for Sunday's Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. Driving the Marlboro Honda/Reynard, de Ferran had a time of 1:00.408, good for an average speed of 91.001 miles per hour to pace the morning session. Cristiano da Matta jumped to second on his final lap with a time of 1:00.661 (90.622 mph) in the Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota/Lola. Teammate Christian Fittipaldi was third fastest at 1:00.798 (90.417 mph) in the Kmart Toyota/Lola.
New 2003 IRL Engine Specs Here are the official 2003 engine specs released by the IRL.
Configuration: V8, 90 degree, normally aspirated 
Displacement: 3.5 liters, with electronic rev limiter 
Horsepower (est.): 650 
Bore: 93 millimeters 
Main bearing: 53 millimeters minimum 
Rod bearing: 43 millimeters minimum 
Deck height: 7.486 inches (190 mm) minimum 
Center line of crank (to bottom of sump): 4 inches 
Minimum weight: 295 pounds (no ballast, dry, less headers, clutch, ECU spark 
box and filters) 
Engine length: 22-22.5 inches 
Mounting: Common engine/fuel pump mounting points 
Injectors: Limited to two per cylinder 
Cam drive: Chain or gear 
Crankshaft: 180-degree flat crank 
Air box: Common air box and filter 
Cams, location Four, overhead 
Valves per cylinder Four, maximum 
The new IRL engine, good through 2005, will be a normally aspirated 32-valve DOHC 3.5L V8 incorporating a rev limiter. Major changes from the current 2001 engine include:
1. A decrease in the deck height from 8.10 inches to 7.486 inches.
2. Weight of the engine will drop from the current 320 lbs to 295 lbs (still very heavy by CART terms)
3. Crank centerline to bottom of sump will decrease from 4.5 inches to 4.0 inches.
4. The crank main size will increase from 50mm to 53mm and the rod pin diameter will increase from 40mm to 43mm.
5. There will be 2 fuel injectors per cylinder (to improve midrange performance so the engine can be dual purpose).
6. Camshafts can be chain or gear driven now
7. The IRL did not set a minimum crank weight for 2003 which should help to increase revs if CART wants to, but the maximum bore for the 2003 IRL engine will be the same at 93mm.  This means it will be difficult to get significantly more than around 11,000 to 11,500 RPM from the engine because the stroke of the piston will remain long.
Existing Aurora IRL Engine  We thought you might be interested in seeing a cutaway of the existing Olds Aurora IRL engine, physically a very large engine compared to the far more advanced CART engines. Displacement - 3.5 liters (214ci) Horsepower - 650 hp @ 10,700 rpm, Fuel - Methanol, Redline - 10,700 rpm (per IRL rules), Price - $91,000 (IRL specified), Compression Ratio - 15:1, Bore Diameter - 93mm (3.66")  Crankshaft Stroke - 64.4mm (2.53")  Deck Height - 8.1", "V" Angle - 90 degrees Cylinder Bore Spacing - 102mm  Valvetrain - Dual overhead cams Valves per Cylinder - Camshaft Drive - Chain  Cylinder Case Material - Aluminum  Cylinder Liners - "Dry" iron  Cylinder Head Material - Aluminum  Crankshaft Design - 180 degrees (optional)  Fuel System - Sequential EFI  Engine Controller - Delphi  Throttle System - Individual Runner  Lubrication System - Dry Sump
Lights: Wheldon beats Bell in a thriller at Road Atlanta  Rookie Dan Wheldon (Gemstar Communications/PacWest Lights Lola) passed points leader Townsend Bell (DIRECWAY Lola) going into the final turn of the last lap to win Thursday's Dayton Indy Lights Championship race at Road Atlanta. The win was the second straight for Wheldon in the Dayton Indy Lights series after taking his first victory at Gateway International Raceway, Aug. 26. Bell's Dorricott Racing teammate Damien Faulkner (Dorricott Racing Lola) finished third. Story (PDF)
Lopes, Heitzler talk about the engine decision  
CART President and CEO Joseph Heitzler on the goals of CART's new 3.5 liter engine formula announced for the 2003-2005 seasons (Real Audio)
CART Sr. Vice President of Racing Operations John Lopes describing that the specifics of the new formula won't be finalized for another month or so (Real Audio)

Following Thursday's announcement that CART is adopting a 3.5-liter, normally aspirated, engine formula for competition in the years 2003-2005, CART Chairman/CEO Joseph Heitzler and CART Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, John Lopes, conducted a media conference Friday at the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. "I think the best thing is that CART got to create an environment where it knows where it's going," said Heitzler. "This is an aggressive move in that direction. Let's focus on racing and use the rule book when we have to, but let's get back to racing. Yesterday was a major step in putting a lot of things behind us and moving forward. In no way do we want this new formula to create additional consternation for our engine manufacturers. But this decision was made for CART by CART. We don't have anything in writing from any engine manufacturer, but it's important that CART does what's best for its teams, its fans, and its sport. CART did not make this decision in a vacuum." Added Lopes: "It would be avoiding the obvious if we didn't say that commonality [with the engine formula utilized by the Indy Racing League] was agreed to yesterday. But we also want to maintain our high-tech focus. We will take the next 30-60 days to determine some of the more specific technical issues. There is a committee of individuals working through these issues. I don't have an answer as to whether they will be team-owned or leased powerplants, or some combination thereof, but it could be different than it is now. A lot of our teams rotate their equipment almost annually. Our engine manufacturers have a depth of talent and resources, so if this is something they will want to do, they can do it." 

Atlantics - Pumped up Basso on prov. pole  Mother nature gave the drivers of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship a rude welcome back today in Houston after a month long break from racing. Showers drenched the track shortly before the first qualifying session of the weekend, causing drivers to tip-toe around the 1.527-mile temporarily street course in Houston, Texas. Argentina’s Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing/3b Engine Valves Swift) edged out 2001 Atlantic Champion, Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) with a rain slowed time of 1:15.729 seconds (72.590 mph), nearly ten seconds slower than Andrew Bordin’s 2000 qualifying record of 1:06.491 seconds (82.676 mph). Orsi’s time of 1:15.961 seconds (72.369 mph) was good enough for second going into tomorrow’s second qualifying session. With the threat of additional showers tomorrow, today’s times could be good enough to stand. Martin Basso is attempting to win his second pole of the season after blistering the track record earlier this year while winning the pole in Cleveland. Basso is also hot on the trail of David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift), standing 14 points behind him for second place in the Championship. Rutledge was fourth in today’s session with a time of 1:16.324 seconds (72.025 mph) Coming into this year’s event at Houston, Orsi has won four straight poles coming at Chicago, Trois-Rivieres, Road America, and Vancouver. “I’m really happy,” said Basso. “I think we have a great car for a wet track. I’m hoping for more rain tomorrow because of how good the car was this afternoon. The car got a little bit worse as the track started to dry out toward the end of the session.” 
CART engine vote  The CART N/A engine vote was near unanimous.  We say 'near', because Gerald Forsythe voted against it and Mo Nunn, in protest, abstained.  AutoRacing1 has learned that some of CART's biggest stockholders are not happy with the vote, and that begins with Gerald Forsythe.  We wonder if they are going to start to apply more influence on CART in the future. MC
Rain washes out TMS qualifying  Rainy weather moving through the Fort Worth-Dallas area on Friday forced the cancellation of qualifying for Saturday's Chevy 500 Indy Racing Northern Light Series event. Based on Indy Racing League rules, the drivers will line-up based on entrant points putting series champion Sam Hornish, Jr. on the pole for the race. Friday night's Silverado 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race is still scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. green flag start as planned. The Indy Racing League attempted to run a limited practice session Friday afternoon on the new racing surface, but the weather did not cooperate. The drivers will have an extended practice session on Saturday morning. The IRL determined it was more important that the drivers get a couple of hours of side-by-side practice on the new track than it was to hold qualifying. "The Chevy 500 will go off as scheduled tomorrow and the weather looks great," said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage. "The IRL always puts on the races of the season here in Texas and we expect another classic Saturday with the Chevy 500.
Firestone commits to IRL through 2005  Firestone, the only tire to have competed in every Indy Racing League event since the series began nearly six years ago, will continue its involvement with the league through 2005, Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. and Indy Racing officials announced today. In addition to continuing as the exclusive tire for the Indy Racing Northern Light Series and the Indianapolis 500, Firestone also will be the exclusive tire for the new Infiniti Indy Pro Series, an Indy Racing League driver development series that will debut in 2002. A Firehawk Cup will be established as part of that commitment.
Chevy announces new IRL engine  Chevrolet took another step in its return to Indy Racing competition with the first public showing of the new Chevy Indy V8 racing engine that will compete in the Indy Racing League in 2002. Chevrolet previewed its new powerplant and introduced Indy Racing Northern Light Series champions Sam Hornish Jr. and Buddy Lazier as the first of many drivers who will wear the red Bowtie next season in a press conference Oct. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway, site of the season-ending Chevy 500. "Rick Mears scored Chevrolet's first Indianapolis 500 victory in 1988 with Pennzoil," Hornish said. "I want to follow in his footsteps and put Chevy back in the winner's circle." Said Lazier: "I fully intend to be the first driver to win the Indy 500 with the new Chevy Indy V8. And I want to win my second IRL championship with Chevrolet power in 2002." GM Racing has designed and developed the major components of the new Chevy Indy V8 in-house using GM personnel and GM's technical resources. "Since the announcement in June that Chevrolet would compete in the IRL series, GM Racing has focused on the new Chevy Indy V8 engine for the 2002 season," said Joe Negri, GM Racing IRL/Road Racing Group manager. GM Racing lead engine designer Roger Allen and his colleagues will develop two new Indy Racing engines in the next two years - the second-generation Chevy Indy V8 for 2002, and an all-new, purpose-built Chevrolet Indy V8 for 2003. Allen was responsible for the design of key components for championship-winning Chevrolet engines in NASCAR, NHRA drag racing, road racing and the Oldsmobile Indy Racing League program. "The new Chevy Indy V8 is a significant departure from the Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8," Allen said. "GM Racing has applied what we have learned to build a more powerful and more refined engine package. We have designed the new Chevy Indy V8's components to reduce friction and to improve efficiency. We have developed new cylinder heads that increase airflow and produce more horsepower. We have improved the valve-train system to enhance reliability at sustained high rpm. "The second-generation Chevy Indy V8 engine is accelerating our development of an all-new Chevrolet engine for 2003 when the IRL's new engine rules take effect. This 'Gen 3' motor for '03 will be 30 pounds lighter and dimensionally smaller than next year's engine. We are using powerful tools, such as computer-aided design and manufacturing, computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis and solid modeling, to design this powerplant. For an engineer, this is a very exciting time to be involved in Chevrolet's IRL program." 
Fittipaldi impresses in Sprint car  We have long maintained that road racing drivers are the best in the world, able to adapt to any kind of circuit.  In case you did know - Christian Fittipaldi did the Cory Kruseman "Sprint Car School" at Ventura Raceway and was 0.2 off Ron Shuman's track record!  Mind you he never drove a dirt car before.
Michael Schumacher badmouths Montoya  In this article, Michael Schumacher says "Montoya drives well but my brother has twice as many points," the Ferrari driver told Friday's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper. "Ralf has won three grands prix, Montoya one. The revelations of the season are Heidfeld, Raikkonen, my brother. Not Montoya, he has not done enough. "He has been very good, fast at Monza and Indy. But think about Hungary. He was never seen there."
Lehman Brothers backs Kirch F1 plans  Munich-based Kirch Group has reportedly borrowed $800million (EUR872m) from investment bank Lehman Brothers to restructure the $1.4billion (EUR1.53bn) 'Bernie bond', which was initially created to release cash for Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

Does CART decision revive chances for CART/IRL triple crown?  In this article written back in May, is a proposed 2004 CART, IRL and Lights schedule that attempts to avoid having the IRL and CART race on the same day as much as possible, resurrects a joint CART/IRL Triple crown and has Lights supporting both CART and the IRL. It's a 24-race CART schedule, a 17-race IRL schedule and a 14- race Lights schedule. While some of the article's suggestions can no longer happen, it will be interesting to see if the Triple Crown portion, stressing the CART vs. IRL rivalry, every comes about....for the sake of fans and open wheel racing in the USA. MC
Another American impresses in Europe  American driver Phil Giebler impressed the British racing community today by qualifying 10th for the final two rounds of the Power Tour/Green Flag British Formula 3 Championship. Giebler entered the event as a result of a last-minute deal with first-year team Duma Racing. After finishing second in the 2000 French Formula 3 Championship with ELF/La Filiere and winning the Formula Palmer/Audi Winter Championship, Giebler has spent the 2001 season racing and testing for various British and German F3 teams, including six races of the German F3 championship earlier this year. Having never before driven the Silverstone circuit, Giebler qualified tenth for both main events after a combined total of only 55 minutes in the cockpit prior to qualifying. At the start of the first race, Giebler experienced severe wheel spin in the rain and dropped to sixteenth. Giebler quickly charged back into the top ten, finishing ninth and setting the fourth fastest lap of the race. In race two he got a much better start, passing two cars on the first lap. He eventually made it up to seventh before a tap from the eighth-place car of Mark Taylor knocked Phil into the gravel trap and ending his day. Giebler will be testing through the month of October in England and Spain, and plans to compete in British F3 in 2002, another step towards his goal of being the first American driver to reach Formula one in the new millennium. 
Spencer wins Bud Pole at Lowes  
1. (26) Jimmy Spencer, Ford, 185.147 mph.
2. (66) Todd Bodine, Ford, 184.489
3. (1) Kenny Wallace, Chevrolet, 184.037
4. (02) Ryan Newman, Ford, 183.993
5. (7) Kevin Lepage, Ford, 183.780  More...
Another stock car driver killed  Another stock car driver has been killed on an oval track, again not wearing a HANS Device.  Blaise Alexander, the 25-year-old ARCA driver who also competed on NASCAR's Busch Series, was killed Thursday night in a wreck at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The 1996 ARCA rookie of the year had to be cut out of the car, was placed on a stretcher and rushed to the infield care center. He was pronounced dead from severe head injuries at 10:20 p.m. ET.  Alexander was not wearing any type of head and neck restraint system, but Drager said ARCA requires its driver to wear a neck collar generally referred to as a "horse collar."  It was the 14th death at Lowe's, an unusually high number for one track.  One has to wonder how many more have to die before the stock car fraternity realize their 1950's technology tubular steel race cars are not safe. MC
Does CART decision lock out IRL at Indy?  A reader writes - with the new CART engine specs similar to the IRL, all the CART teams can now attempt to run the Indy 500.  Does this mean they will take 28 of the 33 starting positions and leave 5 for the IRL teams?  Wouldn't this cripple the cash starved IRL teams?  Answer - time will tell, but yes, anything is possible. MC
Lights - Bell on pole in Atlanta  Townsend Bell - "this is a great track .....Road Atlanta ranks as one of my top two or three favorite tracks anywhere." Bell's top time, set in the afternoon session Thursday, was 1:14.711/122.392mph. Jon Fogarty returned to action in style from his early-season neck injury by qualifying outside of Bell with a lap of 1:14.887, also set in the afternoon session. Damien Faulkner's morning time of 1:15.389 put him third on the grid for Friday afternoon's one-hour race. "It feels good to be back on a race track," said Fogarty after the first practice. "It's my job. It's what I do."
CART adopts N/A engine, but wait....  2nd UPDATE As Autoracing1 previously reported, the Official Announcement says 'up to 3.5L.'  We expect a slightly shorter, higher revving CART version (our guess is 3.25L), but with the same bore size and bore spacing.  In essence the crank will be different, the heads slightly different and a better sound. We are told to expect at least 750 HP from the CART version. 10/4/01 - We failed to note, that this decision now opens up the possibility for Chevy, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Ford, Audi and Maserati all to participate in both the IRL and CART series. We believe that was a driving factor behind the decision.  We expect those who choose to do both series to design their engine for the higher rev CART version, and then detune it for the IRL version. We won't hear the details of the engine spec for CART until they talk to Honda and Ford in the next 24 hours. 10/4/01 - Although RPM2Night reports that CART has adopted a normally aspirated engine starting in 2003, has learned it may not be a 3.5L engine.  The official announcement will supposedly state "up to a 3.5L engine" and we are led to believe the up to means 3.0L to 3.5L depending on what the majority of CART's engine manufacturers agree to.  We reported some time ago that 3.25L was a popular size, with a slightly shorter stroke and a higher rev limit.  We await the official announcement. If indeed 2003 is the year this specification will begin, Ford and Honda will be out of CART for at least one year since they claim they won't be ready by then.....or will they...wink. Mark C.
Runway Madness changed  Answering the call to support the families of the fallen heroes and victims of the recent attacks on America, representatives of FedEx and CARA Charities announced today that the fourth annual Runway Madness charity fundraiser in Ontario, Calif., Nov. 2, will be turned into a "Red, White & Blue Celebration." The evening's entertainment program is currently being transformed into a patriotic, Stars and Stripes salute to the United States, and the majority of the event's proceeds will be donated to the New York Police and Firefighter's Widows and Children's Benefit Fund. The same fund is being supported by CART drivers and personalities through the donations of memorabilia and autographed collectibles for auction. "Without question, this was the only appropriate action to take in light of the events of the past few weeks," said CARA Charities National Director Mary Lou Bogner. "We are in the privileged position of being able to use this year's Runway Madness event to aid the families who have been touched the most by our nation's recent tragedies. We are extremely grateful to FedEx and our other valued sponsors who did not hesitate in supporting this change." A super-party extravaganza, Runway Madness annually features food and refreshments and a full line-up of entertainment featuring FedEx Championship Series drivers, other members of the CART community and celebrities from Hollywood and the music industries. Runway Madness also includes silent and live auctions showcasing priceless motorsports-related experiences and memorabilia, travel packages and luxury items. All of these elements are being put through last minute changes to reflect the new Red, White & Blue theme of the event. This year's honorary co-chairs of Runway Madness - A Red, White & Blue Celebration, are FedEx Championship Series star Dario Franchitti and fiancée Ashley Judd.
Toyota will lose out big time in Japan  UPDATE With CART going with the N/A engine today, it looks as though Toyota might just remain in CART and get to race in Japan after all. 10/4/01 - A reader asks - "now that it looks like Toyota will be running in the IRL and not in CART, and now that the CART race in Japan is getting big, isn't Toyota losing out on a prime opportunity to market to the Japanese fans?  Won't Honda now get all the glory, and Toyota nothing?  Answer - yes, that is true, but Toyota USA, who was paying 100% for the CART program, does not feel there is any value to them in winning races for Toyota in Japan.  While we don't agree with that philosophy, we don't do their budgets.  It seems Honda USA works much closer with their counterparts in Japan, and are quite happy to perform in Japan for the parent company.  In fact Honda owns the track. Worse yet for Toyota, not only won't they have any presence in CART in Japan, it's likely they won't look very good in F1 for many years competing against the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and BMW.  Even Honda has struggled.  While we are not marketing experts, we wonder if a losing presence in F1 will severely damage the Toyota 'image.'  At least they were winning in CART.  Mark C.
USGP Ratings disappoint Tony George and Bernie Ecclestone were hoping that moving the USGP to ABC would boost the TV ratings for F1 in the USA.  Normally open wheel racing gets around a 1.0 to 1.1 rating on network TV in the USA.  The USGP only got a 0.8 / 2 share and will probably make ABC think twice before stealing F1 away from Speedvision.  However, Tony George is trying hard to make that happen.  Even NASCAR's Busch series did better, with a 1.544 / 4 Share.  The USA market is saturated with NASCAR.  Nothing else has much of a chance.  Luckily for CART, they still provide their sponsors with between 1.0 and 2.0 billion worldwide TV viewers per year, because the USA TV markets appears to be out of reach for anything not NASCAR.
Forsythe buys more CART stock  Jerry Forsythe just reported that he now owns 9.98% of CART stock.  With yesterday's news that Mr. Grosfeld is buying up more stock (see below), it appears they both want more ownership in CART and now is a good time to buy.  Mark C.
Heitzler says, time to stop apologizing and go on the offensive  This Indy Star article notes -  Among Joe Heitzler's messages to the owners today is that it's time for CART to go on the offensive and stop apologizing for its shortcomings, real or imagined. "People have gotten used to bashing CART and we just sat there and took it," he said. "I think now's the time for CART to speak up and defend itself. It's time to say, 'This is who CART is and this is what we do.' "
Click for Houston, Texas ForecastHouston Forecast  Friday Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. Southeast winds near 10 mph. Friday Night Showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 50s. Rain chance is 80 percent. Saturday Showers and thunderstorms ending in the morning... becoming partly cloudy in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 70s. Rain chance is 30 percent. Sunday Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 50s. Highs in the upper 70s. 

FIA implements safety changes, CART should do likewise The annual meeting of the FIA’s World Council was held on Wednesday in Cologne, Germany, and members passed new sporting and technical rules for introduction into the 2002 series regulations. 
1. radio signals may now pass bi-directionally between cars and pits; 
2. the FIA will no longer limit the amount of testing teams carry out.
3. no system which is capable of detecting the race start signal will be permitted;
4. electronically controlled power steering systems will no longer be permitted.
5. the rear impact absorbing structure will be subjected to a side load test; 
6. wheel tether strength will be increased by 20%; 
7. the size of the rear view mirrors will be increased by 20%; 
8. the size of the rear light will be increased by 50%.
Formula Ford
Patrick Long update 3rd UPDATE Patrick Long responds - "What can I say? I'm disappointed and angry at today's result," explained Long. "I had just passed Dahlgren after he collided with another car. I made my move. Then he made his, right into me on purpose. In my heart I know I earned the championship, and so does every one else who saw this race. Now, it's on to the Formula Ford Festival."  Senna's and Schumacher's win-at-all cost mentality is legendary. Who could forget Senna's 160-mph kamikaze collision with Alain Prost at Suzuka in 1990? Schumacher tried the cowardly gambit twice. In 1994 at the Australian Grand Prix, he deliberately took out Damon Hill moments after damaging his car against the wall. As Hill swept by, Schumacher drove right into him. Three years later at Jerez in Spain, Schumacher tried to take out Jacques Villeneuve to win the title, but Schuey's Ferrari simply glanced off Villeneuve into the sand trap. Villeneuve went on the win the championship.  Despite the disappointment at Silverstone, Long's second place in the championship is the highest-ever placing by an American. Over the course of the 13-race series, Long, 20, scored three victories -- Oulton Park, Brands Hatch and Knockhill -- two pole positions, six podium finishes, and nine Top Fives. Traditionally, British Formula Ford has played an important role in the careers of successful drivers. Former series champions include Eddie Irvine, Roberto Moreno, Mauricio Gugelmin, Jenson Button, and the late Ayrton Senna. Long's next race is the Formula Ford Festival, October 19-21 at Brands Hatch. 10/3/01 - A reader writes - This type of 'dirty racing' is not confined to Europe or Formula Ford (or F1 for that matter -- recall that Michael Schumacher won his first two championships under controversial circumstances). At the CART Toyota Atlantic race at Vancouver, with the championship on the line, Hoover Orsi drover over David Rutledge's front win as Rutledge tried to pass. Rutledge had to pit and finished ninth, giving Orsi the championship. After the race, Rutledge's Lynx Racing team protested the results and, after a video review, the officials removed all of the points Orsi scored at Vancouver. However, they did not choose to insure full equity by adjusting the points to keep Rutledge in the hunt and Orsi was allowed to become the 2001 champion.  10/3/01 - We wrote yesterday about Patrick Long's attempt to become the 1st American to win the British Formula Ford championship. Well, this morning we got the full scoop. This is an unbelievable story. First let us set the stage: It's the final race on the year (at Brands Hatch). It's down to a two driver fight for the British Formula Ford title. Robert Dahlgren leads American Patrick Long by 2 points. Points in F.F. are awarded as follows: 30 points for 1st, 25 for 2nd, 20 for 3rd...........1 point for 15th. Keep in mind, there has been some bad blood between Long & Dahlgren. In the race, Robert Dahlgren is leading, Westley Barber (out of the championship) is 2nd, Patrick Long is about 10 seconds back in 3rd. On the last lap, 3 corners to go Barber & Dahlgren collided. Dahlgren's car is slowed, Long is about to fly past him on the final turn when Dahlgren deliberately turned straight into Longs car putting them both into the gravel. A fight between the two drivers at the scene. Dahlgren wins the championship, Long's team "Van Diemen" placed a protest.  10/2/01 -  Patrick as attempting to become the 1st American to win the British Formula Ford championship. This is a fairly big championship since it would have vaulted him into a top British F3 team, & if he succeeded at F3 it could lead to a F1 ride. Well, Patrick suffered a crushing defeat in the final race of the season. He went into the final race in 2nd place, trailing by only 2 points, he just needed to finish in the top 12, one place ahead of the points leader. He finished out of the top 15 (no points) & the leader finished 15th (1 point) so he finished 2nd overall, 3 points back. As soon as we hear what happened to Patrick we'll let you know, but it sounds like a DNF. Side note: American karting ace Philip Gielber made his F3 debut last weekend, had a top 10 in his 1st race. 
Lights - Bell on top again  Series points leader Townsend Bell (DIRECWAY Lola) picked up where he left off little more than a month ago and set the pace Wednesday in the opening day of practice in the debut of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship at Road Atlanta. Bell, who has led the Dayton Indy Lights standings since June and made a successful CART Champ Car debut last month in Europe, paced both of the practice sessions conducted on the 2.540-mile circuit today. Relying on cooler conditions, Bell set the day's top time in the morning session at an average speed of 120.892 mph (75.638 seconds). His best afternoon practice lap was slightly slower at 120.536 mph (75.861 seconds) but both laps solidly out-distanced the competition. "Road Atlanta is one of my favorite tracks," Bell said. "It lends itself to a lot of technique in running quick and some deep breaths in some places. I like tracks like this. We had a good car off the trailer. That's always a good place to start. Gerald Tyler, my engineer, has raced here in Formula Fords. That's helped us get quicker 'to speed' so to say. He has a reasonable sense of what this track is about and that helps in engineering the car. We also have data from Barber Dodge that's useful. I ran at Road Atlanta in 1998 in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Fogarty (teammate Jon) has also run here so I think we have a breath of knowledge and experience within the team to draw upon. I anticipate we'll keep improving through the weekend." Rookie Matt Halliday (Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing Lola) was the second fastest driver on the day at 119.725 mph (76.375 seconds). Although the lap trailed Bell by nearly three-quarters of a second, Halliday was the only driver in the top three to improve in the hotter afternoon conditions. Dan Wheldon (Gemstar Communications/PacWest Lights Lola) was third quickest with a morning session lap of 119.706 mph (76.387 seconds). Wheldon's teammate Mario Dominguez (del Valle/Corona/Televisa/PacWest Lights Lola) was the only other driver in the top five to set his fastest lap in the afternoon. He toured the Road Atlanta course at an average speed of 119.381 mph (76.595 seconds) to nail down fourth spot. 
Grosfeld buys more CART stock  We have reported on several occasions that people such as James Grosfeld, Gerald Forsythe and Jon Vannini were buying up CART stock.  It looks like Mr. Grosfeld is not done.  A Dow Jones reports says - Detroit area multimillionaire James Grosfeld Tuesday reported a 9.99% passive stake in Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc.  On Aug. 2, Grosfeld reported an 8.7% passive stake in CART. Grosfeld, a director of Copart Inc. (CPRT) who in July reported selling 560,000 Copart shares, said in a Schedule 13G filed with the Securities.  Copart is an automobile salvage company and we can't help but wonder if Mr. Grosfeld plans to some day use CART as a vehicle to advertise and promote Copart.  Mark C.
Wallace gets #12 ride  Penske Racing LLC announced today that Mike Wallace of St. Louis, Mo., will drive the #12 Mobil 1 Taurus for the remainder of the season, beginning with this week’s UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  Two brothers on same team.
FIA releases tentative 17-race 2002 schedule
Australia, Melbourne, March 3 (1)
Malaysia, Sepang, March 17
Brazil, Interlagos, March 31
San Marino, Imola, April 14 (2)
Spain, Barcelona, April 28
Austria, A1-Ring, May 12
Monte Carlo, Monaco, May 26
Canada, Montreal, June 9
Europe, Nurburgring, June 23
Great Britain, Silverstone, July 7 (3)
France, Magny-Cours, July 21
Germany, Hockenheim, July 28
Hungary, Hungaroring, August 18
Belgium, Spa-Francorchamps, September 1
Italy, Monza, September 15 (2)
USA, Indianapolis, September 29
Japan, Suzuka, October 13
(1) Subject to the Coroner's inquiry into the fatal accident during the 2001 Australian Grand Prix
(2) Subject to the conclusion of a new commercial agreement
(3) Subject to the outcome of the MSA inquiry into traffic arrangements during the 2001 British Grand Prix 
Speedvision & ABC battle for 2002 F1 contract  Everyone is assuming that Bernie Ecclestone will do a deal with ABC/ESPN next year to broadcast F1 races.  However, Bernie met with Speedvision folks this past weekend, and nothing is a done deal yet.  Rupert Murdoch owns Speedvision now and has other business dealings with Bernie.  You can bet there is some real maneuvering going on behind closed doors as Speedvision absolutely does not want to lose F1, and ABC would like nothing better than to get F1 away from Murdoch, since Murdoch/FOX (and NBC) outbid ABC/ESPN for the lucrative NASCAR contract.  Mark C.
Rookie Casey Mears in Houston - Baptism by fire  "Right now, I have to say I'm going into this with an open mind about everything. Obviously, we haven't had the opportunity to do any testing. But I feel really good about this weekend because I won at Houston last year (in Indy Lights). I can't wait to get to the track and get started. But, realistically, it's going to take some time to get up to speed in a Champ Car and get to know the team better. Tony (Kanaan) ran really strong here last year despite being down on horsepower, so I know the team has a good feel for set-up there. I go into every race with the intention of winning it. But, given the timeframe, I think a realistic goal would be a top-10 finish. I haven't run a temporary street course in a Champ Car. But I have run on road courses. I tested at Mid-Ohio with Walker last year. I also ran Putnam Park twice with PacWest. And I ran at Firebird with Ganassi last year. So I definitely know my way around in a Champ Car. I got to spend some time with Morris (Nunn) in Indy over the weekend and we hit it off really well. I'm excited to work with him. I've heard so many good things about him from so many drivers. It'll be great to experience it for myself." 
Skinner lands a ride in #4  Mike Skinner wasted no time in finding a new job after parting ways with longtime car owner Richard Childress. He signed a three-year deal with McClure on Tuesday, a week after he climbed out of RCR's car so he could undergo knee surgery and have enough rehabilitation time to be ready to drive next season. 
Lights: Debut at Road Atlanta Friday  Could this Friday's Indy Lights race at Road Atlanta be a precursor for the Champ Cars someday?  Returning to action after a lengthy layoff, the Dayton Indy Lights Championship gets back to racing this week at the Audi Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta where the "Official Development Series" of CART will make its debut in a special Friday feature race at 3 p.m. local time. The 75-mile Road Atlanta sprint is round 10 of 12 on the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights schedule and the series' first race since August 26 at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. Although the Dayton Indy Lights Championship has been in operation since 1986, the Road Atlanta event is not only a first for the series at the famous Georgia road course but also the first time the open-wheel series has run in support of a sports car race. The Audi Petit Le Mans is a showcase event of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) tour that closes the weekend on Saturday with a 10-hour, or 1,000 mile, endurance event.
Beekhuis agrees  John Kernan asked Jon Beekhuis tonight on RPM2Night about the CART engine situation and what did he think CART should go with, an IRL engine or a turbo.  Jon said CART should pick the engine that keeps them unique.  AR1 agrees, and based on the way our poll is running, so do over 70% of everyone else.  Now it will be interesting to see if the CART board chooses to stay with the 2.65L platform as proposed by AR1, go with a new turbo engine entirely, or go with an IRL plus engine.  As we said in this article, NASCAR engines have a signature sound, F1 engines have a signature sound, and Champ car engines have a signature sound.  You don't throw away 30+ years of heritage and copy a formula that is arguably 1) a step below CART, 2) not as popular as CART by all measures, and 3) not favored by the fans, CART's paying customers.  The decision seems obvious. Mark C.
More feedback on Rockingham  The September issue of Autosport magazine was full of interesting quotes about the CART race:
1. David Grace, Rockingham Chief Exec: "Next year we will open up more roads to improve traffic flow in and out of the race."  AR1 comment - learn from the USA - all lanes one way into the race, and then all lanes out after the race.  Grace also stated: "The sky's the limit, and this race can grow in stature to equal that of the British GP."
2. John Ellson, British fan: "I have been a formula One fan since first going to Silverstone in 1956, but the Rockingham experience was just awesome, the racing speeds and overtaking move breathtaking, simply stunning......The lead changed hands twice in the final two laps and the race was won on the final corner when the whole stadium leapt to its feet.....Congratulations Rockingham.  Congratulations CART.  You have given this 60-year old grandfather the racing experience of a lifetime.  I just cannot wait for more."
3. Anthony Rowlinson, Autosport Editor" "CART came, saw and conquered Britain."
4. Jonathan Noble, Autosport F1 journalist: "Standing at the exit of turn 4 at Rockingham, the ground shakes as the Champ cars roar past in a blur of color, noise and speed.  It is as scary as it is 220mph the sense of awe is overwhelming......There were no screens hiding equipment, no outrageous paranoia keeping prying eyes away, and no bad attitude from the mechanics.  How refreshing."
5. Nigel Roebuck, Autosport GP Editor: "As I walked from the press box afterwards, I came across fans leaving the stands, and they were chattering, literally giggling with delight at what they had just seen.  It was exactly the same at Dijon, all those years ago, when Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux fought ferociously in the closing laps of the French GP.  That is what pure motor racing can do for you, and what we have all but lost sight of in F1 today."
6. Nigel Roebuck again: "Culturally, I'm a European, and fundamentally grand prix racing will always be my first love, but boy, I'd like to see Montoya and Michael Schumacher racing in a Champ Car.  I think, said a colleague, who had just watched the Champ Cars for the first time, F1 ought to be bloody grateful that CART doesn't have a Bernie running it...Not so far anyway."
Bert Roberts resigns  Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. confirmed today that Bert Roberts has resigned from CART's Board of Directors, effective September 14, 2001. In making his decision, Roberts, who has been on the CART Board since May of 2000, cited personal reasons. Joseph F. Heitzler, CART's Chairman and CEO, offered his thanks to Roberts for the contributions he made as a Board member. "Bert has provided the CART Board of Directors with useful insight and expertise during his tenure and he will be missed," said Heitzler. "We appreciate the time and effort he has devoted to CART and wish him well in his future endeavors." Roberts is the chairman of WorldCom, which is a sponsor of both CART and the Mo Nunn Racing Team that competes in the CART FedEx Championship Series.
Engineer Brian Ma job hunting  Arciero-Blair racing released engineer Brian Ma prior to the start of the Rockingham event. The team had done a decent job, while on a very thin budget, and Brian deserves some of that credit. In fact, he deserves some credit for getting the team to the front for some impressive performances this season given the circumstances. His replacement, Brian Berthold (sp?) last engineered a car for Robbie Gordon's CART team.
Juan Montoya says CART harder than F1  In this Autosport article, Juan Montoya says - In Autosport's sister publication Motorsport News, the Colombian said that the bigger run-off areas in F1 is a help to drivers mentally. The close proximity of walls on American ovals means that it takes longer to get up to speed in CART, he says. "Having run-off areas is good because you know you can make mistakes," Montoya said. "You have more room for error when there is no wall, so you push it further a bit earlier. If you make a mistake and you put the car into the gravel you're back out in the next session. If you put it in the wall it will take a while to fix."
Mario Andretti talks to Alex Zanardi  Mario Andretti talked to Alex Zanardi today and said Alex inspired him (whereas he had called to inspire Alex) so much that it will have have an affect on him the rest of his life.  To those of us in racing, it looks like Alex may be as much an inspiration off the track as he was on.
Penske lets Mayfield go  Penske Racing, LLC has released Jeremy Mayfield, effective immediately, from all obligations as a driver for the #12 Mobil 1 Taurus. The team plans to name another driver later this week for the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
What does a stable engine platform and single tire manufacturer do for you?  CART has had the same 2.65L turbocharged engine platform for over 20 years.  Because of that, each engine manufacturer has been able to bring themselves up to a level whereby parity is incredible, despite the fierce competition.  11 different race winners in 16 races, a drivers championship that saw 5 drivers go into last years final race with a chance at the title (and this year looking to be the same) and with an engine manufactures championship that is still up for grabs with 4 races to go - Current Manufacturer's Championship: 1. Honda 278 2. Ford 240 3. Toyota 236.  And this despite a rules system that is fairly open compared to a NASCAR or an IRL. Even with that, CART's championship battles are closer than the IRL's and NASCAR's and they have been for years.   And it might get tighter as Toyota will be looking for its third consecutive CART road course victory this weekend at Houston. Roberto Moreno (Visteon Toyota) and Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota) have won the two most recent road course events at Vancouver and Road America, respectively.  JIM AUST, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "We've had a great deal of success on the road course events recently - winning the last two. Hopefully, we can extend that streak to three in Houston - a track where Toyota serves as the Official Vehicle."   What would happen if CART forced the manufactures to detune these powerplants to last 1,000 miles between rebuilds and the manufacturers were able to get another 10 years out of the engines?  If Audi knew CART was going to retain a stable turbocharged engine platform for 10 years, would they bring their vast turbo engine know-how to CART?  How much money would Ford and Honda save if they did not have to design a totally new engine for CART? How much money would everyone save if engines lasted two full race weekends? MC
Alex Gurney update  Alex Gurney capped off his rookie British F3 season with another top ten finish (his eighth of the season) by taking 9th at the season finale at Silverstone. It was another extremely competitive weekend with the top 16 cars in the first race qualifying covered by 1 second. The first race was a wild one, run under very wet, tricky conditions. Alex made a great start from 12th on the grid to move into 8th by the second corner. Entering the 5th gear Maggots corner, he attempted a move on the out of shape car of Matt Davies. Unfortunately, Alex got his left front tire onto the 'paint' and then slipped off the wet surface and spun into the mud. He rejoined in last but fought his way back to 13th by the finish. The race was won by Andy Priaulx who benefited from a mistake by Takuma Sato who also fell victim to the slippery conditions when he spun and stalled under caution! The sun came out in time to dry the circuit for the second race and this time it would end more positively. Alex held his position off the start and after a race long duel with Andre Lotterer, ended in 9th position. The race was won this time by the current champion Takuma Sato. Said Alex, "I had hoped for a little bit more out of this weekend. We tried a few new things a little different in qualifying and it didn't quite work. I definitely learned a lot on many different fronts this season and I hope I can come back next year and put it to good use."  
Alex Zanardi update  According to CART Director of Medical Affairs, Dr. Steve Olvey, two-time FedEx Series champion Alex Zanardi's condition continues to progress well from his injuries resulting from his Sept. 15 race accident in Germany. Olvey said that Zanardi has been requiring minor operative procedures on his left leg at the Krankenhaus Berlin-Marzahn hospital in Berlin. The process is expected to be completed soon and at that time he will be discharged from the hospital and head to Italy to begin rehabilitation. Olvey, who spoke with Zanardi, said he sounds upbeat and has been talking frequently with his friends from around the world. He also has been maneuvering his wheelchair around the hospital. According to Olvey, Zanardi is looking forward to rehabilitation as well as developing improved prosthetic devices in the future. 
Johnson set to debut #48 Chevrolet Just four years removed from the rough-and-tumble world of stadium and off-road truck racing, California native Jimmie Johnson will attempt to make his NASCAR Winston Cup debut in the Oct. 7 UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The race marks Johnson's debut in the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet fielded by Hendrick Motorsports and partially owned by three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon. It's a ride Johnson will move to full-time for the 2002 Winston Cup season. "This is a dream-come-true for me," said Johnson, who began racing stock cars in 1998 when he earned rookie-of-the-year honors on the American Speed Association late model circuit. "There are obvious reasons to debut the car at Lowe's Motor Speedway with Lowe's being my primary sponsor, but the track has special meaning to me because it was the first place I actually saw a NASCAR race."
Earnhardt #3 will not return in 2002 According to an AP report, Dale Earnhardt's No. 3 will not be back on the track next season. Richard Childress ended speculation Sunday about the direction of the team since the Winston Cup champion's death in Daytona in February. Kevin Harvick will continue to drive the No. 29 with a new silver and black paint scheme on the Goodwrench Chevrolet in 2002. It replaces the white car Harvick has driven since taking Earnhardt's place on Childress' team. "We've had a long year and the number 29 has obviously become part of our organization and our team," Harvick said. "Hopefully this puts a little pressure on NASCAR to do what is right with the No. 3 car." Unlike other sports, motorsports is reluctant to retire numbers. 
Industry News
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Atlantics: Guy Cosmo to drive in Houston  Houston, TX Guy Cosmo, a New York born and bred driver, has already proven his talents both in the US and overseas. Now he has been tapped to pilot the #33 Western Union Speed Team / K.C. Technical Services Toyota Atlantic entry in the Texaco Havoline Grand Prix of Houston, Sunday Oct 7. 2001. This will be Guy's fifth start in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Series, his third for the Desuenberg Brothers Racing team. The 24-year old Cosmo is looking forward to this race more than any other this past season. "This is the most action-packed weekend as far as my duties both on the track and off," explains Guy. "Western Union has a strong presence in the Houston market and I want to put on a good performance for them." Cosmo posted top-ten finishes in all three street races he entered this year without the benefit of testing or prior track experience. This will be Cosmo's first visit to the Houston street circuit. However, Cosmo assures all that he has something extra for this race. "I'm really fired up for this race," asserts Cosmo. "I'm looking to pull something out of my performance that I personally haven't seen in a while. Given my lack of testing I've only been able to creep towards my true potential. I hope to show quite a bit more this weekend." Cosmo's 2002 plans are still pending, although a CART Toyota Atlantic campaign is likely. "I really feel the Duesenberg Brothers Racing staff is talented and we're definitely motivated to work together," said Cosmo. "They have a historic name and some great long term plans which I can envision myself being a part of." 
Atkinson named to CART Board, replaces Roberts  Bert Roberts Jr., CEO of telecommunications giant WorldCom, has resigned his seat on CART's board of directors, rumored to be angry that the series chose to race in Germany the weekend after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Roberts was close to the tragedy in the literal sense. WorldCom's headquarters is next to the Pentagon in suburban Washington D.C., and he presumably had a birds-eye view over the aftermath of the attacks. ``I know he wasn't supportive of the race, and he expressed his concerns to CART,'' said Andy Deas, director of WorldCom's motorsports programs.  Veteran global investment banker Eugene D. Atkinson has been named to the Board of Directors of auto racing sanctioning organization Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. The announcement was made by CART Chairman and CEO Joseph F. Heitzler. "Gene Atkinson is a great addition to an already excellent Board of Directors," said Heitzler. "He has a wealth of experience in the financial industry and his presence will play a significant role as we look to grow CART and our stature as a leader in sports entertainment. Gene and I have worked together in the past and I have always been impressed with his business experience and expertise."  Atkinson currently serves as Managing Partner of RHJ Industrial Partner, which is an affiliation of Ripplewood Holdings, LLC. Ripplewood Holdings is a New York based private equity company operating in Japan through RHJ Industrial Partners L.P. Ripplewood manages over $3 billion of equity capital and has offices in New York and Tokyo with over 40 professionals. The company makes investments in promising firms, proactively participates in management and obtains capital gains by raising corporate value, thus returning gains back to investors such as financial institutions and pension funds. In Japan, Ripplewood is already in the process of revitalizing the former Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan (currently Shinsei Bank) and it intends to invest approximately $1.2 billion of equity capital by 2004. Prior to joining Ripplewood, Atkinson was a limited partner and Chairman of Goldman Sachs International from 1990 to 1998. He was instrumental in building Goldman Sachs' business throughout Asia and his efforts led to the company securing one of the first seats on the Japan Stock Exchange. He first joined Goldman Sachs in 1972 in Corporate Finance. Atkinson earned his Master's degree in Business Administration from Harvard University in 1972 and a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1966. He served as a captain in the U.S. Army and received a Bronze Star, an Army Commendation Medal for Valor and an Army Commendation Medal for his services in Vietnam.
CIE to manage both Mexico CART races UPDATE The Mexican folks are claiming that 58 million viewers worldwide watched last years inaugural Monterrey GP CART race.  58 million viewers for one CART race, imagine that.  Makes all those doom and gloomers out there seem kind of petty, doesn't it?  9/28/01 -  The Tecate Telmex Grand Prix presented by Herdez is announcing that CIE will be managing their operations from 2002, to 2005. As you know, CIE (Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento - a VERY large entertainment firm) is running the recently announced Mexico City Grand Prix, and now they have added this race as well. The new director of the Monterrey G.P. will be Arturo Mendez Aviles, a person related to the past organizers, who will be working in collaboration with CIE's staff. They say that CIE will run the event from the logistics, to the marketing and even the concessions at Parque Fundidora. Mark C.
Trulli disqualified after 4th place finish  Jarno Trulli was disqualified from his 4th place finish in the USGP after a post-race inspection found an infraction.  Officials found that the rear wheel of his car was in breach of technical regulations because the thickness around the rear hole of the skid block was 1.5mm below the minimum. Officials stated: "This high wear is very likely by the loss of two fasteners which are normally flush with the surface of the skid block, these fasteners are designed to prevent such high wear".  Mark C.
IRL ovals making Hornish soft? UPDATE It appears Hornish has gotten very rusty when it comes to road racing after 2-years in the IRL.  Out driven by his teammate, David Donohue, Sam Hornish Jr. still managed to finish 10th in the Porsche Pirelli Supercup race. It was an improvement over Saturday's race, in which Hornish failed to finish after a mis-shift. David Donohue, son of 1972 Indianapolis 500 winner Mark Donohue, finished eighth in both Supercup races this weekend. He was the top finisher among the five American drivers in the field in both races, driving as a teammate to Hornish in the Porsche AG factory cars.  It appears Hornish will have his work cut out for him if someday he decides to step up to CART, a much harder formula than the IRL to drive.  9/27/01 -  Some people claim that oval racing is easier on a driver than road course racing, and it dulls the reflexes.  IRL champion Sam Hornish is finding that out this weekend at Indy, and perhaps it's giving him a taste of the challenge he will be up against if he someday decides to step up to CART. In this Indy Star article, he had this to say - Participating in the Porsche Pirelli Supercup race, a support event for the USGP, was supposed to be a weekend of mental relaxation, not physical discomfort. "I haven't worked this hard all year (in the IRL)," said Hornish, who was asked to participate by IRL founder George. Working hard didn't make for better results in Friday's two practices. Hornish ended up 15th of 18 drivers in qualifying, more than 3 seconds off the time of polesitter Sascha Maassen. Former Indianapolis 500 starter Alessandro Zampedri qualified fifth.  Mark C.
How Turbochargers work  One of the surest ways to get more power out of an engine is to increase the amount of air and fuel that it can burn. One way to do this is to add cylinders or make the cylinders bigger (that's the outdated Detroit Iron way to do it).  A turbo can be a simpler, more compact way to add power and provide a long-term stable engine platform.  We thought you might enjoy this article, How Turbochargers Work, and this article, Turbocharger Overview.   Garrett Turbo provides the turbochargers used on the existing Champ Car engine. CART is going to Mexico City and Denver next year.  With a turbo engine, those high altitudes won't be a problem.  With a normally aspirated engine they would lose 50 to 100 HP, whereas a turbo engine won't feel the effects.  With talk in some circles of CART going with a 750 HP version of the IRL engine, when they get to Denver and Mexico City they will be down to perhaps as low as 650 HP on those road courses.......gasp, can you say slow! Mark C.

Pollack calls for more US races, AR1 calls for more European races  BAR boss Craig Pollock has called for more races in the US to increase the F1's profile in America, where it has to compete with the likes of the Nascar and the Champcar series. On the team's website he explained when he said: "It might take two or three races in the US. You might have to stay over there for a month, or a month and-a-half, and do three races. I'd probably be blown out of the team principals club for saying it, but I believe there should be more races in the States." He further added that the first good American driver to enter the Formula One arena will enhance the position of the sport even further in the States.  Along those same lines, we think CART probably needs to race once or twice more in Europe, the world's hotbed of open wheel racing, and we would probably be blown out of the CART Board meeting for suggesting it.  However, CART dipped it's toes in Europe and got a warm reception.  Now CART goes away for 50 weeks. Out of sight, out of mind.  We suggest CART venture to Europe perhaps twice a year, each time for two races.  A race in Paris, France and Imola, Italy would go a long way to really putting CART on the European map. 1 trip with 2 ovals, another with 2 road courses. Mark C.
Atlantics: LaPoint to drive last 2 races  Jason LaPoint, who will drive the final two races of the CART Toyota Atlantic season with Lynx Racing, one of the series' top teams, won the US F2000 championship at Sebring on Sunday in his #85 Infinity Racing/Regency Aviation/Trackmagic Van Diemen Ford. In a two-race weekend, he finished second in the first race and increased his points lead over second-place driver Billy Asaro to 14. LaPoint's car blew an engine on the first lap of qualifying for the second race, so he started from the back of the field and drove up to finish 9th. As a result, he finished 4 points ahead of Asaro and will accept the champion's trophy at the series banquet this evening. He and his family will visit Universal Studios theme park on Monday, and LaPoint will fly to Houston on Wednesday to begin preparing for the first of two back-to-back Atlantic races (Houston on Oct. 7 and Laguna Seca on Oct. 13). "There's no better way for a driver to come into a race than having won the last one," says LaPoint. "Momentum is a real force during a race weekend, and I'm carrying a ton of it into Houston. And getting to drive with a top team like Lynx give me a tremendous feeling of optimism about both Houston and my chances of moving up to Atlantic next year." 

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