Hot News

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DATE News (chronologically 10/12/01 to 10/22/01)
10/22/01
Chat with Mario Andretti  On Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 6PM EST, legendary driver Mario Andretti will stop in at RPM.ESPN.com to take user questions in chat. Andretti, born in the tiny village of Montona, on the Istrian Peninsula on the northeastern tip of Italy, was one of the greatest drivers to ever circle a track. He was the only driver to win the Daytona 500, Indy 500 and Formula One world titles, the only person to be named Driver of the Year in three decades (1967, 1978, and 1984), and one of only three drivers to win races on paved ovals, road courses, and dirt tracks in one season, a feat he accomplished four times.  Post your question here.
10/22/01
NASCAR announces penalties, Earnhardt keeps victory  NASCAR Officials announced that Tony Eury, Sr., crew chief of the No. 8 Chevrolet Monte Carlo received a $25,000 fine for a rule violation found during post-race inspection following Sunday's EA Sports 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Eury, Sr., was penalized under Section 12-4-T in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book, "Any car that is found to be under the specified height requirement after the completion... of the race." The minimum height requirement is 51 inches - the No. 8 car was 1/8 of an inch under this requirement. The last time a race winner was found with a similar problem was earlier this year at California Speedway. Jeremy Mayfield was the driver of the #12 Mobil Ford when his car also failed post race inspection. Mayfield kept the win and Winston Cup points, but his crew chief, Peter Sospenzo, was fined $25,000. Identical to the fine Tony Eury received.

CREW CHIEF CAR NUMBER RULE VIOLATION FINE
Bobby King No. 90 Rear Deck Lid $5,000
Michael McSwain No. 28 Rear Deck Lid $5,000
Peter Sospenzo No. 12 Fuel Cell $5,000 Underpans $ 500
Chad Knaus No. 92 Windshield clips (too small) $ 750
Jimmy Elledge No. 55 Travel limiting devices (bump stops) $2,500
Slugger Labbe No. 15 Rear window braces $ 250
Paul Andrews No. 1 Rear window braces $1,000 Unapproved air deflector $1,250
Donnie Wingo No. 26 Unapproved air deflector $ 250

10/22/01
NAKA and CART announce several karting programs  The North American Karting Association (NAKA) and the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) have created a partnership to assist in the positioning of karting as a major motorsports activity in the United States. The primary focus is an expanded 'CART Stars of Tomorrow' program developing a true national karting championship and the inclusion of a series of kart races at several CART events in 2002.  The 'CART Stars of Tomorrow', developed by Bryan Herta and Hollis Brown of the Las Vegas Karting Center was introduced in November, 2000, with the winners receiving test rides in Indy cars and scholarships to Skip Barber Racing. In 2001 the 'Stars' series was expanded to four events counting toward the championships. Next year, NAKA, partnering with CART, will expand the 'Stars of Tomorrow' to a true national karting championship. A series of regional events will be presented on NAKA approved tracks throughout the country with the winners being invited to Las Vegas in November, 2002, for the championships. The primary objectives of the 'Stars' series is to provide the first rung on the development Ladder System that has been structured by CART and to also identify the best kart racers in the country as true national champions. The CART Ladder will now be from karting to the CART Skip Barber Formula Dodge, to the CART Toyota Atlantic, and to the CART FedEx Championship. This will now provide a well-defined career path from karting to CART. The 'Stars' national karting championships will be limited to a minimal number of classes with the focus on driver talent.  In 2002, NAKA will also sanction a series of six to eight selected races at CART FedEx Championship events to introduced and expose today's karting to hundreds of thousands of CART fans attending these CART races. In addition, the karting participants will be racing in front of and working beside the CART Barber Dodge, CART Toyota Atlantic, and CART FedEx racing teams and owners who are always interested in upcoming talented drivers. A comprehensive national marketing program for karting will be launched in 2002 by NAKA in conjunction with the CART relationship. This will focus on today's karting to the general public with on-site promotions and 'test drives' at CART races, major non-automotive events, state fairs, trade shows, etc. NAKA will be using traveling exhibits, press and public relations, event promotions, and CART racing personalities in this program.
10/22/01
McNish confirmed at Toyota in 2002  Today at a news conference at Suzuka, Toyota officially announced ex-ALMS driver Allan McNish for the 2002 season.  The team is at Suzuka for a three-day testing session on Monday. McNish conducted official testing duties for Toyota in 2001 and was the favorite to secure the second seat for Toyota's debut in the Formula One arena. Toyota president Ove Andersson said on Monday that they turned down several other drivers for the team's second driver's seat for 2002. McNish - "I have been deeply involved with the team in the development of the Toyota F1 car from the very beginning of the project. In the process, my ability as an F1 driver was recognized and I am very happy to have been officially chosen as a driver for the coming season. This fills me with confidence that I can accomplish the difficult tasks ahead. There is a mountain of things we must do before our first race next year, and I intend to fully devote myself to bringing out my very best." 
10/21/01

Food for thought  Just a suggestion for CART and the IRL to work together.  First CART management comes to a working relationship with the IRL. Two series inside one bigger series...maybe the golf event route, or maybe a holding company that owns both.  Use the same equipment (except the CART version removes 100 to 200 Lbs of ballast that would be built in to improve performance on tight road courses), let CART sanction the road races/International races, let IRL sanction the oval events...come together for three big joint oval races -- Daytona in the winter/spring as part of Speedweeks, Indy 500 and Fontana (make this one invitation only for the top point scorers). Crown a CART champ, an IRL champ and an overall FedEx (or whatever) U.S. Open-Wheel Champ.  How about a point system that takes only the top 15 results - with each driver having to count at least five races from the other discipline (oval for CART; road for IRL). That, or simply take the top 15 in points from each and invite them to Fontana and crown the winner as U.S. Open Wheel Champ. US fans can relate to the big game - the Super Bowl, etc....if Gil de Ferran wins 12 races, but can't win the big one at Fontana -- oh well, they don't give the Seattle Mariners the World Series for winning 116 regular season games. This would open up the possibility for more cross-over and interest from fans -- by using only your 15 best points finishes (remember, F1 did this into the 90's), then the big teams can go to as many races as their sponsors need them to, while the smaller teams can opt for just 15. Don't want to go to Nazareth? Well, some of the smaller teams probably would. If the promoter wants other teams, he can pay them appearance money -- this would probably also weed out the lesser events. If you use the same equipment, the engine and chassis manufacturers can sell more for two series within a series -- that will let them sell more quantity and reduce costs, while making enough manufacturers that nobody can decide to gouge because there will be a lot of other options. Mark C.  Feedback
10/21/01
Eddie Irvine thinks the younger Montoya is a match for Schuey  England's The Sun newspaper quoted Jaguar's Eddie Irvine: "The younger guy (Montoya) will always have a psychological advantage because he has less to lose. Michael has been in the sport a long time and will not want to take the same sort of risks he used to when attempting to upstage Senna. As you get older you do become more cautious. Schumacher will use more of his wisdom and less of his bravado as he weighs up the risks. That is why Montoya, providing BMW Williams build him a good car, should become one of Schumacher's main challengers next season". "Montoya has certainly revealed he is not one to be messed with. But while there should be some epic battles between them I still feel Michael has the experience and skill to maintain the upper hand over an entire 2002 season".
10/21/01
F1 Engine manufacturers continue threat to breakaway  The rift between the engine manufacturers (ACEA) and Kirch who is buying the majority of the F1 holding company, SLEC, continues. The President of the ACEA Paolo Cantarella was quoted saying: "Our goal is to promote the interest of the sport, to make sure that races are made freely available to the broadest possible public worldwide, and that the income generated benefits mainly those who invested in order to render the competition possible, i.e. the manufacturers and the independent teams."  A report in England's The Sunday Business Times says the F1 teams met with directors from Kirch to discuss their case for an increased stake in the revenue generated from the television rights. Alain Prost was quoted saying: "For sure there have been some discussions. Teams like us need to have a much bigger revenue from TV rights. It has to be changed for next season, otherwise the small teams won't survive."
10/19/01
Tony Stewart defiant on HANS  Tony Stewart missed the first 45 minutes of practice at Talladega today, as he refused to wear a NASCAR mandated Head And Neck Restraint System. Greg Zipadelli eventually persuaded Stewart to wear the Hutchens Device and take the car out for practice. Stewart has been the lone holdout on the Head And Neck Restraint systems, citing claustrophobia as a reason for not wearing one.. "I want to wear something, but I haven't found anything yet that I'm comfortable with," Stewart said earlier. "It's not that I don't want to wear it, and I'm not being bullheaded about this, but there is nothing right now that I'm comfortable wearing inside the race car." 
10/19/01
Drivers wanted  Roquin Motorsport's Indy Lights team will move its operation to either the Toyota Atlantic or Indy Racing League Lights Series for the 2002 season. In addition, Roquin Motorsport will continue to run in the US Formula Ford 2000 Championship. Roquin Motorsport will conduct driver testing during November and December of 2001. We are currently seeking drivers that are interested. For further information, please contact: Martin Bates, Team Manager, mbatesroquin@spitfire.net
10/19/01
Nunn and Giaffone team up in IRL Mo Nunn Racing announced today that it will own and operate one full-time entry in the Indy Racing League starting in 2002. The driver of that car will be 2001 IRL Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone. The car will be sponsored by Hollywood – a Brazilian tobacco company – which has worked with both Nunn in the CART series and Giaffone in the IRL. In addition to the Hollywood team competing for the IRL championship, Mo Nunn Racing also confirmed that it will field two entries in the 2002 Indianapolis 500. The driver and sponsor of the second car at the Indy 500 will be announced at a later date. Engine and chassis decisions will also be announced at a later date. “This is certainly great news for our organization and having the ability to take two cars back to the Indy 500 is very exciting for the whole team,” said Morris Nunn. “We will continue to field the Pioneer-WorldCom car in CART in 2002, but with the CART situation as it is right now, we felt a real need to spread our wings. I am delighted that Hollywood has chosen to make this move to the IRL with us and we look forward to providing Felipe with all of the tools necessary to win a championship.” “This is a great opportunity for Hollywood,” said Mark Hulit, consumer marketing director for Souza Cruz, the parent company for the Brazilian Hollywood brand of British American Tobacco. “We are delighted to continue our strong partnership with Mo Nunn Racing and about continuing in the Indy Racing League. We feel the IRL has a great future. The series is very professional, cost-effective for sponsors, and it is carefully planning for the future. And, the series continues to develop and strengthen with each season under the leadership of Tony George. Mo Nunn Racing and Felipe Giaffone will be a solid combination in our efforts to achieve results in 2002 and into the future.” Hollywood has a long history of motorsports sponsorship over the past 30 years in a variety of series and countries. It has been involved in the CART series since 1994. “We value our eight years in CART, but we feel the timing is right to focus on the IRL for the future,” Hulit said.
10/19/01
Herbert fastest at Indy today, talks about Indy Former Formula One driver Johnny Herbert continued to adapt to the oval version of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, turning the fastest lap of the day at 222.366 mph.  "Today we just getting a bit more mileage but trying a few new things on the car for next year. We're just trying to loosen it a little bit, take the wickers off and get a bit more speed." (About the differences between Formula One circuits and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's oval): "For us, we don't corner anywhere near this speed, so I think the speed is one thing. Turn 1, because you can't see it too well, is like going in a tunnel. So that's a little unnerving, especially to start with, but you get a bit used to it. Turns 2 and 4 are very similar, they're sort of the easiest of the four and probably (Turn) 1 is the most difficult. I think probably even (Turn) 3 is the second most difficult. It's just good being able to get on the Speedway like this, driving the right way around it for a start. Secondly, getting the real feeling for what it's all about, what the 500 is all about and Indianapolis Speedway. It's been very interesting, for one, but very enjoyable at the same time. I'm looking forward to getting it together for next year. It's one of the those things that when I was a kid I wanted to do Formula One, which I've done, I won three races in that. I wanted to do Le Mans, and I've won Le Mans. It's the 500. It's a different type of challenge. It's like nothing else I've done before, and because that challenge is there, I want to attack it, but I want to attack it in a way that I do a season of it, not just the 500 itself, do a season so, one I get the races before I get here, and, second, I get a series that the 500 is part of that series, and it's good. It's something completely different than I've ever done before and a big, big challenge. And that's what important as a driver, to have a challenge. And this, for sure, gives you a big challenge." 
10/19/01
Grosfeld added to CART board  In what can only be viewed as a positive move for CART, they announced today that James Grosfeld has been named to the CART Board of Directors. CART needs more outside directors who are major stock investors to take over and control the company.  Jerry Forsythe is calling for all team owners to be removed from the board to remove all conflicts of interest.  We support that notion.  We here at AR1 endorse Jon Vannini as the next board member to be announced.  The announcement was made by CART Chairman and CEO Joseph F. Heitzler. Grosfeld becomes the 12th member of the CART Board and his appointment is effective immediately. "We are fortunate to have James joining us on the CART Board," said Heitzler. "His background, experience and expertise includes the practice of law, managing one of the nation's largest homebuilding companies and working as an investment advisor. We welcome him to our Board at a time when CART is beginning to move on a number of initiatives that will help us grow our business." While Grosfeld has spent the majority of his time in recent years on personal investing activities, he served in various capacities with Pulte Homes, Inc., over 18 years, including chief executive officer from 1974 to 1990. During that time, Pulte became one of the country's largest home builders, a national mortgage banking company, as well as the owner and operator of five savings and loan institutions in Houston, Texas. He remained active with the company as a member of its board until 1997, when he retired. Grosfeld graduated from Amherst College in 1959 and Columbia Law School in 1962. After working in the New York City law firm of Kelly, Drye, Newhall, Maginnes & Warren, from 1962-65, Grosfeld became House Counsel at Goodbody & Company, a national investment banking and brokerage firm. "I believe CART and its racing are terrific products," said Grosfeld. "The challenge for us is to realize the full potential of CART and open-wheel racing. I believe my background and experience can help move the company in a direction that will be advantageous to all the entities involved with CART. I am thrilled to be joining the Board and look forward to working to grow CART and its racing series." Grosfeld has served on a variety of corporate boards and is currently a member of the board of directors for publicly owned Copart, Inc., which provides vehicle suppliers, primarily insurance companies, with a full range of services to process and sell salvage vehicles through auctions. He also serves on the board of Blackrock, Inc., a financial services firm managing more than $200 billion on behalf of institutional clients and retail investors, whose controlling shareholder is PNC Financial Services Group. According to a September 28, 2001 Securities and Exchange Commission 13G filing, Grosfeld is one of CART's largest shareholders, holding approximately 9.99 percent of the company's outstanding shares. Grosfeld joins Eugene Atkinson, Gerald Forsythe, Chip Ganassi, Barry Green, Carl Haas, James Hardymon, Joseph Heitzler, James Henderson, U.E. 'Pat' Patrick, Fred Tucker and Derrick Walker on CART's Board of Directors.
10/19/01
NASCAR announces new department  NASCAR today announced a restructuring and expansion of its Competition Department, with special emphasis on NASCAR’s new Research and Development Center in Hickory, N.C. These changes are aimed at facilitating further advancement in the areas of research, development and race-site management involved in America’s fastest-growing sport. As part of this restructuring, several longtime NASCAR officials are moving into new positions, assuming new and/or additional responsibilities.  All of these individuals will report to NASCAR President Mike Helton and NASCAR Senior Vice President George Pyne.
  • Gary Nelson, formerly NASCAR Winston Cup Series Director, has been named Managing Director of Competition. Nelson will be responsible for on-track race activities, rules and off-track research and development programs. He primarily will be based at the Research and Development Center.
  • Kevin Triplett, formerly NASCAR Director of Operations, has been named Managing Director of Business Operations. Triplett will be responsible for schedules, sanctions, credentials, timing and scoring procedures, plan development, point fund management and all other business aspects of NASCAR’s three national divisions (NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch Grand National and Craftsman Truck).
  • John Darby, formerly NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Series Director, will replace Nelson as Winston Cup Series Director, overseeing all competitive aspects-including technical inspections, rules changes and rules enforcement-on the Winston Cup Series.
  • Brian DeHart, formerly a Technical Inspector on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and Busch Grand National Series, will replace Darby as Busch Grand National Series Director. DeHart will oversee all competitive aspects of the Busch Grand National Series.
  • Wayne Auton, Director of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since June 1995, is continuing in that position.
  • Joe Garone, a longtime crew chief in various NASCAR divisions, including Winston Cup, has been named the Research and Development Center Director.
10/19/01
Industry News
Lola unveils new 2002 F3000 car  Lola Cars International Ltd have today revealed the all-new chassis for next season’s International F3000 series at their head office in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.  The technical presentation was hosted by Lola with the FIA, current 2001 teams, and those aiming to compete in the new era all present. Building on experience gained in the series over the last six years and making full use of the company’s increased technical capabilities and resources, Lola have designed the chassis to reflect the aesthetic qualities of contemporary Formula One cars, offering improved driver comfort and increased passive safety measures. The carbon-aluminum honeycomb composite monocoque of the new Lola B2/50 was constructed using a new specification of carbon fiber, offering greater strength whilst maintaining the same stiffness characteristics and be made without removing the underbody. As Frank Dernie, Chief Engineer of Lola Cars International Ltd, points out, the new chassis is significantly more advanced than the existing B99/50: “Making use of state-of-the-art technology, the Lola B2/50’s data system will enable teams to log ten more channels than the previous systems allowed, and the dashboard display will be incorporated into the steering wheel.” “Having been the exclusive chassis supplier to the International F3000 series for the last six years, Lola has once again proved its experience, technical capabilities and resources to design an all-new chassis for next season,” said David Bowes, Managing Director of Lola Cars International Ltd. “I’m sure the Lola B2/50 will cause quite a stir when it arrives on the scene in 2002.”
10/19/01
Petty names new crew chief  The #45 Sprint Dodge of driver Kyle Petty has added new leadership. One of the top young minds in stock car racing will become crew chief for the team beginning next week in Phoenix, Ariz. In addition, Richard Buck has joined the team as Technical Director. Steven Lane, 30, at native of Winston-Salem, N.C., now living in Mooresville, has been named crew chief for the team. Chris Hussey, who had been in a dual role, will move into an overall operational role. "We've been looking for someone with Steven's capabilities and attitude. His expertise and new ideas will help us on the track. His personality and demeanor is going to be great for us off the track too," said Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. Lane joins Petty Enterprises from Penske Racing, where he was car chief for the #12 car of driver Jeremy Mayfield. He was instrumental in that team's technical advances from the time he joined.
10/18/01
Reader wants CART to improve tracks  Oswaldo Diaz from Mexico writes - I noticed that you stated the Houston track is not worthy of a CART race, too short and no long straights. I agree, CART should be like F1 and set some minimum standards that tracks must meet. I think that tracks (street circuits especially) should have a minimum length of 2 miles long. Why are American street circuits like Houston and Denver so short compared to Australia, for example? I have set about coming up with suggested layouts for all the street tracks and started with Toronto in Canada (click on image to top-right). [Editors Note - we certainly agree that Mr. Diaz's Toronto circuit is far better than the existing one, which happens to be one of the better ones now.  Our only question is whether the additional streets could be closed to traffic all weekend.]
10/18/01
Ford speaks up regarding CART engines  Ford Racing Technology was disappointed by CART's decision on October 4th to adopt new engine rules for the 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons that call for a normally aspirated engine, up to 3.5 liters in displacement. Story
10/18/01
Two rule changes for Talladega  NASCAR officials announced two rules adjustments this week, effective with the EA Sports 500. Rear spoilers on Fords are 55½ inches, down from 57; roof air-deflectors on Pontiacs are 1¼ inches, lowered by an eighth-inch.
10/18/01
Red Wing Richard Petty Shoe special  Red Wing Shoes has developed a Limited Special Edition Richard Petty Series boot, which will soon be available only at Red Wing dealers and only for a limited time. The boots are embossed with Petty’s likeness and the number 43, and are unique in motorsports. "I’ve always been a ‘boots guy,’ and I’ve always been a Red Wing Shoes ‘boots guy,’" Petty said. "Now I’m wearing boots that have my picture and car number on the side. There was a time when that would be on the side and I’d know it was my boot. I guess it’s still my boot, just belongs to race fans now."
10/18/01
Monterrey, Mexico track changes  The track diagram on the left shows the changes AR1 recommended be made to the Monterrey, Mexico track the day we arrived in Mexico last year, to make more passing zones.  We are happy to report they met us half-way.  The diagram on the right shows what the track will indeed look like when we arrive there next year.  Gone will be the chicane at Turn 6-7, which should increase the chances for overtaking going into what was Turn 8.  They looked at taking the chicane out at Turn 2-3 as recommended, but there was not enough run-off room in Turn 4 for the higher speeds we would have seen. The ground falls away there, meaning they would have to haul in a lot of fill material and build a small retaining wall to increase the run-off in Turn 4.  We would like to see them eventually do that because Turn 4 would then be a hard braking 170-degree hairpin, making for the best passing zone on the track. The same person who provided AR1 with the final track layout for 2002 also told us, whereas they had 116,000 attend the inaugural 2001 race (316,000 for the weekend), they are building more grandstand seats for 2002 and will have at least 150,000 on race day, and perhaps as high as 200,000!  Mark C.
10/17/01
Lazier fastest in Indy testing  Jaques Lazier was fastest among eight Indy Racing drivers in testing Oct. 17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, while 2001 Northern Light Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. suffered a fractured left foot in an accident. Lazier topped the speed chart with a lap of 225.006 mph in the No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. That lap that would have put him on the outside of Row 1 for the Indianapolis 500 last May. "I'm very comfortable with where we are right now," Lazier said. "We're just going to stepping it up a little bit more each time we come out. We're not trying anything fancy. We're just getting the package better and better each time, and that's what it going to take to win a championship next year." Hornish was second fastest at 223.592 in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther entry before an accident in Turn 1 early in the afternoon ended his day. Hornish was released from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis with small fractures in his left foot, which was placed in a small cast after evaluation by Dr. Kevin Scheid. Hornish is allowed to put weight on the foot. He never lost consciousness during the crash. "The car was running pretty good," said Kevin Blanch, team manager for Panther Racing. "It got loose. He banged his left knee and right elbow. He'll be sore tomorrow." Former Formula One driver Johnny Herbert turned his first laps on the 2.5-mile oval at Indianapolis. He recorded a top speed of 218.915 mph in the No. 35 Heritage Motorsports Firestone Menards G Force/Infiniti/Firestone before engine problems ended his session after 10 laps. 
10/17/01
Hornish Jr. breaks foot in Indy crash Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. is at Methodist Hospital being evaluated for fractures to his left foot after crashing Oct. 17 during testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said Dr. Henry Bock, Speedway medical director. He is awake and alert with no other injuries. At approximately 2:10 p.m., Hornish spun and hit the outside wall at the exit of Turn 1 of the 2.5-mile oval while testing the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. He was driving the same car that won the season-ending Chevy 500 Oct. 6 at Texas Motor Speedway. Hornish, who did not lose consciousness in the accident, will see an orthopedic specialist shortly to determine what treatment the fractures will require, said Bock. "The car was running pretty good," said Kevin Blanch, team manager. "It got loose. He banged his left knee and right elbow. He'll be sore tomorrow." Hornish was the first car on the track at 11:30 a.m. He completed 68 laps of testing with a top speed of more than 223 mph. The team will not continue its test tomorrow, Blanch said. This season, Hornish, 22, won three races (Phoenix, Miami and Texas II) on his way to capturing the Northern Light Cup. A complete summary of today's testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be released this evening. 
10/17/01
Alex Barron to drive for Arciero Blair  Arciero-Blair Racing announced today that former Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) FedEx Championship Series driver Alex Barron will race at Australia and Fontana. Barron, instead of Brazilian driver Max Wilson, will pilot the Driving 101 Ford-Lola. Barron challenged for the win at both of these events in the 2000 CART series. "I am looking forward to the opportunities that Arciero-Blair is giving me at Australia and Fontana," said Barron. "Last year, I was in contention to win both events; then we had a mechanical problem. 2001 has been a long year not racing a Champ car. But I have kept myself in shape by working out, testing the 2002 Atlantic chassis and testing for Firestone at the new tracks in Germany and England. It will be good to be back in CART competition and to race for this new team."
10/17/01
PacWest picks Reef  Marketing conglomerate PacWest Racing Group (www.pacwestracing.com) has chosen technology from Reef(r) (www.Reef.com), a leading global provider of Internet software applications for the management of e-business, to power its website. Now, in real time and from the base camp of any raceway, the non-technical members of PacWest's marketing team will use Reef InternetWare(r) to update the site with up-to-the-minute race results, scores and record-breaking data. PacWest chose Reef because they wanted non-technical employees to be able to update and manage the racing site in-house, in an effort to keep IT costs down. Reef InternetWare also provides the company with enhanced promotional opportunities and reporting capabilities for sponsors through the Internet. PacWest plans to improve interaction with the media and fans through the personalization, community and direct marketing features built into Reef InternetWare. "Our previous web architecture and site management procedures were really slowing us down," commented Ted Minch, Business Development Manager at PacWest Racing. "With Reef InternetWare, we can really put our marketing team in the driver's seat by providing them with an advanced tool that offers dynamic updates and interaction to make our website a rewarding place for racing enthusiasts to visit. This means we're now better able to open up lines of communication with our fans, employees, sponsors and the media. And because we can now do this all in-house, we're seeing a speedy return on our investment." Reef InternetWare's template-driven interface allows non-technical PacWest employees to add all types of content to the site to provide fans and sponsors with up-to-the-minute results and data from the racetrack. The software also takes care of essential details such as navigational elements and links between pages and content and even lets PacWest send mass mailings to fans and supporters, all done via a standard web browser from a trailer at the racetrack.
10/17/01
Blaney leaves Bill Davis Racing  After four seasons with the #93 Bill Davis Racing team, Dave Blaney made the decision to move to the #77 Jasper Motorsports Ford team for the 2002 season after a difficult process during which he reaffirmed his gratitude to car owners Bill and Gail Davis for giving him the opportunity to make the transition to NASCAR in 1998 after 15-plus seasons of open-wheel racing. Jasper Motorsports Car Owners Doug Bawel, Mark Wallace and Mark Harrah announced Tuesday that Blaney, 38, would replace Robert Pressley in the #77 Jasper Motorsports Ford, beginning in 2002. Blaney, a native of Hartford, Ohio, joined Bill Davis Racing in 1998 and after only 52 Busch Series starts over two seasons, moved to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 2000 with the #93 Amoco/BDR team despite having only seven starts in fendered cars of any kind at any level prior to leaving his position as a World of Outlaws front-runner following the 1997 season.  Jasper Motorsports announced today that Dave Blaney would take over the driving duties of the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford Taurus for the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Season.
10/17/01
HANS Device must be mandated on road courses...now!  Watching Oriol Servia's wreck at Laguna Seca this past weekend was all too reminiscent of Gonzalo Rodriguez' fatal crash at the same track in 1999.  While Gonzalo's car hit a wall head-on and flipped backend straight up and over the wall and nearby tree, Servia's car did a similar somersault when his nose dug into the ground and flipped the car in a very similar violent motion.  Only by the grace of God (he gave Servia very strong neck muscles) did Servia not suffer the same fatal basilar skull fracture.  We hope this opened the eyes of CART, F1 and all sanctioning bodies to the fact that it's time to mandate the HANS Device on all tracks.......immediately.  We don't need any more needless deaths, and it's not like AR1 to keep silent on the obvious. Mark C.
10/16/01
Castroneves Hunk of the Month  If you look in the November issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine, you'll see Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves as this month's featured "Hunk of the Month". The article is titled "Why Helio Castroneves Makes our Hearts Race" and includes a brief question and answer section along with a full-page color photo shot in his hometown of Miami. 
10/16/01
IRL teams to test at Indy  Many Indy Racing Northern Light Series teams are testing this week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway starting Wednesday, Oct. 17, as they continue preparations for the 86th Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2002. The teams and drivers that plan to test Wednesday: Cheever Indy Racing with 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr., Heritage Motorsports with former Formula One driver Johnny Herbert, Treadway Racing with Rick Treadway and Team Menard with Jaques Lazier. Firestone also will conduct tire testing with the top two teams in the recently completed 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series season, Panther Racing and 2001 Northern Light Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., and Hemelgarn Racing and 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier. 
10/16/01
Jonathan Vannini not one to sit back for long  With CART shooting itself in the foot on more than one occasion in recent years, it's refreshing to see Jon Vannini, a major investor in CART (owns about 5% of the outstanding shares), step forward and assert his presence, both here on AR1 and now in the CART paddock. As this article on Bloomberg.com points out, Mr. Vannini is just the kind of guy CART needs - a no-holds-bar straight shooter who insists things get done right.  We bet he's not about to let the CART leadership shoot too many more toes off.  BTW, the lawsuit referred to at the end of the article, was settled today in Mr. Vannini's favor. And to top it off, the guy he beat, Ronald Perelman, is listed in the Fortune 400. We bet the CART Barber Dodge Pro Series (where Mr. Vannini currently drives), or CART itself, never had such an astute businessman in their midst's, who knows CART racing, sees first hand what is right and wrong, and has the wherewithal to make a difference. Mark C.
10/16/01
CART should think twice about Speedvision  If we were CART, we would think twice about having our races on Speedvision.  This Charlotte Business Journal article lays out the details of Speedvision's move to Charlotte to eventually become the NASCAR channel.  The benefit to CART, as Speedvision adds more NASCAR programming, is that it will reach 60 million households by next year....very much in ESPN territory.  The unfortunate reality is that CART will take a back seat to NASCAR on everything. NASCAR will be the focus of the channel, which is like the Boston Red Sox thinking they'll get great coverage putting their games on the 24-hour NY Yankees channel.  Knowing this, if we were CART, we would think about buying time on CBS (which it already will do for about 6 race per year) and FOX (after July 4th when FOX is done with NASCAR) or FOX Sports Net for ALL its races.  We would only use Speedvision to show race reruns, practice, qualifying, post-race interviews, the season ending awards banquet and weekly specials.  CART would be wise to get its races on as many network TV broadcasts as possible (CBS & FOX) and as little as possible on cable (Speedvision & FOX Sports Net).  The details of CART's new TV contract are not all worked out.  As we have always said, the devils-in-the-details, and this is one detail CART had better pay close attention to.  Mark C.
10/16/01
Lights: CART hammers Bell with stiff penalty  Dayton Indy Lights Championship Chief Steward Terry Dale announced today that recently crowned series champion Townsend Bell has been fined $35,000 -- $25,000 of which will be suspended -- and placed on a one-year probation period for all CART sanctioned competition following his post-race on-track actions in Sunday's race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Dale, who reviewed both the incidents and the disciplinary rulings with CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel, cited Bell for "unjustifiable risk" (CART Rule 8.13) and "failure to follow the instructions of an official" (CART Rule 1.7.5) for a pair of incidents after the checkered flag on the Laguna Seca circuit. Under the terms of the fine, Bell will not have to pay the suspended $25,000 portion if he performs within the boundaries of his probation in all CART-sanctioned racing events within the one-year period. Bell, who made his CART Champ Car debut with Visteon/Patrick Racing in last month's pair of oval track races in Europe, is expected to be a fulltime FedEx Championship Series driver next season. Should that occur, he will continue to serve his one-year probation under CART sanctions. Bell's mandatory $10,000 fine, however, is the largest levied against a Dayton Indy Lights driver since Sergio Paese was penalized the identical amount for an on-track infraction and post-race violations at California Speedway in 1998. Bell, who clinched the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship title in Sunday's race, was placed on probation for the third time this season. He was assessed a one-race probation following an on-track racing contact incident at Portland International Raceway in June that later was extended for two more events after additional on-track violations in the following race at Kansas Speedway. He has also previously been fined a total of $2,000 this season, $1,000 for the Kansas incidents and another $1,000 earlier in the year for excessive speed through an accident site during a caution period in April's race at Texas Motor Speedway. "After careful review with CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel regarding the Laguna Seca infractions and the season-long pattern of improper conduct in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship, we were left with little choice but to assess these sanctions against Townsend Bell," Dale said. "As the new Dayton Indy Lights Championship titleist, we believe Townsend has a incredibly bright future, but we need to continue to stress the need for him to conform to the basic rules of on-track conduct in all CART sanctioned competitions." After taking the checkered flag for his title-clinching fifth win of the year Sunday, Bell stopped his car in Turn 2 of the Laguna Seca track and did a series of "doughnuts" directly in the path of on-coming competitors that were just beginning to slow down from racing speeds. At least one driver was forced to come to a complete stop while several others slowly threaded through the excessive tire smoke generated from Bell's race car. Later in the same cool down lap, Bell ignored the directions of CART Pit Steward Chuck Greer and drove past the entrance into victory lane. He drove several hundred yards past the designated turn off where he began another series of spins and doughnuts both on an off the race track and in front of oncoming race cars. Bell then drove his race car counter-course back to the victory lane turn off directly in the path of on coming race cars that were heading toward pit lane. "We encourage celebration and showmanship in our racing events," Dale added, "but such activity must be done without endangering other competitors or race officials. This was clearly not the case for Townsend at Laguna Seca." 
10/16/01
Holly Brown named Director of Admin for Denver GP  Grand Prix of Denver charitable foundation, assisting with marketing and promotional activities and creating a year-round presence in the Mile High City. "We needed someone who understands the Denver community," said Gillett. "Having the ability to work downtown with City Hall is critical to the success of the race, and Holly has proven she can do that. She's a talented person who understands what we are trying to achieve with the Grand Prix of Denver's charity and community relations efforts. She will ensure that the money we raise will get to the right organizations in town." "I'm delighted with the appointment," said Christopher R. Pook, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, which will operate the Grand Prix of Denver. "I watched her demonstrate her skills at CRL Associates with the Mayor and City Council as we negotiated for the race. One of the most important elements in putting this race together is our relationship with the community. Holly and George will fulfill that requirement, and let the rest of us focus on the technical aspects of putting on a race of which Denver and the Rocky Mountain region will be proud." Brown will be based at Pepsi Center, the centerpiece of the race's all-new, 1.65-mile temporary race circuit, mainly incorporating private roads around the two-year-old arena. "I'm excited about the opportunity to help build the Grand Prix of Denver to its potential," said Brown. "There's already a lot of enthusiasm about it here in town. I am grateful to CRL Associates for giving me the chance to work so closely with Denver's city and community entities on a wide variety of issues. As a result, I believe I am now ready to tackle the challenges this new event will present and help make it an event worthy of the City of Denver."
10/16/01
TMS settlement done, 2002 Denver date set for Labor Day  Mark your calendars! The Grand Prix of Denver will take place on Labor Day weekend 2002, August 30 through Sept. 1, it was announced on Tuesday. The race, which will be a round of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series, will be run on a nine-turn, 1.65-mile temporary road course on the streets surrounding Pepsi Center adjacent to Denver's Lower Downtown area. "I can't tell you how excited I am that we'll run on Labor Day weekend," said George N. Gillett, Jr., chairman of the Grand Prix of Denver. "We already knew this was going to be a great event, but it just got better. We'll make it a Labor Day weekend to remember and the beginning of a great tradition for Denver." The CART FedEx Championship Series is the leading U.S. open wheel motorsports race series, with 20 races annually in eight countries including Australia, Brazil, England, Japan, Germany, Canada and Mexico. The series features a field of internationally known drivers such as Michael Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Jimmy Vasser, Dario Franchitti, Paul Tracy, Gil de Ferran, Kenny Brack and Adrian Fernandez. The race weekend will also feature a number of support races, a Lifestyle Expo and live entertainment. Tickets go on sale Oct. 29. For more information on the Grand Prix of Denver, or to inquire about purchasing tickets, call (888) 82-SPEED or visit www.grandprixofdenver.com.
10/16/01

Action Performance signs 10-year deal with Ganassi  Action Performance, the motorsports marketing company, has signed an exclusive ten-year licensing agreement with Chip Ganassi. The deal secures Action Performance the exclusive rights to design, manufacture and distribute apparel, die cast and novelty items for Chip Ganassi and Ganassi's racing teams. Terms of the licensing agreement, which runs through 2011, also include personal appearances by Ganassi and team drivers for TV, luncheon and distributor meetings, trackside and other promotional purposes. The company will also represent Ganassi and Ganassi team drivers as their sole agent in negotiating licensing and other marketing and promotional agreements relating to products not in direct competition with Action's licenses. "As Ganassi's agent, this represents a natural extension of our core business and will allow us to capitalize on our extensive capabilities,'' said Fred Wagenhals, Action Performance chairman, president and chief executive. "Our strategy is to leverage these capabilities to assure that Chip Ganassi Racing's commercial opportunities are maximized through sales of licensed merchandise designed and developed by Action and other vendors.''
10/16/01
Earnhardt Jr. to run #3 at Daytona  Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be driving a car with the #3 in Daytona in the season opening Busch Grand National event of the year on February 16th 2002. In partnership with Dale Earnhardt Inc., Richard Childress Racing and Nabisco, Dale Jr. will drive this car featuring a special Nabisco brand #3 paint scheme to be unveiled in a press conference later this month. This Daytona event will mark the first time Dale Earnhardt Jr. has raced the #3 since his 1999 Busch Championship and the first time that the #3 has competed in one of NASCAR's top divisions since the tragedy at the 2001 Daytona 500.
10/16/01
Will CART adopting IRL engines be a death blow to many IRL teams?  According to this article by Curt Cavin in the Indy Star, most IRL teams are facing the stark reality that if most CART teams run the Indy 500, or if some CART teams start an IRL team as rumored (Penske & Ganassi), their days are numbered.  It's common knowledge that most IRL teams can't compete on the same level as CART teams.  In fact, many IRL teams are former CART teams who couldn't win when they were in CART.  Should we expect anything different if CART makes an onslaught on the IRL, or if there is someday a merger?  We think not.
10/16/01
CART and TMS reach settlement regarding cancelled race UPDATE We hear a settlement in the $3 to 5 million range but that is hearsay right now and we don't know what that might include. 10/16/01 - Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE: TRK) announced today they have reached a settlement regarding the litigation surrounding the April 29 CART FedEx Championship Series event at Texas Motor Speedway. The announcement was made by Joseph F. Heitzler, chairman and CEO of CART, and Speedway Motorsports Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Additionally, a condition of the agreement is that neither side comment on the settlement publicly beyond the formal announcement. CART brought its Champ Car series to Texas Motor Speedway in April to conduct a 600-kilometer race on the 1.5-mile oval with 24-degree banking in the circuit's corners. As drivers lapped the track at average speeds in excess of 235 miles per hour, they began to experience lightheadedness and were becoming disoriented. As CART evaluated the situation, it determined that the safety of the drivers and fans was the top priority and that it was most prudent to postpone the race. With the settlement, the race is officially cancelled. "We have reached a favorable agreement and are glad to have this behind us," said Smith. "We're very happy for this to be concluded." "We are pleased to have reached a settlement on this matter so both sides can now move on with our business," said Heitzler. "We were disappointed to not be able to showcase our racing to all the fans who came out at Texas Motor Speedway and we again apologize to our fans for any inconvenience caused by our decision to not race. However, under the circumstances, we believe it was absolutely the proper choice." 
10/16/01

V10 Reynard Premier1 cars to outperform 2003 Champ Cars  Unless CART removes 200 Lbs from its overweight Champ Cars when it moves to a new lower HP 650 HP IRL engine (or detuned spec Cosworth 2.65L turbo) and new chassis in 2003, they will be blown away by not only F1 cars, but also the new Premier1 cars.  The following press release by Reynard talks about the 750 HP V10 N/A engine they will use and the fact that they will use paddle shifter technology and ground effects (hmmm, we bet a lot of CART fans will think it's a better platform for a Champ Car than making them IRL clones like some CART team owners want to do).  They certainly will sound good, like a F1 car and be far more technically advanced that either CART or IRL cars.  We wonder what the cost will be to run that series vs. Champ Cars, and how teams in Europe can come up with funding to kick start this series given the global economy.  What follows is the Reynard press release - It was revealed today that Premier1 Grand Prix has signed a multi-million $US contract with Reynard Motorsport. The agreement means that the renowned British company will become the exclusive chassis manufacturer for Premier1 Grand Prix, the innovative racing championship that will combine top level open-wheel racing with the world's leading football clubs in 2002. The news follows hot on the heels of the FIA’s (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) approval of the sporting and technical regulations of the series and confirms that race cars can now start to be manufactured in time for the Premier1 Grand Prix debut race in July next year. Based in Brackley, England, Reynard will manufacture a total of 50 Premier1 chassis and testing will commence in April 2002. “The end result will have performance close to a Formula 1 car but will run on slick racing tires and will have the advantage of ground effect aerodynamics,” says Robin Webb, Operations Director of Premier1 Grand Prix. “Launch control, traction control and ABS will not feature, but the cars will have the latest electronic gear shift technology, and will comply with the stringent FIA safety regulations.” Now that Premier1 Grand Prix has completed the selection of its chassis manufacturer, a final decision on the engine supplier is imminent. It is already known that the Reynard chassis will be powered a 4-litre V10 engine expected to deliver more than 750bhp. 
10/16/01
Food for thought  Ford's Dan Davis once told us that the engine manufacturers probably spend about 40% of all the money in the CART paddock.  While we have no easy way of verify that figure, we wonder how CART would replace all that lost money if it went with a Spec Cosworth turbo engine.  It couldn't, hence all the more reason why we stand by the recommendations in this article - CART should go with the 4 IRL engines, get all four engine manufacturers in the series to replace the three lost ones, take some 200 Lbs out of the chassis and engine and let's just go racing.
10/15/01
Tracy socked with stiff penalty from CART UPDATE In response to today's announcement by CART penalizing Team KOOL Green driver Paul Tracy $50,000, three championship points and placing him on probation for the final two events of 2001, Team Owner Barry Green said the following: "I'm very disappointed in CART for not penalizing Helio Castroneves for his role in yesterday's incident at Laguna Seca. I realize there are other infractions involved in the citation from CART but what is most concerning to me is that Paul is being singled out for endangering the safety of other crew members in the pits. With the race being under a full course yellow and Paul clearly ahead on pit lane, the entire incident should have been avoided by Castroneves. Helio made no effort to avoid the contact. It is also upsetting that this penalty was levied without anyone from CART speaking with Paul to get his view of the incidents. Team Penske was clearly beaten out of the pits and this isn't the first time we've had trouble with them on pit lane. I refer to last year when Gil de Ferran made a bad move on pit lane in Laguna and the only way Dario Franchitti could avoid contact was to slam on the brakes. Team KOOL Green is waiting for the official citation from CART with a monetary breakdown of each infraction. Once the citation is received Team KOOL Green will review all of its options before proceeding.  10/15/01 -  CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel announced Monday that Team KOOL Green driver Paul Tracy has been fined $50,000, stripped of three championship points and placed on probation for the final two events of the FedEx Championship Series season for his actions during and following Sunday’s Shell 300, feature event of the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey, at Mazda Raceway of Laguna Seca.  Story
10/15/01
CART issues 2002 financial insight  CART conducted its annual analyst and investor conference this weekend in conjunction with its yearly visit to Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca and presented its five-year strategic plan for the first time to the financial community. Story
10/15/01
Rahal and Newman Haas use F1-Style front wings  Did everyone notice the new Lola wings used by Rahal (Brack's car) and the Newman Haas cars this past weekend at Laguna Seca? The were very F1'ish, what with a single mounting point under the nose, and flat lower section under the nosed, with raised portions on either end. It looked pretty nice, but strangely was not used/purchased/offered to Ganassi.


Photos copyright Mike Veglia & AutoRacing1.com

10/15/01
2002 Monterrey, Mexico date set  Yesterday a local newspaper in Mexico published the 2002 Monterrey, Mexico CART FedEx race as being on March 8-10, 2002.  We previously published this date as well on our rumors page about 1-week ago.
10/15/01
Eliminating traction control  If CART wants to eliminate traction control, and the need to police it, when it goes to new engines in 2003, there is a way. The BTCC has implemented a simple and brilliant means of insuring this. The engine ECM is a spec piece. A third party created it and although it is fully adjustable for rev limit, timing, fuel mixture, etc., it must remain sealed at all times. It is the only black box allowed to be connected to the engine, transmission, or any part of the drivetrain. The manufacturers now spend way less on electronics and software but can still flex there technological muscle in the important areas. Budgets have dropped dramatically and all parties seem very happy. Racecar Engineering had a great article on this recently. MC 
10/15/01
Lola picks up more customers for 2002 Lola Cars announces the addition of Fernandez Racing to the company's list of CART partners, joining forces to campaign B2/00 Lolas with Honda power for the 2002 season. The Fernandez team's addition of engineer Don Halliday as technical director sweetens the pot. "This is the first time since the turnaround at Lola," remarked Daniel Partel, Lola Cars International Inc. President, "that we will be working with Honda and we are delighted to have Fernandez Racing join the Lola family. In a sense, this is a renewal of an old relationship with Adrian, who we know well and [Fernandez Racing co-owner] Tom Anderson, who we worked with last season when he managed Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. We are very excited about the prospects of winning with this complete package," Partel emphasized. "All of us, from Lola to Adrian, Tom, Don and Honda. We have all worked together in the past and we are looking forward to posing a formidable challenge next season." "My last experience with Lola was in 1997, and everyone knows it wasn't that good. Yet my first [Champ Car] win came with a Lola," explained driver and team co-owner Adrian Fernandez. "[Designer] Ben Bowlby and many then on staff are still with Lola. There's a lot of support for our new program. This puts us in a very competitive position."  Halliday has many design and engineering successes on his resume, most recently as Kenny Brack's engineer with the #8 Shell Lola/Ford. Prior to his affiliation with the Shell team, Halliday counseled Dario Franchitti in the Scot's run for the 1999 championship. "My familiarity with Lola chassis should be a strength within the group," the New Zealand-born Halliday said. Co-owner Anderson is "very, very excited about our 2002 package. We are looking forward to working with all our friends at Lola and Honda, and to getting to know the package in December" this time around. Fernandez Racing was formed during autumn 2000 and holds two Honda-powered entries for Adrian Fernandez in the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex car and Shinji Nakano's #52 Avex/Alpine racer. 
10/15/01
Honda clinches manufacturers championship Gil de Ferran’s third place finish at Laguna Seca yesterday enabled Honda to clinch the 2001 CART Manufacturer’s Championship. Honda’s point total stands at 316 while Ford and Toyota are tied at 266 points apiece. This is Honda’s fourth FedEx Championship Series manufacturer’s title, and the third in the past four years. The other title-winning seasons came in 1996, ‘98 and ‘99. 
10/15/01
Plumb wins Laguna Seca race  Matt Plumb won his third career Barber Dodge Pro Series race but it was a fourth-place finish for Nicolas Rondet that clinched him the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series Championship and the $255,000 scholarship that goes with it. And it was Sepp Koster who emerged as the hero. After a dismal weekend, with his back against the wall to wrest the title from Rondet, Koster drove a soaring race to rise from tenth on the grid, eventually pass Rondet, and finish second. He said in the morning that he would give it 100%. By all accounts he gave it at least 101%. Another inspiring performance was turned in by Rafael Sperafico, who with a third place finish earned the Rookie of the Year title and the $185,000 Scholarship that goes with it.  Mark C.
10/14/01
Kart-2-CART for Lynx Racing Lynx Racing today announced a comprehensive and far-ranging new association with the Northwest Speedwerx 'Kart2CART' program created by Microsoft executive and Star Formula Mazda racer Rick Waddell. The first element of the joint program will involve Atlantic driver Grant Ryley, 28, of San Jose, California, competing in the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic season in a new Swift 014.a fielded by Lynx Racing and sponsored by Kart2CART. Ryley is a karting champion who is also a top-rated downhill skier and has participated in Trans-Pacific yacht races. The Kart2CART concept, which closely parallels that of Lynx Racing, is designed to help young American drivers climb the motorsports ladder from karting to the CART Fed Ex series. Further details of Kart2CART, including additional drivers, sponsors and programs, will be announced in the near future. As its name implies, the program's goal is to provide opportunities and sponsorship for drivers and teams at each level of the motorsports ladder, from karting through CART. "I've been a big fan of the Lynx program for many years, and when we decided to create the Kart2CART program it seemed logical that we should work together," says Waddell. "We're working to create a fully-sponsored ladder that reaches from the bottom of the sport to the top, and being able to draw on the credibility, techniques and expertise of Lynx Racing is a major step forward in achieving that goal."
10/14/01
Herdez Bettenhausen picks up new sponsor  Herdez Bettenhausen today announced the addition of Avantel, a Mexican telecommunications company, to its team of sponsors. An associate sponsor, Avantel has made a commitment for the balance of the 2001 season, having added their logo to the colorful #16 car at the Grand Prix of Houston. Avantel Senior Manager for Trade Shows and Sponsorships Alberto Navarro said that there was high potential for the partnership to continue into the 2002 season. Avantel is a Mexican telecommunications joint venture formed by WorldCom, a leading global data and voice services company, and Grupo Financiero Banamex-Accival, Mexico´s top financial institution and is the country's leading competitive carrier. Avantel offers a full portfolio of next-generation domestic and international long-distance services - voice, data, Internet, global and value-added services to business, government and residential customers. In January 2001, Avantel launched local telephony operations for the business sector in the country's three major cities: Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara, complementing its suite of services as a fully integrated telecommunications company. Avantel´s network, the largest after the incumbent's, expands over 6,300 kilometers and links 40 Mexican cities. A 1,370-kilometer extension in Southeastern Mexico, to be completed in 2001, will link Avantel´s network with ARCOS-1 undersea cable system. For more info on Avantel please go to www.avantel.com.mx. "We're excited to welcome Avantel to the Herdez Bettenhausen family," said Managing Director Keith Wiggins. "I think it is an indication of our commitment to continuing to develop new sponsorship relationships, even this late in the season. And of course, this is a great opportunity for us as a team to nurture this sponsorship for 2002 and beyond." Avantel's logo appears on the nosecone and rear wing end-plates of the car. 
10/14/01
Koster vows to fight to end  Sepp Koster of The Netherlands has vowed to take the fight against Nicolas Rondet for the $255,000 Barber Dodge Pro Series Championship all the way to the finish. Despite a very disappointing two days at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where Koster was beset with a variety of mechanical problems, he topped the morning warm-up, and is determined to give nothing short of 100% to win. "This has been a terrible weekend for weekend for me where everything that could go wrong up to now did. But motor racing is a very complex sport. What I can do now is to be very professional and do the job that I have to do. Whatever happens, I know that I gave 100% of myself. I've proven that I am quick enough and that I deserve to be at the front," said Koster, preferring to look forward rather than back. Last year here at Laguna Seca, Koster had his back to the wall once again in the title fight and similarly suffered misfortune in the qualifying session. An awe inspiring drive saw scythe through the field, rising form 17th place to third until a broken rear suspension ended his day with second place firmly betwixt the cross hairs. "This year is this year and last year was last year," reflected Koster, knowing that history is of no use today. Yet it provides a little cold comfort knowing that he can move to the front. To win the title Koster must: * Win with 1 bonus point and Rondet finishing fourth or lower.. OR * Win with Rondet fourth or lower and neither scoring bonus points, Koster wins on tiebreaker OR * Finish in second with 1 bonus point and Rondet finishing eighth or lower. Again Koster wins tiebreaker.  Mark C.
10/14/01
Fernández Racing Announces Key Additions to 2002 Program  Fernández Racing Team Owners Adrián Fernández and Tom Anderson announced today that engineering talent Don Halliday has become a partner in Fernández Racing, and will assume the new role of technical director as the team moves to the Lola B2/00 chassis beginning with the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season. Story
10/14/01
Yates & Roush react to new NASCAR engine rule NASCAR released a statement on Sunday stating that engines used to qualify a car must be used in the race as well starting in 2002. Jack Roush and Robert Yates spoke about the new rule and how it will affect their operations. Interview
10/14/01
CART announces kart races on Champ Car race weekends. UPDATE Here is the official press release. 10/13/01 - CART announced a partnership with the North American Karting Association and Bryan Herta's Stars of Tomorrow program to put on CART kart races prior to 7 or 8 Champ car races, venues to be determined. In attendance were Joe Heitzler, Bobby Rahal, Bryan Herta, Michael Andretti and Paul Tracy to make the announcement. The goal is to have this program recognized by the karting sanctioning body as the 'official' US karting championship.  CART is also talking to Speedvision about putting the karting races on TV on Saturday's.  Herta said that this series would feed right into the CART Skip Barber program which then feeds right into the CART Barber Dodge series. Press Conference Audio
10/14/01



How well are drivers known in China?  A lot of people wonder if racing is on the radar screen of the Chinese sports fans.  Surprisingly we found out that a higher percentage recognized drivers names than we would have thought.  This poll was done by a reader who lives in Shanghai.  He polled 23 men and these are votes each driver got for being recognized. Not surprisingly, NASCAR has no recognition overseas, and the IRL very little.  F1 and CART drivers had the biggest name recognition.
Andretti 7 
Senna 6 
Schumacher 6 
Hakkinen 2 
Coulthard 2 
Montoya 1 
Villeneuve 1 
Mears 3 
Vasser 0 
Carpentier 0 
de Ferran 1 
Castroneves 0 
Tracy 0 
Herta 1 
Servia 4 
Fernandez 1 
Takagi 7 
Brack 1 
Earnhardt 0 
Burton Brothers 0 
Nemechek 0 
Note: NASCAR had no positive respondents
Hornish 0 
Fischer 0
Unser 1 
Salazar 0 
Swindell 0  Mark C.
10/13/01
Plumb keeps pole  American Matt Plumb captured his fourth career Barber Dodge pole in qualifying for Sunday's 2nd Annual Racing For Kids Grand Prix at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It was the time he set in provisional qualifying on Friday that earned him the position. The final session Saturday morning did not see anyone mount a challenge to Plumb's time including Plumb himself. Thus he lines up in the prime position on the grid with a time of 1:26.507 sec. for an average speed of 93.133 mph around the 2.2 miles of Laguna Seca. As in provisional qualifying, championship points leader Nicolas Rondet shares the front row with Plumb's No 4 Premier Nutrition Dodge Reynard, as he starts on the outside. Barber-CART Scholarship Team driver Ryan Hunter-Reay was the only driver to make a significant improvement in the Top-10 during the final 30-minute session jumping from seventh to third. "It was definitely difficult to go quicker today with the track conditions, but at the same time I feel like I drove better," said Plumb who has led every session thus far. "Hopefully tomorrow I'm just going to see people in my mirrors -or not in them would be even better. I'm excited to race. "  Mark C.
10/13/01
Arnold Worldwide is going to have a very good impact on CART  We had the opportunity to meet the people from Arnold Worldwide that are assigned to the CART account.  Suffice it to say they understand motorsports and between them and Rich Henley, are going to help turn CART around.  The investors are impressed, the sponsors are impressed and I was impressed.  Their ad campaign will kickoff right around the time of the first race of the year in 2002. CART's goal in 2002 is to grow race attendance followed by a big push to grow TV ratings in following years. Mark C.
10/13/01
Hoover Orsi looking to move up to Champ Cars in 2002 Toyota Atlantic champion Hoover Orsi, from Brazil, reiterated today at Laguna Seca after finishing third in the race that he hopes to move up to Champ Cars in 2002.  With 2 CART races in Mexico starting in 2002, expect to see a big influx of Mexican drivers into the CART FedEx series.  CART has a lot of Brazilian drivers like Orsi, but the next invasion looks to be the Mexicans.  Already we hear there will be 4 new Mexican teams in the Toyota Atlantic series in 2002. MC
10/13/01
Atlantics: Moran beats Hand at Laguna Seca for first Toyota Atlantic win All weekend long, Rocky Moran Jr. (Cobb Racing Swift) had been one of the fastest cars on track in preparations for Round 12 of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. From his third place starting position, Moran grabbed the lead going into the first turn and kept 2001 Rookie of the Year, Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) at bay in the closing laps to claim his first career Atlantic victory. Moran Jr., who was voted onto the 2000 CART Toyota Atlantic All-Star team along with 2000 Champion, Buddy Rice and Daniel Wheldon, had finished no higher than third in Atlantic competition and fifth was his best finish of this season. But, this weekend seemed different for the California driver as he opened up quickest in Friday practice and carried the momentum all the way to victory lane Saturday. Not only was it Moran's first win, but it was the first for owner, Price Cobb and Cobb Racing. "I knew I had to get into the lead on the first lap," said Moran Jr. of his first lap pass. "Somehow, some way, and everything just opened up. I got a good jump and was right up Joey's gearbox. I was able to drop low and pull up on him a little bit. It looked like he was a little concerned with Macri and he left me a little bit of room. We grew up racing against each other, so I knew he was a clean racer and would leave me the room. It was really tight through the first corner, but once I got through, I knew all I had to do was be consistent. I had a great car and everything worked great." Moran continued. "I'm as happy for my crew as I am for myself. They have been working really hard. I've got a couple of good mechanics and a great engineer and I'm really happy for Price and Charissa Cobb."
10/13/01
Lights: Bells takes pole at Laguna Seca Series points leader Townsend Bell (DIRECWAY Lola) moved closer to clinching the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship title Saturday in final qualifying for Sunday's 34-lap sprint race at Laguna Seca Raceway. Bell gained a critical championship point and now has a strong 27-point lead over nearest title challengers Dan Wheldon (Gemstar Communications/PacWest Lights Lola) and Damien Faulkner (Dorricott Racing Lola) who qualified fifth and sixth, respectively, Saturday. Bell has 150 points while Wheldon and Faulkner are tied for second with 123 points. "I'm not looking ahead (winning the championship)," Bell said. "I want to win this race. I have a lot of friends and sponsors visiting this weekend so it makes sense to win for them and me. I've led the last two races late in each but had some bad luck. A fuel pump broke at Gateway and then it rained near the end of the race at Atlanta. I doubt I'll race differently. I certainly would like to win the championship this weekend and finish it. We prefer winning the championship here instead of having to go to Fontana with the championship on the line. Anything can happen on superspeedway that's out of our control." 
10/13/01
Herta times disallowed Bryan Herta's car has failed tech inspection and his qualifying times have been disallowed. His car failed the sidepod deflection test because of a bolt failure. He will start at the back of the grid tomorrow, unless the team wins their protest.
10/13/01
Joe Heitzler talks engines After the karting press conference , a group of the media corralled Joe Heitzler to ask him engine questions.  Suffice it to say that Joe is confident that CART will have plenty of engine suppliers come 2003 and Joe's goal is to eventually have 5 or 6 suppliers.  He was asked about Honda's Motegi race, and his reply was that they have every intention of trying to renew that contract after 2002. AR1 feels Honda will want to continue the race because the CART race is the track's biggest event.  When asked about Honda's statements yesterday, he responded by saying he hopes to show Honda over time that CART is an organization they can trust and do business with.  Joe took the high road and refused to saying anything scathing about Honda, even though they were pretty scathing to CART yesterday. He reminded everyone that the Thursday before Texas, all three manufacturers had agreed to a 3.5 N/A formula so Honda knew the score back then.   Joe also said that the owners wanted to make a definitive statement about the direction CART was going with engines, and they wanted to take control of the engine situation.  They accomplished that in one fell swoop.
10/13/01
Atlantics: Lot's of new teams for 2002 We hear  there will be as many as seven new teams in the Toyota Atlantics series in 2002.  The former Indy Lights teams of Dorricott Racing will field 3 cars, and PacWest Racing will field 1 or 2 cars.  In addition, there will be four new Mexican teams and an unidentified team out of Indianapolis who is said to have a lot of money and who is trying to hire away mechanics and other team personnel from existing teams.
10/12/01
Engine statement from Fernandez Racing Adrian Fernandez, Driver/Owner: "Honda has put a lot into this series and it is sad to see them go. They are going to be full force for next season, and I hope we can win the championship for them in their last year. We feel very sad about this situation, and I think it is something that could have been prevented. "In terms of the future of the team, right now we just have to sit back and see what develops on the engine front because, at the moment, nobody really knows what is going to happen. We will have to look for an engine supplier once we have the total rules package from CART about the engine for 2003." Tom Anderson, Owner: "First of all, I think we have to concentrate on 2002 and do a really good job for Honda. I know that they will provide us with a very good engine for next year, as they have always done in the past. We are looking forward to our program in 2002, and trying to obtain the FedEx Championship. "We don't really know yet about an engine program for 2003. We will have to look at all the possibilities, and are just in the process of starting that now based on today's announcement. We will go forward. We're a racing team and we need races, race cars and race engines. I'm sure that we will put a very competitive package together. "I wish our friends at Honda a tremendous amount of success in whatever it is that they venture off to do." 
10/12/01
Atlantics:  Orsi on provisional pole at Laguna Seca 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Champion, Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) took his first step towards a season high sixth win during first round qualifying at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. Orsi toured the 2.238-mile course in Monterey, California in 1:19.610 seconds (101.203 mph) to take the provisional pole for Saturday afternoon's 30-lap, Atlantic season finale. "I was trying harder and harder and it was tough to get a space in the track to get some clear laps," said Brazil's Orsi. "I opened up a big gap with a couple of laps to go to try and have some fast laps and I was able to put a really good one together. I think we made some improvements, but we're going to be talking about what we can do to go faster. This weekend is the first time my dad has come to America to watch me race so I hope I can do a good job and put on a good show for him."
10/12/01
Lights: Townsend Bell asserts himself at Laguna Seca  Series points leader Townsend Bell (DIRECWAY Lola) made it clear he intends to leave Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday with the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship under wraps and proved it by taking the provisional pole in Friday's first round qualifying session. Bell drove one lap around the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca Raceway road course at an average speed of 105.576 mph (76.313 seconds) to lead a one-two Dorricott Racing sweep of the overnight front row with rookie teammate Jon Fogarty (Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Lola). Fogarty clocked in at 105.125 mph (76.640 seconds) while PacWest Lights driver Mario Dominguez (del Valle/Corona/Televisa/PacWest Lights Lola) was third at 104.843 mph (76.846 seconds). "The track isn't as quick as it was last year," Bell said. "The temperature is warmer. I worked hard with Gerald (engineer Gerald Tyler) and the rest of the crew to create the best set-up. It wasn't all to our liking in practice but we improved with a few changes. We made a few calculated gambles but we learned some things and they worked. We'll have to keep improving and better fine tune because this is a tough track. You have to get everything correct if you want a chance at the best lap times. The red flag (for a Rolando Quintanilla spin) didn't hurt me. I had just changed tires but I hadn't run a full lap yet. The tires were pretty much a non-issue. I made a mistake on my quick lap and probably lost a couple of tenths. We'll try to get them back tomorrow."
10/12/01
CART responds to Honda announcement  "We were disappointed to learn of the decision by Honda to not continue as a CART engine supplier in 2003. Honda has been a valued partner and supporter of the FedEx Championship Series and will be missed. "CART is committed to creating engine specifications that are in the best interest of our sport. We believe this matter was of great enough importance that it was deliberated very seriously by all affected members of our organization. That was done over several months by all those involved in this decision. CART has worked very closely with Honda, as well as our other engine suppliers, throughout this process and we understand their disappointment in the decision not going the way they were hoping it would. "Our mission is to aggressively grow CART and CART racing and a significant element of that challenge is maintaining and building the technical and competition side of our sport. We are actively pursuing our engine supplier options and will continue to do so over the coming weeks and months. We are confident those efforts will develop engine alternatives that will enhance our sport."
10/12/01
Bobby Rahal comments on CART engine rules  We had the chance to ask Bobby Rahal his thoughts on the new announced normally aspirated engine rules.  He stated that "for the first time the team owners all voted without their self interests in mind.  Even the Honda team owners voted for the N/A engines knowing full well that Honda might leave the series."  Bobby feels that if CART gets stuck with a 100% IRL engine because no manufacturer will supply one with higher performance, CART can easily get performance back by taking weight out of the cars.  We have always said that Champ Cars are much heavier than F1 cars, so putting the Champ Cars on a diet isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Bobby said, "we put ballast in our Lola's now, so making Champ cars lighter will not be a problem."  Bobby also thought that a spec engine would not be best for the series.  He feels having multiple manufactures are better for the financial health of the series.  Bobby fully expects CART to survive and thinks the way the engine manufacturers were spending money before was not good for the series.  "Now CART will have more control and lower cost, said Rahal."
10/12/01
Castroneves fastest in AM session at Laguna Seca  Helio Castroneves had the fastest time by more than a half-second to pace the opening practice/test session Friday morning for Sunday's Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300. Castroneves, the defending winner of this race, recorded a time of 1:09.090 in the Marlboro Honda/Reynard, good for an average speed of 116.613 miles per hour. Second fastest in the session was Scott Dixon at 1:09.596 (115.765 mph) in the Powerware/Panasonic Toyota/Reynard. Points leader Gil de Ferran was third quickest at 1:09.603 (115.754 mph) in the Marlboro Honda/Reynard. Results
10/12/01
Seen at Laguna Seca  Chris Pook is wandering around Laguna Seca with briefcase in hand.   He tells us NY City plans are on hold right now because the the terrorist activity, and uncertainty in City budgets right now.  He said the possibility of a race is still very real.  MC
10/12/01
Honda announces withdrawal from CART after 2002  Honda officials told AR1 that they have decided to not provide engines to CART in 2003.  There will be an official announcement at noon here today at Laguna Seca and we will provide more details.  Now it remains to be seen whether CART uses the 2.65L Cosworth turbo in all cars in 2003, or an IRL 3.5L N/A engine. MC
10/12/01
Laguna Seca Reconstruction to begin  Construction of the new pit suites and garages at the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway will begin soon after this years CART race is over. Laguna Seca is eager to start the upgrades to show it's willing to do what's necessary to keep big time racing events. MC
10/12/01
CART team owners selling stock  
PATRICK U E TITLE: Director TRANSACTION: Sale 7,300 09/27/01 $14.50$14.73 OWNERSHIP: 190,800
HAAS CARL A TITLE: Director TRANSACTION: Sale 50,000 09/27/01 $14.00$14.50 
OWNERSHIP: 425,500 
GREEN BARRY E TITLE: Director TRANSACTION: Sale 80,000 09/28/01 $14.50 OWNERSHIP: 
23,500 
GANASSI JR FLOYD (CHIP) R TITLE: Director TRANSACTION: Sale 226,600 09/27/01 
$14.00$14.12 OWNERSHIP: 493,400 
HEITZLER JOSEPH F TITLE: Chief Executive Officer TRANSACTION: Purchase 
28,900 09/17/0109/26/01 $14.45$14.67 OWNERSHIP: 69,275
10/12/01
Another road race, another success story  Ticket sales for this years Australian CART race at Surfers Paradise on October 28th are running ahead of last year. Last year, 270,000 fans attended the four-day event, including 107,000 on race day. This year, they are shooting for over 300,000 for the weekend and comically people still question CART's international success.  Let's see, 300,000+ for Australia, 500,000+ for Mexico City, 300,000+ for Monterey Mexico, 200,000 for Long Beach, 170,000+ for Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, 500,000+ for Shanghai (if CART ever goes), 200,000 for Miami, etc. etc.  CART must shoot for creating 'Grand' events, each one building on the next.  The days of racing before half empty grandstands must cease. MC
10/12/01
F1 news   Appeal date not set: The FIA has yet to set a date for the appeal filed by the Benson & Hedges Jordan-Honda team over Jarno Trulli's disqualification from fourth place in the SAP United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis. The skid plate on Trulli's car did not pass post-race inspection as it was overly worn. New facility: The pit garages and F1 paddock at the Suzuka have been rebuilt and enlarged. Testing ban: No testing will be allowed between Oct. 15 and Dec. 31 this year. Next season, the FIA has removed all testing restrictions, but the teams are likely to agree on some restrictions between themselves. Points record: Michael Schumacher can beat the record of all-time points earned, held by Alain Prost who racked up 798.5 points during his career. Schumacher has 791 points and would need a victory (10 points) at Suzuka to top Prost's record. Schumacher's score takes into account the 78 points he earned in 1997 but were subsequently taken away by the FIA as punishment for his accident with Jacques Villeneuve in the 1997 European Grand Prix. It should also be noted that the points system has changed over the years.
10/12/01
Audio from Laguna Seca (Real Audio)
Tom Michaels previews Laguna Seca 
Helio Castroneves talking about his win last year and trying to repeat this weekend 
Michael Andretti of Team Motorola on competing at the unique Laguna Seca track
Kenny Brack talking about the challenges his team faces this weekend 
Kenny Brack on the famous corkscrew turn at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca 
Max Papis talks about running at Laguna Seca, where he earned his first podium finish in 1999 
10/12/01
Bell looks to wrap-up Lights crown this weekend  San Francisco native and lifelong California resident Townsend Bell (DIRECWAY Lola) could clinch his first major motorsports title on his home turf this weekend in Round 11 of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif. Sunday's 34 lap sprint (76.092 miles) sprint on the 2.238 mile Laguna Seca road course is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. PT and is the main support event for the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey Shell 300 FedEx Championship Series race that runs that afternoon. Bell's 26-point lead over teammate Damien Faulkner (Dorricott Racing Lola) and Dan Wheldon (Gemstar Communications/PacWest Lights Lola) equates to more than a full-race points lead. Bell has 149 championship points while Faulkner and Bell are tied for second with 123 points apiece. With a maximum 22 points available to a driver in a race (20 for a win and single bonus points for the pole winner and race lap leader), Bell can lock up the Dayton Indy Lights title simply by maintaining his current advantage or losing no more than three points to his challengers in Sunday's race. A victory - or any finish ahead of Faulkner and Wheldon - seals the championship for Bell. Any realistic hope Faulkner and Wheldon have to take the title fight to next month's season-ending race at California Speedway will require either of them to win Sunday's race and a rare finish low in the points by Bell. 

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