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DATE News (chronologically 11/3/01 to 11/13/01)
11/13/01
Indy grandstands getting a facelift  The Southwest Vista grandstand and sections 1-5 of the South Vista grandstand at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are being dismantled and rebuilt as part of the Speedway's normal off-season maintenance program. The Southwest Vista, located outside the exit of Turn 1 and the first part of the south short chute between Turns 1 and 2, was constructed in three parts in the late 1960s. The South Vista sections 1-5 were constructed in 1985. "It is simply part of the normal, periodic refurbishment and renovation of our older grandstands structures," said Kevin Forbes, director of engineering and construction for the Speedway. "There is a fairly noticeable but predictable bit of corrosion that exists on those structures right now, and it is time to take them apart and virtually make them new again." The stands will be rebuilt exactly as they appear now, with no seats removed or added. "The whole thing comes down a piece at a time, it gets shipped off to a facility where it is completely sandblasted down to bare metal, and then each individual component is inspected for excessive corrosion," Forbes said. "Then at these facilities, the unacceptable fabrication will be removed and new fabrications installed, and the whole completed piece will be hot-dipped galvanized and brought back for reassembly with all new fasteners." The same process was completed in past years to the other sections of the South Vista and to the H and J Stands on the outside of the exit of Turn 4. Parts of the C Stand underneath the Hulman Terrace Suites on the main straightaway also were refurbished in previous years. "There are a couple of things that some spectators may notice," Forbes said. "They (stands) will have a much more pleasing appearance, there will be no signs of rust, no signs of peeling paint and no signs of different colors of paint, which would indicate age and wear. "Also, the majority of the Southwest Vista still has wooden seats - they will be replaced with aluminum seats." Forbes indicated that about one-third of the Southwest Vista and South Vista will be dismantled and rebuilt by May 2002, with the remaining two-thirds being dismantled in October 2002 and rebuilt before May 2003. All seats will be available for use during all Speedway events in 2002 and 2003. 
11/13/01
Paul Cherry and Sigma part ways  Having successfully launched Sigma Autosport (picture to right by Clarissa Keenan) in the CART FedEx Championship this season, Managing Director Paul Cherry has decided to seek new venues for his creative talents. He has chosen to leave the team at Christmas in order to prepare for his next role in racing. A veteran of Formula One and Champ Car racing, Cherry played an integral role in the development of the Sigma team After joining forces with Tom Wieringa, Cherry almost single-handedly formed the team by forging relationships with Ford and Lola, personally hiring all the mechanics, and persuading Dave Luff to join as technical director and Phil Howard as program director. In addition, Cherry secured sponsorship from Jack Victor, VIA Rail, and signed Oriol Servia with Catalonia sponsorship. Wieringa says of Cherry, "He has been an integral part of Sigma Autosport. He rises to every challenge and has been very good at putting together the team. Paul has been a big asset to Sigma. However I respect his decision, and I wish him the very best." The team, which was started from scratch nearly two years ago, proved a competitive force in its inaugural season. Servia secured seven top-ten finishes and placed 19th in the points standings. The Sigma crew earned a chance to compete in the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge at Fontana. Points are awarded throughout the season, based on accumulated time in the pits. Structured like the drivers points system, teams do not score if their car doesn't finish. Sigma won one of the four spots in the shootout by having the best cumulative pit stops at three races this season, earning a total of 112 points. Of all his accomplishments with Sigma, Cherry is most proud of the team's cohesion and reliability. "We had only one mechanical failure all year," he says. "They are a dedicated bunch. Ford Cosworth and Lola provided us with the best equipment to showcase our talents. On the driver, Oriol did a great job. He made no mistakes, worked well with the team, and took all the opportunities that presented themselves. He did it all on his own, too. It's a one-car team, so he didn't have anyone to compare notes with." Cherry's legacy at Sigma consists of a building a solid platform for the team, with a good management structure firmly in place for the 2002 season. "With the sponsorship brought to the team by its new commercial director Gerard Hermsten , the team is poised for great things, and I wish them well". An announcement about his future plans will be made by Christmas. 
11/13/01
When it comes to marketing, NASCAR doesn't miss any details – NASCAR doesn't miss a trick when it comes to marketing their series.  NASCAR is everywhere, even on the Chicken you buy in the grocery story.  What about reaching kids and getting them hooked on NASCAR at a young age?  Petty Enterprises is the focus of a column in Teen Newsweek this week, a national publication for children in grades six through nine. The column, My Turn, is a regular reader-written feature of all Newsweek publications. The column was written by Cortney Cameron, a 10-year-old girl from Hays, N.C., who released a helium-filled balloon from her home soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She and her younger sister, Cassidy, tied a note to the balloon expressing patriotism, and asking for whomever found the balloon to notify them. The balloon ended up at Kyle Petty’s farm in Trinity, N.C. Not long afterwards, Cortney and her family were invited to Petty Days in Randleman, N.C., where they met the Petty family. A photograph of the girls, along with their mother, and Kyle and Austin Petty ran in the edition of the magazine. Teen Newsweek is a cooperative publication with world-renowned Weekly Reader.
11/13/01
ARCA
Another open-wheel ace heads to stock cars  Open-Wheel ace, Emerson Newton-John, will be having his Stock Car debut at next weekends ARCA race at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 1.5 mile tri-oval. This will be Emerson’s first ever oval track race, and his first ever race in a Stock Car. Newton-John will be driving for the well-known team owner Dick Bahre, of Dick Bahre Racing, whom he had his first and only ARCA car test a couple of years ago. In that first test at New Hampshire Raceway, Emerson impressed the team heavily, as he recorded near track record times on old tires. Mr. Bahre had kept Emerson in the back of his mind if any team sponsorship would materialize, allowing him to field Emerson in his Stock Car debut. Dick Bahre Racing has had successes in everything from the ARCA Series, to NASCAR Winston Cup in the mid to late eighties, and is responsible for the career birth of current NASCAR star, and race winner, Michael Waltrip. He had this to say about his new driver, Emerson Newton-John. “We we’re very impressed with how quickly Emerson adapted to the ARCA car, and the oval track. It was like he was a seasoned veteran. His times we’re near the lap record his first time out!” Emerson will actually be driving the exact car that he had his first test with at New Hampshire. Newton-John is excited about this great opportunity given to him by Dick Bahre Racing, and is eager to learn the ropes of high speed ARCA racing. “I really want to thank Dick Bahre for this fantastic opportunity he is giving me. There are many other experienced drivers out there to choose from, and the fact that he picked me solely by the impression that I made on him at our first test together, is flattering. He is very experienced, and I will be looking to him heavily this weekend to learn as much as I can. I am totally “green”, and have a very steep learning curve, and only a couple of practice sessions to absorb a lot of new information. I feel confident in my ability to adapt to new environments though, and am more confident than apprehensive. It will be a blast!” A full sponsorship deal for the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is about to close for Dick Bahre Racing, and Emerson will be named the driver should everything fall into place. Newton-John realizes that the future of open-wheel racing is looking bleak sensible side of my brain tells me to steer towards the growing world of NASCAR. I am going to really put an effort into making a name for myself there. It seems like really exciting racing as well." 
11/13/01
Briscoe tests Toyota F1 car  Ryan Briscoe had his first taste of Formula One, with Toyota yesterday. The Australian driver completed his first test for the Japanese team in France, telling Reuters that today’s track time was a great experience. "It's just great to drive the Toyota F1 car,” said Briscoe. “This has been a great opportunity for me to get up to speed and get the feel of an F1 car. "Driving the F1 car is something I've always wanted to do, but it's all very low key at the moment, I'm just doing some laps before the test ban comes in later this week." 
11/12/01
Industry News
Herbert to open driving experience school at Rockingham  The Birmingham (England) Post reported on Monday that the Johnny Herbert Rockingham Experience at the Rockingham Motor Speedway has appointed the company of Palmer Hargreaves Mint to handle its advertising and corporate design. The Rockingham Experience is the work of former F1 driver Johnny Herbert and offers the public the chance to experience driving saloons, Ferraris and single-seater cars on the Rockingham Motor Speedway starting in December. The director of Palmer Hargreaves Mint, Mick Stoves, stated: "There is a tremendous following for this kind of racing experience. It is mainly men who want the thrill of taking these cars out on the track, but we are aiming a lot of our advertising at women because so many gift packages are bought by women for their partners as a Christmas, birthday or anniversary present. We're targeting people with high disposable income who enjoy giving innovative, exciting presents and are prepared to spend significant amounts".
11/12/01
Test in West expands  The Indy Racing League's annual Test in the West, which is scheduled for Feb. 5-9, will expand in 2002 to include testing at California Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. A media day Feb. 5 at California Speedway will kick off the five-day event followed by testing Feb. 6 on the 2-mile oval. Teams then will travel Feb. 7 to Phoenix for two days of testing Feb. 8-9 on the 1-mile desert oval. "With the expanded Test in the West in 2002, Indy Racing League teams will be able to test at two different types of venues in one week, helping them to develop a baseline for both their short-track packages and the superspeedway kits," said Brian Barnhart, vice president of operations for the Indy Racing League. "California Speedway will be a great addition to the traditional two days of winter testing in Phoenix." 
11/12/01
Atlanta Speedway military free day – Once again, to honor all the men and women who defend the USA, Atlanta Motor Speedway will allow all Military personnel in free this Friday for practice and qualifying.  Military personnel should report to gates 12-15 with a valid military ID (Green Card, Blue Card, Red Card or Honorable discharge).
11/12/01
Industry News
Quokka closes doors – Former CART website host, Quokka Sports Network, is closing it's doors permanently. We knew they were in financial trouble, now they are officially history.
11/12/01
USGP Charity auction raises $187K – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway's USGP charity auctions ended over the weekend, with bids totaling $187,356 for the 22 auctions featuring Formula One driver safety equipment. Most of the 10-day auctions - which will benefit children of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America - featured items worn by Formula One World Championship drivers during the SAP United States Grand Prix on Sept. 30. Several other items also were worn during the season-ending Japanese Grand Prix on Oct. 14. The Ferrari-red helmet worn during the USGP by 2001 World Champion Michael Schumacher was by far the most popular item, having drawn 60 bids and a top bid of $55,200. Ralf Schumacher's race-worn helmet drew the second-highest bid, $25,100, and 2001 USGP race winner Mika Hakkinen's race-worn driver's suit drew the third-highest bid, $20,300. All proceeds from the Speedway's USGP charity auctions are being donated to the New York State World Trade Center Relief Fund via eBay's "Auction for America," a program dedicated to raising $100 million in 100 days for victims and families of the terrorist attacks on America. A complete list of final highest bids for each item: 
M. Schumacher Helmet $55,200 
R. Barrichello Driver's suit $8,300 
M. Hakkinen Driver's suit $20,300 
D. Coulthard Driver's suit $5,350 
R. Schumacher Helmet $25,100 
J.P. Montoya Driver's suit $10,100 
G. Fisichella Helmet $6,701 
J. Button Helmet $13,099 
O. Panis Driver's suit $1,800 
J. Villeneuve Driver's suit $3,850 
J. Alesi Driver's suit $7,350 
J. Trulli Driver's suit $2,650 
J. Verstappen Driver's suit $2,750 
E. Bernoldi Driver's suit $1,550 
N. Heidfeld Driver's suit $2,350 
K. Raikkonen Driver's suit $8,001 
E. Irvine Driver's suit $2,680 
P. de la Rosa Driver's suit $2,025 
F. Alonso Driver's suit $2,575 
A. Yoong Driver's suit $1,800 
H. H. Frentzen Driver's suit $2,225 
11/12/01
Forsythe Racing closes doors – Forsythe Championship Racing is closing the doors at the end of November.  Gerald Forsythe has decided to terminate operations because no sponsor has materialized.  Forsythe honored his commitment to run the team until the end this year.  All the equipment is being packed up and sent to the Player's Forsythe shop in Indy.  All employees were told to find another job. A few will be retained to close up the shop. They have 12 days to vacate the building.  Driver Bryan Herta has some leads for next year and is confident of landing a ride.  We have removed the team from our 2002 CART Silly Season Page.
11/12/01

Kanaan and Barrichello win big karting race – The Tic-Tac team of Rubens Barrichello, Tony Kanaan and Mario Haberfeld won the Granja Viana 500-mile kart race in Brazil over the weekend. It is Barrichello's third win in this event, having previously taken top honors in 1998 and 2000. 58 karts started the race in front of a big and noisy crowd. Around three hundred drivers were taking part and other refugees from this year's Formula 1 grid were Enrique Bernoldi and Ricardo Zonta. At around half distance it began to rain and that signaled the start of the Barrichello show. Despite staying on slicks, Rubens was lapping around two seconds quicker than the rest, thus making up several places to take the lead. The team asked Rubens to stay out as long as possible to make the most of his wet weather skills. In the end, the Ferrari man was at the wheel for no less than six and a half hours. As he crossed the line, Barrichello had completed a total of 707 laps, eight more than the second placed man. "This is a very important win for all three of us, as none of us managed a win in our own disciplines this season," said Barrichello after the race. 
11/12/01
Scott Speed rules CART Stars of Tomorrow finale – Starting from the pole, Scott Speed led wire-to-wire in today’s Championship Auto Racing Teams Stars of Tomorrow season finale at Las Vegas Karting Center. It was the 18-year-old Californian’s third victory in the four-race series, taking the championship and the top prizes in the richest day in US karting history. Speed’s rewards include a full Champ Car test with Team Rahal, preceded by a Skip Barber Three-Day racing school, $5,000 cash and fully-paid ride in the 2002 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship. In the Rotax Max category, a new ‘spec engine’ class introduced to the American karting scene just this season, 17-year-old Andrew Alfonso took the race win after on-track victor Dustin Courter was penalized three places for contact that knocked early-leader Colin Fleming off course. Fleming then charged through the field to finish fourth on track, and was moved up to third after Courter’s penalty. That was more that enough for the 17-year-old to take the Rotax Max Stars of Tomorrow championship and an equally impressive award package including the $5,000 cash bonus, three-day Barber school, and Champ Car test with Team Rahal.  “I’m just so proud of how everything has worked this weekend,” said Champ Car driver Bryan Herta, co-founder of the Stars of Tomorrow. “From a one-off race last year, the event has grown into a legitimate series, and is providing some deserving young racers with a legitimate ‘next step up’ in the racing world. And in 2002 we plan to take the series yet another step forward.” The second place finishers in each series – Jaskol in SuperPro and Chris Carmody in Rotax – each received $3,000, the Barber school and Champ Car tests. Finally, the third place finishers in both classes – Allmendinger in SuperPro and Jaskol in Rotax – received $2,000 each. The $20,000 in season-end cash awards were provided by Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) as part of that sanctioning body’s sponsorship of Stars of Tomorrow, along with another $20,000 in individual race purses awarded throughout the season.
11/12/01
CARA Charities and CART online auction end Monday Although the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series season concluded more than a week ago, the inaugural CARA Charities/CART Online Auction is still open for business until midnight (ET) Monday. Enthusiasts and supporters of open-wheel CART auto racing have little more than 24 hours to bid on several priceless racing mementos and authentic collectibles at http://cara.cmagic.com. The online auction is part of the overall fund-raising efforts by CARA Charities and CART to support the New York Police and Firefighter's Widows and Children's Benefit Fund. These efforts also included the fourth annual Runway Madness "Red, White & Blue Celebration" Super Party that was held two Fridays ago at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, Calif. Although several items were available only through Runway Madness, dozens of collectibles - including some recent additions - are still available via the online auction site. Among the new additions is CART driving star Michael Andretti's racing suit and gloves from this past September's Memorial 500 race in Lausitz, Germany.
11/11/01

NASCAR crewmen taken to hospital UPDATE What apparently is not being reported about the incident (i.e., per NASCAR's web site) is that none of people involved in the incident were wearing helmets. Bobby Burrell, the one most seriously hurt, went up in air when he got hit. When he landed, it looked like he hit his head on the pavement and then the pit wall. He didn't move after he landed. Virtually all crew members and NASCAR officials in pit lane don't wear helmets during a race. Shortly after the incident, however, the TV coverage then showed one pit team with helmets. One of the commentators said that he thought that people over the wall should wear helmets, and he thought it was a good idea (duh!). I wonder if an episode like this will make NASCAR officials wake up to an obvious safety deficiency and require everyone over the wall to wear helmets during a race.  CART pit crews and officials already wear helmets. Two years ago during a CART race, as Michael Andretti was leaving his pit during a race, one of his wheels ran over one of his mechanics who slammed to the ground by the spinning rear tire.  The tire slammed his head into the ground as it rolled over his body and head. Luckily, per CART's rules, the guy was wearing a helmet he lived to talk about it. 11/11/01 -  An accident on pit road during today’s Pennzoil 400 at Homestead sent 2 Ricky Rudd/Robert Yates crew members to the hospital and another to the infield care center. On Lap 111 while under caution, Ward Burton pulled out of his pit stall and collided with Casey Atwood, who was in the middle lane. The contact sent Burton’s car into Rudd’s pit area, where it hit front-tire changer Bobby Burrell, jackman John Bryan, front-tire carrier Kevin Hall and NASCAR official Kenny Lawson. Burrell was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for treatment of head injuries. Burrell is in serious condition. Bryan was taken via ambulance to Baptist Hospital in Miami with knee injuries. Hall was treated for contusions and released from the infield care center. Lawson was also sent and released from the infield care center.
11/11/01
China accepted into WTO, Wal-Mart jumps in  We reported it was going to happen.  Now it has.  China was officially voted into the World Trade Organization and Taiwan is soon to follow.  As a result, retailing giant Wal-Mart plans to open five stores in Beijing at a cost of $25 Million as soon as possible. Why couldn't TARGET and K-MART enter this huge growing consumer market (1.2 billion people strong and growing rapidly)?  That market alone should justify TARGET's continuing support of Chip Ganassi Racing in CART.  We have heard so many misguided statements that sponsors don't want to go CART's international direction because it doesn't benefit their Sponsorship/Marketing goals. Clearly Wal-Mart's move to Beijing is a harbinger of things to come for major retailing firms.  Wal-Mart has been a "Leader" when it comes to multi purpose retail consumer shopping.  Shanghai, China's commercial center, will surely be added in the next round of Wal-Mart's retail expansion into China. All the more reason to begin to set in motion a CART race in Shanghai in the next two years. Not to do so would be a severe oversight by CART.  If Target doesn't follow Wal-Mart's lead into China, perhaps Chip Ganassi's red target cars will become blue Wal-Mart cars before long.  Steve Levinson 
11/11/01
McLaren sponsor West up for sale  The parent company of McLaren sponsor West is up for sale. The Reemstma company is three-quarters owned by consumer goods giant Tchibo, which had earlier considered floating the West company, but is now up for sale by auction, through the global investment bank Merrill Lynch, valued at an estimated $6 billion. West is just one of the Reemstma brands which could be affected by the sale. According to Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper, the consolidation of the world tobacco market is likely to see rival giants bidding to acquire Reemstma, which not only markets its own brands, but also holds sale rights to others, like Benson & Hedges and Peter Stuyvesant, in other markets. Potential bidders at the auction are thought to include the Franco-Spanish conglomerate Altadis and Japan Tobacco.
11/11/01
Industry News
Racing's hidden cost  An investigation by the Charlotte Observer has found that at least 260 people across the USA have died in auto racing since 1990. Patterns are evident; deaths occur an average of 22 times a year. Among those killed were 29 spectators, including five children. In addition, 200 drivers and fans suffered traumatic injuries. This year has been among racing's worst -- with 33 deaths, 29 of them at small tracks. Read he full in-depth report in the Miami Herald by Liz Chandler.
11/11/01
CART Stars of Tomorrow heat race qualifying  Four heat race winners today helped set the odds in 125cc SuperPro Shifter Karts for Sunday’s Championship Auto Racing Teams Stars of Tomorrow finals at Las Vegas Karting Center, while Dustin Courter claimed the Rotax Max pole for Sunday’s second feature event.  The qualifying heats were used to help determine the grid positions for the large, 45- driver, 125cc SuperPro field. Benny Moon, A.J. Allmendinger and Matt Jaskol, all protégés of CART Champ Car driver Paul Tracy, took the first three heat wins with Scott Speed spoiling a Tracy team sweep by winning the final heat of the day for JM Racing.  Two additional heats will be run Sunday morning to finalize the grid.
The first heat saw pole qualifier Michael Valiante nearly stall at the light, dropping all the way back to 12th place. He eventually clawed his way back to a sixth place finish. A train including Moon, Jody Vorrath, Colin Fleming and Alan Rudolph set the pace at the front of the field, with Moon finally maintaining a narrow advantage to the finish.  Scott Speed claimed the early lead in heat two, but was soon chased down by the fourth starting Allmendinger. The pair battled hard for several laps, but then Allmendinger executed a textbook “block pass” into the turn two hairpin on lap six and went on to stretch his advantage to 1.5 seconds at the checker.  The next heat saw Jaskol take the hole shot from the outside of row one at the start and pull away to a four-second victory over Valiente, the largest victory margin of the day. In the final heat, Speed and Allmendinger resumed their battle from heat two and pulled away from the pack, but this time Speed prevailed over his long-time rival. In the Rotax Max category, a new ‘spec engine’ class introduced to the American karting scene just this season, it was 17-year-old Courter at the top of the time sheets for the 30- kart field. Running a Rotax Max for only the second time this season, Courter edged Colin Fleming by just two-tenths of a second, with Andrew Alfonso of Danville, CA, rounding out the top three. The 30-lap championship final for 125cc SuperPro is scheduled to start Sunday at 1:30 p.m. PST, with the Rotax Max final, also a 30-lap run, at 3:15 p.m.
11/11/01
Schumacher to take part in USA solidarity march? According to reports in Italy, Michael Schumacher is to join a rally organized by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlosconi as a show of solidarity with US actions in Afghanistan. The Italian government has committed 2700 troops to the war. The pro US rally is apparently to coincide with a major anti-war rally in Rome and there are some worries about potential clashes between the two groups. The Italian public is divided over the issue, with only half supporting the war in Afghanistan. Jarno Trulli recently signed a petition calling for an end to the war. Formula1.com
11/10/01
Industry News
Six champions inducted into Motorsports Hall of fame  Jacky Ickx, Alan Kulwicki, Glen Wood, Denis Hulme, Tim Richmond and Ettore Bugatti were selected to be inducted into the International Hall of Fame in April.
11/10/01
Valiante after kart win  Even the sharpest knife needs to be honed regularly, and that's just what Lynx Racing's newest driver, Michael Valiante, will be doing this weekend at a dusty kart track on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Valiante, who drove a part time schedule of five races with Lynx in 2001 and moves up to a full-time ride in #19 Lynx Racing Swift 014.a in the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic series, will race his 125cc ItalKart shifter kart in the 'Super Pro' class at the Super Karts USA (SKUSA) Super Nationals on November 10 - 11 at the Las Vegas Karting Center. This is the World Series of karting, and top drivers from across the country and around the world will be competing. Although no longer a full-time kart racer now that his open-wheel career is heating up, Valiante is very much at home at this level of competition. He has won both national and international karting championships on his way up the ladder, including the SKUSA championship in 1998 - and he finished second to winner Memo Gidley (a Lynx Racing graduate now driving for Target Chip Ganassi in the CART FedEx series) in 1999. He started fourth in this event last year, but went out with a blown engine.
11/10/01

Hollywood's move to the IRL UPDATE It turns out we were partially correct. A reader writes - After last years Indy 500 the IRL series negotiated a deal with SporTV, a pay channel. This channel belongs to Globo TV, and has only about 2 millions subscribers. If Hollywood said that IRL has a better package than CART here in Brazil, it's because Globo TV, the leader in audience in Brazil, may broadcast Indy 500 live, or in highlights. In my opinion, it's unlikely to happen because Globo doesn't like to spend a lot of time (4 hours) with a race like Indy. Between CART and IRL, has much better coverage from the Brazilian media. I think the principal reason for this change with Hollywood is that IRL is cheaper that CART. Luiz Rodriguez  11/9/01 -  There has been much speculation as to why Hollywood would sponsor a car in the IRL when it sells no products in the USA.  One person told us they thought it was because the IRL might have a better TV package in Brazil than CART.  We did some checking with our Brazilian contacts and discovered - IRL does not have a better TV package in Brazil than CART or F1. F1 is on Globo TV live and with good media support. CART is on TV Record, which is the #3 network right now, live and with full support from them. IRL is on TV Bandeirantes, #5 in audience. They are behind even RedeTV.  If they mean IRL has a better TV package in the USA, they are probably right, but why would Hollywood care about TV audience here if they don't sell cigarettes in North America?  It looks like it all came down to money.  The IRL was a cheaper proposition.
11/9/01
CART karting race practice begins  Official practice for the final event in the Championship Auto Racing Teams Stars of Tomorrow challenge began today at the Las Vegas Karting Center in Las Vegas, Nevada with both series titles and the payout of $20,000 in season-end points funds still to be decided. More than 300 competitors are in attendance for Stars of Tomorrow and the companion Shifter Kart USA SuperNationals race weekend. The fourth and final event of the season, the Stars of Tomorrow will feature competition in both the 125 Shifter and Rotax Max classes. In addition to the $20,000 points fund, an additional $20,000 already was paid this year in race purses at each event though CART sponsorship of the program. Additional rewards for the class champions will include three-day Skip Barber Racing Schools, a fully-paid ride in the 2002 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship and a test session in a full-fledged Champ Car provided by Team Rahal. Building on the success of last year’s event, the “Stars” concept aims to provide solid opportunities for deserving kart racers to further their careers towards an eventual goal of competing in the CART FedEx Championship Series. “I’ve been extremely impressed by the level and intensity of competition we’ve seen all season,” said event co-founder and Champ Car racer Bryan Herta. “There’s an incredible amount of racing talent in karting today, and our goal is to provide a legitimate stepping stone for them to further their careers.”  “Taking this program from a ‘one-off’ event last year to a complete championship series has been a lot of work for a small, but dedicated group of people,” said Hollis Brown, the other co-creator of the series. “But I believe we’ll see the real payoff in a couple of year’s time as some of these talented young drivers become household names.”  One of last year’s winners, A.J. Allmendinger, this year is contending for the Formula Dodge championship, and will be racing Formula Ford in New Zealand this winter as part of the Team USA scholarship program. Final practice and qualifying action will take place tomorrow here at the Las Vegas Karting Center, with both the Shifter Kart and Rotax Max races on Sunday.


AJ Allmendinger
Photos by Bill Kistler

11/9/01
Should CART add Nitro to fuel?  If CART adopts an IRL engine spec, rather than trying to change too much on the mechanical side of the engine to add power, should they play around with the Methanol fuel mix and add some Nitro to significantly increase HP above the IRL's paltry 650?   Nitromethane enables considerable power increases to be obtained (70 percent minimum with proper use). Most often used blended with methanol, in various proportions to provide power increases consistent with engine strength, etc. A tendency to detonation is reduced by an increase in mixture strength, reduction in engine temperature, reduction in compression ratio or the addition of methanol.  Gasoline is a hydrocarbon, and the common chemical formula for gasoline is C8H18. Nitromethane has the formula CH3NO2. Nitromethane is a little like gasoline that has been pre-mixed with nitrous oxide. The fuel comes with its own oxygen atoms to help it burn. It's usually mixed with Methanol. The big advantage of nitromethane is that you can get a lot more power from each explosion inside the engine. Pound for pound, nitromethane is less energetic than gasoline, but you can burn a lot more nitromethane in a cylinder. The net result is more power per stroke. You typically need about 15 pounds of air to burn 1 pound of gasoline, whereas you need only 1.7 pounds of air to burn 1 pound of nitromethane. This means that, compared to gasoline, you can pump about 8 times more nitromethane into a cylinder of a given volume and still get complete combustion. Since nitromethane is not as dense as gasoline in terms of energy, so you do not get an 8-time improvement in terms of power. It is more like a 2.5-time improvement. Still, you can double or triple your engine's horsepower simply by changing the fuel. Of course we would not be looking to double or triple the IRL engine's HP, just add 100 to 150 HP, so we would not want too potent a mix for CART.  An interesting thing about nitromethane is that it does not burn as quickly as gasoline. In fact, there is not enough time to burn all of the nitromethane between when the spark plug fires and when the exhaust valve opens. So the engine is pumping still-burning nitromethane into the exhaust pipe. That's why you see flames shooting out of the exhaust of a drag-racing car. CART wants to add a night race?  Well those flames might be pretty spectacular!  This HowStuffWorks.com page gives a comparison of various fuel types. Mark C.
11/9/01
FOX kicks Off 2002 NASCAR season on Feb. 22  Following its critically-acclaimed premiere season, which drew 278 million television viewers, NASCAR Winston Cup racing returns to FOX, Sunday, Feb. 24 (12:30 PM ET), live from “The Rock,” North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C. NASCAR on FOX race coverage begins Saturday, Feb. 23 (1:00 PM ET) with Rockingham’s NASCAR Busch Series event. NASCAR racing legend Darrell Waltrip and former crew chief Larry McReynolds return to provide race analysis for all NASCAR on FOX NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch Series events, and Mike Joy returns as race announcer. Prerace coverage is again hosted by Chris Myers with analyst Jeff Hammond. In its second season as the home of NASCAR, FOX Sports airs 13 NASCAR Winston Cup races. The NASCAR on FOX schedule is highlighted by NASCAR Winston Cup races on Sunday, March 3 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (2:30 PM ET), Sunday, April 21 from Talladega Superspeedway (1:30 PM ET), Sunday, May 26 from Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte (5:00 PM ET), and Saturday, July 6 from Daytona International Speedway (7:00 PM ET). FX recorded the highest ratings in its history with NASCAR coverage in 2001 and its 2002 schedule is even more compelling than last season. In addition to being the primary carrier of NASCAR Busch Series races, with 12 events, FX airs four NASCAR Winston Cup races in 2002, up from three in 2001. FX once again airs the Richmond 400 Saturday, May 4 (7:30 PM ET), and “The Winston” All-Star race live from Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, May 18 (7:00 PM ET), and also airs NASCAR Winston Cup races from Martinsville and Dover. NASCAR on FX begins its 2002 season with Happy Hour from Rockingham, Saturday, Feb. 23 (12:00 PM ET) and kicks off its race coverage with NASCAR Busch Series racing live from Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Saturday, March 2 (3:30 PM ET). High points of the FX season include NASCAR Busch Series racing live from Nashville Superspeedway, Saturday, April 13 (1:30 PM ET), and NASCAR Busch Series racing live from Daytona International Speedway, Friday, July 5 (7:00 PM ET). FX is currently carried in more than 73 million homes, up from 58 million at the beginning of the 2001 NASCAR season. 
11/9/01
Ferrari to start 2002 with 2001 car  UPDATE A Ferrari spokesman refuted this report today, saying they might use the 2001 early in the season, it has not been determined for certain.  11/9/01 - A story in Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport said that the Ferrari team would use its 2001 car, the F2001, for the first three races of the 2002 season. The team's 2002 chassis will only be introduced at the fourth race of the season on April 14th at the San Marino GP. Despite not introducing their 2002 chassis at the beginning of the season, the report stated that they would introduce their latest spec engine, the 051 at the beginning of 2002.
11/9/01
Kneifel Leads All-Star Judge Lineup  Even more excitement has been added to the upcoming Barber-CART Big Scholarship Runoff as a cast of All-Star judges, led by CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel, has signed on to participate in driver evaluations. Joining Kneifel in the judging lineup will be 1989 Barber Pro Series Champion and Indy Racing League star Robbie Buhl, Richard Spenard, Tommy Kendall and motorsports journalist Jeremy Shaw. The five will be joined by the Barber Dodge Pro Series driver coaches Peter Argetsinger, David Loring, Jim Pace and Barry Waddell. The judge corps is charged with identifying the one driver that distinguishes himself among seven finalists to earn a fully-funded season in the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series. The candidates, seven of the top eight points finishers from the Formula Dodge National Championship, will participate in a two-day run-off using the Reynard 98E racecar. While some judges will be familiar with the Barber-CART finalists, others may not be and will rely on the Pro Series coaching staff to acclimate them to each racer's profile and driving style. Says Dale, "That kind of balance is important. Bringing these guys in presents a fresh set of eyes; a new perspective on talent, allowing us to look at this group in a totally different way."
11/9/01
De Ferran has moving experiences in NY City  For the past few seasons, the driver who has won the FedEx Championship Series title has gone on a "Champion's Tour" during the week immediately following the season, and one of the stops on that tour has been a visit to various locations in New York. The visit to New York has special meaning this year in the wake of the events of September 11, and the significance of those events was not lost on 2001 FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran. On Friday, de Ferran toured several locations in New York, and the experience is one that the two-time champion will not soon forget. De Ferran's day began at 7:30 a.m. EST when he appeared on the nationally televised CBS Early Show. During his appearance, de Ferran presented Lawrence Levy, who is deputy counsel to New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, with a $500,000 check on behalf of the CART community for the Twin Towers Relief Fund. "I was honored to be put in that position to present the check for the CART community," said de Ferran. "Especially me, being a foreign-born individual, I was very honored. I had a good conversation with Larry Levy about where the money from the Twin Towers Fund is going. It's been an interesting trip in that regard." From the CBS Early Show, de Ferran got into a police car and was taken through Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center towers used to be. The Brazilian got an up close look at the devastation, and was understandably moved by the experience. "There's two ways of dealing with tragedy," de Ferran explained. "You either try to ignore it and forget it, or face it. I would rather face it and try to digest it. It was certainly a vast area of devastation, and until you see it in person, you just cannot imagine how big the area of devastation was. It was very shocking and very sad." De Ferran's final stop in New York before leaving for the Bristol, Conn. offices of ESPN was the world famous New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). He was among dignitaries, such as the president of Mexico and Miss Teen USA, and met NYSE chairman and CEO Dick Grasso. De Ferran presented Grasso with a pair of driving gloves. "That is certainly one of the most famous places in the world," de Ferran said. "That was an amazing experience, because that is the heart of capitalism. Today is a day I will never forget for a variety of reasons."
11/9/01
Let Philip Morris & Marlboro know what you think  UPDATE Marlboro has informed us you can also let your feelings be known at Marlboro Team Penske - 1-877-20RACING. Do you want to see Team Penske stay in CART?  Then let them know. 11/8/01 - We have been contacted by quite a few CART fans asking how to contact Philip Morris and Marlboro to express their feelings about their Marlboro CART sponsorship for Team Penske. The basic arguments to make for why you think Marlboro is better served by being in CART are made here.  Below are the numbers.
Philip Morris Consumer Affairs: 
1-800-343-0975, prompt 4, Monday to Friday during the hours of 9AM - 5PM Eastern Time. 
Marlboro:
1-800-MARLBORO (1-800-627-5267), Prompt 5, Sunday to Saturday, during the hours of 9am to Midnight, Eastern Time.
11/9/01
What, no video games?  A reader from Europe writes - As a CART viewer in Europe it disappoints me to see such events as engine manufacturers pulling out and predictions of CART's non-existence in a year from now. Anyway this is not my point. I wanted to highlight the lack of CART input in the video game market.  NASCAR games seems to come out every year, Formula 1 many more than that, but no CART games.  What's the problem you might ask? Video games are not very important you may say. Perhaps you would be right, but I know of all the people over here who played the last CART game released and instantly became interested in the series as a whole. Its typical of the whole CART situation. Not enough done to inform people, to promote the series worldwide. I am hoping things will change, you have a very good base to work with. I am hoping my English is to a high standard. Thank you, Merk Cafone.  [Editor's Note, work is being done on a new state-of-the-art CART PC simulation game, but unfortunately, another Holiday season is upon us and no CART simulation is on the store shelves.  CART does have a new Sony Playstation game out, but that is a video game, rather than a true simulation.  Sadly CART has essentially been out of the merchandising and game business for about a year, and while it's not the only reason, it certainly contributes to its falling TV ratings.  NASCAR is everywhere.  Almost every retail store has something NASCAR to offer.  You can even buy NASCAR Chicken.  And you wonder why Americans think racing is NASCAR?]
11/8/01
Honda wins the war, but Ford......  Our hats off to Honda for winning the fiercely fought 2001 CART drivers and manufacturers championship.  However, Ford's performance can't go unnoticed either.  Although he didn't finish every race for other reasons, Kenny Brack has had an amazing run of 40 races without engine failure. In fact, not a single race failure since the very first race of 2000 at Homestead! On average, this season Ford Cosworth drivers have suffered only 4% race failures. This figure compares with 13% for Honda and 6% for Toyota, and is a huge improvement from 10% for the 2000 season. For several seasons Ford has had an excellent engine. Most seasons they have been regarded as the most powerful, but have sometimes been let down by drivability or reliability. In 2001 they appeared to have the most powerful, the most reliable, and at least the equal of the competition on economy and reliability. This is a fantastic achievement for everybody at Cosworth both in the U.K. and at CosInc in Torrance, Ca. What's even more telling is how cost effectively Ford did it. While Toyota was rumored to spend over $100 million and Honda right up there in that ballpark, Ford Cosworth tells us they spent much less than $50 million. They say you would not believe how little. Cosworth does a lot of work in-house rather than sub it out to subcontractors. Perhaps that is part of the difference. Mark C.
11/8/01

Gil de Ferran talks to Bloomberg about CART and IRL unification  Two-time FedEx Championship Series winner Gil de Ferran (left) talks with Bloomberg's Mike Buteau about his commitment to Marlboro Team Penske, the outlook for open-wheel racing and his team's considerations for switching from Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) to the Indy Racing League (IRL).  Make no mistake about it when you listen to the interview (Real Player format) - Gil de Ferran is preaching the same words as his boss, Roger Penske, that a unified open wheel series will be more powerful than divided....but he also has a lot of other good things to say. Mark C.
11/8/01
Ask Motorola if they want to be in Shanghai  We have written several articles (alternate article) about Shanghai, China and why CART should race there.  China is one of Marlboro's biggest markets.  CART can be there for them. F1 certainly isn't.   But what about other CART sponsors?  Here is a tidbit of info for CART management to digest.  Motorola announced yesterday that it will invest $6.6 billion on production in China over the next 5 years after already investing $3.2 billion since 1992.  Motorola said it intends to be a leader in wireless, internet and broadband in China, where it had $4.5 billion in sales last year and employs 13,000.  So, will sponsors fight over CART's China race like they are fighting over the new for 2002 Mexico City race (we reported they are in negotiations with five companies)?  Will it be called the Motorola Grand Prix of Shanghai, or the Marlboro Grand Prix of Shanghai....or the Marlboro GP of Shanghai presented by Motorola?  And what about a company like Toyota?  Well, as can be seen in this article, Toyota is alive and well in China (and elsewhere in Asia), home to over 1 billion people. We wonder how Toyota Japan would look upon Toyota USA if they brought the Toyota name to China in the Grand Prix of China?  Not to change the subject, but do you know why Toyota has not objected to CART racing in Mexico City?  Toyota Motor Corp. is considering building a manufacturing plant in Mexico to increase sales presence outside its main markets, a company spokeswoman said. "We do have a long-term goal of building cars in Mexico," Toyota spokeswoman Tracy Underwood said. The president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, met the board presidents of Toyota and Nissan Motor Co. during a visit to Japan, the Mexican government said in a statement. During the meeting with Toyota, the president discussed investments in Mexico that will begin with the establishment of a Toyota unit. "They were studying the possibility of developing other projects in the future," the statement said. Toyota has created a unit, Toyota Motor Sales de Mexico, to sell cars in the country in anticipation of relaxed duties expected in January 2004 under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Toyota officials didn't say where or when the automaker might build such a plant or which models might be built there.  To make a very long story short.  We are in a global economy, and CART's global reach is going to serve them very well in the long run.  However, there are going to have to be some new sponsors coming into CART who want to capitalize on its global reach, because some existing CART sponsors either don't sell product overseas (example Target) or some sponsors who are so compartmentalized their USA subsidiary hardly knows the rest of the company/world exists.  Philip Morris USA and Toyota USA would lead you to believe that if their car were to win a race in Shanghai (but funded out of USA marketing dollars), home to 16 million people, that it brings no benefit to their Marlboro or Toyota brands. Of course it does, but their USA marketing execs are measured on their USA performance only.  Hence the dilemma, but that should not stop CART from going to global markets.  They will payoff handsomely in the long run.  Mark C.
11/8/01

Galles & Unser lose sponsor.  NASCAR, F1 and CART hurting too  Marlo Klain reports on RPM2Night that Galles racing has lost Starz as their sponsorship.  Unless they find a new sponsor, Galles says he will not have enough money to field a car and would release Al Unser Jr. from the last year on his contract. As this AP article points out, even the ultra-successful NASCAR is not immune.  A lot of Winston Cup teams are hurting for sponsorship.  One has to wonder how much the new IRL Lights series will suck off the already sponsorship poor IRL teams?  One has to wonder if now wasn't the right time to start that series given the poor economy.
11/8/01
Bear Stearns maintains attractive rating on CART stock  In our view, there are two positives associated with the FedEx announcement. First, is that the FedEx sponsorship dollars are now signed-on, which reduces at least some of the near-term earnings risk, though we believe the dollar amount could very well be lower than the previous contract amount. Second, while the process of re-signing FedEx was seemingly in the “final stages” for several months, the deal nevertheless shows that management was able to deliver on its promise and thus restore some degree of credibility with investors.  Given the lack of good visibility into the company’s 2002 earnings potential, our current position on the stock is still one of caution. Nevertheless, the company has found a core of long-term shareholders that has given support to the stock, and the company continues to buy back shares. Furthermore, given the prospect of major changes within the company over the next few months, we are maintaining our Attractive rating.  Bear Stearns
11/8/01
At least 3 IRL drivers in 2002 IROC  Unless CART changes the date of their Japan race, there won't be any CART drivers in IROC next year as we reported earlier.  Perhaps then we will see six IRL drivers.  Here are the first three. Sam Hornish Jr., Buddy Lazier and Scott Sharp - the top three drivers in the 2001 Northern Light Series standings - each have accepted invitations to represent Indy Racing in the 2002 True Value International Race of Champions series. The True Value IROC series is racing's "all-star game." Twelve of the best drivers from various series compete in a four-race series in equally prepared Pontiac Trans Am stock cars. The schedule for the series' 26th season starts Feb. 15 at Daytona International Speedway, followed by a round April 27 at California Speedway and a debut visit to Chicagoland Speedway on July 13. The series ends Aug. 3 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the fifth annual IROC at Indy. 
11/8/01
Zanardi drives again  Alex Zanardi is back driving a car for the first time since he lost both his legs at Eurospeedway in a terrifying accident.  Zanardi drove himself from Monte Carlo to Imola in a special car that had been adapted for him. He was visiting specialist Dr Claudio Costa, for a check-up on his injuries. Costa said that Zanardi was recovering well and predicted that the 34-year-old Italian CART and F1 driver would bounce back. Costa said: "I found the situation very satisfactory. He always had a sad looking face, but I see the light in his eyes. He will be an example for everybody."
11/8/01

Bridgestone/Firestone reach US settlement  Bridgestone, who supplies six F1 teams and the entire CART field next year, has reached a settlement with US state attorneys over the injury and death claims linked to tires made by its US subsidiary, Firestone, and standard equipment on many new Ford Explorers. The $41.5 million settlement (further details will be released later today), marks the first time the state attorneys have come to an agreement with Bridgestone’s lawyers on a specific settlement amount. It was previously thought the amounts might have spiraled into the billions, prompting concerns about Bridgestone’s future participation in racing. MC
11/8/01
F1 lawsuits - Proceedings against Haffa's, Arrows sues sponsor  An article published in the German newspaper Frankfurter,  Allgemeine Zeitung stated that the state has launched proceedings against Thomas and Florian Haffa over the collapse of EM.TV that led to its rescue by media giant Kirch Gruppe.  At the time of the collapse Thomas Haffa was CEO and his brother Florian Haffa the Chief Financial Officer.  Both are charged with stock share price manipulation and with hiding the company's position from its investors.  The Arrows F1 team is set to start legal action against UK betting agent Coral, alleging that it breached a sponsorship contract. In a complex case, Tom Walkinshaw, the team chief and 45% stakeholder, is also to take action against Morgan Grenfell Private Equity (MGPE), which also owns 45% of Arrows and has a stake in Coral. Walkinshaw is alleging MGPE had a hand in the contract’s breach. Coral signed a sponsorship contract with the Arrows team at the start of 2000, a sizeable two-year deal worth $15 million. But it cut the contract early, which Arrows believes the contract prevented. Coral however claims it was within its right, exercising an exit clause. Coral executives told London’s "Financial Times" yesterday: ‘this writ is a load of rubbish. The company has taken legal advice and we are convinced it's a water-tight legal case and will defend it in the courts.’ MC
11/8/01
Pedro de la Rosa marries  In a private ceremony attended by just his family and friends, Spanish F1 Jaguar driver Pedro de la Rosa got married on Saturday November, 3, 2001 at the Santa Agnes church just north of Barcelona Spain. MC
11/8/01
De Ferran TV appearance changed  Two-time FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran, originally scheduled to appear on CBS' The Early Show on Thursday, had his visit moved to Friday morning. De Ferran is scheduled to appear around 7:30 a.m. ET on the show. During his visit, he will present a $500,000 check on behalf of the CART community to the New York City Public Private Initiatives, Inc. -- Twin Towers Fund to assist those who were effected by the World Trade Center tragedy on Sept. 11. Championship Auto Racing Teams announced the donation Sept. 15 as it prepared for the renamed American Memorial 500 race at EuroSpeedway in Lausitz, Germany. The donation was equivalent to the race purse to symbolize the day's activities were to benefit the relief fund. 
11/7/01
Stock buying news  2nd UPDATE Volume on CART's stock is very high today, up about 11% on an unusually high 684,000+ shares. We suspect the positive change is due to FedEx renewing, something a lot of pundits said would never happen, and Mr. Vannini calling for Chris Pook to be COO. 11/7/01 - We stand corrected.  Per his latest Form 4/A filing, between 10/25 and 10/31 Gerald Forsythe bought another 145,000 shares of CART stock.  Of the 1,664,800 shares owned, 450,000 shares are owned by Forsythe Racing, Inc., and 631,800 shares are owned by Indeck Energy Services, Inc. 11/6/01 - Gerald Forsythe bought another few thousand shares of CART stock between October 25th and October 31st.
11/7/01
Industry News
Wirth replaces Anderson at Reynard  Jordan's former technical director Gary Anderson is returning to the team three years after quitting to join Jaguar Racing. The Ulsterman will take up the post of director of race and test engineering at the Formula 1 team. Former Simtek Grand Prix team owner and Benetton chief designer Nick Wirth will replace Jordan-bound Gary Anderson as technical director at Reynard Motorsport. Wirth has been out of the sport for three years since leaving Benetton, and has since concentrated on building a robotics company.
11/7/01
Rockingham bids to become an official F1 test track  UPDATE The circuit has been granted provisional approval for F1 testing by the FIA after a visit by their technical delegate Charlie Whiting recently, who suggested only a few minor changes and in turn that the circuit has already been approached by several of the F1 teams regarding private and closed F1 testing sessions. Jeff Carter, Rockingham Public Relations Spokesperson, said that they are not aiming at staging three or four-day testing sessions, but rather to accommodate teams for private sessions or shakedown runs. 11/1/01 - Organizers of Rockingham, Britain’s new speedway, are set to submit an application to the FIA, Formula One’s governing body, for hosting Formula One testing there next year. The new facility in Corby, Northamptonshire, features the oval which hosted the country’s first ever CART race there earlier this year, and a 4.1 kilometer infield road course. MC
11/7/01
DeFerran begins victory tour in NY  Reigning CART FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran arrives in New York City today to kick off his Victory Tour that will be highlighted by national appearances on CBS' Late Show With David Letterman and The Early Show as well as a special $500,000 check presentation to a designated World Trade Center relief fund. Story 
11/7/01
Cristiano da Matta interview  This weeks guest on CART's weekly media teleconference was driver Cristiano Da Matta of Newman/Haas Racing who capped an extremely successful first season with the team by claiming a $1 million victory in Sunday's Marlboro 500 presented by Toyota at California Speedway. Transcript (PDF) 
11/7/01
Industry News
Las Vegas Race Rock sale  Jayski is reporting that all the furnishings from the Vegas/Race Rock eatery & bar (including cars) will be going on the block at the Barrett-Jackson auction in January. This might be the chance to get that Schumacher Ferrari or Montoya Target Champ Car! 
11/7/01

Las Vegas CART 101 connection  UPDATE We now hear Bob Lutz, the owner of Driving 101, has dropped the CART license he was paying for.  We are guessing he did not want to limit his "options" with other series of the same style out there possibly looking to do something....read that IRL.  11/6/01 - One would think there is a strong connection between CART Driving 101 being headquartered in Las Vegas and CARTs decision to move there. Perhaps the next big hotel to open will be motorsports themed! On another note, an interesting coincidence is that Troy, MI is home to CART and also to Oxford Automotive. OA's board of directors includes Dennis Pawley, longtime automotive guy. Dennis is also president of Performance Learning, which runs corporate training experiences using the Champ Cars in Las Vegas. Probably nothing, but it's a small world.
11/6/01
Troubles in NASCAR TV land  Recently, there have been media reports speculating that NBC, TNT and FOX are unhappy with their NASCAR television contracts and were reportedly looking to renegotiate or altogether seeking a way out of the contracts. For several reasons, we believe this is a very unlikely scenario. If in fact the broadcasters are unhappy, it is because the advertising market is abysmal at the present time, not because NASCAR hasn’t met expectations in terms of the product or the TV ratings. Indeed, according to our industry contacts, the broadcasters paid a fair price for what that price represents, i.e. ratings. Right now NASCAR is delivering ratings week in and week out that are as good if not better than any other sports telecast, including NFL. From that standpoint, the broadcasters should not be unhappy. The fact that the advertising market is so difficult is not NASCAR’s fault. As such, we don’t believe there is any risk of re-negotiation.  Bear Stearns weekly Motorsports Report
11/6/01
F1 may lower front nose of cars  After seeing what happened to Alex Zanardi in Germany, and realizing the high noses of F1 cars could be lethal in a similar accident, F1 is looking at possibly lowering the nose of their cars as soon as 2003 for safety reasons.
11/6/01
Why change in Chicago date  A reader writes - I think it was wise of CART to move the Chicago date in 2002 so the race can piggyback on the Taste of Chicago weekend festivities.  Our concern - will that help or hurt attendance?  If everyone is at the Taste of Chicago, will anyone be at the race?  Now if the race was run on the streets where the Taste of Chicago festivities are held, then we would be talking huge success.
11/6/01
Honda wins....again  Honda closed out another very successful CART FedEx Championship Series season this weekend at California Speedway, having already clinched it’s fourth CART Manufacturer’s championship; and with Gil de Ferran winning his second consecutive driver’s title. Honda-powered drivers won seven FedEx Championship Series races this year. Three of those wins were recorded by Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves, with another pair won by de Ferran. The other race victories this year came at the hands of Team Motorola’s Michael Andretti and Dario Franchitti of Team KOOL Green. De Ferran becomes only the fourth driver in CART history to repeat as champion, but the second Honda driver to do so. Alex Zanardi won back-to-back titles for Honda in 1997-98, with the other repeat winners being Bobby Rahal (1986-87) and Rick Mears (1981-82). “This has been a fantastic season for Honda, our teams and drivers,” said Tom Elliott, executive vice president of American Honda and president of Honda Performance Development, its Champ Car engine subsidiary. “To prevail in such a competitive series and against such strong competition makes this achievement all the more special to all of our associates. Racing is part of the heart and soul of Honda,” Elliott added. Three of Honda’s Manufacturer’s Championships have come in the last four years. The company’s first Manufacturer’s title came in 1996, with Honda-powered Jimmy Vasser taking the driver’s title to begin that on-going streak of championships. In 1997, Honda-powered drivers finished 1-2-3 in the points standings, with Zanardi winning his first title, followed by de Ferran and Vasser. Zanardi began his rise to fame by being named Rookie of the Year. In 1998, Honda and its drivers swept all three major CART categories: the manufacturer’s championship, Zanardi’s second driver’s cup and Tony Kanaan taking series Rookie of the Year honors. Honda-powered Juan Montoya took both rookie and driver’s championships in 1999. Last year, Honda teams posted a total of eight race victories as the company posted its third CART Manufacturer’s Championship. De Ferran continued the run of Honda-powered driver’s championships with his first crown.
11/6/01
Eurospeedway happy with new CART date  In speaking to executives from Eurospeedway this past weekend in Fontana, we learned they are quite happy to have a date in 2002 that does not conflict with a F1 race weekend.  Whereas they had over 80,000 in attendance this year, they are shooting for over 100,000 on race day next year.  We wonder if the England and Germany dates will alternate from year to year as to which one runs on a F1 race weekend.  We also learned in speaking to them that the IRL has indeed been in contact with them about a possible race there in 2003 or 2004. Of course one can expect that the IRL will try to undercut CART's price significantly.  Upon hearing that, one pundit stated, "you get what you pay for."  MC
11/6/01
Industry News
Wind Tunnel for hire  Dan Gurney's All American Racers has a 40%scale wind tunnel for hire in Santa Ana.  The AAR wind tunnel has a 3x5 Moving Ground Plane (rolling road) test section capable of air and ground speeds of over 100mph. The wind tunnel utilizes a slotted wall test section designed to allow testing of much larger models than is possible in a similar sized conventional facility. A purpose-designed 6 component force balance, designed and manufactured Microcraft (supplier of similar components to NASA and Boeing) is used to measure the forces produced by the 40% wind tunnel models. The models, designed and built entirely by AAR, precisely replicate external as well as internal details including radiators, intake and exhaust flows, flowing brake ducts and wheel uprights as well as engine and transmission surfaces. While operating at a rate of two shifts per day, the information from the wind tunnel is collected by the AAR designed data acquisition system. This allows for maximum flexibility in data research  MC
11/6/01
De Ferran and Castroneves don't look good  A reader writes - Dear AutoRacing1.com, a bunch of us stood in line to get autographs of the Marlboro Team Penske drivers at Fontana this past weekend.  None of us could avoid noticing how depressed both Helio and Gil looked.  They definitely did not seem like their old selves.  Do you think they are disappointed Roger is thinking about taking them down to the IRL next year?  I know they are road racers at heart.  Tina from LA.  Dear Tina - we have had a lot of readers ask us that same question.  We are not certain, but we suppose that is entirely possible.  CART meant a lot to both drivers.  We know that no driver in CART views a move to the IRL as a step up the career ladder. Actually most view it as a rather significant step backward, but when the guy paying your salary says you are driving in the IRL, that's where you drive.  We too doubt they cherish an all-oval series, however, no definite announcements have been made by Team Penske yet, so it's best not to jump to any conclusions without all the facts.  MC
11/6/01
Fontana race one for the records  15 cars on the lead lap after 220 laps of high-speed oval racing with not too many cautions says a lot about the competitiveness of CART these days. A record 73 lead changes among a record 19 different leaders.  Da Matta's margin over Papis of 0.007sec as they crossed the line to take the yellow flag that determined the outcome of the race would have been an all-time Champ Car record for smallest margin of victory.
11/6/01
CART legends converge on Fontana  Racing legends Jimmy Vasser, Michael Andretti, Mario Andretti, Wally Dallenbach, Danny Sullivan, Emerson Fittipaldi, Gil de Ferran, Jim McElreath, Bobby Unser, Joe Leonard, Dan Gurney, Rick Mears, Bobby Rahal and Rodger Ward stand behind Parnelli Jones sitting in his original #98 Willard Battery Special during practice for the Marlboro 500, round twenty one of the CART FedEx Championship Series at the California Speedway in Fontana, California.  Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/ALLSPORT 
11/6/01
Industry News
Dan Gurney working on Motorcycle project  A visit to Dan Gurney's All-American Racers shop in Santa Ana, California revealed a pet project of Dan's, motorcycles, is taking shape nicely.  Dan Gurney's Alligator Motorcycle company hopes to manufacture and sell an American-made SINGLE CYLINDER SPORT BIKE that is so confidence-inspiring and easy to ride in a sporting way, that it will be irresistible to potential sport bike buyers. After several years of R & D and 5 different configurations, the latest Alligator, the A-5 has logged many successful test miles.  The Alligator name came about because of the bike's long, low appearance. It has a low center of gravity where the rider sits below the top of the tires and his feet are placed below the handlebars. We sat on one and can tell you this bike is very comfortable.  The gas tank is mounted below the seat and behind the engine.  If an investor materializes they will begin to produce an initial batch of some 30 bikes that will likely become collectors items. After that they will look to start much higher production volumes.  These motorcycles will be powered by modified versions of the Honda 650 air-cooled single cylinder engine with electric starter. They are approximately 675-cc displacement and 75 horsepower with fuel injection. The bikes will weigh 300lbs or less and have approximately a 135-140 mph + top speed.  Mark C.

Scenes from All American Racers.  1980's era Gurney race cars
Top left corner is 7-post shaker, which is for sale
Photos by Mark Cipolloni

11/5/01
Sale of SLEC increases Bernie's bankroll  Bernie Ecclestone headed the annual UK Sunday Times income rankings with an estimated 2001 income of $788m in the last twelve months. The sale of F1 holdings company Kirch is estimated to make up the bulk of this figure, the proceeds said to have netted just over $1 billion for the Ecclestone retirement fund.  Mark C.
11/5/01
Simple Green re-ups with CART  Remember you read it on AR1 first.  Simple Green will be continuing with CART for at LEAST two (2) more years and is possibly going to add to its involvement within the CART series via a contingency award or driver sponsorship. Stay tuned.....Mark C.
11/5/01
Advance ticket sales for 2002 German 500 begin  Though the German 500 is still a hot topic of conversation, not only for the 150,000 motorsport fans who witnessed live the thrilling Champ Car Weekend in September, but for many other too, plans are already being laid afoot for the next season's events. The German 500 will take place next year from the 19th to the 21st September. While this year German racing god Michael Schumacher was busy putting his paces through the Monza track at the same time as this year's event, next year all eyes will be on the 2-mile-Superspeedway in Lausitz as the German 500 weekend falls exactly between two Formula 1 races - in Monza (Italy) and in Indianapolis (USA). Tickets for the German 500 are available now in prices ranging from 20 to 265 Euro (39.12 DM to 518.29 DM) from the ticket hotline number of +49 (0) 1805-88 01 88 and +49 (0) 1805-88 02 88 as well as by internet under www.eurospeedway.de and www.deag.de. Furthermore, over 5,000 travel agents and Deutsche Bahn AG ticket offices nationwide as well as travel agents in a further 20 countries are also all offering tickets. Early bookers will get a discounted price. Those who book and pay for their tickets before the 31st December 2001 will get a 4% discount!  Eurospeedway
11/5/01
Detroit reeling over loss of CART race  There has been more news in the local Detroit press about Detroit not being on the 2002 CART calendar than when the series raced there each June.  As this article points out, the City hopes to someday land a CART race at the Michigan State Fairgrounds - The next stop, therefore, could be the State Fairgrounds, said John Hertel, general manager of the Michigan State Fair. Hertel said he would back a city ordinance that would allow only one race weekend a year, on a temporary track at the 206-acre fairgrounds, to save the Grand Prix and keep it in the city. "We have excellent paddock facilities to give them, and speed and passing (on a course)," said Hertel, who added that a race could be run at the fairgrounds next year. "It would be less expensive for the race to be at the fairgrounds and would have much easier access for the public."  We here at AR1 don't see it happening. MC
11/5/01

Dysinger takes over as head of Petree engine shop  Jon Dysinger has been named Head Engine Builder for NASCAR Winston Cup racing’s only "full-service" team. Dysinger, AGE, a native of Asheville, N.C., has taken charge of the engine department at Andy Petree Racing, which builds all engines for the #33 Oakwood Homes Chevrolet of driver Joe Nemechk and the #55 Square D Chevrolet of driver Bobby Hamilton. "Jon has been instrumental in making the significant horsepower gains we’ve seen this season," said Petree. "Moving him to the forefront on our engine program is just a natural. We’re getting better and better each week." Dysinger has been in the engine department of Andy Petree Racing since 1998. "Horsepower is a whole lot in this sport, and finding it is what is exciting for me," said Dysinger. "There was a time where you were knocking yourself out to find 10 or 20 more horsepower. As close as things are these days and the way the rules are, finding three or four more horsepower is a lot. It’s a challenge but it’s a fun challenge.

11/5/01

Why Miami not on released CART schedule  When CART released its 19-race 2002 schedule on Sunday, absent was any race listed for Miami, something AutoRacing1.com rumored months ago. We believe one of the reasons Miami was not listed has to do with Mr. Roger Penske.  He is a major stakeholder and sits on the board of ISC, owner of Homestead Speedway that is located south of Miami.  ISC fought hard to kill any racing in Miami for fear it would have a negative impact on Homestead. They lost.  Roger is vehemently opposed to CART racing in the streets of Miami for this reason. It is our belief that if Penske stays in CART, CART will drop the idea of running in Miami for the time being.  However, if Penske leaves CART as rumored, CART will likely jump right into Miami immediately. Nothing for CART to lose at that point, Penske will already be gone.  A CART race in the streets of Miami will be a huge success, everyone knows that.  From where we sit, a race in the streets of Miami will have little affect on Homestead.  The Homestead Winston Cup race will be a huge success regardless of whether CART races in Miami.  Winston Cup transcends everything.  All the other races at Homestead are poorly attended anyway, and are probably money losers or darn close to it.  Therefore, we don't feel CART racing in Miami will have much of an effect on Homestead, but think it's just ISC's political maneuvering to keep CART out of Florida, a market NASCAR pretty much has locked up to themselves. Roger has put CART on the spot on a number of occasions.  Races at other ISC owned tracks have had dismal attendance, yet Roger has publicly stated he was personally offended because CART dropped races at his tracks.  While we have not spoken to Roger directly about his position, we do find it rather odd given the races were not successful.  Isn't it in everyone's best interest to move on if a business partnership is not working out for both party's?  Mark C.

11/5/01
IROC

IROC returns to California Speedway  The IROC series makes a return to the 2-mile California Speedway in Fontana, California after a three year absence.  There will be a 100-mile race on April 27, 2002 as part of the Winston Cup weekend.  No CART drivers will be able to participate in IROC again next year because CART is in Japan that weekend.

11/4/01

France racing body approves CART race  In Fontana we spoke to Nikolai Jendrich, Senior Motorsports Advisor for the Eurospeedway in Germany.  He informed us they are actively trying to put together a CART race in France. They have received approval from the FEDERATION FRANÇAISE DU SPORT AUTOMOBILE (F.F.S.A), France's FIA affiliate, to stage a CART race at Dijon Prenois (see track to right), site of many F1 races in the past. They have not formally proposed a race in France to CART yet.  Right now they are lobbying for a street race in Nice, France and they are hopeful of getting it from the FFSA. They prefer Nice over Dijon.  Nice is located in south-east France, 30 Km away from Italy, on the French Riviera, between Cannes and Monaco. In case you have never been to Nice, we can assure you it would be a very glamorous location for a CART race.  Given the rather sparse turnout for yesterday's CART race at Fontana compared to previous years, the continued downward spiral in attendance at open wheel oval races in the USA can no longer be disputed by anyone. As we have written on numerous occasions, CART must focus on becoming the premier road racing series in the USA and a key player, along with F1, in the international arena (we do endorse CART oval races overseas as those markets are not over saturated by NASCAR). Let the IRL bang heads with NASCAR for a share of the oval market. The IRL's attendance at Fontana next March will be just as dismal (unless they give tens of thousands of tickets away for free).  Stick a fork in the USA open wheel oval market, it's done. The empty seats at Fontana on Sunday were yet another black mark on CART's image.  How many times are they going to put themselves in that situation before it sinks in?  After coming from an absolutely fabulous street race event in Australia with wall-to-wall people, it must have been rather sobering to CART management to look up into the stands at Fontana on Sunday and note the stark contrast.  We remember three short years ago when the stands were packed, yet with the entertaining show CART puts on at Fontana (and Michigan) year in and year out, the fans choose not to return. Great racing.  Great entertainment.  However, the customer is rejecting it, and it's quite frustrating to many, me included.  With race day numbers like 400,000 in Mexico City awaiting CART next year, it's not too hard to recognize the biggest opportunities for CART lie on the road courses and internationally.  No more empty grandstands.......please! Mark C.

11/4/01

As Marlboro ponders its future, consider this  As Marlboro ponders where it will race next year, the IRL or CART, here is some food for thought.  If the German TV numbers are correct as reported below (we await their full report next week) at 157 million for one race weekend, each CART race very likely gets more worldwide TV viewers than the Indy 500.  What about the live audience, who will give Marlboro more eyeballs at the track, CART or IRL?  Let's look at next years estimated 'event' attendance figures.  We see CART exceeds the IRL 3:1.

CART

Event Attendance

IRL

Event Attendance

Monterrey, Mexico

350,000

Homestead

  30,000 

Long Beach

200,000

Phoenix

  25,000 

Motegi, Japan

90,000

Fontana

  40,000 

Milwaukee, WI

40,000

Nazareth

  25,000 

Laguna Seca

90,000

Indy 500

  400,000

Portland

140,000

Texas 1

  75,000 

Cleveland

140,000

Richmond

  50,000 

Toronto

175,000

Nashville

  25,000 

Vancouver

175,000

Colorado

  40,000 

Chicago

45,000

Kansas City

  85,000 

Mid-Ohio

90,000

Kentucky

  50,000 

Elkhart Lake

110,000

St. Louis

  30,000 

Montreal

200,000

Chicago

  50,000 

Denver

150,000

Michigan

 40,000 

England

60,000

Texas 2

  75,000 

Germany

225,000

Total

 1,040,000 

Mexico City

700,000

Australia

300,000

Fontana

80,000

Total

3,360,000

CART delivers far more worldwide TV viewers, and far more fans at the races.  It seems curious that Marlboro would make a change that brings the Marlboro name less exposure.  Perhaps there is a perceived value in a race series that includes the Indy 500, which isn't really there. We heard one argument that F1 brings Marlboro international exposure so why be in CART.  Think again.  Schumacher's Ferrari is not called the Marlboro Ferrari nor does it look like a 'Marlboro' car (think McLaren F1 and Penske in CART) it looks like a plain red Ferrari with the word Marlboro on the wing.  In CART, the car looks like a pack of Marlboro Cigarettes.  That's brand recognition my friends.  In F1 it's the Ferrari team.  In CART it's Marlboro Team Penske that gets uttered and printed millions of times per year.  Perhaps Marlboro USA has other reasons. Perhaps the Marlboro brand isn't sold outside the USA and we were mistaken in our belief it was.  In that case, maybe Philip Morris only wants to advertise Marlboro in the USA and CART's worldwide exposure is meaningless.   Maybe the demographics of IRL fans is more blue collar than CART's.  A higher percentage of blue collar workers tend to smoke than white collar.  Other than that, we can't see why Marlboro would change.  Last point to consider, the Orange and White colors of the Penske cars look so much like a pack or Marlboro cigarettes, and have so much brand recognition from years being in the sport, when Castroneves won at Indy, the car didn't have to have the word 'Marlboro' on it, everyone already knew it was a Marlboro car, just from brand recognition. In conclusion, we're not Marlboro, so perhaps our analogy is flawed, but from where we sit, what the hay is Marlboro thinking? MC

11/4/01

Firestone CART era comes to a close  The Firestone era in CART came to a breathtaking conclusion with today's race. In seven Championship Auto Racing Teams seasons, Firestone captured 102 race victories in 129 tries, an astounding winning rate of 79 percent. Included in that overwhelming amount of success is a perfect record in CART-sanctioned 500-mile races. Cristiano da Matta's win today marks Firestone's 13th 500-mile triumph without a defeat since the tire maker entered the series in 1995. Firestone won 62 of 89 races (70 percent) when there was a tire competitor in the series. The last two seasons have seen Firestone rise to the challenge of sole supplier. Beginning in 2002, Bridgestone/Firestone will provide Bridgestone Potenza racing radials to the entire FedEx Championship Series field. 

11/4/01

Bell wins Lights race in Fontana  Ending a championship-winning season on a high note, 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship titleist Townsend Bell (DIRECWAY Lola) led every lap from the pole Sunday to win the final race in the 16-year history of the Indy Lights series at California Speedway. Bell, who wrapped up the Dayton Indy Lights Championship one race ago at Laguna Seca Raceway, won his sixth race of the season - half of this year's races - and scored his fifth consecutive 22-point race win sweep. His record-winning purse of $37,501 included a $10,000 Simple Green Clean-Up Award bonus, and Bell pocketed all $30,000 in available Simple Green bonus money this season. Bell is the 16th different and final champion in Dayton Indy Lights Championship history. Series sanctioning body CART announced earlier this season that the Indy Lights series would be disbanded at the end of this season. Bell's career win total of eight victories ties 1993 Indy Lights champion for fourth on the all-time list, behind only all-time victory leader Greg Moore (13 wins) and Paul Tracy and Tommy Byrne (10 wins apiece).

11/4/01

Seen at Fontana  UPDATE   Also seen at Fontana were former IRL marketing honcho Bob Reif, and the entire IRL sales staff dressed in their IRL jackets.  All were seen handing out cards to CART sponsors, hoping to steal some away.  So far we hear they went hope empty handed.  Greg Ray was also spotted meeting with new team owner Tom Kelly in the Penske Hospitality area.  We wonder what they were discussing. 11/3/01 - Seen at Fontana on Friday were IRL team owner Tom Kelley and his right-hand man.  But more surprisingly, was IRL's marketing head Bob Beasley (sp?) handing out business cards outside the door of a CART sponsors council meeting and presumptively trying to lure the CART sponsors.  Last we heard, Bob had the audacity to sit in on the Bridgestone Tire announcement meeting and got himself tossed out by CART, and for all we know, bounced right off the grounds. We hear that financially things are far worse in the IRL paddock than the CART paddock, this in spite of CART's many woes, so perhaps Mr. Beasley's actions are a clear manifestation of IRL's desperation for sponsorship.  How did he get a pass to get the access he did?  We are told ISC, who owns the track issued the pass.

11/3/01

Allmendinger & Sellers  A.J. Allmendinger of Hollister, Calif. and Bryan Sellers of Centerville, Ohio have been selected as recipients of the Team USA Scholarship for 2002, joining a long list of talented American drivers including current Champ Car stars Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta and Memo Gidley. As part of the award, Allmendinger and Sellers will contest the New Zealand International Formula Ford Championship, a series of eight events which will take place over four weekends in January and early February. Allmendinger currently stands second in the Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by Racer and also competes for Paul Tracy Karting in major 125cc shifter kart events. 

11/3/01

CART mandates HANS Device for all races  Finally, after realizing Oriol Servia could have easily suffered a Basilar Skull Fracture in his Laguna Seca accident (a road course), CART has issued a directive that all its drivers shall wear the HANS Device in all races starting in 2002.  The mandate applies to all Champ Cars and all support series.

11/3/01

Team Rahal #8 wins pit crew competition  Team Rahal No. 8 with driver Kenny Brack laid claim to being the best pit crew in the CART FedEx Championship Series today as they executed the fastest pit stop in the shootout to determine the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge champions. Five teams, all qualified for the finals based on their regular season pit stop performance, went head to head in the winner-take-all competition. Each had two opportunities to make a perfect pit stop that included entering the pit lane, changing four tires and returning to the track. Team Rahal No. 8 emerged victorious with a come-from-behind pit stop of 37.143 seconds, a mere .047 seconds faster than the runner up team, PacWest No.17 and driver Mauricio Gugelmin. "The team has had a great year this year. We didn't get all the way we wanted, but Craftsman tools helped us get as far as we got," said Rahal crew chief Ricardo Nault. "The Craftsman Pit Stop competition helped propel Shell to second place in the championship. Next year we go for first with Craftsman's help." The Team Rahal No. 8 crew members who participated in the contest included:
Ricardo Nault, 37, Columbus, Ohio - Crew Chief and Right Front Tire Changer
Mike Verhagen, 21, Columbus, Ohio - Left Front Tire Changer
Greg Cates, 32, Gallaway, Ohio - Right Rear Tire Changer
Jim Millar, 25, Columbus, Ohio - Left Rear Tire Changer
Sean Smith, 54, Honesdale, Pa. - Fueler
Eric van Bibber, 37, Bexley, Ohio - Jackman

11/3/01

CART chassis to get stronger  CART will require the 2002 chassis to be a bit thicker (sidepods) and they will get safer yet again in 2003 with additional side protection.  With CART adopting a 100% IRL engine for 2003, we wonder if both series will use identical chassis. In this world of business, it's one thing to copy a product that is a booming success (and try to improve it) and quite another to copy a product that has marginal success and despised by your current customers, and adopt it as yours.  Are we the only ones who see the logic, or shall we say illogic, in what is coming down in CART?  Same engines.  Same car.  Same product. We can hear the phone calls now.   Hello promoter, this is Tony George. CART is charging you how much for that sanction fee?  What?  That much for the same car and same engines as we use?  I'll make a deal with you, we'll deliver the same product to you for 50% of the cost. Promoter:  Hello CART, Tony George just told me your product is the same as his, but he's willing to deliver it to me for 50% of the cost. I am having a hard time justifying the higher cost for the same product.  How do you justify this dilemma?  CART: Well, er, uh, yes, er, maybe, uh, we'll call you back. MC

11/3/01

Brazil won't happen in 2002  We spoke to Emerson Fittipaldi today at Fontana.  He said a Brazil CART race won't happen in 2002, but he is confident of having a street race in Salvador in 2003.

11/3/01

Lights: Bell wins final Lights pole  Not letting up after clinching the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship pole one race ago, Townsend Bell (DIRECWAY Lola) charged to a record matching eighth pole of the season Saturday in qualifying for Sunday's series and season-ending Dayton Indy Lights Championship race at California Speedway. The top qualifying effort ties the eight poles current CART Champ Car start earned in his championship-winning season in 1993. Bell, who also boosted his record streak of consecutive poles in a season to seven, set Saturday's fast time on his first of two timed laps on the 2.029-mile superspeedway. His average speed of 186.823 mph (39.098 seconds) was not a track record but was enough to edge surprising early polesitter Rolando Quintanilla (Telmex/Roquin Motorsports, LLC Lola) who held the top spot for the majority of the session.

11/3/01

Official Australia numbers  When nearly 300,000 fans spun the turnstiles at the Honda Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise in Australia last weekend, it reinforced the CART FedEx Championship Series’ position as North America’s leading open-wheel racing series. A weekend-record total of 286,610 spectators, including 110,187 on race day, demonstrated CART’s strength at drawing a crowd, whether it be down under or here in the U.S. While the complete, year-long totals are compiled and will be released by Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Joyce Julius and Associates after the season ends, it is clear CART will again end the season having performed before the most spectators of any North American open-wheel racing series in 2001. “According to the numbers we have seen – and we are still waiting to hear from a few more venues – CART’s attendance will again be significantly more than 2 million spectators,” said Rich Henley, CART’s senior vice president of marketing. “One of the key initiatives we believe will help us in building our brand in 2002 and beyond is to grow attendance on-site. It’s terrific to have such a strong base to build that number from as we go forward.” In reviewing the 19 events conducted thus far this season, CART weekend attendance has exceeded 100,000 on 11 occasions. The largest crowd of the year occurred at the inaugural Tecate Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey Presented by Herdez. A CART record total of 318,000 fans attended the Mexico event that kicked off the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series season.  Next year, 700,000 are expected for the weekend in Mexico City, making it the biggest race in the world by a wide margin.

11/3/01

Miller stays in CART with Rahal The Miller Brewing Company, a major sponsor in open wheel racing for nearly three decades, today announced that it will continue its long-standing relationship with CART FedEx Championship Series contenders Team Rahal with a multi-year agreement.  Under the Miller Lite and Miller Genuine Draft brands, Miller Brewing will continue to be on board Team Rahal’s open wheel machines during the 2002 season.  It will mark the 11th for Miller Brewing has been associated with a Bobby Rahal-owned  team.  Team Rahal has enjoyed the finest season in its history in 2001 with six victories, seven pole positions and 789 laps, all new team records for a single season.  “Miller is very happy to continue our great association with Bobby, David and Team Rahal,” said Mike Welsh, director of event marketing for Miller. “We have had a tremendous relationship with them for a decade. Team Rahal is one of
the top leading operations in all of motorsports and we look forward to working with them again.”

11/3/01

Will Argentina's failing economy affect Basso's Champ Car hopes? With a default on most or all of Argentina's $130 billion in government debt all but certain, attention now turns to the fallout for their economy.  On Friday, bond rating Fitch Inc. downgraded Argentina's debt to just above default status.  Dale Coyne's sponsorship announcement was just waiting for the 2002 Argentina TV deal to be finalized.  We wonder if their sponsorship deals will be affected by this recent news.

11/3/01

We find it rather ironic UPDATE A reader writes - The reason the F-1 paddocks are off limits to ticket holding fans is the simple fact that fans in other countries will steal anything that is not tied down. Some of the older tracks like Spa and Monza have limited paddock area size and if fans are allowed access, the areas become overwhelmed with pedestrians, many of whom intentions are not pure. Even with this policy, there are instances where equipment is stolen right out of garages and paddock areas and I believe this has been a problem even in the CART ranks when they go to Brazil and other foreign venues. Events such as Minardi's are very common after the F-1 season. Teams will put on demonstration runs and invite clients and guests to these events which are usually televised on the RAI network as well.  11/2/01 -  The F1 Minardi team put on a "spectacular", season-ending show for 2,000 fans in Italy on Wednesday. They got to walk about the pit, see the team's F1 cars up close, witness "real" pit stops, and see Minardi's transporter, support vehicles, and motor homes as if the team were at a real race. Gee, if you get a pit/paddock pass for any CART race, you can see the same thing and more -- like drivers up close, tech inspections, etc.-- so what's the big deal? These are fan benefits that CART under promotes. PJ

11/3/01

Another alternative for CART engine situation  Cosworth's proposal to supply the entire CART field with a detuned version of its current 2.65L turbo XF engine achieves many objectives.  However, it has one major flaw - it excludes all other engine manufacturers who may want to participate.  Here's an idea we think could work.  CART enters into an agreement with Cosworth to supply the entire turbo engine sans heads and intake manifold.  It gets badged a 'CART' engine.  CART then offers its engine to sale to any car manufacturer who wants to enter the series.  They are not allowed to make any modifications to the bottom end of the engine that CART sells them, but they make their own heads and intake manifold and they can then put their name on the engine and call it their own.  This accomplishes several goals 1) Cost containment - the engine manufacturers will only be spending money on head and manifold development; 2) the cost to enter the series for any manufacturer is much lower; 3) Speeds are limited and traction control eliminated because the electronic engine management system would be a standard issued CART unit made for them as part of the Cosworth package; 4) because the bottom half of the engine is fixed, it limits the development and revs the manufacturers could use 5) CART would get to keep their beloved turbo engine; 6) CART avoids being called a spec series.

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