Hot News

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DATE News (chronologically  11/30/01 to 12/11/01)
12/11/01
NASCAR mandates safety upgrades  New safety regulations by NASCAR next season require pit crew members who go over the wall during races or practice to wear helmets and fire-resistant clothing. Drivers also must wear helmets and fire suits during practice, qualifying and competition, something that has been routine for some time but is now a rule. In addition to pit crews, anyone transporting fuel from the garage area to the pits must wear fire-resistant clothing. Also, crewmen fueling the car must wear full-face helmets and a fire-resistant head sock. NASCAR also ordered that seat belts be installed in accordance with instructions by the supplier and manufacturer. Drivers must comply with those instructions at all times. 
12/11/01
Sigma announces replacement for Paul Cherry  Sigma Autosport owner Tom Wieringa announced that European businessman Gerard Hermsen has been named as the new Managing Director for the team. Hermsen, from Veghel, The Netherlands, replaced Paul Cherry, who left the team last month to pursue other interests. “We are very pleased to have Gerard come on board,” said Wieringa. “He brings a vast knowledge of motorsports as he was involved with Formula One and several other racing series. Gerard is going to be a vital part of Sigma.” Hermsen, the President and CEO of a travel and logistics company in Europe, was responsible for the transport and logistics for several races, in which he took care of the transportation of racing personnel and racing equipment. “Gerard has some great ideas that we plan to utilize and he has a similar background like me in the transportation and logistics business,” said Wieringa. “I am delighted to join Sigma Autosport,” said Hermsen. “Initially, Tom invited me to come and visit the them at the Long Beach Grand Prix. I was very excited to come and see how he built up his team. Throughout the season I asked how they were doing and expressed a genuine interest in their progress. I saw the improvements in the team and decided to become a part of Sigma by working with them. This is going to be an exciting season and I’m happy to become a part of it.” Hermsen, who has a home in The Netherlands, will relocate to the Chicago-area, where Sigma Autosport is located. He is engaged to Hage Saether, and will assume his duties in January of 2002.
12/11/01
Penske fan not happy with Roger  A reader writes - It is hard to say anything bad about Roger Penske. In my opinion he has contributed more to the world of auto racing than Ron Dennis, Frank Williams, Chip Ganassi or that IRL guy. I have to say am bitterly disappointed in Mr. Penske's decision to switch from the CART to the IRL though. I am well aware of the business/financial decision related to the attraction of the Indy 500 and a 100% domestic market available to Phillip Morris in the IRL. Isn't there more to this than selling cigarettes though?  What happened to the "stand" Mr. Penske made about the strength of CART vs. the IRL?  Where is this mans integrity and depth?  Is it all about money?  Maybe Mr. Penske is confident enough to have the IRL guy and the circle track guys laugh at him and his joke of an attempt to endorse CART. Good luck in the IRL Mr. Penske. I'm sure you will be tough to beat. You are no longer the Captain in my eyes. Captains don't jump ship for a buck!  
A disenchanted Penske fan. -Bruce Guthrie, Santa Monica, CA 
12/11/01
Atlantics: News and Notes  In less than three months, the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will begin its 29th year of competition in Monterrey, Mexico in what should be a landmark year for the tradition rich series. New teams, venues, cars, and as always, a bumper crop of new drivers looking to reach the upper echelons of motorsports, will comprise what could be the Atlantic's most memorable season in it's history. Story
12/11/01
Track update for St. Petersburg  Shown to the right is a revised map of the proposed St. Petersburg, Florida track.  The track layout itself has not changed, but we are now showing the correction direction of travel opposite vs. what we previously depicted.  We have also added the turn numbers.  Stay tuned for AutoRacing1.com for further news on St. Petersburg in the coming days.
12/11/01

Austrian race signs new 5-year deal  Austrian Grand Prix organizers have signed a contract securing the future of the race until 2006. The Austrian Minister of Sports and Tourism agreed a new five-year contract with Bernie Ecclestone in London last week. Ecclestone struck a deal with the Austrian organizers after they agreed to up the fee they pay to the F1 supremo’s Formula One Management company. They are likely to raise the extra money needed by raising ticket prices and increasing the A1-Ring’s capacity. [Editor's Note: it should be noted that F1's sanctioning fees already dwarf CART's, yet Bernie is demanding more and more money all the time.  F1 is quickly pricing itself right out of the market, leaving the door open for CART to pick up the pieces left behind?  But is CART ready, or are its hands tied because it relies too much on USA sponsors who only care about the USA market?  CART will have to work on reaching the necessary sponsor balance, while evaluating all the overseas proposals they have on their desk.  A problem?  Perhaps, but a good one to have].
12/11/01
Octagon caves in and agrees to road upgrades  With threats from the FIA that it would delete the British Grand Prix from the 2002 calendar when the World Council convenes this week to finalize next year’s schedule, Octagon Motorsport, the race’s promoter, has announced it will spend $15.2 million on completely overhauling Silverstone’s traffic and infrastructure. The $15.2 million will be spent on seven key areas and will be completed before next year’s race in July.  1) The existing two lanes of the Dadford Road to be supplemented by the construction of two new additional lanes, which will run in parallel with the existing Dadford Road, thus creating a total of four lanes connecting the new Silverstone bypass (currently under construction) with a new main entrance and adjacent new car parking areas. 2)  Access improvements will be enhanced and supplemented by a major new entrance to Silverstone Circuit, 3) Additional car parking areas will be provided adjacent to the new entrance and will be able to accommodate approximately 15,000 cars in close proximity to the circuit, 4) The new road system will ensure that, for the first time, an effective park and ride system can operate at Silverstone along priority routes, 5) Further development is planned for internal access and circulation with improvements to the perimeter road, 6) Traffic management of the new dual carriageway and surrounding roads at major race meetings will permit tidal flow operation during entry and exit periods, with up to 3 lanes available on each carriageway. There is provision for a controlled emergency route when this is required, 7) The new confidence of Silverstone will be underlined by a major planting scheme which will create a tree-lined boulevard as the new approach to the circuit. It is hoped the changes will carry significant weight with FIA officials when the council meeting is held on Friday in Monaco. Rob Bain, Octagon chief, said: ‘The investment is already well under way and we have always placed emphasis on improving facilities for public access to Silverstone. ‘Since we announced our plans ahead of this year’s Grand Prix, all parties have agreed to revise the Masterplan, so as to give greater emphasis to the substantial improvements relating to both access and parking. ‘We are determined to ensure that the investment pledged by all parties will secure Silverstone’s future within international motorsport.’
12/10/01
Feedback on Shanghai  Fan feedback so far says they are excited about the prospects of CART someday racing is Shanghai after reading Steven Levinson's recent article.  This letter from an American now working in China, confirms one of the points Mr. Levinson made - I'm sitting here in my Danyang, China hotel room reading your autoracing1.com article. Danyang is around a four hour train ride west of Shanghai, towards Nanjing. I'm a life long race fan, raised in Indiana, proud of my first Indy 500 in 1959 and not missing an Indy since my tour in Vietnam. Your article does a great job describing the great progress made in China and the level of sophistication present in Shanghai. I'll be manipulating my consulting projects so hard to be there for a Shanghai race if it happens. Your efforts will no doubt contribute to making it happen. Regards, Mike Schaus [Editor's Note: there are quite a lot of American's and American companies doing work in China, and now that China has joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), that interest will increase exponentially.  Will CART be ready to capitalize?]
12/10/01
FOX set to bombard the airwaves with NASCAR programming  [Editor's Note: when you read this keep in mind this is in addition to all the programming hours NASCAR will get on Speed Channel (9 hours per day), presented last week.  NASCAR's strategy appears to be to flood the airways with NASCAR programming everywhere so that viewers will think "NASCAR is racing".  Marketing experts will tell you people must see something at least seven times before it becomes engrained in your memory. NASCAR's goal?  70 times 7! Matthew 18:22 ]  Fox Sports Net’s schedule of weekly NASCAR programming returns to the network in February to provide extensive coverage of NASCAR through its four exclusive studio shows. The originally-produced programs give fans a complete look at all the NASCAR news and highlights throughout the week. TOTALLY NASCAR, NASCAR THIS MORNING and NASCAR TECH all return with similar formats, while NASCAR VICTORY LANE: ALL ACCESS takes on a new look by spending the weekend behind the scenes with NASCAR drivers. The four studio shows are in addition to 17 NASCAR events, including 11 NASCAR Winston Cup Series qualifying sessions, which Fox Sports Net telecasts in 2002. NASCAR programming was instrumental in helping Fox Sports Net achieve its biggest ratings growth period in the network’s history. TOTALLY NASCAR, which has become the premier destination for daily NASCAR information, improved its 6 PM time slot by 67% from a year ago, while NASCAR THIS MORNING lifted its Sunday morning time period by 36%. Fox Sports Net also has two other NASCAR related programs slated for 2002 with its contemporary documentary series BEYOND THE GLORY, profiling Dale Jarrett and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Air dates are to be determined. In its new format, NASCAR VICTORY LANE: ALL ACCESS presents a unique portrait of one driver as cameras follow him throughout his entire weekend at the track, giving race fans an insider’s look and true feel of what their favorite drivers experience before, during and after races. In June 2001, FSN produced two highly-acclaimed All Access shows featuring NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year Kevin Harvick and 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Champion Dale Jarrett, setting the stage for the change to a full schedule of these programs in 2002. An original All Access airs Sunday nights at 9 PM local time for 15 of the 17 weeks that Victory Lane is scheduled to run through July 6. Victory Lane debuts Sunday, Feb. 17 with a review of the Daytona 500 and preview of the NASCAR season, with the first All Access show telecasting on Feb. 24. Within each of the 15 All Access shows is a segment that will review that day’s NASCAR Winston Cup Series race to give fans the most current look back at that Sunday’s event. After July 6 and through the end of the Winston Cup season on Nov. 18, Victory Lane will repeat the driver profiles and provide the update segment on that Sunday’s Winston Cup race. TOTALLY NASCAR, the weeknight source for race fans wanting all the latest NASCAR scoops and highlights, returns Feb. 11 for another run right through the end of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. The 30-minute show telecasts Monday through Friday at 6 PM local time. Debuting Sunday, Feb. 10, the two-hour NASCAR THIS MORNING block starts with the half-hour NASCAR TECH program at 10 AM, ET, followed by the 90-minute NASCAR THIS MORNING preview show at 10:30 AM, ET. NASCAR THIS MORNING provides expert analysis from the studio and live interviews and updates from the track each week. Running primarily each Sunday through Nov. 17, there will be five NASCAR THIS MORNING airings on Saturdays to coincide with NASCAR Winston Cup Series races on those days.  FOX Sports Net
12/10/01
Atlantics: Orsi places on 2nd team in AARWBA  Reigning CART Toyota Atlantic Series champion, Hoover Orsi, earned a place on the Second Team in the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) in the "At Large" category for its 2001 Auto Racing All-Star team. Orsi, who captured the series title in his second Atlantic season, earned his first ever place on the AARWBA All-Star team following his outstanding 2001 campaign. The Brazilian native not only won his first Atlantic Championship, but helped win a first for his team, Hylton Motorsports. Orsi won five of the season's 12 races including an impressive four race winning streak which eventually propelled him to the 2001 Championship. In addition to his wins, Orsi won a series high four poles and finished on the podium in all but one event; a feat only accomplished by Patrick Carpentier during his 1996 Championship season. Orsi completed the season with a total of 187 points, 56 ahead of Canada's David Rutledge who drove for Lynx Racing. The AARWBA All-America Team annually recognizes the top 12 drivers in North American motorsports. The team is split into six categories: Open-Wheel Racing, Road Racing, Short Track, Stock Car Racing, Drag Racing and At Large. Votes are collected from the AARWBA membership to determine first-team, second-team, third-team, fourth-team and honorable-mention (those receiving at least five percent of the vote) selections. The leading vote-getter receives the Jerry Titus Award as the All-America Team's driver of the year. The AARWBA All-America Team honorees will be announced at the annual All-America Team Banquet on January 12th in Pomona, California. CART
12/10/01
Massa to get 20-days of preseason testing  According to this article, and like Juan Montoya, Jacques Villeneuve, and others before him, Felipe Massa will get at least 20-days of preseason testing before the 2002 F1 season kicks off.  Compare that to say a Michael Andretti who got all but 1.5 days testing with McLaren before his F1 debut.  Consider too that the severe limits on testing and race weekend practice were instituted just before Andretti came, and were rescinded immediately after he left F1.  Strange how that happened.  MC
12/10/01
Andretti on Travel Channel tonight  Michael Andretti will be on the travel channel tonight at 9:00 PM EST for those interested. 
12/10/01
Drivers cleared in fatal Australia accident  UPDATE  As the coroner’s investigation into the death of track Marshal Graham Beveridge continues in Melbourne, an engineer has told investigators that the safety fencing at Albert Park is not high enough. Mark Dohrmann, an engineer called in as an expert for the inquest, said the current fencing at Albert Park, a concrete block with wire mesh, should be made a meter higher than its current four meters. It's possible for accidents to occur which cause bits of cars to fly off and get over that fence quite easily and travel a long way,’ he said. ‘I don't think that fence is high enough.’ 12/9/01 - The two drivers unwittingly involved in the death of a spectator marshal at this year's Australian Grand Prix have been formally cleared of any wrongdoing by a Melbourne court. A lap five collision between Jacques Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher resulted in a wheel from the Canadian's car being launched through a gap in the trackside safety fence, where it hit 52-yer old Graham Beveridge, killing him instantly.
12/10/01
Schumacher to wear eyeglasses  Ralf Schumacher, the German Williams driver, has said he will wear eye glasses in the race cockpit next season. The 26-year-old told the BBC network his natural eyesight was adequate, but said glasses sharpened his vision, and it was likely he would wear them in 2002. ‘My eyesight really is still fine but I tried driving with glasses last week and it seems to be much better,’ he said. ‘The thing now is to try them in testing and get used to them for the season.’ ‘Hopefully, the glasses can help me close the gap on Michael a little bit so I can win more races,’ he laughed. [Editor's Note:  what about your fast teammate, ex-CART driver Juan Montoya?].  
12/10/01
Adrián Fernández thinks CART will be just fine  In an interview with the Mexican newspaper El Norte over the weekend Adrián Fernández was quoted as saying "Team Penske's departure from CART was no big surprise, we new it was going to happen since Fontana.  CART is still a very strong series, but must do a good job in 2002 of putting on good races and stabilizing the series to show the world it's solid."  Adrián emphasized the competitive level that the CART Series has and the internationalization that has been obtained in the past few years with races in Japan, USA, Germany, Australia, Canada, England, Germany and Mexico, and we feel that there are going to be around 22 cars" next year," stated Fernandez.  "There is no a category that is as competitive as CART on such a variety of tracks around the world". 
12/10/01
F3000
Lola F3000 chassis passes stringent FIA crash tests  Lola, who have supplied the FIA International F3000 series with chassis since 1996 have utilized their experience gained over the last six years in the formula to design an impressive, safe new car that reflects the qualities of contemporary Formula one cars. The new B2/50 one-piece monocoque underwent a variety of safety tests at Cranfiled’s Impact Center on 15 November 2001. The F3000 chassis passed the side intrusion test with a load result of 192.38kN and an energy requirement of 6.6kJ. This test is to the current F1 FIA procedure 02/00 specification; the rules state that during the first 100mm of displacement the load must exceed 150kN and that tplate 100mm in diameter and perpendicular to the loading access, the new Lola B2/50 F3000 chassis passed both of these tests. The frontal absorbing structure had a transversal horizontal load of 40kN to which there must be no failure to the structure or of any attachment between the structure and the survival cell. Craig Turner, Senior Composite Engineer, said “ Some of the tests were completely new to us, and although nervous we found it an exciting challenge. It was great to get the car to pass the tests, whilst maintaining the tight budget. We were delighted with the success of the key elements of the car’s design utilizing composite materials, in particular the one-piece components such as the wings, flaps and of course the chassis. To reduce weight and pass the F1 tests a composite rear roll structure was adopted. Lola
12/10/01
Denver & Long Beach add support races  The Grand Prix of Denver, set for August 30 - Sept. 1, 2002, has added two support races, the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup and Toyota Atlantic Championship, to its weekend schedule. The 12-race Trans-Am Series, operated by the Panoz/Sanchez Group and sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing, is the nation's longest-running road racing series and features the country's top "muscle cars" in exciting fender-to-fender action. Among the marques showcased in the series are Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Corvettes, Dodge Vipers and Jaguar XKRs.  Two fan-favorite support races -- the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup and the Toyota Atlantic Championship -- have been added to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, April 12-14, 2002. They'll join the CART FedEx Championship Series and the popular Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race at the 28th Annual event on the famed seaside street circuit. he Toyota Atlantic Championship returns for its 11th appearance on the streets of Long Beach. Celebrating its 14th year as one of the world's premier open-wheel development series, Toyota Atlantic has long been noted for sending drivers such as Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan and Jimmy Vasser into the high-profile CART FedEx Championship Series. David Rutledge won the 2001 Toyota Atlantic race at Long Beach. GPLBA
12/10/01
Renault continues history of innovation 3rd UPDATE Some sources say that Renault will not have an engine w/o cams in 2002, but here is an article on how it works.  12/6/01 -  Somebody is lying. The new F1 Magazine that just hit the newsstands has an interview with Renault's top engine man who states they have every intention of using an engine with no camshafts in 2002.  He also states that other engine manufacturers are investigating the same technology.  The are supposedly behind Renault in development, however. 11/23/01 - Autosport says: "Speculation that the French company will be adopting a revolutionary electromagnetic valve system to do away with the engine's camshaft appear to be wide of the mark."  11/18/01 -  You certainly won't see this on dumbed-down Indy cars where engineering prowess takes a back seat to low cost.  Renault has a proud history of innovation in Formula 1 engine building. The company pioneered turbocharging in F1 back in the late-Seventies (yes, at one time Indy cars were innovating things before F1. Not anymore)  and went on to introduce pneumatically operated engines valves in 1986. Now they are doing it again. Next year’s Renault Formula 1 engine will continue the manufacturer’s history of innovation by doing away with camshafts. All conventional engines use camshafts which control the opening and closing of the inlet and exhaust valves. The new Renault engine will use an electronic system which will employ solenoid valve to perform this function. Mercedes is rumored to be working on a similar system.
12/10/01
Team Green gets new car, to start testing  Team KOOL Green took delivery of the first of the new 2002 Reynard chassis earlier this week and the team has been busy preparing the car for the first test, December 11 and 12, with Paul Tracy, at Sebring International Raceway, in Florida. Following is the first in a series of brief diaries by TKG Team Manager Kyle Moyer regarding the team's pre-season preparations: "The first of the new 2002 Reynard chassis - #001 - arrived on Monday, December 2. Everything that was on it was mainly mock-up. The motor and all the electronic boxes were mock-ups, so we had to replace it with the real stuff it needs to run properly. Then we put on what I guess you would call Team KOOL Green tweaks - stuff our own engineers have developed for the cars." "Our first test with the car is next week, December 11 & 12 at Sebring, with Paul Tracy, so we've got to get all of Paul's belts, his seat and pedals installed on the car to make it right for him. We'll put a basic setup for Sebring on the car. Then we'll load it up and the transporter leaves on Sunday (Dec 9) for Sebring." "A new-car test like the one next week is different from any other test we do. You're really not looking to see how fast you can go. It's more a matter of getting some miles in and beginning the process of learning the new car - understanding what's different in the car, finding out the things that work and the things that don't work." "There are quite a few new systems on the car - new stuff from Honda, new stuff from us, the gearbox has been redone -- and there's probably going to be some things that don't work the way they're supposed to the first time out. We try to do this as quickly as possible, just working out the bugs and trying to get some sort of baseline setup to begin working from." "In future tests we'll worry about lap times and how fast the car is. But right now, it's just a matter of learning the characteristics of the new car and making certain that everything works." "Besides the work on the new car, we've got quite a bit going on back at the shop. We're taking parts off of the old cars that can carry over to the new and we're converting several of the older cars over to show cars." 
12/10/01
Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Fund online  Kenny and Reva Irwin, parents of the late Kenny Irwin Jr., have unveiled the official Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Foundation.org website. Located at kennyirwinjrfoundation.org, the website has a "fan club" section to learn how to support the foundation, as well as a contact section with e-mail addresses, phone numbers, directions information, and a printable donation form.  Another feature is current photos and regularly updated news about the Dare to Dream Camp, located near New Castle, Indiana. The 27 acre campground with a six acre lake is under construction with a targeted June 2002 completion date.  The foundation was established in 2000, as a way for the Irwin’s to honor Kenny's legacy, and continue his generosity to under-privileged children. The Irwin’s established the official website to serve as an ongoing tribute to Kenny’s memory and to promote awareness for upcoming foundation events and projects.
12/9/01
Poirier wins Barber-CART amateur national scholarship  Scott Poirier earned himself a seat in the 2002 Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER after turning in a nearly flawless performance over two days of runoffs at Sebring International Raceway. The $45,000 scholarship was up for grabs among seven selected racers from the four regions of the Skip Barber Race Series. Poirier, who finished second in the 2001 Southern Region led three of the four on track sessions and as a result the group of six judges deemed him most worthy of the prize. "Thanks to the entire Skip Barber organization for putting on this competition and giving us the opportunity to move up the CART Ladder. I'm looking forward to competing in next year's National Championship against theses guys (his fellow scholarship candidates.)" said Poirier when he was announced as the scholarship recipient. "It 's a really tough series and I'm going to give it my best." Poirier, 18, from Deerfield Beach, Fla., will now face off with the North America's top amateur racers in one of America's most competitive series, the Official Amateur National Championship of CART. The prize for the series title-holder is a seat in the subsequent year's Barber Dodge Pro Series. In 2001, Poirier claimed 8 victories and 12 podiums in 14 starts and was acknowledged as the series Rookie of the Year. "Scott is turning out to be quite a talent. His performance over the two days of the scholarship runoff was very steady and mature despite his age and experience," said Divina Galica, Managing Director of the Skip Barber Race Series. "I expect that he will do quite well in next year's National Series." 
12/9/01
Prost to sell or file bankruptcy 2nd UPDATE Prost spokeswoman Virginie Papin confirmed on Friday that a number of companies had expressed interest in backing the cash-strapped team next year. "The trend is optimistic - we are not without options," Papin told Reuters. "Now we have to make the selection. We are still in a difficult moment, but really it is looking much more positive than what I have read recently." Papin would not identify who the potential backers are, but rumors circulating suggest that a member of the Saudi royal family and a Canadian company are the front-runners.  11/22/01 - After it was announced the Prost team was in receivership, the team released this statement11/22/01 -   French television station LCI reported on Wednesday evening that the Prost team has been unable to pay its considerable debt, estimated at $27 to $36 million, and the only way the team can continue would be to find a buyer. Reports on Formula1.com stated on Wednesday that negotiations with a Canadian group is at an advanced stage to purchase the team with its debt.  The Prost Team has been put in receivership by the French courts according to the latest reports. A court in Versailles near the team’s Guyancourt factory has placed the order on the team after creditors demanded action over $27million (£19 million) worth of debt.
12/9/01
Special report on Shanghai China  UPDATE Our report by Steven Levinson can be found here as promised.  12/7/01 - With F1 now talking to Shanghai, and since CART was doing its usual procrastination act, AutoRacing1.com made a special visit to Shanghai, China this past week.  On numerous occasions we have printed reasons why Shanghai is a 'must' market for CART, however, even we were blown over by what we found in Shanghai.  It was more spectacular than one could have imagined.  To whet your appetite, we have included a teaser photo of the Pudong Shanghai skyline to the right.  The Grand Hyatt Shanghai hotel, located right next to the proposed track, is the 'highest hotel in the world' (located on the 53rd to 88th floors of the Jin Mao Tower, the tallest building in the photo), with spectacular views of the Bund, Huang Pu River and downtown Shanghai from all its guest rooms. In case you did not know, the Jin Mao Tower is the third tallest building in the world.  We will have a special report on our visit in the coming days, so stay tuned. MC
12/9/01

Imola and Monza look set for 10-years  Country's with two F1 races stand a decent chance of eventually losing one race to make room for new countries who want to host a F1 race.  However, Ferrari wields so much power in F1 we doubt they would lose eith of their races. There had been some speculation that Imola might lose their date due to upgrades needed.  However,  MONZA and Imola look set to host Grands Prix for the next 10 years, but will need to spend a lot of money on upgrades, according to Italian F1 officials. Franco Lucchesi, the president of the Italian Automobile Club (ACI), said an agreement to extend the circuits' contracts was reached with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone at a meeting in London recently. "Formula One races will be held at Imola and Monza for the next 10 years, but costly works must be completed quickly at both circuits," Lucchesi said. Lucchesi said the Monza autodrome, home to the Italian GP, has already set aside $22.7 million to renovate the pits, paddock and media areas and upgrade the track by 2003. San Marino GP venue Imola said they were ready to repair the track's surface and were in the process of applying for government funding for other improvements.  We hear both tracks are interested in holding a CART race someday, so these improvements will benefit them as well, but does CART have room in its schedule to add a race in Italy?  CART's TV ratings are good in Italy, so perhaps someday they will.
12/9/01
Atlantics - Alex Figge joins World Speed Motorsports for 2002  Chuck West, owner of World Speed Motorsports, today announced that Alex Figge has committed to drive for the team in the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship series. Figge, 20, whose previous experience includes the Star Formula Mazda and U.S. F2000 National Championship series, will drive one of World Speed's two Swift 014.as for the entire 12-race season. "Everything has gone very well in testing with World Speed," said Figge, who hails from Boulder, Colorado. "I absolutely love driving the Atlantic car. It fits my style much better than the Mazda or two-liter cars. It's also great to be back with Chuck and the rest of the World Speed team. I won three races with them back in the 2000 Formula Mazda series, and they've always been very supportive and professional. I know this is going to be a hard season for me since I'll be competing against guys with a lot more experience, but we're realistic with our expectations. We plan on doing as much testing as possible to get all of us up to speed with the new Swift." "We're all thrilled to have Alex back with us," said West, whose team has been an Atlantic regular since 1994. "He came to us through our Mazda program and his style certainly fits that of what it takes to succeed in Atlantic. He has huge natural talent and is a definite racer; the key now is to get him as much time in the car as possible."
12/8/01
New Mexican Toyota Atlantic team  UPDATE We have added a picture of Figueroa in the car talking to his team owner Allen Berg. 12/7/01 -  New Latin American Team Scuadra Fortia announced today that will participate in the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Series with Mexican driver Eduardo Figueroa. "The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Series is extremely pleased the Scuadra Fortia will be joining the Series for the 2002 season. While the team and driver are new to the Series. I expect them to be very competitive under the leadership of Allen Berg, whose racing credentials speak for themselves and with their past experience, their driver Eduardo Figueroa should be contending for the "Rookie of the Year" title as well as race wins," said Vicki O'Connor, President & CEO of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Series. Former Scuadra Berg-Guerrero, which successfully won the 2001 drivers and teams championships in the ILP/Formula de las Americas Series in Mexico with former FIA F1 driver Allen Berg, builds a new project called Scuadra Fortia for its International effort in the premier Series CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Series. Allen Berg, Team Owner of Scuadra Fortia said: "In less than one year, we displayed complete dominance in Mexico with our new team called Scuadra Berg-Guerrero in 2001 season. We've developed a strong reputation in Mexico in a very short time. After that, the four-equal partners: Ezio, Jorge and Eduardo Figueroa, and myself decided to go international, with a two-car effort featuring Eduardo Figueroa as our driver and a second driver will be announced in January." "Our Mexican project was a five-car effort with two entries in the ILP/Formula de las Americas Championship and three entries in the Mexican F3. In the latter, we had modest results with two young & promising rookies and in the ILP/Formula de las Americas, we swept with all possible titles," he added. The successful team won 5 races out of the 10 race schedule (Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, Mexico City and twice in Guadalajara). Also, the team enjoyed 9 podiums, one pole and started from the front row three times. In Mexico, this was an unprecedented record for a rookie team in its maiden season. Berg retired as driver one race before the last, after securing the ILP/Formula de las Americas driver and team championship. "I thought it was the best way to retire: winning the race and the championships. Now, I want to dedicate myself to run the team, developing new driving talent and helping to promote them to the CART teams," Berg said. "We decided to go to Toyota Atlantic because it will be the premier small bore open-wheel Series in North America next year; the only Series supported by CART and the timing is right. A new chassis is coming out and the playing field will be level for all of the teams," He added. "After our success record in Mexico, we want to establish as Latin American that can be successful in the International arena. We feel confident that we can do it. There are several Latin drivers involved in the Toyota Atlantic Series, but just a few Latin teams. As CART will have a bigger presence in Mexico with two races in 2002, and in one of them will be sharing honors with Toyota Atlantic, We feel this Series is a commercially viable option for Latin American companies interested in a motor racing related commercial investment, since the media interest and exposure will be high," Berg said. "Our long term goal is to compete at the highest level of the sport when the time is right. Now, we are focused in Toyota Atlantic. We are realistic that in our first year in a new category, and drivers unfamiliar with the circuits it will be difficult to be competitive straight away. That is not to say that we will not be out to win races. It's just that we are planning more for the long term." "Our plan is to bring our top staff from Mexico and combine it with the best personnel available in the US to build a team that works towards one common goal, like we did it in Mexico. The equipment we are acquiring will lack nothing compared to other teams," Berg said.  MC
12/8/01
Gidley a free agent  The December 7th deadline for Target Chip Ganassi Racing came and went without team owner Chip Ganassi picking up Memo Gidley's option for the 2002 season. This means as of midnight EST, Gidley became a free agent. Is there a chance that Memo could still drive for Target in 2002? "Well, anything's possible and Chip did ask Memo to keep him informed about his plans over the next few weeks...but I'm not letting any grass grown under my feet" Said Gidley's manager, Donnie Graves. Graves, went on to say that Memo had a great run and really enjoyed his time at TCGR and would be sorry not to be able to build on his results and experience there, but that's racing. In three years of driving Champcars, Gidley has never had a testing program, he was looking forward to that possibility with the Target team. Now, he will continue conversations that began at seasons end, with several teams in CART and the IRL. He is working towards a drive that will allow him to win races and a Championship. Memo is completely aware of the current climate in both series...If a front running opportunity does not present itself, will he continue for another year, trying to sub his way into a full time ride? "Absolutely, he's a professional racing driver", said Graves..."Except now he has a little extra money in his pocket from the 2001 season, allowing him to be available to both series, not just one". 
12/8/01
Maia big Barber-CART scholarship winner  American Leonardo Maia, 21, of Oakland, Calif. claimed the $195,000 Barber-CART Big Scholarship after an intense and ultra competitive two-day shoot-out at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. The Scholarship takes the form of a fully sponsored drive in the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series. A panel of judges that included 1991 Barber Pro Series champion and current CART star Bryan Herta as well as CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel, driver and commentator Tommy Kendall and Players driver coach Richard Spenard. Story
12/8/01
Minardi changes name for 2002  Italian-based Formula One team Minardi said Saturday it has changed its name to "KL Minardi Asiatech" for the 2002 season to strengthen its link to Malaysia and promote Kuala Lumpur as a world city. Minardi boss Paul Stoddart said the team's new image would be unveiled in Kuala Lumpur next month while its new F1 car for next season would be launched here in February.
12/8/01
F1 car numbers announced for 2002  After complaints from several team bosses, including Peter Sauber, it has been decided that the F1 numbers will be decided by constructors’ championship position as they were this year. An FIA statement read: "A number of teams have requested that car numbers for the 2002 FIA Formula 1 World Championship should follow the world championship order of the previous year - as was the case for the last few years - rather than the traditional system under which each team except that of the World Champion kept its number from year to year." The new entry list is therefore as follows: 
1 Michael Schumacher, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
2 Rubens Barrichello, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 
3 David Coulthard, West McLaren Mercedes 
4 Kimi Raikkonen, West McLaren Mercedes 
5 Ralf Schumacher, BMW WilliamsF1 Team 
6 Juan Pablo Montoya, BMW WilliamsF1 Team 
7 Nick Heidfeld, Sauber Petronas 
8 Felippe Massa, Sauber Petronas 
9 Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan Honda 
10 Takuma Sato, Jordan Honda 
11 Olivier Panis, Lucky Strike BAR Honda
12 Jacques Villeneuve, Lucky Strike BAR Honda 
14 Jarno Trulli, Mild Seven Renault F1 Team 
15 Jenson Button, Mild Seven Renault F1 Team 
16 Eddie Irvine, Jaguar Racing 
17 Pedro de la Rosa, Jaguar Racing 
18 TBA, TBA Prost TBA 
19 TBA, TBA Prost TBA 
20 TBA, Orange Arrows 
21 TBA Orange Arrows 
22 TBA, TBA Minardi Asiatech 
23 TBA, TBA Minardi Asiatech 
24 Mika Salo, Panasonic Toyota Racing 
25 Allan McNish, Panasonic Toyota Racing
12/8/01
Rupert Murdoch to own F1?  European sources are saying it's any outside chance, but quite possible.  SLEC, the Jersey-based trust that holds Formula One’s commercial rights for the next century, could have yet another owner with reports today in Britain that Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon and News Corporation chief, might take over Kirch Gruppe, the German media company that owns 75% of the holding. In the “Financial Times” it is reported that Murdoch is considering the take over of Kirch, a deal that would make him the most powerful broadcaster in Europe. The Australian has a put option that forces 73-year-old Leo Kirch, Germany’s richest man and company founder, to buy him out of a 22% stake in the pay-TV arm Premiere. It is reported that this deal, which Kirch will have to pay out in cash, would be worth $1.8 billion – a sum that could sink Kirch with the firm having such breathtaking debts. Kirch’s potential demise – provided Murdoch exercises the option in October 2002 – could then see News Corporation take over the firm. But sources suggest that Murdoch is being told by advisers to assess his options carefully knowing that a take over would result in billions of dollars of debt having to be absorbed by the company.
12/7/01
With Penske gone from CART, time to move on Miami   2nd UPDATE As stated on our rumors page, the Delaware Board did not yet vote on Miami because of the intense discussions regarding the next CART President.  12/7/01 - Remember you read it here first.  It is our understanding that a special Board meeting has been called today to elect Chris Pook President of CART (see rumors page).  We understand there will also be a vote on a doubleheader CART/ALMS race in Miami (1.54 mile street circuit) to be held on the first weekend in April, 2002.  If approved, this will bring the 2002 CART calendar up to 20 races. Here is one of the big reasons why we believe it will be approved - the promoter already has CBS under contract to televise that race weekend.  This would give CART an additional race on CBS, something it desperately needs.  The ALMS race would be on Saturday and the CART race on Sunday. The only fly in the ointment is Chris Pook himself, and his St. Petersburg race.  However, Florida is plenty big to support two CART races, as California has three. Here is the race web site, which right now just shows the ALMS race. Here are some pictures of the race circuit location.  Stay tuned to AR1 as we track this very important development. 12/6/01 -  Roger Penske and his ISC company were very much against CART racing in the streets of Miami because they owned the nearby Homestead race track.  With Penske now officially gone from CART, it's time CART does what is in its best interest, schedule a street race in Miami, regardless of whether St. Petersburg happens or not.  Miami is a perfect market for CART and its sponsors, and there is no longer any worry about ticking off Penske, he's a goner anyway. Then Marlboro can relish the 25,000 fans their product will be exposed to in Homestead over the 3-day weekend, and then watch on TV as CART performs before 200,000 in Miami over their 3-day weekend.  MC
12/7/01
Crew Chief changes  Two past Winston Cup champions have changes in crew chief. Robin Pemberton has resigned as crew chief on Penske Ford Tarus driven by Rusty Wallace. Pemberton, who made his debut as crew chief for Davey Allison in 1985, will be replaced by Bill Wilburn. And in the Dale Jarrett camp, Todd Parrott will become the team manager as Jimmy Elledge steps up to fill the crew chief role. Parrot has been a crew chief at RCR since 1985. FR
12/7/01
Compton and Leffler news  Stacy Compton has signed a deal to drive for ST Motorsports in the Busch Grand National series. Jason Leffler has also left Winston Cup this year, moving instead to the Craftsman Truck series to drive the Ultra Motorsports Dodge. FR
12/7/01

Did you know  Did you know that if road racing stars Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves complete every lap in next years IRL 15-race series they will have made over 10,000 left hand turns and zero right-hand turns.  They will also only shift gears and apply the brakes coming in and out of the pits.  A major change for drivers accustomed to doing so much more in the cockpit.  There's always go-karts to keep their skills and reflexes up in case they ever return to the far more challenging CART series.

12/6/01
Team Players wraps up first Sebring test  Off-season work began in earnest for Team Player’s on the 1.72-mile Sebring road course as Alex Tagliani completed a two-day session on Thursday that Team Player’s technical director Bruce Ashmore described as “a productive session to get us into the testing mode.” Team Player’s had the entire circuit to itself as Tagliani put in 80 laps during the first day of testing and almost as many on Day 2, although some of the laps were run in the rain. Tagliani drove the 2001 Player’s Reynard, which was equipped with the new Ford-Cosworth engine and new engine components incorporating the 34-inch boost that is mandatory under 2002 CART regulations. The car also had a new 7-speed gearbox, new brakes and new dampers. Team Player’s, which is expected to receive the 2002 Player’s Reynard next week, used its 2001 aerodynamic setups. “I’m very happy with the way things went this first time out,” said Tagliani, who clocked a 51.9-second fast lap. “We were able to try out a lot of new things and that’s what sessions like this are for. Physically, I feel great. I’ve been training hard in the off-season and when I got into the car, it felt like I hadn’t missed a beat. The tendonitis that bothered me at the end of the season has cleared up. If there was anything wrong I would have felt it during the testing sessions because the 7-speed gearbox we were testing gave my wrist a good workout.” Ashmore said the two-day session laid some solid groundwork for the 2002 car that Team Player’s will start using at its next testing session, when Tagliani’s teammate Patrick Carpentier will take to the same Sebring road layout, on December 18-19. “These last two days were important in that they enabled us to really get things underway for our off-season testing program,” added Ashmore. “Alex came to the session really focused on what he had to do. Following the solid CART season he had in 2001, he has an air of confidence about him, and that was evident in the testing sessions.” The Sebring road circuit will also be the site of Team Player’s next three testing sessions. Ashmore said the fact Team Player’s is putting a major emphasis on road courses in off-season testing is not a coincidence. “To win the CART championship, you have to be consistently good on road courses,” explained Ashmore. “That is where we are putting our focus. We did the same thing last year in testing and it showed up in our results during the 2001 season because we were very competitive in the road-course events.” 
12/6/01
More details from CART's Franchise Board meeting  Yesterday we published an article from what we knew regarding the Franchise Board meeting in Phoenix. That article left a lot of questions in everyone's mind as to whether CART will have engines in 2003.  Our CART forum has been rampant with speculation. Everyone was pretty tight lipped yesterday, but we were able to learn a bit more today. First let's make one thing perfectly clear, CART will have engines in 2003 - either an IRL-like 3.5 L turbo or a Cosworth derivative 2.65L turbo.  For the 3.5L N/A engine, CART does have supply - Toyota, Judd and TWR/Nissan, and maybe Ilmor. CART is not yet publicly announcing this until the debate subsides on the various other alternatives (read that Cosworth alternatives). Today, as we speak, and based on the Franchise Board vote 60 days ago, CART has a basic engine configuration - the 3.5L IRL engine with only minor enhancements. Yesterday Lopes and Walker outlined detailed supply criteria and that was approved by the board. We assume it is very IRL-like. This detailed supply criteria was critical to securing supply.  In essence, Lopes and company are marching forward as directed by the Franchise Board to whom they answer. However, we understand Chris Pook has some other ideas, and with the Cosworth ideas also on the table, the final 2003 engine configuration is still very much up in the air. One of the first major decisions Pook will have to make when taking office, will be to put the final engine specifications to bed. Time is of the essence. MC
12/6/01
Final NASCAR TV Ratings on NBC/TNT up 34%  The 20 NASCAR Winston Cup Series telecasts on NBC and TNT (FOX did the first half of year) averaged a final 3.9 national rating/ 10 share, a 34 percent increase over the 2.9 national rating/ 8 share for the comparable races last year, according to figures released by Nielsen Media Research. NBC broadcast 11 NASCAR Winston Cup Series races and TNT carried nine during the second half of the 2001 season. In the first year of a six-year contract, the NBC/TNT NASCAR joint venture not only produced strong ratings but also drew the attention of advertisers for both the NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch Series telecasts. "This year proves that not only is there a core audience for NASCAR but, more important, that audience is growing and becoming more diverse," said Ken Schanzer, President, NBC Sports. "We acquired the rights to NASCAR knowing it was a strong property, but its performance exceeded every one of our expectations and projections. NASCAR has found a home on NBC and TNT in the second half of the season. That continuity, along with consistent promotion and great racing, were key factors in the outstanding ratings performance. Beginning in February at Daytona, we look forward to bringing this great sport to even more new fans all across the country." NBC/Turner
12/6/01
Grandstand changes for Monterrey  As can be seen from the two track maps shown below, a few of the grandstands have been relocated for the 2002 Monterrey race. MC


2001 track, left, 2002 track, right

12/6/01
CART responds to Penske announcement  "We are disappointed to learn of Marlboro Team Penske's decision to leave the FedEx Championship Series. Both Roger Penske and Marlboro have been long-time supporters of CART and they will be missed. We wish them and their two talented drivers, Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves, well. "The economics of our sport require teams to satisfy sponsors' marketing needs. We believe the CART FedEx Championship Series delivers significant value for sponsor investment as evidenced by the 2.5 million spectators who attended our races in 20 markets around the world in 2001; the recent renewal of our relationship with series sponsor FedEx; our new television agreement with Fox Cable Networks/Speedvision and CBS; the ongoing commitment of race teams such as Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Team KOOL Green and the PacWest Racing Group; and the expansion of our schedule to include races at three new venues - Denver, Mexico City and Montreal - in 2002. "CART has always enjoyed the loyal support of our owners, sponsors and fans. They are drawn to our fast cars, unique tracks and technological sophistication, as well as to our many world-class drivers. We will maintain their support by offering the same top-quality product we have offered for decades. And we will remain focused on our No.1 objective - growing our sport and the CART brand."
12/6/01
Penske announces plans to move to the IRL  Penske Racing, Inc. announced plans today to field two Marlboro Team Penske entries to compete exclusively in all Indy Racing League series races during the 2002 season, including the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. The cars will be driven by two-time defending CART FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves, winner of the 2001 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Details about the Team's 2002 chassis and engine combination will be released later. Penske Racing, Inc.'s plans do not include participation in any other open wheel racing series during the 2002 season. "We plan to compete in all Indy Racing League series races in 2002, in addition to the Indy 500. It was a decision made with our principal sponsor based on our collective business interests and objectives for 2002," said Tim Cindric, President, Penske Racing, Inc. "We have enjoyed Marlboro Team Penske's tremendous successes in the CART series over the years and we have developed special relationships with the CART community," said Ina Broeman, Category Director, Marlboro Racing, Philip Morris U.S.A. "However, since Philip Morris U.S.A. only markets its products within the United States and its territories and our intent is to communicate with adult smokers who attend races in the United States, we believe that the IRL is more closely aligned with our business interests and objectives for 2002."
12/6/01
Herdez Announces 2002 Driver Team Herdez today announced that Mario Dominguez will be assuming driving duties in the No. 16 Ford-Cosworth Lola for the 2002 season of the CART FedEx Championship Series. A native of Mexico City, Dominguez, 26, has an extensive background in open-wheel racing. He started in go-karts in 1987 and won multiple championships and races as he climbed the open-wheel ladder. Dominguez, a former champion with the Herdez Competition Team in the Mexican Formula 3 series, has been an integral part of the Herdez Viva Mexico program since 1996 when he first began carrying Herdez sponsorship on his cars in the Mexican Formula 3 and Formula 3000 championships. In 2001, Mario finished fourth in the Dayton Indy Lights series in his third year. Dominguez tested for the Herdez team in November of 2000. Negotiations to step up to the big league with Grupo Herdez and Team Herdez commenced a few months ago and an agreement was reached shortly before the first off-season test at Sebring International Raceway on November 28 and 29. With this announcement, Herdez Viva Mexico continues its philosophy of giving support and opportunities to promising young Mexican drivers. Dominguez expressed delight and gratitude for being tapped to step into the Champ Car seat. "I still can't believe it! I have put in a lot of hard work over the years and struggled to prove myself and now, finally, this opportunity has come. I definitely think that the test I did in 2000 was key for me in getting the ride for next year. I'm very, very happy to be continuing my relationship with Herdez and to be joining Team Herdez. I think it's a wonderful team that will give me all of the necessary tools to be competitive in the CART FedEx series next year. " Dominguez continued, "I want to express my thanks to Enrique Hernandez Pons (CEO of Grupo Herdez), Keith Wiggins (Managing Director of Team Herdez), and the whole Team Herdez organization for their support." Managing director Keith Wiggins is encouraged by Mario's early testing results and his potential for success. "We were impressed by Mario when we first tested him last year and believe that he's earned this opportunity. We've now completed the first test in preparation for the 2002 season and we were once again pleased with the speed, competence, and technical feedback that he displayed. He worked very well with the team and we are all excited to get started on the 2002 season." A press conference will be held at the 2001 Mexican Auto Show on December 13th at the World Trade Center Mexico 
12/5/01

Tony George outlines plans for IRL future  Indy Racing League President and CEO Tony George assembled the 55-member Indy Racing League staff Wednesday and unveiled an organizational plan that will carry the League into its next phase of growth and leadership in motorsports. Under George's new plan, the Indy Racing League will be divided into two divisions - Racing Operations and Business Affairs. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Chief of Staff Ken Ungar has been chosen by George to be the new vice president of business affairs, while Vice President of Operations Brian Barnhart will continue to guide the racing operations division. Barnhart and Ungar will work closely in selected areas, including event scheduling, promoter relations, broadcaster relations and strategic planning. "The Indy Racing League is poised to reach new levels of growth and leadership in 2002," George said. "As with any company, organizational charts evolve, especially when you experience the kind of expansion the League has recently gone through. So, it is time to adjust and plan for the future. "When the green flag flew for that first race at Disney in 1996, the League had five full-time staff members. The growth of the Indy Racing League staff has paralleled the controlled growth of the series." Barnhart was promoted to vice president of operations for the Indy Racing League in August 2000 after serving as director of racing operations since March 1997. He worked as a mechanic on two Indianapolis 500-winning teams before joining the IMS staff in 1994 as track superintendent. Barnhart, an Indianapolis native, holds a degree in political science from the University of Indianapolis. Ungar, an attorney, has been with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation since 1997. In addition to his chief of staff responsibilities, New York City native Ungar spent the last four years working with the International Speedway Corporation in the construction of the Chicagoland Speedway. IMSC and ISC are partners, along with Route 66 Raceway, LLC, in the construction and management of Chicagoland Speedway. "Today was a day to look at how far we've come, but the focus is on the future," George said. "We still face challenges to make the series more successful for our strategic partners, which include the track operators and series sponsors. But we are positioned to succeed, and in the end the racing fans will benefit."IRL

12/5/01

Drivers complete IRL rookie test, find big IRL wings make it easy  Rocky Moran Jr. and brothers Aaron and A.J. Fike completed their Indy Racing League rookie tests Dec. 4 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Aaron Fike, 19, turned 103 laps early in the day with an unofficial top speed of 206.82 mph on the 1.54-mile quad-oval. His older brother A.J., 21, produced an unofficial top speed of 209.81 mph later in the day and completed 92 laps. The Fike brothers, USAC short-track standouts, drove a Dallara chassis prepared by PDM Racing. Moran, 21, son of three-time Indianapolis 500 starter Rocky Moran, also passed the speed phase at AMS turning 236 laps with an unofficial top speed of 212.00 mph in a G Force chassis prepared by Clayton Cunningham Racing. "It's different," A.J. Fike said. "It's kind of like a big, laid-back go-kart. Everything is really responsive. The faster I went, the better it felt. At first I wasn't sure, but once I started going faster, it really settled down and felt comfortable. It was a lot of fun." His younger brother agreed. "Pretty awesome," Aaron Fike said. "I've never gone that fast wide open. It's a totally different experience for us. We're not used to these kinds of speeds, downforce or wings. The wings really help out. In the midgets, we floor it down the straightaways, try to hustle it in the corners and pick up the throttle as soon as possible. Here, the wings really help you out." IRL

12/5/01

Gordon becomes all-time NASCAR money leader  Jeff Gordon drove the No. 24 DuPont Automotive Chevrolet to a fourth NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship in 2001. Last week in New York City, the payoffs for that achievement were plentiful, making Gordon the all-time leading money winner in NASCAR history. Headlining the season-ending awards ceremony at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel, Gordon received the champion’s bonus of $3,787,681 from series sponsor R.J. Reynolds’ NASCAR Winston Cup point fund. That check - along with several other contingency awards - helped boost Gordon’s 2001 winnings to $10,879,757. Gordon’s 2001 total increased his career winnings to $46,735,580, topping the all-time list. Gordon, 30, is only the third driver to win more than three NASCAR Winston Cup championships. Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt share the record for most championships, with seven each. Gordon also won championships in 1995, 1997 and 1998. NASCAR

12/5/01

Will British GP get the axe?  We doubt it, but the British Grand Prix may get the axe from next season's Formula One world championship, a source at the FIA, the sport's governing body, told Autosport magazine. The decision to axe the race, set for July 7, 2002 at Silverstone, will be decided at the FIA's world council meeting on December 14 in Monaco. Fears over the poor access to the circuit, 70 miles north of London, is of great concern by the FIA. The race could return to the calendar in 2003 if work on the acess roads is completed. Some reports in Britain suggested that the race could still be held at the Silverstone circuit, but not count towards the championship while Autosport magazine said that the Paul Ricard circuit in France may be used as a one-off venue with the race returning to Silverstone in 2003 once the necessary work has been completed.

12/5/01

De Ferran leads all-star voting  CART announced today that back-to-back FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske leads the fan portion of voting for the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series All-Star Team. De Ferran leads the fan vote with a total of 11,163 points. Second place is currently being held by former Team Rahal driver Kenny Brack with 8,623 points. Brack will join four-time FedEx Championship Series champions Target Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2002 season. In third place is Team Motorola driver Michael Andretti with 8,248 points, followed by Marlboro Team Penske's Helio Castroneves with 6,978 points. Rounding out the top five currently is 2001 Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year Scott Dixon of PacWest Racing with 3,316 points. Other drivers who have received strong consideration from the fans for the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series All-Star Team include two-time FedEx Championship Series champion Alex Zanardi, Newman/Haas Racing's Cristiano da Matta, and Patrick Carpentier of Player's Forsythe Racing. The fan voting, which is being conducted on the official web site of the FedEx Championship Series, www.cart.com, will account for ten percent of the total votes, with the remaining percentage being accounted for by Champ Car drivers and media members who regularly cover the FedEx Championship Series. Voting concludes on Monday, December 10. The top five vote-getters will comprise the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series All-Star Team, and the leading vote-getter will receive the Mario Andretti Trophy. Past recipients of the Mario Andretti Trophy are 1999 FedEx Championship Series champion Juan Montoya and de Ferran in 2000. The 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series All-Star Team consisted of de Ferran, Montoya, Andretti, Paul Tracy, and Adrian Fernandez.

12/5/01

Haas files to sell shares  CART team owner and board member Carl Haas filed an SEC form 144 today to sell 25,000 shares valued at around $357,000.  We would not be surprised if Mr. Vannini, Mr. Grosfeld or Mr. Forsythe have agreed to gobble them up. CART's stock price has been steadily rising since hitting a low of $12.15 not too long ago.  Today it closed at $15.40 and trading has been high for a few weeks now. MC

12/5/01

Why can't FedEx do this for CART?  UPDATE A reader writes - After seeing the piece on your hot news page as regards UPS, I feel that by adding the #88 car to the package it gives a sense of 'speed' to their service, what could FedEx do with 250 mph cars? I know all American companies use these comparisons in their advertising!  Editors Note - our point exactly. 12/5/01 - As can be seen from the image at the right, UPS now has a picture of Dale Jarrett's Winston Cup car on every one of their letter packages going out.  In addition they do extensive promotion of their service around a NASCAR theme on TV.  FedEx gives the excuse that they are really after the corporate business, hence they don't market this way to consumers, they are in it more for the business-to-business relationships.  Well guess what?  Most of UPS's business is corporate too, yet look what they do for NASCAR with these sort of promotions.  Why can't FedEx packages have a picture of a Champ Car on one side?  Why can't FedEx run TV commercials using CART and its Champ Car series?  Many why's, no good answers....while UPS, after just one year, is already doing wonders for NASCAR.  MC

12/5/01

Earnhardt leaves wife his estate  According to this AP article, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt willed most of his business interests and property, including race teams and the rights to the "Intimidator" trademark, to his wife, The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday. Some of Earnhardt's estate will remain a secret because it was willed to a trust, the Observer said. Earnhardt, winner of 76 Winston Cup races and seven series championships, died Feb. 18 in a crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500. He was 49.

12/5/01

CART website breaks records  CART announced today that the official web site of the FedEx Championship Series, www.cart.com, has eclipsed its previous records for annual traffic with one month still remaining in 2001. CART.com has received over 10.8 million visitors thus far this year, shattering the previous record one-year record of 9,779,085 visitors, established in 2000. In addition to the annual record, CART.com set a record for visits over a one-month period in September, when the site recorded over 1.5 million visits. The previous monthly record was 1,334,850 visits in July, 2000. CART’s web site is also on pace to establish a new record for average unique visitors to the site in 2001. The previous record average for unique visitors to CART.com was 282,801 per month in 2000, and the site received a then-record total of 403,263 unique visitors in July. Through the first eleven months of 2001, CART.com has averaged nearly 350,000 unique visitors, and established a new monthly record for unique visitors in September, when 582,325 different people logged onto CART.com over the course of the month. “We are extremely pleased with the performance of CART.com in 2001,” said CART Senior Vice President of Marketing Rich Henley. “More importantly, we are pleased that our traffic numbers continue to trend upward. We view this as proof that interest in CART and the FedEx Championship Series is continuing to grow, and we're looking forward to seeing even bigger numbers in 2002.”

12/4/01

Ticket sales start for Monterrey, Mexico  Ticket sales began today for Monterrey, Mexico.  With ticket sales not yet opened to the general public,  a select group of about 500 preferred bought the first 2,800 tickets.  The track expects to sell a minimum of 80,000 grandstand seats and 30,000 general admission tickets. Story

12/4/01

CART and Road Atlanta talking  According to this interview with Scott Atherton of Road Atlanta, There's been two formal meetings between CART and Road Atlanta where they have actually sat down and talked about potential dates. There is at least one area on the track that would need to be looked at for some potential modification, because of the speeds that the CART cars would be traveling. Coming down the hill in turn twelve. A couple of CART drivers took a look at it and there's a relatively easy solution. They ran the Indy lights as part of the Petit Le Mans this year, and those drivers came away with a unanimous feeling that this track would be a wonderful venue for a CART race. There's ongoing discussion, but right now it would be at the earliest a 2003 opportunity. 

12/4/01

Fernández Racing Announces New Team Manager  Co-owner and Managing Director Tom Anderson announced today that motorsports veteran Bob Adie has assumed the role of team manager as Fernández Racing prepares for its second season of competition in the CART FedEx Championship Series. Adie will work alongside Anderson in the day-to-day running of the 40-member operation. Known to many by the nickname “Buckwheat,” Adie has been involved in motorsports since the mid ‘70s in a variety of formulas in addition to Champ Cars, including Formula 5000, Formula Atlantic and IMSA. The 48-year-old Cleveland, Ohio, native most recently served as sub-assembly shop manager for Player’s/Forsythe Racing. He worked with Anderson from 1993 through 1999 at Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, where he managed the sub-assembly shop. “Looking back on the first year of operations, you have to look at the deficiencies and assess the areas that you are least successful in order to become a stronger, healthier team for the second year,” noted Anderson. “One area that we were distracted in was the team manager position. As these teams become larger and more complicated, it takes more pieces to be successful. Basically last year we took the team manager job description and split it amongst four people – [team coordinator] Jeff McComb, the two chief mechanics, Dan Miller and Steve Ragan, and myself. “I think by adding a person with over 25 years of experience in motor racing brings a lot of credibility to the job, and Bob Adie will certainly bring that with his knowledge of the industry. I look forward to not only getting things out of my area and into Bob’s, but I know that Jeff, Steve and Dan will welcome the additional help as well.” “First of all, it’s great to be back with Tom again,” said Adie. “Having worked with him for seven years, we already have a rapport established which makes this transition easier. I am looking forward to the challenges of this position and to helping the team achieve its goals next season.”  Fernandez Racing

12/4/01
Industry News

Speedway Motorsports strikes concession deal  Speedway Motorsports has struck a long-term food and hospitality agreement with two major US concession companies for its motorsports operations. The agreement with Levy Restaurants, the sports and entertainment dining company, and Compass Group, the global contract food service and hospitality specialists, is for all Speedway Motorsports events, daily operations, the Texas Motor Speedway Club and other concession contracts. Levy Restaurants will assume operations for the 2002 season. "With Compass Group's support, Levy's day-to-day expertise and vast experience as a market-leading sports and entertainment caterer, we will be able to raise the bar for our guest experience and enhance our operating efficiencies," said Bruton Smith, Speedway Motorsports chairman and CEO.

12/4/01

IMS and AMA in cooperative effort  IMS Productions, the video production and broadcasting arm of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation, announced a strategic production and marketing alliance Dec. 3 with AMA Pro Racing, owner of the AMA U.S. Supercross Championship, and Jam Sports, AMA's new Supercross promotional partner. IMS Productions initially will assist AMA Pro Racing and Jam Sports in developing and executing long-term television plans for the AMA U.S. Supercross Championship, beginning with the 2003 season. Developmental assistance will include a hand in contract negotiations, as well as the design and development of AMA broadcasts, including talent selection and support programming. The three organizations will also collaborate to cross-market AMA Supercross and other AMA Pro Racing series with the Indy Racing League and other IMS motorsports properties. "IMS Productions has tremendous experience in the production of racing broadcasts," said Tony George, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "This alliance with AMA Pro Racing will benefit both organizations. There is a crossover in both fans and competitors between Indy Racing and Supercross, and this arrangement will help both grow." IMS

12/4/01

So much for all of CART's sessions to be on TV 2nd UPDATE There is more clarification about the "NASCAR TV" block on Speed Channel beginning in February, specifically for Friday's, the issue here for CART. NASCAR TV will cover qualifying and Happy Hours that are not covered by Fox Sports Net, FX, or TNT. If the broadcast partner chooses not to televise qualifying or Happy Hour, then it goes to NASCAR TV on Speed Channel for live coverage. It will not be a simulcast of what another network is carrying. All of the schedules are not finalized, so there are still details to be worked out. This should mean fewer conflicts with CART programming on Fridays.  11/30/01 - CART just put out this press release which basically disputes that the NASCAR Channel programming will lock CART out of the 3PM to midnight hours each weekday.  This is of course excellent news for CART, though it appears NASCAR will still dominate the programming hours M-Thur with CART getting some play on Friday's for Friday practice sessions. We will reiterate our previous statement, while certainly CART will get far more TV hours than it ever had, and Mr. Heitzler is to be commended for getting that, what's alarming is how much more NASCAR was able to negotiate, which will only add to the exposure their series and sponsors get. 11/30/01 -  CART President Joe Heitzler stated on more than one occasion that CART's new TV deal with Speedvision/Speed Channel meant all of CART's practice and qualifying sessions would be shown on TV.  That may be true for Saturday's and Sunday's, but not for Friday's.  NASCAR has outmaneuvered CART and locked them right out.  NASCAR TV will be shown Monday through Friday from 3:00 PM continuously to midnight (see Hot News item below).  That takes CART out of that time slot M-F and it also means CART's won't be having any nightly 30-minute news shows anytime soon.  We used to complain that RPM2Night was basically 20 minutes of NASCAR news daily, with 10 minutes for commercials and everything else.  It was hoped that Speedvision would give CART more coverage.  Guess again.  Instead of ESPN2's 20 minutes of daily NASCAR news, we will now get 9 full hours (540 minutes) of all NASCAR every evening, and zero (big goose egg) of CART news every evening.  Heitzler stated on more than one occasion he would make the CART drivers 'stars.'  One way you make them stars is getting them on TV all the time.  RPM2Night helped NASCAR drivers become 'stars' with its 20 minutes of daily NASCAR news/interviews.  With Speedvision's 540 minutes of daily NASCAR coverage (i.e. 27 times more than before) NASCAR drivers will become 'superstars' and with CART getting zero minutes each night, their drivers won't become 'stars' anytime soon.  Perhaps CART will get some airtime after midnight when everyone is in bed, or before 3 PM when everyone is at work.  So while Heitzler will point to CART getting two (2) or more times of airtime than it did before (and more than the IRL), which certainly is good, NASCAR will be getting 27 times more, i.e. they outfoxed (pun intended, Fox owns Speedvision) Heitzler who got CART a TV deal on a channel that will heavily favor NASCAR, and make CART look like a long lost cousin. We hear this is just another example of why Chris Pook is gaining monumental momentum to become CART's President and CEO.  His supporters say he would not have signed a contract with Speedvision and overlooked such important details. His supporters say Heitzler, who oversold himself on being a TV expert and would get CART a great new TV deal,  has been in office a year now and they are still waiting to see this great TV deal (in fact, we are told some folks at ABC/ESPN had scathing remarks about Mr. Heitzler in how he dealt with them during negotiations, as did manufacturers, sponsors and promoters).  And with CART being very international, where is the international TV deal they ask....while Dale Coyne loses potential Argentinean sponsors because of it?  Meanwhile, CART's drivers are not only not any closer to being 'stars' than they were before, they are probably less known today than a year ago.  With the sponsors, promoters, manufacturers and majority of team owners now solidly behind Pook, it looks more likely each day that CART will have a new leader come December 4th, one who will hit the ground running to mend damaged relationships and grow CART into the great series it can be.  What he can do about improving CART's new TV deal remains to be seen, but certainly a lot of people seem to think Pook's the man for the job.

12/4/01
Industry News
TMS and Radio Shack lawsuit dropped - A lawsuit filed by Texas Motor Speedway against Radio Shack Corp. will be dismissed soon, and the consumer-electronics 
giant will proceed with previously undisclosed plans to be the title sponsor of the speedway's spring NASCAR races in 2002, 2003 and 2004, a TMS lawyer says. Neither Radio Shack nor TMS had previously disclosed the sponsorship agreement. Radio Shack signed the contract on Aug. 8, according to the lawsuit, and then allegedly reneged on the three-year sponsorship 
agreement and failed to make required payments under the contract, according to court documents. The attorney representing TMS said Radio Shack contacted the speedway after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and indicated "that they felt the person who signed the agreement wasn't authorized to do so." Kay Jackson, director of media relations for Radio Shack, said the retailer has worked out its misunderstanding with TMS and is excited about its relationship with the speedway. (Dallas Business Journal)
12/4/01
Track changes to be discussed for Monterrey this week - UPDATE We now hear there may be no changes to the Monterrey track.  If so, the absolutely ridiculous Mickey Mouse chicane shown in the image to the right, will not be removed.  If true, CART should step in and seriously question why not? The extra speed carried through that turn with the chicane removed, would have made for harder braking for the following turn, and possibly a better chance for overtaking. The track is far to follow-the-leader and it should be up to the sanctioning body to step and demand improvements when a race track makes your races boring.  Perhaps CART's new track safety director Martyn C. Thake can demand improvements be made. 7/1/01 -  There is a Board of Directors meeting this week for the Monterrey, Mexico track and we know that one thing on the agenda will be the discussion of removing one or two of the chicanes.  When we arrived at the Monterrey track back in March, we saw what we thought could be some improvements and published the recommended changes you see to the right.  Let's see what, if any, changes get made.
12/4/01

CART hires race track expert UPDATE We hear this absolutely necessary addition to CART's staff was the result of the Gonzalo Rodriguez and Greg Moore lawsuits against CART.  Finally track safety will get the attention it needs.  Let's hope Mr. Thake also looks for ways to make the racing better, by suggesting track improvements, where he can. 11/30/01 -  Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. has expanded its high level of commitment to safety by naming Martyn C. Thake, who possesses more than 20 years of motorsports management and special events-related experience, to the newly created fulltime position of Director of Circuit Development. Thake will be responsible for safety-related issues, track design and circuit development at present and future FedEx Championship Series venues. He will be working closely with the promoters at CART’s 19 current race venues and reporting directly to Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, John Lopes. Thake joins CART following more than a decade as president and CEO of MCT International, Inc., a motorsports operations consulting group whose services included race track inspection, construction, design and risk-management consulting. To date, he already has completed more than 50 track inspections. Thake also served as a member of the CART Safety Team from 1986 to 1995 and again in 2001. “We are extremely pleased that Martyn has joined CART full time as our Director of Circuit Development,” Lopes said. “As CART continues to expand into new markets with the development of new facilities, we believed it was essential to add a full-time circuit development expert to our staff. Martyn fills that void and his expertise will benefit our teams, our promoters and the overall safety of the sport of open-wheel racing.” Thake’s resume also includes a four-year term as president/CEO of SCCA Enterprises, and three years as executive vice president of MotorSports Enterprises, Inc. A native Englishman, he has been a United States citizen for the past eight years. “I am looking forward to working with John Lopes, [senior vice president of special projects] Tim Mayer, [chief steward] Chris Kneifel, and the rest of [CART Chairman and CEO] Joe Heitzler’s team,” Thake said. “With three new events this year [Montreal, Denver, Mexico City] and several possible additions in the future, we are all going to be very busy.” Thake has an extensive travel schedule lined up for the coming months that includes visits to Portland, Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio, Road America, Montreal, Monterrey (Mexico), Mexico City, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Rockingham (England) and Lausitz (Germany).

12/3/01

Too funny  We thought you might enjoy these two related excerpts from Mario Andretti's new book 'A Driving Passion'. The year was 1986, and Mo Nunn was Mario Andretti's engineer at Newman Haas Racing.  Nunn tells a story about preseason testing at Laguna Seca. Mario was trying to negotiate the left hand first turn without lifting (this is before Laguna Seca was reconfigured and turn one was an ultra fast gut wrencher), but couldn't do it.  A new wider front tire was fitted, and he tried again.  "On the third lap with that tire he'd built up courage to take it flat," Nunn says.  "Suddenly we saw the car way up in the air and an explosion of dust.  We jumped in the rental car and raced down to turn one.  The first thing I saw was the gearbox, then an engine.  Further around the turn the chassis was laying in the middle of the road and Mario was standing up with his back to us.  He was trying to put his watch band back into place.  The car was spread all over the place, but he didn't have a scratch on him.  I said, 'Are you OK?'  He said, 'Yeah, and by the way, Morris, turn one still is not flat.'  It didn't faze him at all." Now fast forward to the following year, 1987.  This time Adrian Newey (yes, the great F1 designer) is Mario's engineer at Newman Haas, having replaced Nunn. Again they are doing preseason testing at Laguna Seca, similar to the previous year. Newey tells the story - "Mario had a big accident when the rear wing came apart.  It was a very salutary lesson for me.  We hadn't time to install a radio because the car was prepared at the last minute and, as he came past the pits, we could see the rear wing was cocked over to one side.  By the time we saw it, he was past us and, having no radio, we couldn't tell him to slow down.  When we heard the bang at turn one, it was a pretty sickening feeling."  Like Nunn had the year before, Newey jumped into his rental car and raced down to turn one.  "We saw the gearbox and two rear wheels," says Newey.  "Then we saw the car. It was a huge accident, and Mario was standing there, again, as the previous years accident, without a scratch, playing with his watch (this time tapping on it), saying, 'at least my watch still works!'  Hearing two different engineers, totally unrelated, tell similar stories of horrific accidents, in the same turn, at the same track, and finding Mario standing beside his destroyed car unfazed and worried about his watch is....absolutely hysterical, but speaks volumes of Mario Andretti, race car driver extraordinaire.  We highly recommend this book.  Even if you are not a Mario Andretti fan, it's full of great stories such as this, and to read what Mario Andretti went through to become the racing hero that he was, is a fascinating read. MC

12/3/01

Vannini files yet another SEC Form 13D UPDATE The exact words of Vannini's filing are in this story by Mark Cipolloni 12/3/01 Late Friday Jonathan Vannini (3rd largest CART shareholder with 12.55 million shares or 8.5%) filed yet another SEC Form 13D.  This time he unequivocally calls for the removal of Joe Heitzler as CART President and CEO. Previously he had called for Pook to be COO in a 13D filing. Recently James Grosfeld, the 2nd largest shareholder, explicitly called for Heitzler's ouster as well.  Vannini's 13D states that after much deliberation and for a host of reasons (i.e. talking to numerous CART constituents) he has lost all confidence in Joe Heitzler's ability to run CART in any capacity and regrettably calls for his immediate ouster.  He goes on to say that if he does not prevail at the Delaware Board meeting scheduled for December 4th, he will call for a proxy vote in May and has no doubt he will prevail. MC

12/3/01

USF3 release 2002 schedule  The United States Formula Three Championship Powered by Volkswagen announced its 2002 racing program at a conference hosted by Indy Partnership during the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis.  Story

12/3/01

Players Team prepares for 2001/2002 off-season testing  After making it to the podium in seven of their last 12 races of the 2001 CART season, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani of Team Player’s served notice that they are strong contenders for the drivers’ title next year. For both drivers, the pursuit of that championship begins this week when they take to the track for their first off-season testing session.  Story

12/3/01

Andretti draws big crowd at London bookstore  Autosport.com reports that Mario Andretti proved that he can still pull a big crowd when he appeared at a London book shop on Saturday to sign copies of his new autobiography.  He ended up meeting fans for two and a half hours, as a queue of people stretched out on to the street. The crowd was said to match the size of those at previous book signings for two other sporting legends, Muhammad Ali and George Best. "I am always impressed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of the British fans," said Andretti. "It was a bigger turnout that expected. Sixty percent of my fanmail is international and the most comes from Britain." MC

12/3/01

Comparing IRL and CART lap times  Reference is made to this Speedvision article which points out the differences in lap times between an IRL car and Champ car.  Although lap times are similar, Champ cars are much faster down the straights, but the IRL cars, with their high downforce, are faster through the turns.  The IRL cars make far more downforce with their big wings.  This plants them to the track and makes for closer racing.  Of course, it takes less talent to drive a high-downforce IRL car than a low downforce Champ Car with far more HP, but it certainly makes for a better show for the fans.  However, at Indy the IRL cars run with a lower downforce setup. Hence many people attribute the IRL drivers with self destructing in last years cold temperatures on race day, and CART drivers sweeping the top 6 positions, on the IRL drivers inexperience in driving a car with low downforce in cold weather, i.e. becoming complacent with a high-downforce car.  Whether this is true or not depends on who you speak to, but the results certainly point to this conclusion. Interestingly, the same article points out that Gil de Ferran was testing a Penske IRL car, not a Champ Car. MC

12/3/01

Ecclestone sees what IRL did to Indy Racing and issues warning  Over the weekend Bernie Ecclestone issued a warning to F1 engine manufacturers that if they create their own F1 series, and split the sport like they are threatening, it could seriously damage F1.  We are sure Bernie has observed what the creation of the IRL has done to the sport of Indy Car racing (i.e. the split) and fully realizes how destructive such a split can be.   MC

12/2/01
Industry News

Formula Dodge - Allmendinger wins battle, Campos war  The 2001 Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER came down to a last-race, last-lap determiner at the checkered flag as Barber-CART Karting Scholarship winner A. J. Allmendinger won the battle, but Julio Campos won the war. Allmendinger came from 14th to earn a hotly-contested win over fellow Barber-CART Karting Scholarship winners Ben Moore and Tommy Contino. The win marked the second consecutive down-to-the-wire finish at Daytona International Speedway. Campos, who led into the final turn, fell back to finish sixth but well within the top-8 result he needed to edge out Allmendinger for the crown. The champion seals the deal on a fully-funded season in the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series, valued at $195,000. Allmendinger, the 2002 runner-up, and Dan Di Leo, third overall in series points, are off to contest the Barber-CART Big Scholarship Runoff, a second paid ride in next year's Pro Series, of which seven of the top-8 in championship points are invited. Campos was relieved and elated to win the championship. "I'm very happy to win [the championship] and to be part of the Barber-CART Scholarship system," said the Brazilian karting champion. "What a great weekend of racing. I'm really looking forward to my new ride. You know, I tested the Dodge-powered Reynard 98E last week at Sebring. I love it. It's amazing. I think, with that kind of comfort level, I can do a great job next year. " 
FINAL RESULTS 
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY 24 HOUR ROAD COURSE 
ALL DRIVERS IN FORMULA DODGE R/T 2000 ON MICHELIN TIRES 
FINISH/CAR#/DRIVER/RESIDES/LAPS/POINTS 
1/16/A.J./Allmendinger/Hollister, California/12/20 
2/32/Ben Moore/Naples, Florida/12/16 
3/12/Tommy Contino/Hisperia, California/12/14 
4/2/Scott Presti/Naples, Florida/12/12 
5/7/Dan Di Leo/Markham, Ontario/12/11 
6/10/Julio Campos/Parana, Brazil/12/11 
7/86/Leonardo Maia/Oakland, California/12/9 
8/85/Scott Poirier/Deerfield Beach, Florida/12/8 
9/98/Juan Manuel Polar/Lima, Peru/12/7 
10/56/Burt Frisselle/Kihei, Hawaii/12/6 
11/42/Dan Kraus/Warwick, New York/12/5 
12/46/Shinji Kashima/Japan/12/4 
13/21/James Gue/Roswell, Georgia/12/3 
14/35/Landon Yee/San Rafael, California/12/2 
15/41/Grant Maiman/New London, Wisconsin/12/1 
Track Length: 3.56-miles   MC

12/1/01

CART, slow to react, likely to get beat to Shanghai by F1  Autosport reports in its latest issue that Formula One sources say negotiations for a F1 race in China have now turned away from Zhuhai and Beijing, and toward Shanghai. They are looking for a race in 2005 or sooner.  AutoRacing1.com has said all along that Shanghai is the place to have a motor race in China if you were going to have one.  Now F1 has seen the light as well.  We had two feature stories on Shanghai.  The first, 'Why Shanghai is the Best Venue', by Allan Ng; and the second, 'Is Shanghai in CART's future, by Mark Cipolloni. We don't know how to put it any simpler than this - if CART gets beat to Shanghai by F1, it will be one of the biggest blunders in CART's entire history, especially when CART could have been in Shanghai as early as 2002 if the right effort was put into helping Norman Lee secure the right financing.  Norman Lee, President of Auto Racing Legends (ARL) returned recently from Shanghai with a 10-year contract with the government to put on two races per year in the streets of Pudong, a province of Shanghai.  ARL, a California Corporation, has been contracted by the Shanghai City Government to co-organize this event.  We have written on numerous occasions that China is going to be a major economic power in a few short years, and Shanghai will be their lead commercial center, a place where every major USA corporation does or will do business.  Perhaps if the rumors are true that Chris Pook may take over as President and CEO of CART in the very near future, and with Pook being a super race promoter who understands a good 'market' when he sees one, this important matter will get the attention it deserves.  MC

12/1/01

Carpentier gets eyesight tune-up Players Forsythe driver Patrick Carpentier became the latest sports figure to undergo the procedure when he traveled from his off-season home in Las Vegas to Calgary's Gimbel Eye Center. Carpentier says a conversation with CART owner Bobby Rahal and an incident earlier this year in Japan convinced him to have the surgery. "I know when Rahal did it he had his best season the next year," Carpenter tells the Calgary Sun. "My engineer was pushing me to do it because he worked with Rahal at the time he did it. A lot of guys do it now. I mean, Tiger (Woods) did it and he seems to be playing pretty good." TSN

12/1/01


The Simple Green Girls are simply wonderful

CART needs more glamour 3rd UPDATE Now we have a picture of a Simple Green Girl.  That's two out of how many CART sponsors who understand the value of having 'beautiful' people walking all around the paddock?  Image if more CART sponsors did that.  Lot's of F1 sponsors do it, and the guys flock like bees to honey. 11/29/01 - A reader writes - I must agree with the person from Simple Green. The girls at the Simple Green booth (in Chicago) were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Well done. Jim Smith   11/29/01 - Mark Carter from Simple Green writes - Regarding the article from a reader who wrote in "CART needs more glamour" - He states that "Only Tecate, with the Tecate girls, has a clue. The rest of the sponsors are missing the boat big time." Has he never experienced the "Simple Green Girls"? With what I spend on Simple Green Girls and the "payback" we get because of it, I must totally agree...this brings to CART just what is needed!  


When it comes to making men remember your product, Tecate Girls deliver the goods

11/28/01 - A reader writes - CART is totally missing the boat when it comes to getting more men and women out to the races.  One of the reasons why Long Beach is so successful is because of all the beautiful people walking around.  Men and women alike gawk.  I found this page of F1 beauties. F1 has beautiful women all over the place, and the men (and women) pack the grandstands and peer over fences to get a peak.  F1 sponsors hire models just to be at the races.  In CART, only Tecate, with its Tecate Girls, has a clue.  The rest of the sponsors are missing the boat big time, and CART is worse to wear because of it.  Did you ever not see the Tecate girls surrounded by men?  I can think of no better advertisement. Monterrey and Mexico City will pack the stands with fans, they are doing something right those Mexicans.  What I wanna know is where are the Marlboro Girls, Kool Girls, Motorola Girls, Target Girls, and for the women, the Klein Tools Men? Like it or not, sexy looking people sell.  And you wonder why Bernie E. is laughing all the way to the bank.  Scott from Georgia

11/30/01

CART wins $48 million in ISL lawsuit CART was awarded $48 million in compensatory and consequential damages at a hearing in Oakland County (Mich.) Circuit Court for its breach-of-contract lawsuit against ISL Marketing AG. The Swiss-based company had served as CART’s exclusive worldwide marketing agent since 1998. ISL had the responsibility of seeking sponsorship for the open-wheel sanctioning body and was obligated by contract to guarantee a pre-determined amount of income to CART on an annual basis. The lawsuit, filed in February and settled Wednesday, alleged that ISL failed to pay CART more than $6 million with respect to the 2000 guarantee. The complaint also stated that ISL did not fulfill its remaining commitment to the nine-year contract, which would have expired following 2006. “We’re pleased with the outcome, and believe this is one of the largest awards in Oakland County history,” said Deborah Schneider, CART Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs. “ISL is currently being liquidated by the Swiss Bankruptcy Court, and we’re hopeful that this judgment will put us in a more advantageous position in those proceedings.”

11/30/01

St. Petersburg City Council approves CART race  Promoters qualified with the St. Petersburg City Council Thursday to turn a waterfront corner of downtown into a world-class auto racecourse in 2003. The council weighed concerns about noise and traffic tieups on streets around the course but decided that worldwide television exposure, tens of thousands of visitors and the possibility of millions of dollars being spent in the city were more important. They unanimously gave promoter Grand Prix Association of Long Beach the preliminary permission it needed to seek sanctioning for a race from Championship Auto Racing Teams. CART will consider the St. Petersburg proposal and a competing effort to stage a race in Hillsborough County.  Consider it basically a done deal folks!  Story

11/30/01

Long Beach Gift Certificates  Looking for a unique gift to give to that hard-to-buy-for friend or family member? The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (GPALB) has just made things easier for you this holiday season by offering gift certificates for the 28th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which will take place April 12-14, 2002. These gift certificates, great for Christmas stocking stuffers, can be purchased for specific items, such as tickets to the event, admission to one of the various hospitality clubs located near the race circuit, CART Bosch Garage Passes or event souvenir programs. GPALB’s ticket office will mail the gift certificates anywhere the purchaser wishes. But hurry -- the deadline for ordering Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach gift certificates is Wednesday, Dec. 19. Tickets and gift certificates can be purchased by calling toll-free, (888) 82-SPEED. For further event information, visit the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Web site at www.longbeachgp.com.

11/30/01

Is IRL in worse shape than CART?  There has been a lot of talk of late about CART only having somewhere around twenty cars on the grid in 2002, compared to their usual 26 to 28.  That may or may turn out to be the case, but our sources tell us the IRL teams are in worse shape.  We hear right now they are looking at perhaps 14-car fields unless more sponsorship is found.  With the weak economy, it's a hard sell for everyone right now, and certainly the IRL/CART split has made matters worse.  What's hurting the IRL even more is new Nissan support series.  It requires around $800,000 to run for a year, and already Ron Hemelgarn has announced he will field one car (the first so far) in the Infiniti Pro Series.  Guess what?  That's $800,000 less for some IRL team.  While not enough for an entire IRL season, it all adds up.

11/30/01

St. Petersburg Circuit - the official one  In our previous story we presented a 'proposed' track layout for the St. Petersburg race circuit without knowing what was actually planned.  Well now we do.  Click on the image to the right for the official 2.0-mile (approx) track layout that will be presented to the St. Petersburg City Council and then the FAA for approval.  This is one of the better street circuits we have seen with at least three excellent overtaking areas.  Copyright 2001 AutoRacing1

11/30/01

Dario & Ashley to wed in December  They have been engaged for quite awhile.  Now, according to this report, CART star Dario Franchitti is to marry his Hollywood actress girlfriend Ashley Judd late next month in the highlands of Scotland. The Banns have been raised at Bonner Bridge and the couple can have the ceremony between 12th and 31st of December. 

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