Hot News

Thanks for visiting our Hot NeUPDATE 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 - ws page - news snippets from the world of Auto Racing.  Please visit our Rumors page for all the scuttlebutt.  If you have some news, or can supply more information about one listed here, e-mail us with as much supporting information as possible and we may post it.  User agreement & disclaimer. Newer rumors supercede older ones of the same topic.  Go to our forums to discuss any hot news.  

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DATE News (chronologically 12/12/01 to 12/22/01)

Laguna Seca offers CART/ALMS ticket deal  If CART and ALMS don't have enough sense to form an alliance, at least some of the track promoters can see the 'forest through the trees.'  Laguna Seca is offering a "POWERFEST 2-Day Super Ticket" allowing admission to both CART and ALMS weekends in 2002. This despite the fact that the weekends are separated by more than 3 months (CART on June 8 & 9; ALMS on Sept. 21 & 22). Clearly, this promoter understands that CART & ALMS share some of the same audience. Whether this helps attendance for both races remains to be seen; but the fan saves $20 by buying the "Super Ticket" vs. the separate tickets. Given the weak attendance for both races in recent years, we would prefer to see a joint weekend with CART and ALMS, but hey, that would make too much sense so they won't do it.  Actually, if the promoter was really on the ball, he would offer a 2nd combo-package option that would include CART, The Super Bike weekend in July and ALMS in September. MC
Team USA Scholarship Winners Display Dedication  Team USA Scholarship winners A.J. Allmendinger and Bryan Sellers will confirm the seriousness with which they take the commitment to represent their country in the forthcoming New Zealand International Formula Ford Championship by effectively missing out on Christmas Day celebrations altogether. Story

Construction underway on Bahrain circuit  2nd UPDATE Australia's Tony Cochrane invited the Sultan of Brunei to the last Bathurst V8 Supercar race. It is almost definite there will be a race there in the very near future. As well Tony has been (over the last 2 yrs) trying to organize a race in one of the Gulf States, and Bahrain has been mentioned. Why the Gulf States? Several reasons. Australia send live sheep exports to the region, Holden exports Commodores rebadged as "Chevrolet Luminas" there, and through the Sultan Tony has made many contacts. Any race in either Brunei or Bahrain will be funded by those countries. South African's see V8 Supercar racing live and there are two tracks in South Africa that would like to hold a round of the championship, but funding is a problem. Interestingly like New Zealand, they race a form of Trans-Am called the Wesbank V8Modifieds (Vipers, Camaro's, Mustangs and DTM Like Opels). Nothing is concrete yet, but it appears negotiations are well on the 
way for Brunei or Bahrain, or both. 12/21/01 - To the right we have added a layout of the 3.25-mile Bahrain circuit which was designed by Tilke Engineering (  It looks technically challenging with several good overtaking areas.  The cars will run clockwise. 12/20/01 - The Middle East country of Bahrain is the latest country to enter the race to host a F1 Grand Prix and/or CART race, with construction already underway on a circuit. The Emirate's ministry of public works has enlisted the help of track designer, the Tilke Company, to build the circuit, which forms part of Emir Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa plans to modernize the Gulf state. The Emir and two ministers visited the Italian GP at Monza in 1999, before launching a feasibility study for the circuit, which will be located in Sakis, near the capital Manama. The country is said to be preparing a bid to host a GP in 2004, and will join China and Russia in the race for places on the busy F1 racing calendar.   Will Bahrain, Russia and China all get a F1 date, or will CART pick up one or two of those countries.  Yesterday we listed numerous countries (see rumors page) who want a CART race should CART dump some of the North America races because some promoters are upset with CART's sanction fee structure.  One would suppose the rich country of Bahrain can be added to that list, however, our first choice would still be Shanghai, China, as far more sponsors will want to be in Shanghai than Bahrain.
Lally puts Fran-Am cars through their paces  Open wheel and sports car star Andy Lally recently completed two days of testing in the Fran-Am 1600 and 2000 cars at Buttonwillow Raceway, near Bakersfield, California. Lally, whose background includes US F2000 and CART Toyota Atlantic as well as winning the Team USA Scholarship, was selected to provide a baseline for prospective candidates seeking to participate in either the Fran-Am 1600 or 2000 Championship Series in 2002. The Fran-Am 2000 Championship, a cousin of Formula Renault in Europe and South America, begins its inaugural North American season in April with support from Michelin. While the official schedule will be announced in the coming weeks, the 2002 Fran-Am 2000 series champion is guaranteed a fully-funded seat with a leading Formula Renault team for the 2003 European series. Story
Cheever puts young tryouts through the ringer  Cheever Indy Racing has been putting all of the drivers they test for that second seat through Pit Fit Trainings rigorous driver fitness testing. This story ran in the Indianapolis Star as well. So far, Rice, Wheldon, and Ward have gone through the 2.5 hour battery. Since it was printed in the paper that Papis would possibly be testing with Cheever, it must be assumed he will be fitness tested as well. Eddie is very fit himself, and feels that drivers who take their fitness seriously take their driving seriously. Below are two pictures of Buddy Rice being tested by Pit Fit Training. One is him being measured in a Bod Pod for body fat, and the other is a test measuring posterior shoulder flexibility. The second has him wearing a Red Bull hat, and that is the Cheever sponsor.

Adrián Fernández will move his Mexican Office to México City  Adrián Fernández just announced that his PR office, Fernández Racing Promotions, will be moved from Guadalajara to Mexico City before the 2002 FedEx CART season starts. This means parting ways with Antonio Pérez Garibay, his manager, who will pursue different business opportunities including promoting the career of his son Toño Pérez who recently competed in FF in Britain. The reason behind the move is to be nearer to the offices of Adrián's main sponsors Quaker State and Telmex, since Tecate's are in Monterrey. It is expected that Adrián will announce location and personnel in January.
Germán Quiroga Will Run the Barber Dodge Pro Series in 2002  Mexican driver Germán Quiroga has decided to go international. At a press conference during Race Day at the AutoExpo 2001 in Mexico City, Germán announced he has already tested the Reynard-Dodge used in the Barber Pro series. He did so at Sebring this week during two days and adapted quickly to the car. He is currently closing negotiations with several sponsors, and will announce them early next year. Germán is a former champion of the Touring Neon series (1998) and he was also fourth in the so called Formula México (the old tubular Barber cars) beaten by Luis Díaz (Indy Lights) and Carlos Contreras (NASCAR Trucks). He has been a consistently fast driver in the Mustang and Neon series in the last few years and he has the record of poles for the Neon series in Mexico. Germán explained in the press conference that he leaves "because you have to go forward in life, and representing Mexico in other countries is a dream. I hope I can give you all great results.......If I want to get to CART I need to know the tracks and cars and this is the first step". 
Piero Rodarte Testing in Sebring  Piero Rodarte, the Mexican driver who finished fourth in the US F2000 this year, is currently in the USA. At a track in Savannah, Georgia, he helped the new team of his former engineer at RoQuin Motorsports, Eduardo Aguilar, set up their new car which will run the 2002 series in this Ford 2000 Zetec series. Later he went to Sebring where he finished a three day test in Reynard Dodge of the Barber Pro series, which he will use in next year's campaign. He found the car easy to drive and had no surprises during his test. Piero, was also named recently the best Mexican driver under 21 years of age and received the Ricardo Rodríguez Trophy for his 2001 performance, given to him by the Scuderia Rodríguez brothers who present the award annually . He will spend Christmas with family in the USA before returning home to Mexico for New Year's Eve.
Atlantics: ´Chapulín´ Díaz Probando close to signing with Dorricott  Luis "Chapulín" (Mexican grasshopper) Díaz, is currently testing a Toyota Atlantic car in the USA with Dorricott Racing. Luis ran the last two season in the Dayton Indy Lights series and wants to continue his career in the Atlantic series. Although he denied he has already signed, he admitted the contract is about to be closed "but it all depends on my sponsors; I'd say there's a good chance" which other sources estimate at 80%, with a few loose ends needing to be ironed out. For Dorricott Racing, champion in 2 out the last 3 years in Indy Lights, 2002 will be their very first season in the Atlantic series and they have already confirmed Jon Fogarty for one of its three seats.
Mexican CART drivers score big  The Scuderia Rodríguez Brothers (Pedro &Ricardo) handed out 2001 trophies at an event at the México City AutoExpo this week.  The big winners in the ranking of Mexican Drivers were CART related drivers. All trophies are named for Mexican Formula One Drivers. The winner of this year's Pedro Rodríguez Trophy, to the Best Driver in Mexico, was Rodolfo Martínez Lavín - CART Toyota Atlantic- who defeated last year's Champion Adrián Fernández, and Mario Domínguez, runner-up for the second year in a row.  Mario Domínguez who'll start in CART series next year, was chosen as the Best Mexican driver in Promotional Series outside of Mexico, thanks to a stellar campaign in Indy Lights which netted him fourth place in the Championship and two more poles for his resume.  The Héctor Alonso Rebaque Trophy; Trophy Ricardo Rodríguez, given to the Best Mexican Driver Under 21, went to Piero Rodarte, who'll run the Barber Dodge Pro series in 2002 after finishing fourth in the US F2000 series.  The Best Mexican Driver in National Tracks, Trophy Moisés Solana, went to Mara Reyes, who became the first female driver to win a major championship in Mexico last year and she repeated this year in the Tractor Trailer series and she was also runner-up in the Dodge Truck series and fourth in the Mustang series. The Scuderia, a non-profit honor association, chaired by Alejandro Rodríguez de la Vega, brother of the legendary Ricardo and Pedro, also gave awards to the 2001 Mexican champions: Jorge Goeters (Mexican F3), Gilberto Jiménez II (International F3), Patrick Goeters (Truck Challenge), Carlos Pardo (Dodge Trucks), Nahum Olín (SuperTouring), Juan Ramón Lópezpape (Neon Touring), Agustín Arriaga II (F. Vee), Mara Reyes (Tractor Trailers), Freddy Tame II (Mustang), Allen Berg (Panamerican Indy Lights) and Fabián Vargas (F. Reynard), plus Toño Coello, the best mexican in the ILP series, the fastest in Latin America.
The Scuderia also had an induction ceremony for its new Mexican members, including previously named Mara Reyes, Jorge Goeters and Piero Rodarte, plus: Rosa Elena Torres, Toyota RD Spanish press chief, previously press chief for CART teams Herdez/Bettenhausen and Arciero-Brooke, and Autosport writer; and Gilberto Alejandro Jiménez, a retired Mexican driver who was champion in several open wheel and touring series, including several where he defeated Adrián Fernandez, and another Mexican driver in European F3. 
Atlantics: Wieringa impresses  Dave Wieringa, recently named as one of Sigma Autosport’s Toyota-Atlantic drivers for the 2002 season, completed a successful two-day test at the Homestead Motorsports Complex in Homestead, Fla., on Wednesday. Sigma Autosport’s Atlantic managing director Jim Griffith said he was pleased with Wieringa’s results and impressed with his first outing with the team. “I think Dave did really well,” said Griffith. “I know the team is impressed by what he did. Dave learned a lot of driving in the Skip Barber series, and it showed this week. The test began on Tuesday morning, Dec. 18, and ran through Wednesday afternoon. According to Griffith, the test gave Wieringa and the team a chance to work together. Griffith said Wieringa completed approximately 130 miles in a 2001 Swift 008A-Toyota on the Homestead road course and responded well to changes made to the car during the test. “He gave us a lot of positive feedback,” said Griffth. “There was good communications between Dave and the crew.” Wieringa was pleased with the test. “I went down to Florida not really knowing what to expect, but I had no doubts it would be a good test,” said Wieringa. “It was a great experience and I’m looking forward to my next test. Champ Car driver Alex Barron coached Wieringa through the two day test. “Alex helped me a lot,” said Wieringa. “I listened to what he said and applied his advice and suggestions to my test.” Rocky Moran Jr., Wieringa’s teammate at Sigma Autosport, was not present at the test as he is recuperating from a back injury. Griffith said Moran would be at the next Sigma test scheduled in January.
Industry News
Skip Barber Racing School sold  It's been rumored previously, now it's official.  First Equity Group, Inc. announced today that it has acquired through a new company, Skip Barber Racing School LLC, the assets of Skip Barber Racing School, Inc., of Lakeville, Connecticut, the world's leading trainer of professional and amateur race car drivers from Sports Capital Partners. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. First Equity has had a long association with the Skip Barber Racing School. In addition to operating numerous corporate events in conjunction with Skip Barber over the last decade, Michael Culver, the cofounder of First Equity and Chairman of Skip Barber Racing School LLC, twice won the Master Series, Eastern division. First Racing, a wholly owned subsidiary of First Equity, had numerous podium finishes in the Motorola Cup North American Street Stock Championship in 1998, 1999 and 2000 as well as the Speedvision Cup, Street Stock Endurance in 1998. 
Atlantics - LaPoint impresses  Every season, the reigning US Formula Ford 2000 Champion receives a CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Series sponsored test with an Atlantic team. But this season’s test was special as the 2001 Champion, Jason LaPoint, not only got to take in a beautiful Georgia day in an Atlantic car, he became one of the first drivers to take the new Swift 014.a out onto a track for official testing. LaPoint spent Wednesday with veteran Atlantic team, Michael Shank Racing, tooling around the 2.02-mile Roebling Road Raceway which is located 20 miles from Savannah, Georgia. The first part of the day was spent shaking down the new Swift 014.a as it made its first appearance on the track. The MSR team turned LaPoint loose in the afternoon to see what he could do with the new car, and he continued to show why he will be an Atlantic driver to be reckoned with in the future. LaPoint drove three races this past season with Lynx Racing producing instant results placing the car third on the grid at Road America during qualifying in his first race. “Jason came out and set the fastest time at Roebling Road since we have been coming here,” said team owner Michael Shank. “Needless to say, I’m impressed with the speed, but more so with the feedback he was able to give back to our engineers. The guy really deserves a shot in this series.” “You could have not asked for a better day to be outside racing in a car, the conditions were perfect,” said an excited LaPoint. “Personally, I had wanted to test with Michael (Shank) all year because they have always been real supportive of me. It’s great that the series, Toyota, and Michael Shank Racing made all of this happen.” The test was also the first day on track for Michael Shank Racing’s new Swift 014.a which will replace the Swift 008.a that has been in service with the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship since 1998. There were a few minor glitches that you might expect with any new car going out the first time, but the small obstacles were overcome and Swift’s new chassis passed its first test with flying colors. “The car really exceeded our expectations,” said a pleased Shank. “For the first time out, the car ran virtually flawless. It really looks like Swift did their homework on this car. The improvements we asked for as team owners are there and we’re pretty excited to dig into the car further in the upcoming months.” “Like any new car, there were some little problems,” said LaPoint at the conclusion of the day. “The changes we made to the chassis during the day were minor and car was very predictable; what a blast to drive. I have never been in a car that close and that fast right out of the box. The fact that it is brand new is amazing.”
Papis to test for Cheever  According to this Star News article,  CART driver Max Papis will be one of the drivers that tests for IRL Team Cheever.  Jeff Ward, Buddy Rice and Dan Wheldon have also been tested.  Cheever will pick a driver in Mid-January.
Lazier tops 225 MPH in successful Chevy test  Christmas came early for Buddy Lazier when he took the wraps off his new Chevy Indy V8 at California Speedway. The all-new Chevrolet racing engine completed 570 trouble-free miles in its second successful track test. After patiently circling the 2-mile superspeedway at a steady 223-mph race pace, Lazier put his foot down on his 255th circuit and turned a scorching 225.15 mph lap to celebrate another milestone in the ongoing development of the Chevy Indy V8. "In my entire racing career, I've never seen a brand-new motor run so well right out of the box," said Lazier. "The Chevy engine exceeded all of my expectations. "The motor feels lighter and that helps the car handle better, but it's the power that is really impressive," Lazier added. "Horsepower is a driver's best friend, so this Chevy engine and I are going to get along just fine."  "We're very pleased with the results and anxious to get the engine back and evaluate the components," said Speedway Engine Development engineer Brian Figg. "This is our second Chevy Indy V8 that has run more than 550 miles. Obviously the reliability is there, so it may be time to look at pumping up the horsepower." Lazier can't wait for that next step. "It was a great two days for us," said the 1996 Indy 500 winner and 2000 Indy Racing League champion. "There is huge potential in this engine. I'm looking forward to racing it." 
Da Matta jumps on international bandwagon  In this article from Mexico, Cristiano da Matta talks about CART's success outside the USA and says CART should expand more internationally. He was in town promoting Toyota and talking about the upcoming Mexican races in Mexico City and Monterrey.
New Ganassi colors  (from left to right) Team Target displays its newly painted No. 4 Toyota-Lola, No. 41 Dodge Intrepid R/T and No. 12 Toyota-Lola at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. 

T.E McHale off to TransAm  Long before Chris Pook was announced as CART's new CEO, T.E. McHale had decided to tender his resignation from CART, so no he was not fired as some might think.  T.E. was one of the most likeable guys in the CART PR department and we wish him well in his new job with the TransAm series working in Florida.
Players team happy with new Reynard  Off-season testing officially began for Team Player’s driver Patrick Carpentier this week as he completed a two-day session on the 1.72-mile Sebring road course using the newly arrived 2002 edition of the Player’s Reynard Champ car. Carpentier ran about 50 laps over the two-day session, clocking a competitive fast lap of 51.8 seconds. Team Player’s had hoped to put in more laps during the two days but its track time was reduced by inclement weather on Tuesday and Carpentier’s skid off the circuit while going for a fast lap on Wednesday. “I was out on new tires and the car was loose going into the corner,” explained Carpentier. “I broke a bit late and the car went off the track. It was nothing serious. I had said earlier that if there’s one thing I want to work on during off-season testing, it’s being aggressive every time I’m out there on the track. I was being aggressive, and that may have contributed to the car going off course.” Carpentier described the 2002 Reynard chassis as being better built and more advanced than the previous model. “I got the feeling today that it’s more solid,” he explained. “There is still some work to do and we’ll have the opportunity to do that over the coming months. I’m happy that the CART series has extended off-season testing in the month of March, after the first race in Monterrey. That’s going to give us more time to get everything in order with the car.” Team Player’s technical director Bruce Ashmore said the biggest improvement to the 2002 chassis is in the sidewall of the tub, where 2½ millimeters of carbon fiber have been added. This is a safety measure that has resulted from the accident involving CART driver Alex Zanardi in Germany last September.  Assessing the two-day Team Player’s testing session, Ashmore said “we were able to give the car a good shakedown, and I thought we made some good progress in getting to know how the car reacts under various circumstances. Even having the car go off track on Day 2 of the sessions wasn’t a bad thing because we needed to give the suspension a good testing.
Patrick Racing confirms Townsend Bell  U. E. “Pat” Patrick announced today that the team has signed 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Champion Townsend Bell to drive the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard during the 2002 FedEx Championship Series season. Bell, a native of San Francisco, California, had one of the most dominating seasons in the 16-year history of Indy Lights in 2001. He captured six of the 12 races taking the pole eight times (tied for most in a single season). For his efforts in 2001 Bell was named an AARWBA (American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association) First Team All-American in the “At Large” category. The talented and aggressive resident of San Luis Obispo, California also made his CART debut in 2001 running two races for Visteon/Patrick Racing. Despite starting from the back of the field, because inclement weather cancelled qualifying at both races, Bell was very competitive. He finished 13th in his inaugural CART event on the oval at Eurospeedway in Lausitz, Germany and 12th, earning his first championship point, on the oval at Rockingham, England. “We are very pleased to have Townsend competing for the Visteon/Patrick Racing team for a full season in 2002,” Patrick said. “His record in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series, as well as his performance in two races with our team last year, clearly demonstrated his ability to make the permanent move to CART competition. We look forward to a successful season with Townsend behind the wheel,” Patrick concluded. Bell finished the 2001 season with 193 points taking the Dayton Indy Lights Championship by 44 points. He led the most laps with 385, and completed the most laps with 597 out of a possible 609. Bell also logged a total of 1003.814 miles out of a possible 1019.478. He is the 16th different Indy Lights champion since the series’ inception in 1986 and the first American to win the title since Bryan Herta in 1993. In two years of Lights competition, 24 starts, Bell scored eight career wins (tied for fourth on the career list) and ten poles (third on the career list). “I am obviously very excited about competing in my first full CART season,” Bell said. “I want to thank Mr. Patrick and Visteon for this opportunity. Patrick Racing is one of the best teams in the history of the series and Visteon is a tremendous sponsor. I am looking forward to racing with them in 2002,” Bell concluded. Bell, 26, began racing go-karts at the age of 12 in 1987. After a hiatus he joined the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Series in 1997 scoring two victories in 10 races. Bell competed in his first Barber Dodge Pro Series event in 1997 then ran a partial season in 1998 and a full season in 1999 placing third in the championship with one win, four podium finishes and one pole. In 2000 Bell made the jump to the Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series. In 12 races he scored two victories with four runner-up finishes and two poles. He finished second in the championship battle and scored the most points of any driver on ovals. For his efforts he was named the Indy Lights “Rookie of the Year” and claimed a place on the Lights “All-Star” Team. Today’s announcement confirms Patrick Racing’s commitment to the CART FedEx Championship Series and its new management. Patrick Racing, which is entering its 30th year of competition, is one of the most successful teams in the history of Champ Car racing. The team has captured 45 victories, three Indianapolis 500 wins and two national championships (1976 – Gordon Johncock and 1989 – Emerson Fittipaldi). U. E. “Pat” Patrick is the co-founder of CART and the “father” of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series.
Industry News
American Honda and The Craig Company Support Team USA  Scholarship Program Gains Momentum for Journey to New Zealand December 20, 2001 - One of this country's premier automobile corporations, American Honda, and The Craig Company LLC, an emerging international sports representation and consulting business, have joined the bandwagon in support of the Team USA Scholarship. Now in its 12th year, the Team USA Scholarship will fund the entry of two talented young American drivers, A.J. Allmendinger and Bryan Sellers, in the upcoming Talley's New Zealand International Formula Ford Championship. The series begins with the prestigious New Zealand Grand Prix at the world's most southerly racetrack, Teretonga Park, near Invercargill, on January 6. "The Team USA program has proven itself to be a valuable contribution to the careers of many young American racers, including Champ Car drivers Bryan Herta, Memo Gidley and Jimmy Vasser," affirmed American Honda Executive Vice President Thomas G. Elliott. "Honda is proud to contribute to this effort and looks forward to following the careers of A.J. Allmendinger and Bryan Sellers as they progress." Added The Craig Company LLC principal Andrew Craig, "American drivers have all the potential in the world, so it behooves everybody who's involved in, and cares about, motorsports in the U.S. to support initiatives that give young American drivers new experiences and increases their international exposure. It's a real pleasure to support the Team USA Scholarship and I wish both drivers every success." Allmendinger, 20, from Hollister, Calif., and Sellers, 19, from Centerville, Ohio, will travel to New Zealand next week to begin preparations for their assault on the championship, which will comprise two races at each of four race meetings spread over four weekends in January and February.
Bear Stearns thinks highly of Pook  In our view, there is a tremendous amount of respect for Mr. Pook within the racing community, including among promoters, sponsors, broadcasters, team owners, drivers, engine suppliers, etc. He has established very strong relationships throughout the entire CART world already, given his involvement in Long Beach. This could prove particularly important looking ahead as CART begins to tackle some of the more pertinent issues facing the company, such as securing and retaining key race team and sponsor involvement, as well as working through the tenuous engine manufacturer situation.  - In our view, it will be interesting to see over the next several months how Mr. Pook views the current CART business model and where he believes the company needs to go to ensure value for its shareholders and participants. We believe issues that may be addressed could include whether or not CART should focus more on domestic growth or continue building an international race series, as well as whether the street course model, as opposed to the multi-track model (ovals/street/road), is the most appropriate formula going forward. Sponsor feedback will also be carefully considered in any changes in the future direction of the company, in our view. - Given Pook’s strong background in the racing community and his proven track record at Long Beach, we believe CART is good hands, though there are still several unknowns (TV, sponsor defection, and race team defection) that bring risk to the story. Progress made next season will be very key to CART’s future, in our view. Bear Stearns
Industry News
Dover Downs makes another appointment  Dover Downs Entertainment (NYSE:DVD) is pleased to announce that Mark Rossi will become the new Vice President of Sales & Marketing as of January 2, 2002. Rossi replaces John Dawson, who recently resigned. As VP of Sales & Marketing, Rossi will oversee advertising, sales, hospitality and public relations efforts for all of the company's motor sports locations. Rossi comes to Dover from the Sara Lee Corporation in New York, where he was Vice President of Business Development since 1999. Part of his work included promoting the Hills Bros. product within the NASCAR community. 
Ferrari chief warns Bernie  Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo has warned Bernie Ecclestone that he will be marginalized from the world of Formula One racing when the present contract governing the sport expires at the end of 2007, Corriere dello Sport reported Thursday. Di Montezemolo's remarks are the latest step in a war that has seen the Formula One constructors threaten to take control of the sport from its British supremo Ecclestone - an issue brought to a head by the sale of TV rights to German media magnate Leo Kirch. That would mean Formula One would be available on pay per view, angering sponsors who want their logos to have the maximum exposure. Di Montezemolo, whose team this year retained the drivers' and constructors' championships, said: "Bernie has many merits. From the days in Formula One when I had to go to Monza to threaten to pull out the cars if we did not have more tickets and when TV only broadcast the Grand Prix at Italia, Monte Carlo and Nurburgring we have reached the success of today. "So great were Ecclestone's merits that the teams were prepared to forget his economic greed. Other managers were happy with 10 to 20 percent but he was not. If now Ecclestone for his own reasons decides to sell the TV rights to others then he no longer has the constructors on board. "We get 43 percent of the profits - he and (world governing body) FIA get 57 percent. The teams have a contract with Ecclestone until the end of 2007. It will be respected - there will be no split, no alternative championship. "It will be one championship where the constructors have 100 percent of the cake and will thus be self-financing, including the little teams."
CART Sneak Preview to be at Laguna Seca this year  Sneak Preview 2002, the official kickoff of the FedEx Championship Series season, will be held February 7-10 at Mazda Raceway of Laguna Seca in Monterey, California with a return to its roots of on-track action during the four-day affair for media and fans. Sneak Preview, which included Champ Car testing from 1996-2000 when it was known as Spring Training, will return to the track for extensive test sessions Saturday, Feb. 9 and Sunday, Feb. 10. Teams are scheduled to participate in a pair of test sessions each day, with roughly six hours of track time available, on the scenic 2.238-mile permanent road course. The testing will follow nearly two days of driver availability on Thursday, Feb. 7 and Friday, Feb. 8 to allow the media in-depth interviews and expanded photography opportunities. Formal driver interview sessions also will be scheduled for the media during the two-day, off-track sessions. All FedEx Championship Series drivers will be available during these sessions. “We enhanced the Sneak Preview package by maintaining the off-track availability of our stars from last year’s program with the return of two days of competition to provide an excellent package for both our worldwide media and fan base,” said Mike Zizzo, CART vice president of competition public relations. “Monterey provides a beautiful backdrop, but more importantly it provides each of our teams with valuable test data for the upcoming Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Shell 300 here on June 9.” The CART FedEx Championship Series Sneak Preview 2002 will be highlighted by the annual CART FedEx Championship Series All-Star Celebration, scheduled for the evening of Thursday, Feb. 7 at a special site to be announced. The All-Star Celebration is a kickoff party that honors the five drivers selected to the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series All-Star Team – champion Gil de Ferran, Kenny Brack, Michael Andretti, Helio Castroneves and Cristiano da Matta – as well as the trio of drivers selected to both the Dayton Indy Lights and CART Toyota Atlantic three-member all-star squads. Among the trophy presentations, special all-star videos and entertainment will be the presentation of the annual Mario Andretti Trophy, which is given to the CART FedEx Championship Series All Star who is the leading vote-getter. Both on-track days will be open to FedEx Championship Series fans seeking a glimpse of their favorite Champ Car stars and teams. The Media Days on Feb. 7-8 will be open only to the media. A full schedule of events as well as additional announcements will be released over the coming weeks.  We have added this to our 2002 CART Schedule.
Speedvision to air ALMS review  Speedvision's "The Year In Racing" will review the 2001 American Le Mans Series season in a special program to air on Thursday night, December 27. The popular American cable television network will broadcast the program at 10 p.m. (EST), 7 p.m. (PST). Speedvision televised four of the eight American Le Mans Series races held in the 2001 season, including those at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway, Road Atlanta, Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway. ALMS  ALMS
Lauda to test Jaguar  According to Austria’s APA agency, Lauda will carry out a one-off test in Jaguar’s new R3-Cosworth on January 13th in Valencia during development runs at the Spanish Valencia circuit. The 52-year-old is eager to get a deeper understanding of the car so he can communicate with engineers and drivers Irvine and De la Rosa during problem solving. He also wants to experience the modern electronic aids such as fully automatic gearboxes, launch control and traction control, having said a ‘monkey could drive an F1 car’ when the aids were introduced in May this year.
ELMS scrapped  The European Le Mans Series, which was formed prior to the 2001 season, will not continue, series organizers have announced. "It is with regret and sadness that we must make this announcement," said Scott Atherton, President and COO of the Panoz Motor Sports Group. "We have been working diligently over the last several months in an attempt to confirm the continuation of the series," he said. "But establishing a new professional sports car racing series in an already-fragmented environment was a tremendous challenge. "In addition, the state of the global economy following the events of September 11 has made an already difficult task even more challenging," Atherton said. "At the same time, the major auto manufacturers and suppliers that are involved in Le Mans Series sports car racing made it clear that they wanted us to focus our efforts on the North American market." The ELMS, formed as a sister series to the American Le Mans Series, held five sports car endurance races in five European countries in the 2001 season. Stefan Johansson was the series LMP 900 class champion. Atherton praised the efforts of John Macdonald, ELMS Executive Director. "We could not have had the inaugural season we had without the dedication and hard work of John Macdonald and his staff," said Atherton. "We also owe a big thank you to the racing teams that supported the series, and to the racing circuits and promoters that hosted the events." Atherton indicated that he expected the Panoz Motor Sports Group would be involved in staging European events at some point in the future.  ALMS/ELMS
Industry News
2002 detailed race schedules  When you visit our 2002 Race Schedule page, you will now notice links under the title for each series (CART, F1, NASCAR and IRL).  Those links take you to a detailed schedule for that particular series, which lists track data, weather data, TV times (when available), etc.  We will have updates as they are received.  Mark C.
Sponsorless Sam Schmidt signs Lazzaro  Racing veteran Anthony Lazzaro signed a multiyear contract to drive for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in the Indy Racing League, team owner Sam Schmidt announced Dec. 19. Lazzaro, the 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic champion, drove a Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry in 2001 at the inaugural Gateway Indy 250 at Gateway International Raceway and the Chevy 500 season finale at Texas Motor Speedway, finishing 18th and 13th, respectively. "Anthony is a great driver who still carries a daily passion for the pursuit of the win," Schmidt said. "He did a great job in the final Texas event, holding his own in the top five and running as high as second. I am looking forward to heading into the new season with my old teammate and longtime friend." Schmidt, a former Indy Racing League driver, was Lazzaro's teammate at Team Atlanta Motorsports in 1995 in the Hooters Formula Ford 2000 series. "This has been a long time coming," said Lazzaro, a native of South Carolina. "I am just thrilled to be heading into a full season, and to be doing so with Sam makes it that much better. I will always be grateful for the opportunity he gave me last season to show my capabilities and to get my feet wet with the Indy Racing League. "The growth in the series has been incredible, and every year the competition gets that much tougher, so I appreciate the opportunity to get in now." Schmidt is searching for a primary sponsor but has announced that longtime Schmidt and Lazzaro supporter, BG Products, will continue its support of the team. Schmidt will continue to use the team to promote spinal-cord research through the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation and entertain paralysis patients at Indy Racing events.  IRL
Galles stays shut, Unser talking to Treadway  According to this article, Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Al Unser Jr. is without a ride for the upcoming Indy Racing League season, scheduled to start March 2 at Miami-Homestead Speedway. The 38-year-old second-generation driver from Albuquerque, N.M., joined the IRL in 2000 and has been part of Galles Racing. Since then, Unser has competed in 22 races and scored two wins. Sponsor woes have put Galles' future plans on hiatus and Unser was given permission to contact other IRL teams about driving possibilities.
Michaelian named to replace Pook at GP Long Beach  Dover Downs Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:DVD), parent company of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, Inc., announced today that Jim Michaelian has been named president and CEO of the organization, succeeding Christopher R. Pook. It was announced earlier today that Pook was elected president and CEO of Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE:MPH), and will take office immediately. Michaelian, 58, had previously served as chief operating officer of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, which operates the highly successful Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, since 1997. "Obviously, Chris' legacy in Long Beach is extensive," said Michaelian. "He is responsible for much of what we've been able to do here in Long Beach. But the best part of his legacy is what's in place here now: a dedicated, experienced group of professionals who know how to promote and stage a world-class auto race. "I welcome the opportunity to lead this organization to even greater heights in the future," Michaelian added. "We have some exciting events ahead with Long Beach in April, the new Grand Prix of Denver in August and the possibility of staging a street race in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 2003." "Given the time and dedication that Jim Michaelian has put into the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, there really was never any question that he should move into the president and CEO role with the departure of Chris Pook," said Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Downs Entertainment. "Jim knows the operation so well and his presence insures that the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach will continue to be in very good hands. There is a very bright future at Long Beach with the new races coming on board and Jim is just the right person to be leading the way." Michaelian has been with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach since its inception in 1974. He has held various positions within the organization throughout the years, including controller, vice president of administration, and executive vice president. He will continue his role as executive producer of Grand Prix Teleproductions, the company's in-house television production group. "While we're sad to see Chris go, we recognize that the impact he will have on CART will be beneficial to us in the long term," Michaelian said. "It's truly a win-win situation." The 28th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will take place April 12-14, 2002. The new Grand Prix of Denver is set for Labor Day Weekend, August 30-Sept. 1, 2002. Tickets for both events can be purchased by calling (888) 82-SPEED. For more information, visit and/or
Patrick makes statement on Pook  JACKSON, MI - Patrick Racing team owner U. E. “Pat” Patrick, the co-founder of CART, today expressed his unqualified and enthusiastic support for Chris Pook the newly elected CART President and CEO of CART.“On behalf of Patrick Racing I want to welcome with great enthusiasm Chris Pook as the president and CEO of CART,” Patrick said. “In my opinion this is the greatest accomplishment CART has achieved since its formation. Since CART’s inception over 20 years ago we have never had a professional manager with the expertise and background of Chris running our business,” Patrick noted. “The last year was a very difficult time for CART primarily due to a lack of leadership by both the Board of Directors and CART’s management. I am confident that Chris will be able to restructure CART’s management staff so that the company can grow and prosper in the way I envisioned when CART was first formed. I look forward to supporting Chris in any way I can and I wish him all the best,” Patrick concluded. 
Brack has first test with 2002 Lola  Sebring, Florida - Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Kenny Brack took the seat of his new 2002 Lola for the first time on Monday and Tuesday in Sebring, Florida. Last year’s runner-up in the CART FedEx Championship series turned a total of 300 miles in the new car and came away impressed by the new Lola. Story
Tracy celebrates 33rd Birthday at speed  Team KOOL Green driver Paul Tracy celebrated his 33rd birthday on Monday, December 17, while lapping the two-mile California Speedway as part of a Bridgestone tire test. CART competitor Christian Fittipaldi and IRL drivers Robbie Buhl and Scott Sharp joined Tracy in his birthday test. The 2001 Team KOOL Green Honda-Reynard ran flawlessly during the test, which continued on Tuesday, enabling Tracy to record a total of 498 miles. According to team manager Kyle Moyer, they concentrated on testing tires rather than chassis or aerodynamic development work. "I'm really proud of all the guys, the last two weeks have been tough," he said. "We took delivery on a new car and tested it less than a week later at Sebring without any trouble. Then we traveled from Florida to California and had another flawless test. The TKG crew has worked really hard so we can get the most out of these tests." 
Rahal comments on Pook appointment  "I'd like to congratulate Chris on his appointment as President and CEO of CART. His reputation and record speak for themselves and I can't think of a better person within the industry who knows and appreciates the things that need to be done to take CART forward. I am excited for CART and its future and for all the people of CART and our fans. I look forward to working with Chris in anyway shape or manner in order to take CART forward." 
Chris Pook named new CART President  CART announced today that its Board of Directors elected motorsports veteran Christopher R. Pook to serve as its new president and chief executive officer, reporting directly to the Board of Directors.  Pook, the founder of the renowned Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, will take office immediately, replacing Joseph F. Heitzler who served as CART's president since December of last year. Heitzler will remain a member of the Board of Directors and continue to serve as Chairman of the Board. Story
Order your CART Autocourse 2001/2002 now and get 30% off  This pre-publication price of $24.26 is the lowest you will get (30% off), so order now for January 2002 publishing, February 2002 arrival.  The quality of the on-track competition in the FedEx Championship Series continues to live up to all expectations. Now in its 9th year of publication, the AUTOCOURSE CART OFFICIAL YEARBOOK will capture the excitement of another season's thrilling racing. It will again enjoy the official endorsement of CART and will contain a complete and accurate record in words, photographs and statistics of the 2001 CART World Series racing season. Each race will be reported in entertaining detail with superb color photos of the racing action and personalities, supported by comprehensive results. Lively features will include profiles of the 2001 Champion and of the other leading drivers, and will follow the technical advances and car specifications. Top ten drivers, profiles and team-by-team review, topical features, comprehensive statistics and results.  Binding: Hardback with dust jacket. Illustrations: Over 250 color photographs
List Price: $34.95, Our Price: $24.46, You Save: $10.49 (30%) Click here to see large image
Stewart to drive in Rolex 24-hours Finally putting to rest the deal that had been brewing ever since the NASCAR Winston Cup weekend in Atlanta over a month ago, stock-car star Tony Stewart signed a deal Tuesday with Max Crawford to race in the upcoming Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Stewart will co-drive a works-entered Crawford SSC2K powered by a Judd V10 engine along with road racing veterans Jan Lammers and Johnny Mowlem. "I am excited about the opportunity to run a true road-course race, especially with it being one of the biggest races of the year at Daytona," said Stewart. "I am also excited about teaming up with Jan Lammers and Johnny Mowlem, knowing that their past experience in this type of racing will help my learning curve. I'm looking forward to a great race."
Fernandez Racing takes delivery of new Lola  Fernández Racing took delivery of its first Lola B2/00 chassis yesterday at the team's headquarters in Indianapolis. With the move from Reynard to Lola, Fernández Racing is currently the only team running the Honda/Lola combination in the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series. "The new Lola appears to be a logical development of last year's car," said Co-owner and Technical Director Don Halliday, who worked with the Lola chassis in 2001 as race engineer for driver Kenny Brack at Team Rahal. "Mechanically it is very similar, and aerodynamically, it is a little different in places. Hopefully it is a conservative development on the good points of this past year, and a correction on some areas which weren't so good." Shinji Nakano will put the Honda/Lola through its initial paces at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., on January 10. Team owner/driver Adrián Fernández is scheduled to get behind the wheel for his first laps on January 23, at a two-day test also at Sebring. "With our first test now scheduled for January, it will give us the necessary time to group," noted Halliday on the team's decision to move its originally scheduled test from December 19. "We are in a situation where people are getting familiar with a new car, and a new brand in this case. It will also give Honda time to make any necessary adjustments. "Basically it allows us time to do things right, which is always a pleasure to have when you're going to your first test." Fernández Racing Co-owner and Managing Director Tom Anderson is equally optimistic about the team's first pre-season outing. "We are looking forward to working with our new partners at Lola and to our first opportunity to run, at this time, the only Honda/Lola combination. I know there will be a lot of support from Lola and Honda at the test, so we are extremely encouraged and looking forward to January 10. I can't wait. "EFI has some major upgrades to its [data acquisition] system, and I am also looking forward to getting that software and hardware together to start working with it and its expanded capabilities for the 2002 season," added Anderson.
Why we love F1  You probably always wondered why you loved Formula One so much.  Some say it's the technology, others say it's the glamour, still others argue it's the great sounds of a F1 engine.  If it's the sound you like, turn up you're volume and listen in on the sweet sound of a modern F1 car. And you wonder what your kids think about F1? Mark C.
New road course track proposed for Southern NJ  We reported this months ago, and now it has resurfaced in this article. They want to build a road course and have it partially funded with tax payers money, and they want to focus on Indy Cars and other non-NASCAR races.  AR1 has inside knowledge of NJ (we have staff based there) and its politics and can tell you  - don't hold your breath on this one. Mark C.
Final 2002 IRL schedule released 
Date Track Track Size Laps Network Time (Eastern) 
March 2 Homestead-Miami Speedway 1.5 miles 200 ABC 1 p.m. 
March 17 Phoenix International Raceway 1 mile 200 ABC 4 p.m. 
March 24 California Speedway 2 miles 200 ESPN 3:30 p.m. 
April 21 Nazareth Speedway 1 mile 200 ABC 1 p.m. 
May 26 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5 miles 200 ABC 11 a.m. 
June 8 Texas Motor Speedway 1.5 miles 200 ESPN 8 p.m. 
June 16 Pikes Peak International Raceway 1 mile 225 ABC 4 p.m. 
June 29 Richmond International Raceway .75-mile 250 ESPN 7:30 p.m. 
July 7 Kansas Speedway 1.5 miles 200 ABC 1 p.m. 
July 20 Nashville Superspeedway 1.33 miles 200 ESPN 7:30 p.m. 
July 28 Michigan International Speedway 2 miles 200 ABC 2:30 p.m. 
Aug. 11 Kentucky Speedway 1.5 miles 200 ABC 1:30 p.m. 
Aug. 25 Gateway International Raceway 1.25 miles 200 ESPN 3 p.m. 
Sept. 8 Chicagoland Speedway 1.5 miles 200 ABC 1 p.m. 
Sept. 15 Texas Motor Speedway 1.5 miles 200 ABC 3 p.m. 
Jeff Gordon turns down IROC ride Jeff Gordon, 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup champion, will not participate in the 2002 IROC series. The four-time Winston Cup champion cited several factors in his decision. "It's definitely an honor to be recognized by IROC and compete against an elite group of drivers," said Gordon, driver of the DuPont Chevrolet. "I'll never forget the first invitation I received from IROC in 1995. It was very exciting. "Unfortunately, due to the demands on my time with the number of races on the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule and commitments to my sponsors, in addition to my increased involvement with the No. 24 and No. 48 teams, I have to decline the invitation (to participate in the 2002 IROC series). "This decision was made after lengthy discussions with my wife, my team and Rick Hendrick."

NBC willing to broadcast Miami ALMS race has confirmed (i.e. fact) that NBC, the true ALMS network TV partner, is willing to pick up the broadcast of the ALMS race on Saturday April 6th from Miami if CART takes the Sunday slot in Miami on CBS.  Time is running out to get this deal done, so CART had better make a decision on who its next President will be this week so that person, along with the board, can review the Miami proposal put forward and decide one way or the other if it's going to race in Miami.  ALMS fans can now rest easy that their race will be broadcast on network TV regardless of what CART decides.  Each network partner will treat its race as a special event, therefore, it doesn't matter who race on Saturday or Sunday.  Mark C.
BAR launches 2002 contender  Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda unveiled its new 2002 Formula One contender, the B.A.R Honda 004, at the team’s Brackley factory today. They also announced a basic agreement with Honda on the extension of their relationship to the end of 2004, introduced a new management team, and confirmed a long-term contract with Bridgestone.  Story
Paul Tracy on a diet  UPDATE It turns out that Paul is using a company called PitFit Training to get in better shape for 2002.   They train a number of drivers in CART, IRL, and other series as well as a number of pit crews. They fly to Vegas about every three weeks to train Paul, and will continue until the start of the season. In the picture on the right, Paul is doing some stretch cord work. 12/15/01 -  Paul Tracy has always been one of the heavier drivers on the CART circuit, and the extra weight probably cost him more than a few HP.  We saw Paul at Sebring last week.  He has lost quite a bit of weight in the off-season and looks ready to start winning races again, and perhaps the CART title.  His crew members say his seat belts are fastened two notches tighter now. 

Pollack resigns from BAR, headed to CART? UPDATE BAR confirmed that Prodrive boss David Richards will take over from departing CEO and team principal Craig Pollock for the 2002 season. The announcement was made at the team's pre-season launch in Brackley today, and confirmed rumors. Richards, who will take over the reins as 'team principal designate'. "With today's announcements, BAR can move forward with a secure future based on strong partnerships," Richards said, "For my part, I will be carefully assessing the situation over the next month before making any necessary changes."  12/17/01 -  Just a day before British American Racing launches its 2002 contender, Team Principal Craig Pollock has announced he is resigning. Pollock, who has been a principal of BAR's since 1999, said he was proud of what had been achieved over the past three years, but said he wanted to pursue other interests. 'I am extremely proud of what has been achieved at British American Racing.'. 'I believe the foundations have been laid for great success. All the staff have been fantastic to work with and I wish the Team every success for the future. 'For my part I think the time is now right to explore new opportunities.'  We wonder if his resignation in anyway affects Jerry Forsythe's involvement in the team.  One would think not, but wouldn't it be something if Pollack comes to the USA to head up Forsythe's second Champ Car team?'  Both Pollack and Forsythe have strong ties in Canada, and with Players leaving the sport after 2003 due to Canadian tobacco legislation, one can't help but wonder if Forsythe would bring in Pollack to find a new sponsor and making both teams financially sound.  Pollack also has strong ties to Jacques Villeneuve who is quickly getting tired of being an also-ran in F1.  Might he come back to CART rather than endure too many more seasons at BAR?  MC
CART drivers make plans for the holidays  While some Champ Car drivers will be spending at least part of the week prior to Christmas getting acquainted with their 2002 equipment packages, some also have firmed up their plans on how they will spend the holiday season.  Story CART
Forums to surpass 6,000 members soon   Our Discussion Forums are close to passing the 6,000 member mark. As we gain new members rapidly, the discussions have become more interesting and many people who post are quite knowledgeable.  We also have quite a few racing executives who lurk or post with assumed names, so keep your posts clean and about racing.  They are there for everyone to enjoy.  Will you be the 6,000th new member?  Sign up today. MC
Lola the car to have in 2002?  We have started a new 2001-2002 CART Testing Page for the off-season.  So far Kenny Brack in his 2002 is far and away fastest, but it's still early in the test season.  You can compare this years times (lower turbo boost) by comparing them to the 2000-2001 Test Times. will do its best to keep the test times page updated throughout the off-season, but you must recognize that unlike F1, NASCAR and the IRL, where all test times are made readily available, getting test times from CART teams is like pulling teeth.  Some still guard them as 'top-secret' rather than publish them for the paying customers (i.e. the fans) who constantly ask us what we heard. This is another item for Chris Pook to address when he takes office.  BTW, there is some interesting discussion about the look of the new Lola in our CART Forums. MC
Paul Newman/CARA Charities Christmas Ornaments still available  The 2001 CARA Charities Christmas Ornament, designed this year by actor and CART Champ Car team owner Paul Newman, is still available and ready for shipment before Christmas, but last minute shoppers better act fast. Orders will be taken only through Noon ET this Wednesday, Dec. 19, before closing for the remainder of the year. Newman, co-owner of Newman/Haas Racing with Carl Haas, is the latest in a long line of motorsports personalities to design a CARA Charities Christmas Ornament, a tradition that dates back to 1992. Newman's 2001 design features a cool Santa in sunglasses, traditional red suit and his familiar bag of gifts. His sleigh is an open-wheel race car that looks fast despite four flat tires. Proceeds from the sale of the 2001 ornaments will benefit the CARA Charities Shirley Bettenhausen Children's Fund at Methodist Hospital that has contributed over $200,000 for a specialized play area, toys for young patients and holiday parties at the hospital throughout the year. The late Bettenhausen, who was the 1996 CARA Charities President and a long-time supporter of the organization, founded the Children's Fund project and also introduced the Christmas Ornament tradition. Newman, who also serves on the CARA Charities Advisory Board, is the first team owner to design a CARA Charities Christmas Ornament. Other motorsports notables who have designed ornaments include drivers Mario Andretti and Michael Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, A.J. Foyt, Arie Luyendyk, Rick Mears, Bobby Rahal, Johnny Rutherford and Al Unser Jr. A limited number of ornaments designed by these drivers are also available. Ornaments are available for a $20.00 donation through the CARA Charities office at (317) 299-2277. Or you can email an order at Please type "Christmas Ornament Order" in the subject/topic area of all email orders. An additional shipping charge of $4 is required for all ornament orders although individuals are free to provide their own FedEx number or similar shipping account to ensure delivery before Christmas.
What's happening at Newman Haas racing?  Christian Fittipaldi is at California Speedway today to perform a two-day tire test for Bridgestone/Firestone. Fittipaldi will be behind the wheel of the 2001 No. 11 Kmart Toyota-Lola as well as the 2001 No. 6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola that teammate Cristiano da Matta drove to victory in the recent CART FedEx Championship season-finale Marlboro 500. The test will provide the first at-track experience for the team's new race engineer Guillaume "Rocky" Rocquelin since joining Newman/Haas Racing in early December.  Story
Veteran driver announces new Trans-Am team  Don Sak Racing today announced sweeping changes to its long running Trans-Am Series racing team. Sak, who ranks second in all-time number of starts among active drivers, has formed Revolution Motorsports, a new team that will be a competitive force in the Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Tires Cup. Revolution Motorsports has moved into its new Wixom, Michigan facility and, in association with Trenton Forging, will campaign two 2002 Chevrolet Corvettes. These popular American muscle car icons sufficiently arm the team to be a force in contending the 2002 Trans-Am Championship, starting with the Grand Prix of Miami on April 6, 2002. "I am excited about the new venture and I feel that with the personnel we have this season, Revolution Motorsports will succeed in raising the competition level within the Trans- Am Series," Sak said from his home this afternoon. "On all levels of this team, we have been bringing on people who know how to win and have done so in the past". Among the highlights of last year's Trans-Am season was Don Sak Racing's Missing Children program. Fueled by the success of a partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Revolution Motorsports is bringing the faces of America's missing children back to the hood of their racecars again for 2002. After featuring a 7-year-old Michigan girl during the 2001 Detroit Grand Prix, the team was publicly credited by law enforcement officials for being instrumental in the return of the little girl to her custodial father, putting two wanted kidnappers behind bars. "That exposure (on Don Sak's racecar) and other race-related publicity yielded tips that led to Tori's return, Cheboygan County Sheriff Dale Clarmont said. "We're just elated because this time it is a very happy ending, thanks to the hard work of these very generous people." Revolution Motorsports will compete as part of the 12-race Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Tires Cup. All events will be televised nationally on CBS and the Speed Channel (formerly Speedvision). The Trans-Am Series is the oldest form of American sports car racing. You can find out more at For more information on Revolution Motorsports, please see
2001 Toyota Atlantic All-Stars  President and CEO of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, Vicki O’Connor, announced today the members of the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic All-Star team. The All-Star team was selected by 12 media representatives, the Atlantic drivers, and one celebrity voter. This year’s celebrity voter was Robin Yount, Hall of Fame shortstop for the Milwaukee Brewers, and co-owner of Atlantic team, P-1 Racing. The three Atlantic All-Stars join five All-Stars from the CART FedEx Championship Series to make up the eight-member team.  Story
Toyota F1 car launched.  AOL Time Warner signs on  At is Cologne launch today, Toyota Motorsport announced that AOL Time Warner, the US multi-media giant, had become an official partner. The cash deal will mean that AOL Time Warner corporate logos will be prominently placed on each side of TMG's new TF102 machine. Several days ago it was also announced Wella, the cosmetics maker, had agreed to a new commercial deal. Ove Andersson, TMG President, said the signing was 'a pleasure', but identified the need for the team to perform to a high standard with such a prestigious backer behind it. 'That a leading global corporation like AOL Time Warner backs our team is proof of the high expectation of our Formula 1 activities,' said the Swede. 'We are honored to have them as our sponsor, but at the same time, we feel some pressure to live up to their expectations.'  Story
Engine (RVX-02): Toyota V 10 / 90°/2998 cc 
Transmission: Toyota 6 speed Semi-Automatic Gearbox 
Clutch: Sachs 
Chassis (TF102): Carbon fibre 
Suspension: Push rod with torsion bar front and rear 
Brakes: Brembo 
Shock Absorber: Sachs 
Wheels: BBS Magnesium Front: 13 x 12, Rear: 13 x 13.5 
Tires: Michelin Pilot 
Electronics: Magneti Marelli 
Wheel Base: 3,090 mm 
Weight: 600kg with driver 
Total Length: 4,547 mm 
Front Track: 1,424 mm 
Rear Track 1,411 mm 
Shanghai safe for CART  A reader writes - I read an article in the NY Times today by Craig Smith that talks about the Chinese government executing Islamic Militants left and right.  Some people don't like the China governments heavy hand, but they certainly don't put up with any BS now do they?  With that sort of diligent police work, I suspect there won't be any danger for Americans who go to a CART race in Shanghai, assuming CART gets their act together and actually goes there.  Keep up the good work on AR1, it's absolutely the best racing website around.   Julie Clark, New York, NY
No more F1 races at Kyalami  Race organizers of teh Kyalami, South Africa circuit, home of many F1 races, and the site of Mario Andretti's first F1 win, is selling off part of its land to raise much needed money.  That means the track will be reduced in length to 2-miles and probably won't be long enough anymore for a F1 race.  Mark C.
NASCAR/ISC/IRL vs. CART/ALMS  UPDATE A reader writes - Gary Long's article just substantiates Steve Levinson's 'Stranger in a Strange Land' article. People don't believe in conspiracy's, but from where I sit things do seem to point to that. Talk about Voodoo economics, as Mr. Levinson calls it, the GrandAm series doesn't draw a crowd, so where is the money coming from to pay the purse?  I submit it's probably the France family who props up that loser series just to divide and conquer ALMS because they saw Don Panoz getting to powerful.  Yes, the divide and conquer theory is alive and well.  Do you suppose the NASCAR folks also urged Tony George to create the IRL and divide and conquer Indy Car racing (it's quite apparent the IRL is modeled after NASCAR)?  Do you suppose Tony George fell right in the trap?  In the end, they want only NASCAR to be standing, and Tony will scratch his head and wonder what happened.  I agree that CART and ALMS should form an alliance immediately.  Together they will be stronger.  Tim Wallace, Atlanta Georgia 12/16/01 - This article by Gary Long in today's Miami Herald about the Miami race puts the battle between the France family, Tony George and NASCAR against CART and the ALMS all into perspective.  It's ugly and about to get uglier.  CART would be wise to align themselves with Don Panoz and the ALMS to form a strong alliance that solidifies their dominance of the road courses of North America while the other side keeps their grip on the ovals. Perhaps if the two sides can agree, one to rule the ovals, and the other to rule the road courses, both can co-exist in harmony......and prosper.  Mark C.
NBA close to deal with ABC  The NBA is close to changing TV partners, leaving longtime broadcaster NBC in favor of ABC and ESPN, the Associated Press reported yesterday. The league and networks reached an agreement in principle on a deal that could be announced as early as next week, two sources familiar with the negotiations told the AP on condition they not be identified. ABC and ESPN, both owned by Walt Disney Co., will pay more than NBC's bid of about $1.3 billion, the TV industry source said, but less than the $1.75 billion in NBC's old four-year contract.  We wonder what will happen to the IRL race broadcasts when the basketball games run over their time slot, something they typically do.
Alex Zanardi stands  This was posted in our CART discussion forum.  A link to a story and photos of Alex Zanardi standing for the first time on his new legs.   It happened this afternoon at the Palazzo dei Congressi at Bologna - Zanardi's birthplace - during the popular celebration "Caschi d'Oro" organized by the Italian weekly Autosprint.
Atlantics: Sigma to field 2-car team UPDATE Rocky Moran Jr., (pictured right) who was named as one of the drivers below, had an accident over the last several days and injured his back.  We hear it was a slight compression fracture to one of his vertebra, but we are trying to confirm that.  He should be fine.  12/14/01 -  Sigma Autosport, which entered the CART FedEx Championship Series last season, has announced its intentions to field a two-car effort in the Toyota Atlantic Championship for 2002. Sigma Autosport owner Tom Wieringa said the team will be run by veteran Toyota Atlantic managers Jim and Pam Griffith, and is going to be operated out of the Chardon, Ohio facility. Driving for the Sigma Atlantic team will be Rocky Moran Jr. and Dave Wieringa. “This is a great opportunity. Sigma worked with us to run the entire Atlantic program and we are delighted,” said Griffith, who will be the Director of Atlantic Operations. “I'm tending to the technical details of the team and Pam will coordinate the travel, logistics and other non-mechanical deals for the team.” Griffith admitted he was pleased with the drivers. “We've got a great pair of young drivers. Rocky will do a good job for us and so will Dave,” said Griffith. “It's nice Dave will be getting some exposure on the race track in an Atlantic car and together they will do well.” Griffith, and an Ohio native, has been involved in racing as a mechanic, crew chief, fabricator and race car designer for more than 30 years. Griffith designed and built his own line of Super Vee cars, the Raven Atlantic race car, which was campaigned in 1993 and 1994. Griffith and his wife have been a part of three of the past six Toyota Atlantic championships. While at Lynx Racing, the couple (along with Sigma Atlantic engineer Bruce Potter) helped in the championship efforts of Patrick Carpentier in 1996, and Alex Barron in 1997. They were also instrumental in Buddy Rice's championship of 2000. Moran, 21, of Coto de Caza, Calif., is the son of former Champ Car driver Rocky Moran Sr., and began racing in the Toyota Atlantic series in 1999. He was named to the CART Toyota Atlantic All-Star drivers team in 2000, where he completed every lap. Moran won the final Atlantic race of the 2001 season at Laguna Seca Raceway in November. Wieringa, also 21, of Oak Brook, Ill., competed in the Barber Dodge Pro Series last year. He finished a season-best of fourth at his home track, Chicago Motor Speedway, and raced in one Atlantic event in August, at Trois-Rivieres, Canada. He has also raced in regional Formula Ford events where he has won numerous times along with posting new track records at several tracks. “Overall I think we will have a good program,” said Griffith. “We are aiming to win the championship and I believe we can do it.” “These are exciting times at Sigma Autosport,” said Wieringa. “Our Champ Car and Atlantic programs are in good hands and it looks as though next season will be a great one.” Sigma is a great example of the CART ladder system at work. Owner Tom Wieringa started in racing in the CART Atlantic series and now runs a Champ Car team, while Dave competed in the CART Barber Dodge Pro Series and has now moved up the Atlantics after only one season. Sigma Autosport will be the only entrant competing in CART for 2002 fielding both junior and senior teams. 
More on Mexico City has obtained an updated track map for Mexico City showing some of the changes under consideration.  Take a look at the Peraltada turn. We had a recent article on Mexico City which spotlighted the upcoming event.  In the new track diagram shown here, the 5K (long) track is the one used from 1962-70 and generally from 1959 to 1986. The second is the 4.421 K one used in the second era 1986-92 and shows the changes made. Depicted on this map is the turn inside the "Foro."  The Foro, or baseball stadium ,is the horseshoe at the Peraltada, it's easily identified.  The decreasing radius turn at the end of the main straight (original one) is called the Espiral (Spiral) and the next turn just after the straight is called the "S of the Lake" because there was a lake there originally, and the President of Mexico had a small cottage where he would watch the races since he was a big fan. It was also called the "Presidential turn" for that reason..  If you go right instead of left in it,  you have the 4K track used by CART in 1980-81.  BTW, one would hope CART would have enough common sense to use the long track that extends up to the hairpin, rather than the 'Mickey Mouse' short one that also limits the number of grandstands in that area. MC
Sigma owner to test Champ Car  Sigma Autosport owner Tom Wieringa is one of the few CART FedEx Championship Series owners who does not mind getting his hands dirty once in a while. Wieringa, of Oak Brook, Ill., who created and founded one of the most successful first-year CART programs of this past season, doesn't mind helping set up or tear down the hospitality trailer and tent on race weekends or drive the transporter. He also operates as a race spotter during all oval events. Now something new has been added—driving a race car. Wieringa, has taken a unique approach to “hands-on” ownership. Wieringa will test the 2001 Sigma Autosport Ford-Cosworth/Lola at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, in Homestead, Fla., on Dec. 18-19. Wieringa will test on the road course at Homestead, instead of the oval. For Wieringa, it will mean a better understanding of what goes on behind the controls of an 800-plus horsepower machine, something he believes is important. “I feel I can be a better manager and owner if I drive myself,” said Wieringa. “I think I know the business side of racing, but if I get in the car and drive I'll have a ‘behind the wheel' perspective as well. I'm really looking forward to this.” It won't be the first time that Wieringa has been behind the wheel of a race car. Wieringa was a graduate of the Skip Barber School of Driving, plus he contested in several Toyota-Atlantic championship races in 1999 and 2000. In addition, he has been behind the wheel in a Champ Car as well, having successfully completed a test in a Ford-Cosworth/Reynard the prior year. Earlier this month, Wieringa spent considerable time getting fitted for a seat and getting the Lola properly adjusted, which was not an easy task as Wieringa easily tops out at over 6 feet in height. Wieringa said the test is also to see how well two new radio systems, shock absorbers, data acquisition and telemetry work. “Homestead will be a great place to set up,” said Wieringa. While he won't be auditioning himself for a slot for the upcoming season yet, Wieringa did joke that it would be fun to race, but added this is to help the team out as well. “This is not only going to be a character builder, but a team building test,” said Wieringa. “It's important for the guys that they know I'm behind them all the way. I believe they are also behind me and together we can accomplish a lot.” 
Giaffone stays fastest  UPDATE A reader writes - Dear AutoRacing1, You got the title wrong on your 'Giaffone stays fastest' Hot News item. It should read 'CART rejects pace IRL test.'  These CART teams are not familiar with the IRL equipment, and Mo Nunn's CART team doesn't exactly set the world on fire.  However, they already blew the doors off the other IRL teams at the test.  Now Team Penske goes into sandbagging mode until the season starts.  I particularly got a kick out of this Penske post in your forums.  Whoever Mordichai Rosen is, he hit the proverbial nail on the head.  Sincerely, J. Davis, Denver Co. 12/14/01 -  The pace quickened considerably during Indy Racing League testing Dec. 13 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but 2001 Chevy Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone remained on top. Giaffone's best time was 27.22 seconds on the 1.5-mile oval, site of the season-opening 20th Anniversary Grand Prix of Miami on March 2, 2002. He also led Dec. 12 at 27.87 in an entry prepared by Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing, competing in the Indy Racing League for the first time in 2002. "My team is learning about IRL," Giaffone said. "At the same time, they are a great team. They have had a lot of success on ovals. Yesterday, in the first laps that I did with them the car was pretty good right out the box. I was really surprised. "We still have to improve our car with the long runs. But this is typical for this track. It's hard to go a lot of laps consistently here." Four of the five drivers participating in the two-day test at Homestead-Miami dipped under the 28-second mark Dec. 13. Only Giaffone was in the 27-second range on the first day of the test. 2001 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves was second quickest Dec. 13 at 27.25 in his Marlboro Team Penske entry, with teammate Gil de Ferran right behind at 27.28. 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr. recovered from a tough first day to record a quick lap of 27.48 in his Red Bull Cheever Indy Racing entry, while 1996 Indy Racing League co-champion Buzz Calkins was fifth at 28.31 in his Bradley Motorsports entry. Castroneves and de Ferran plan to test as much as possible this offseason as Marlboro Team Penske learns the nuances of Indy Racing cars in preparation for its first full Indy Racing League season in 2002. "The IRL cars are completely different," Castroneves said. "We have a lot to learn both equipment-wise and with the new circuits." Said 2001 Indianapolis 500 runner-up de Ferran: "Despite Marlboro Team Penske's successful results at Indy, we have very little experience with these cars. So, we have a lot to learn. It's like we are 
stepping into someone else's backyard." IRL
Marlboro fallout already affects CART  With Marlboro's defection to the IRL with Team Penske comes word that Marlboro has withdrawn their sponsorship of CART's season finale at Fontana.  Marlboro, together with Toyota, put up the majority share of the season ending $1 million-to-the-winner prize.  We suspect Marlboro will now sponsor the upcoming IRL race at Fontana in March.
Formula One on USA radio networks FORMULA 1 will be given massive radio coverage in the United States next year with plans for a syndicated live two-hour broadcast from every Grand Prix starting in Melbourne in March. The rights to radio in the United States have been sold by F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone to Andrew Craig, formerly the chief executive of CART, and he is aiming to target the estimated five to six million Americans who say are estimated to be passionately interested in Formula 1. Ecclestone is also working to sell the TV rights in the United States of America and is hoping that a deal will be possible with one of the big networks. If all goes to plan the F1 Radio Network will be syndicated to 300 local stations across the United States.
Four (4) Daytona 500 tickets for sale We have four tickets for the 2002 Daytona 500 for sale.  They are in the Weatherly Tower and afford full view of the entire track and pit lane.  The price is $170 each (i.e. face value).  If interested send an e-mail to   Grandstand Map
Age limit hits Roush Racing NASCAR's rule changes announced yesterday will effectively keep Roush Racing's 16-year-old Kyle Busch from participating in NASCAR's Craftsman Truck series in 2002. NASCAR recently announced that beginning in 2002, all drivers, crew members and other participants in their three major series, Winston Cup, Busch Grand National, and Craftsman Trucks, as well as all NASCAR Touring Series' must be age 18 or older in order to compete. "We feel that the rule change and reasoning behind that rule change is appropriate and clearly in the best interests of the sport," comments Geoff Smith, President of Roush Racing. " 
Reynard's 2002 model has successful debut  The first new Reynard 2002 Champ Car took to the track this week, with Paul Tracy driving the Team KOOL Green Reynard Honda at Sebring road course. Tracy completed 233 laps of the track in the initial test session by the team in preparation for next season’s FedEx Championship Series. Reynard has been developing its new chassis for over six months and, although Series Organizers, CART, has mandated a ‘chassis freeze’ until 2003, the company has been able to make a number of subtle modifications for the new model, particularly in the areas of suspension and aerodynamics with all-new side pods and underfloor, in addition to the introduction of new safety features, such as the anti-intrusion panels required by the Series regulations and a strengthened chassis. After the first day of running Reynard were pleased with the performance of the new car, with Head of Design, John Thompson, saying, “It was great to see the car running well at this early stage of testing for 2002. With the reduced boost, due to the new regulations we expected to have a comparative decrease in speed, but Tracy has been putting in some great lap times, especially as it is only the first day out on track.” KOOL Team Green Team Manager, Kyle Moyer, expressed his satisfaction with the new CART Series race car from Reynard, saying, "We really like the new Reynard 02i. One week after we took delivery of the car we had it on the track and didn't have a single failure. Reynard has paid a lot of attention to detail and made some minor changes in the aero and mechanical designs. Everything went so well mechanically on our first day of testing we were able to start adjusting the chassis a bit to make the car even faster." Paul Tracy said after the two day test, "I like the reliability of the new car and I'm generally happy with the package. Reynard has made some improvements, and I think right off the truck this car is better than the '01 model. There are no big differences in the car, but I feel it's generally better. We still need to work hard this winter and there is still a lot of work to do, but I'm very encouraged after this test."  Reynard
FIA approves Silverstone  The 2002 British Grand Prix at Silverstone will go ahead, the FIA has confirmed. The decision followed an offer by the track's management Octagon Motorsports of a £3.4m ($4.9m/EUR5.5m) 'performance bond', guaranteeing that promised work on traffic flow improvements would be completed before the race date of July 7. Silverstone officials have also promised to spend a further £60m ($87m/EUR97m) on improving the circuit. "The FIA are in total support of our revised 2002 plans, in addressing traffic and access at Silverstone," Rob Bain, chief executive of Octogan Motorsports said. "We will continue to work closely with all parties to guarantee the success of the Foster's British Grand Prix in 2002, ensuring it becomes a world leader in its field by 2003.
Lights: Townsend Bell picked by AARWBA  Taking his place alongside such notable drivers as Jeff Gordon, John Force, Tony Stewart, Kenny Bernstein and reigning CART FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran, 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship titleist Townsend Bell was named to the prestigious American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) All America Team earlier this week. Bell, who captured his first major motorsports title in the final season of Dayton Indy Lights competition this year, is one of 13 drivers from all walks of motorsports on the All America "First Team." He joins off-road racing champion Rob MacCachren as one of two drivers in the hard-to-crack At Large category that is open to competitors from several different racing series. This year's winning panel of drivers will be honored at the AARWBA All America Team banquet, Saturday, Jan. 12, in Pomona, Calif. Bell's election to the AARWBA team marks the third time in the past four years that a Dayton Indy Lights Champion has been elected to the All America First Team. Reigning FedEx Championship Series Rookie of the Year and 2000 Dayton Indy Lights titleist Scott Dixon earned First Team honors last year and 1998 Indy Lights champ and current CART Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta made the team in his title season. Other notables that have earned AARWBA First Team honors following a championship-winning Indy Lights season include Paul Tracy (1990), Bryan Herta (1993) and the late Greg Moore (1995). The complete 13-driver 2001 AARWBA All America Team this year includes Bell and MacCachren (At Large), de Ferran and Sam Hornish Jr. (Open Wheel), Force and Bernstein (Drag Racing), Gordon, Stewart and Kevin Harvick (Stock Car), Dave Darland and Danny Lasoski (Short Track) and Paul Gentilozzi and James Weaver (Road Racing).
Team Kool Green first to test 2002 Honda-Reynard  Team KOOL Green and driver Paul Tracy opened their off-season testing program on December 11-12 at Sebring International Raceway running the first 2002 Honda-Reynard delivered to the U.S. The team had planned to devote the first of the two days to systems tests. However, the systems tests were completed so quickly that the team was able to begin chassis development work that afternoon. On the second day race engineer Steve Challis worked on different aerodynamic settings to fine tune the car's balance and Tracy finished the test with several consistent laps unofficially timed at 52.00s. Over the two days, Tracy turned a total 233 laps around the 1.68-mile road course. Team Manager Kyle Moyer is glad to have the first test out of the way and is especially pleased with the new car. "We really like the new Reynard 02I. One week after we took delivery of the car we had it on the track and didn't have a single failure. Reynard has paid a lot of attention to detail and made some minor changes in the aero and mechanical designs. The car ran flawless both days and Paul didn't put a wheel off course." Tracy also credits Reynard with moving ahead in the 2002 design but knows the team needs to make good use of the winter testing. "I like the reliability of the new car and I'm generally happy with the package. Reynard has made some improvements and I think right off the truck this car is better than the 01 model. The are no big differences in the car but I feel it's generally better. We still need to work hard this winter and there still is a lot of work to do but I'm very encouraged after this test." The team will bring the new car back to the shop to be painted and will then prepare for a Bridgestone tire test with Paul Tracy on December 17 and 18 at California Speedway in Fontana, California. 
Industry News
Mark Cipolloni to be guest on The Fan 590 Sports Radio today  AutoRacing1 President Mark Cipolloni will be a guest on Toronto's The Fan 590 Sports Radio today at 12:05 PM during their TSN BullPen show.  Part of Mark's discussion with Vic Rauter and Mike Hogan will be about Marlboro Team Penske's move to the IRL.  For those of you who do not live in Toronto, you can listen via the internet.
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Franchitti and Judd to marry  UPDATE Reuters reports - Hollywood star Ashley Judd married racing driver Dario Franchitti Wednesday in a ceremony attended by friends and family in the groom's native Scotland, her publicist announced.  The maid of honor was the bride's sister, singing star Wynonna Judd, and the groom's brother, Marino Franchitti, served as best man, according to a brief statement issued in Los Angeles. The couple had been engaged for about two years, the actress' spokeswoman said. The star of such films as "Where the Heart Is" and "Kiss the Girls" wore a long, white gown of silk and satin designed by Giorgio Armani, while the groom wore a jacket and traditional Scottish kilt, the statement said.  12/10/01 AP reports - Celebrities began arriving in Scotland on Monday for the wedding of Hollywood actress Ashley Judd and Scottish racing driver Dario Franchitti. Local registrar Lesley Connor has confirmed the wedding will be held Wednesday, but no venue has been announced. News reports said the couple will marry at Skibo Castle in Dornoch, the lavish venue chosen by pop star Madonna and film producer Guy Ritchie when they tied the knot a year ago. It is known for its strict security. News reports said guests include Michael Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta Jones, actresses Sandra Bullock and Gwyneth Paltrow, racing drivers David Coulthard and Colin MacRae, and Robert Trump, brother of New York tycoon Donald Trump, and wife Blaine.

Merry Christmas from the Gurney's  All-American Racers and the Dan Gurney family send this Christmas Card to all CART and F1 fans.  It's a picture of Dan's F1 Eagle on the Willow Spring Racetrack in September.  The car made an appearance at the USGP in the vintage F1 race before being placed permanently in the Collier museum.
Big Companies clamoring for China already.  What is CART doing?  We here at raised the idea of a Shanghai race to CART almost a year ago (much to everyone's bewilderment back then) and have hounded CART about Shanghai ever since, and will do so until they sign the contract.  AR1's Steven Levinson wrote this in-depth article about Shanghai and we have run several others previous to that.  Now this BBC report that BP is spearheading a massive push by international oil giants into petrol retailing in China has come out. The UK energy group has entered into a joint venture with China's second biggest state-owned oil firm, Sinopec, to set up a chain of 500 petrol stations in the New Year. Royal Dutch Shell and the US group ExxonMobil are believed to be hot on BP's heels, with Sinopec chairman Li Yizhong confirming that talks with both these oil giants are ongoing.  Do you just suppose Team Rahal's sponsor Shell will want to be in Shanghai?  You bet, and so will most other USA companies when they wake up to the fact that China is now in the World Trade Organization, meaning it's population of 1.2 billion is fair game now.  Talk about a marketing mavens wet dream!  We talked to the USA Shell rep for Team Rahal.  It's it amazing that he was very open to overseas races and could work with other geographic divisions of his company for the overall betterment of the 'Shell' name, yet companies like Philip Morris USA are still so territorial they can't think outside the borders of the USA.  Psst, someone tell them we are in a global economy now. Mark C.

Marlboro Team Penske drivers featured in Sports Illustrated fest  Marlboro Team Penske drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves participated in the first-ever "Sports Illustrated's Night of Champions," a tribute to the sports world's top performers of 2001. The ceremony, hosted by Bob Costas and held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Monday, December 10, featured the presentation of the 2001 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award to Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling of the World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks. Past winners of the award include Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods and Muhammad Ali. The evening culminated in a special segment saluting the champions of 2001 and honoring many of the heroes of September 11. Sixteen athletes were brought on stage including two-time CART FedEx Champion Gil de Ferran and 2001 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, as well as representatives from the New York City Fire Department. The event also featured a tribute to Muhammad Ali and musical performances by Alan Jackson and R. Kelly. Guests included Magic Johnson, Matthew Perry, Anthony Edwards, Ray Bourque, Lennox Lewis, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Gil de Ferran, Helio Castroneves, Michael Waltrip, Steve Park, Deacon Jones, Lynn Swan, Todd Zeile and Brandi Chastain to name a few.

Joint CART/ALMS weekends  With Miami rumored to be the first joint CART/ALMS weekend, we see this marriage made in heaven quickly expanding to other events.  Looking at both schedules, we see these events as being the most likely to happen:
Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway (It makes too much sense not to happen)
Miami, Florida Downtown Street Circuit (Almost a done deal already)
Shanghai, China (Both series want to be there, weekend will have lots of hours to fill) 
Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis. (Both race there already.  Why not one 'grand' weekend?)
Washington, D.C. (ALMS will be there in 2002, CART eyes DC too)
Laguna Seca, California (Both series do so-so there.  Together they will pack the place.
Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga (CART has eyed this ALMS anchor event for quite awhile)
Surfers Paradise, Australia (With ALMS losing Adelaide, can you image a joint Surfers event?)
Mexico City, Mexico (A joint weekend in Mexico City?  Talk about blowing the Indy 500 away)
IRL news  Brian Barnhart reports at today's IRL press conference:
  • Toyota is making solid strides in development of a 3.5-liter engine for the 2003 season. He said the Japanese manufacturer expects to put its first prototype engine on the test dyno in February and make its initial track assessments in June. 
  • Rule changes for 2002 consist mainly of refinements, with a continued emphasis on safety. The $40,000 update kits are being readied for delivery to the teams in January. 
  • The Indy Racing League is on the verge of limiting the maximum number of tires a team can use in private testing. Currently, the only testing restriction in the Indy Racing League Rule Book is a limit of two days per team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from January to May. Because there will be new engines, chassis and gearboxes in 2003, testing will be needed before next season. "I don't want to limit testing, but we've got to balance it out," Barnhart said. "There are no fans in the stands, and the cameras aren't on, so some of it isn't necessary."
How Stuff Works looks at the Segway  In this article we suggested the Segway (called Ginger), invented by Dean Kamen, would be perfect for Alex Zanardi once his artificial legs are fitted.  If you want even more info on just how Ginger works, read this How Stuff Works article.  How big will Ginger be?  Consider these quotes: As big a deal as the PC, said Steve Jobs; maybe bigger than the Internet, said John Doerr, the venture capitalist behind Netscape, and now Ginger. 
Monterrey tickets to go on sale to general public  The first race of 2002 in the fastest car racing series in the world, the FedEx CART Championship, will take place at the urban circuit inside Fundidora Park in Monterrey, state of Nuevo León, México, from March 8 to 10, 2002. Today, Thursday, tickets will go on sale for the general racing public. Tickets are only being sold in 3-day passes which include access to the track for: Friday's free practice; Saturday's qualifying; and Sunday's race, the Tecate-Telmex Grand Prix. There are 60,000 3-day passes available although almost 10% of those were taken in a reserved pre-sale. Monterrey will mark the debut in CART of Mexican driver Mario Domínguez with team Herdez-Viva México!, and also it will be the start of Mexican superstar Adrián Fernández's second season as a team-owner, the only one currently in the series. The Tecate-Telmex Grand Prix in Monterrey will have the Toyota Atlantic series as a preliminary race, also the first of its 2002 championship. In this series, at least two Mexican teams have announced their participation, Scuadra Fortia and Dynamic Racing. Several other Mexican drivers are currently negotiating with teams in order to get a seat in the series, among them Rodolfo Martínez Lavín, one of the 10 best this season, and Luis 'Grasshopper' Díaz arriving from Indy Lights. Besides CART and Atlantic, there will be other races, including the fastest national touring series, the Mustang Cup, and a celebrities race using Ford Focus cars. Tickets can be acquired at the Ticketmaster system in Mexico or at their internet site There will also be a special ticket terminal in the main floor of the AutoExpo México 2001, taking place in México City's WTC December 12 to 22. Today, from 6 to 7 p.m. Mario Domínguez will sign autographs in the Herdez stand next to CART Mexico's ticket stand, so fans can buy tickets and get the autograph of Mexico's next CART star at the same time. Prices are the following for the 3-day passes:
Zone Stands US Dollars*  Seating Diagram
Box Seats 1-8 $184
Click to enlarge
Main Straight 27 $184
Turn 2 9-11 $168
Chicane 12-13 $130
Turn 5 14-16 $70
Turn 6 17 $70
Sweeper 18-22 $85
Gen. Admission   $56
Esses 23-26 $94
Paddock Pass   $49
Rahal tests Stars of Tomorrow  UPDATE We think you will find this story, with pictures, more enlightening than the official press release was.  12/11/01 - Team Rahal in conjunction with Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) and the North American Karting Association (NAKA) provided the four winners from the 2001 Stars of Tomorrow competition with the opportunity yesterday to test in one of the team's Ford-Cosworth/Lola Champ Cars. The test took place at Firebird International Raceway under the watchful eye of Mark Johnson, Team Rahal Director of Operations, and under the tutelage of Buddy Rice, 2000 Toyota Atlantic Champion. Each of the four Stars of Tomorrow turned 20 laps during the test, which is the latest example of Team Rahal's continued commitment to helping young aspiring drivers in the early stages of their careers. "I remember how frustrating it was when I was first starting out," said Team Rahal owner and three-time CART champion Bobby Rahal. "This is my way of giving back to this great sport and to the people like Jim Trueman who were so good to me. Team Rahal has been supportive of a number of young drivers and we have tried to take the time to help them. We can't always provide a test or actually run them in a race like we did with Casey Mears in 2000 at Fontana, but answering e-mails and letters and doing what we can to support a great program like Stars of Tomorrow will only help these kids and the sport of in the future."  The four winners of the 2001 Stars of Tomorrow were Scott Speed of Manteca, CA, Matt Jaskol of Las Vegas, NV, Colin Fleming of North Hills, CA, and Chris Carmody of Valencia, CA. The test provided not only an opportunity to drive the Champ Car but a chance for each of the drivers to get an introduction and to gain valuable insight into the at track operations of a Champ Car team. "These kids showed that they are quick learners and they did a great job under what has to be some difficult circumstances," said Mark Johnson Team Rahal Director of Operations. "Not only is this their first time in a car with this kind of power, but to have several of your peers standing there watching you has to make for a nerve wracking experience. We tried to ease each of them into the experience and give them a chance to absorb how the car responds in different situations. Having Buddy here to answer their questions and provide some feedback was a big help. By the end of the day they were starting to really show progress in their lap times." 
Teams looking at 2-engines per car per weekend  According to UK weekly Motorsport News, the idea to reduce the number of engines used (and hence cost) was proposed at a recent meeting of the Technical Working Group, a think tank of top engineers and technicians. It was suggested that each team would only be able to use four engines during a race weekend, meaning each driver would have to get through three days of competition with two engines. Currently it is not uncommon for a driver to go through four engines alone during a weekend, particularly if engineers are fielding unique specification units that are prepared specifically for certain sessions, such as a ‘qualifying engine’.
Max Papis voted 3rd best  Quattroruote, the oldest and most respectable Italian monthly car magazine, voted Max Papis as the third best Italian driver in 2001. Formula 1 driver Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella preceded Max, but Papis, with two victories, two runners up and a six-place finish in the FedEx CART Championship, is the most successful Italian driver in open wheel racing. "Who wins races is always right," writes Quattroruote author Guido Schittone "despite the fact he might not always get the proper credit. He proved to be one of the best drivers in the most technical and competitive Series in the USA." But the real motivation that pushed Max to the top of this driver's rating is the fact that Mad Max "proved to be very fast on ovals, not an easy task for a driver with an European background" concluded Guido Schittone. "In 1999 I won the AutoSprint's Golden Helmet as the best Italian driver and now I've been voted the third best Italian driver by Quattroruote, the most renowned monthly magazine. I'm very honored of this achievement and it's a nice surprise to see that the Italian motor sports community closely follows my career here in the United States." Max's success in his mother Country goes beyond Quattroruote's achievement because on the on-line version of the most popular sport newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Max is leading the survey that aims to determine the best 2001 CART driver among the top finishers. "Mad Max" is leading with 34.4% of the votes followed by Gil de Ferran (28.6%) and the duo of Michael Andretti and Helio Castroneves (11.2%). "I love to lead and whenever I can I love to take the lead, even if it's only a survey," jokes a smiling Max. "This survey is very important to me, not only because it is promoted by the leading Italian sport newspaper, but also because votes are cast directly by the fans. I know I have a solid fan base, with a special relationship, in the States and in Canada, but it makes me feel good that my own people care about what I do here and are appreciative when I bring our flag in the Winner Circle". Congratulation to Max for his Italian successes.
NASCAR on FOX/FX and NBC/TNT combine for 38% ratings growth  [Editor's Note: NASCAR and its constituents having been playing these ratings increases to the hilt.  However, let's remember that many of NASCAR's races were on cable TV the previous year, so switching over to predominately network TV accounts for a lot of the increase.  Still it's a positive sign] The 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season was a breakthrough year for the sport on television. The combination of FOX/FX and NBC/TNT marked the first time in the sport’s history that its broadcast partners treated the sport and its drivers, teams and tracks as a national franchise. And the results were dramatic. The season combined, according to Nielsen Media Research, saw a 38% increase in ratings (excluding postponed events) at a time when most ratings are flat or going backwards. A record 25 races appeared on broadcast network, up from an all-time high of 11 in 2000. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series household average was 5,051,000 a race, which translates into approximately 178 million total households watching throughout the season, a 36% increase over the 2000 season. Across the board NASCAR grew demographically, including a 71% increase in males 18-24, up 29% among males 18-34 and up 36% among males 18-49. Additionally, the demographic breakout showed an increase of 128% for females 18-24, up 57% for females 18-34 and up 50% for females 18-49. Combined, adults 18-24 was up 89% in 2001 compared to 2000, with adults 18-34 up 38% and adults 18-49 up 40%. In the first half of the season FOX and FX combined to average a 5.3 national rating, a 29% increase over the rating for the comparable races in 2000. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series on NBC and TNT over the second half of the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup season generated a 3.9 national rating, a 34 percent increase over the 2.9 rating for the comparable races last year. During the 2001 season, ratings increased 17% in the top 20 markets in the United States, including increases of 28% in Los Angeles and Dallas/Ft. Worth, 31% in Boston, 30% in Detroit, 34% in Tampa/St. Petersburg, 41% in Cleveland and 45% in Phoenix. 
Sebring & Miami team up on ticket deal  [Editor's Note:  As you read this ALMS press release, note what day the ALMS Miami race now is (Saturday April 6th, not Sunday the 7th) and think about what has been telling you about a possible ALMS/CART doubleheader on April 5-7, 2002] Race fans will have the opportunity to save money on tickets to the first two races of the 2002 American Le Mans Series season as part of a special promotional offer. The Florida Doubleheader Discount will offer discounted ticket prices to those purchasing tickets to both the 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, presented by Dodge, on March 16 and the Grand Prix of the Americas in Miami on April 6. The offer is a joint effort between Sebring International Raceway and Raceworks, LLC, the organizer of the event on the Miami Downtown street circuit. America's oldest sports car race, the Sebring event will celebrate its Golden Anniversary in 2002. Many of the former winning cars and drivers from the past 50 years will be on hand during the race weekend. The event will open the American Le Mans Series season. The Miami race will mark the return of street racing to the Miami downtown area after an absence of seven years. Previous events were among some of the most successful street racing events ever staged and were popular with both locals and visitors. The temporary racing circuit will cover 1.5 miles in the Bayfront Park area of Miami. Race fans can buy a Superticket for Sebring and an Open Grandstand or General Admission ticket to the Miami race and receive a discount of up to $40 on the regular gate prices. Further information is available by calling the Sebring International Raceway ticket office at (863) 655-1442 (in Florida, toll-free at 1-800-626-RACE). Information is also available from the Raceworks ticket office at 1-888-248-RACE (7223) or 305-373-3333. In addition, ticket information is available online at or ALMS

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