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DATE News (chronologically 12/23/01 to 12/31/01)
12/31/01
Memo Gidley Karting Clinic to start  With his third annual Karting Clinic approaching next weekend, Memo Gidley arrived at Honolulu International Airport Sunday afternoon - shortly after a potential security breach resulted in the entire facility being shut down and evacuated for two hours. After dodging this drama, he stocked up on fireworks for tomorrow's New Year's celebration, then did what any good racing driver would do to kick off a vacation - head for the nearest computer and spend several hours playing the Papyrus NASCAR 4 simulation. If only there were a current Champ Car simulation game to keep him occupied.  Actually, CART is close to signing a deal for a new 'true' simulation game for the PC, though procrastination has delayed the game from hitting the shelves until the start of the 2003 season.  Of course if CART were wise, it would have it on the shelves in time for Christmas 2002 season to take advantage of the obvious benefit.  We talked about branding below.  Computer games help do that, if they are done correctly, if not, like many CART games before, they quickly become shunned by the market segment that buys these products.  We hear the recent Sony Playstation 2 game called 'CART Fury' has gotten bad reviews.  Did CART shoot off another toe because of this?  BTW, Memo Gidley has tested a beta version of the new CART simulation and gave it a two thumbs up.

12/31/01
CART needs more sponsors like Simple Green  While FedEx refuses to put even a hint that they sponsor CART on their trucks or packages, Simple Green views their relationship with CART important enough to place a CART logo on all their new packages saying they are the Official Cleaner of CART. The company's Pacific Rim office/warehouse is in Honolulu, and they are one of the sponsors for Memo's Karting Clinic (see Hot News item above). Their involvement as associate sponsor for Memo's 2001 Indy effort helped pave the way for this deal. Most NASCAR sponsors put NASCAR logos on their products (even Purdue Chicken) and it is a major reason why the average Joe on the street recognizes NASCAR.  It's safe to say that NASCAR is a branded name now, and this is one way they have accomplished it.  It's about time CART and its teams negotiate this sort of co-promotion with all their sponsors.  If NASCAR and its teams can do it, then the CART community can too.  Just imagine how much exposure CART would get if all FedEx packages had even a small 1 inch high logo on them stating 'FedEx the Official Sponsor of CART'?  Better yet, sign a long-term 25 to 50 year contract with FedEx whereby CART would change the name of their cars to 'FedEx Cars' (giving FedEx a huge amount of exposure worldwide) in exchange for a small CART logo with a picture of a FedEx car on all their packages.  This not only helps CART piggyback on FedEx's brand recognition, it helps to brand the term 'FedEx Cars'.  CART and FedEx should be synonymous with 'speed'.  Winston Cup cars.  FedEx cars.  Get the idea? MC
12/31/01
Shanghai reaches 2 million visitor milestone, where is CART?  Shanghai estimates that this year, for the first time, it attracted more than two million foreign visitors - despite the impact on global tourism of the September 11 attacks in the United States. There was an 11 per cent year-on-year rise in visitors from outside the mainland, which included Hong Kong and Taiwan, and tourism receipts reached US$1.8 billion - a rise of 12 per cent. Tourism officials said the number of arrivals from the US and Europe showed less dramatic growth, with a 17 per cent slump in US visitors in October. "Since then we have been strengthening our marketing in Japan," Tourism Administrative Commission head Yao Mingbao said. He conceded the momentum might be difficult to maintain next year with the weak global economy and a sliding yen making travel for Japanese tourists more expensive. Mainland China authorities have allowed two more travel joint ventures with foreign companies, including American Express, as part of efforts to open up the domestic market. American Express will team up with China International Travel Agency Service, and Rosenbluth has linked up with China Comfort Travel, according to Xinhua. MC
12/31/01
China's economy surges, where is CART?  China's economy grew 7.3 per cent this year, higher than the 7 per cent target Premier Zhu Rongji set for the five years to 2005 but less than last year's 7.9 per cent.  State Statistical Bureau chief Zhu Zhixin yesterday told Xinhua preliminary estimates suggested gross domestic product for the year would hit 9.58 trillion yuan (about HK$8.97 trillion, about $1.1 trillion USD). Mr Zhu Zhixin said the economy maintained healthy and sustainable growth, despite the global downturn. Between January and November, retail sales were up 10 per cent on last year to 3.35 trillion yuan. Industrial production had surged 10 per cent year-on-year, and the profits of industrial enterprises reached 406.9 billion yuan, up 7.4 per cent over the same period last year.  Did you know that China (1.2+ billion people) has 4.5 times as many people as the USA.  However, the USA has the world's largest GNP, while China is 7th, but is about to pass Italy, England and France to move up to 4th in a year or two.  It still has a way to go to reach the USA, which has a big lead over #2 Japan and #3 Germany with $7+ trillion.  Several years ago, the Dallas Fed's annual report featured an essay entitled "The Churn." The churn is their term for what economist Joseph Schumpeter called "creative destruction." A dynamic economy like ours can grow and make room for the new only if we allow parts of the economy to shrink. Unprofitable firms and industries must be allowed to fail and go out of business so their workers and other resources can move into firms and industries whose products are more favored or needed by consumers. This is, as the essay's subtitle says, the paradox of progress. As the most populous country on the planet, China has been experiencing the mother of all churns. Although still a communist country, its market reforms over the past two decades have produced tremendous growth and change. Using conventional measures, at present growth rates China will soon replace Japan as the world's second largest economy. China's churn—already huge—will only grow as the country becomes part of the world trading system. The pain will be great, but so will the rewards.  MC
12/31/01
Alex Zanardi wants to drive a Champ Car again  This F1Live.com article reports that Alex has been driving a car modified for his needs since his release from the hospital in Berlin seven weeks ago, and in a recent interview with the BBC, Alex explained that this process has helped his recovery enormously. He also spoke of his hopes to be back in active competition again one day, but not just any racing, he wants to return to CART and although it could prove to be a very difficult accomplishment, for Alex, it seems nothing is impossible.
12/30/01
NASCAR's 24x7x365 blows F1, IRL & CART away  A reader writes - Flipping the dial this morning, I find another inherent CART, F1  & IRL problem. As we all know, CART & F1 drivers are somewhat viewed as prima donnas, not willing to go the extra mile to be on TV in one form or another.  They want to be paid for every appearance.  NASCAR drivers are willing to use their own plane and fuel to get to a TV appearance.  They view it as an investment in their career. The lack of American drivers with a 'winning' personality is also an issue to some extent here in the USA.  Not only does this hurt CART, F1 and IRL's general perception among U.S. fans, but it also limits the opportunities that CART, F1 and the IRL  has for exposure outside the race track. As I flip through ESPN2, what do I see.....but Ernie Irvan on some fishing/outdoors type show. With the NASCAR guys, it's 24x7x365 -- with the other guys it's 3 days at a race track 20 times a year with an occasional appearance on David Letterman.  And they wonder why NASCAR is blowing them away.  I thought I read last year that Joe Heitzler was going to make the CART drivers heroes.  I'm still waiting - they're still just as invisible on TV as always.
12/30/01
Mario Andretti to be featured in ad campaign for Allstate Insurance  Mario Andretti, through an agreement with Allstate Insurance, will be featured in a print advertising campaign for the company. The campaign, to feature the "hands and names" of people who have achieved uncommon successes, will be photographed by Anne Lebowitz. Lebowitz is responsible for several prestigious campaigns including Got Milk and American Express. Mario's name and image will be featured in all categories of print advertising, marketing and public relations materials for Allstate. 
12/30/01
Scenes from the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez Circuit  Below are a few scenes taken at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez Circuit in Mexico City, where CART will be visiting in October, 2002.  The photos were taken from a Formula 3 race, a Formula de las Americas race and a truck race.  Note the large attendance even for these junior series races.  In the picture to the far right, note the large grandstand sticking up behind in the lane suites.  That is the baseball stadium that was built inside the Peraltada corner.   It is a very large stadium and can accommodate a lot of spectators.  The Champ Cars will race right through this stadium and and only part of the original Peraltada curve.  Why?  Because the curve was deemed too fast and unsafe.  Upgrades are planned before the Champ Cars arrive as we previously reported.

12/30/01
Earnhardt death voted #1 AP sports story of the 2001  AP and its member newspaper sports editors have named the death of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt as the #1 Sports Story of 2001, even bigger than Barry Bonds setting a new Major league Baseball home run record for a single season.  In the stick-and-ball sport dominated USA, auto racing (especially NASCAR) has finally arrived race fans, unfortunately it had to take such a tragedy to get the average person on the street to look up and notice.
12/30/01
Parity Plus  The NASCAR Winston Cup Series was dominated by Gordon in terms of the point standings, but the winner's circles amounted to a revolving door. Gordon won the most races, six, but at season's end there were 19 different winners, a modern-era record. There also were five first-time winners. Qualifying exhibited the same competitive balance: 18 different Bud Pole winners, with six of those first-timers on the pole.
12/29/01
Industry News
Comparing open wheel cars  We thought you might find this website worth bookmarking.  It's called a 'Field Guide to Open Wheel Race Cars' and does an excellent job of comparing the various forms of open wheel race cars.
12/29/01
CART quote of the year  In the January 2002 issue of Road & Track Magazine, Bob Judd writes about the last lap, last corner pass DeFerran made on Brack at Rockingham, England in September - "On a track where it's tough to pass and on Brack who is even tougher to pass, De Ferran's move wasn't the equal of Hakkinen's slick run inside Schumacher at Spa last year.  It was better.  At 210 mph it was at least 40 mph faster, closer to the edge and it was done within reach of a concrete wall - all while the car was sliding.  It was a Villeneuve move.  A Montoya maneuver.  It was what you have to do to be a champion in this series."
12/29/01
Ferrari will use new car in Australia  Ferrari will start the 2002 Formula One season in Melbourne with a completely new car, world champion Michael Schumacher told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung today. "It will be a new car, a new chassis and a new engine," said Schumacher who wrapped up his fourth world title with the Italian team last season.
12/29/01
Younger Wieringa Surprises With Impromptu Champ Car Run  Dave Wieringa got more than he bargained for at his recent Toyota-Atlantic test in Homestead, Fla.  Wieringa, who was testing for the Sigma Autosport Atlantic team for the first time, took a spin in the 2001 Sigma Autosport Champ Car in an impromptu appearance. It was his first experience behind the wheel of a Champ Car.  “It was an awesome experience,” said Wieringa. “It definitely was a lot different than running in an Atlantic or Barber Dodge car.”  Wieringa took to the track in the Lola during a break in the Atlantic test.   “I would say he impressed everybody there,” said Tom Wieringa, owner of Sigma Autosport and father of Dave. “I asked him if he was up to it and he said sure. Since he was between test sessions, he got in and took it out for a few laps.”  The younger Wieringa ended up running a total of 10 laps in the #22 Sigma Autosport Lola-Cosworth/Ford and he did so at a credible pace. In fact Wieringa risked getting “grounded” as he ran more than two seconds faster than his father, who was testing new components in the Lola.   “He really did a nice job,” marveled Wieringa. “Here I am, running several laps at what I think are good times, and here he comes doing faster times.  “I’m in awe.”  Wieringa practiced on the Homestead road circuit. After his run, he reentered his Atlantic car and ran fast times in the Swift. Wieringa said it seemed like he was moving in slow motion.  “It was strange,” admitted Wieringa. “I had the (accelerator) pedal all the way to the floor, but it really looked like everything was going slow and not fast like it normally does. It was a unique chance.”  Wieringa said that while the Champ Car “tryout” was fun, he admits he is not quite ready to take on the role as Sigma’s second driver or even as a test driver. Wieringa said he would like to get more racing experience in the Atlantic series for a few years, and then try his hand in the CART FedEx Championship Series.  “Overall I had a great time and one that I’ll remember,” said Wieringa. “I wouldn’t mind taking another run in a Champ Car again in the future.”  The future might be closer than he thinks.  AR1 is pretty certain that dad Tom will put his son David in his 2nd Sigma Champ car if David does well in Atlantics this year.
12/28/01
Is it possible someone at CART finally saw the light? 4th UPDATE We decided to do a little research into the exact classification of CART. Is it truly classified as a World Championship?  This is what we found.  It's a bit complicated, so bear with us - 1) While the FIA is the World Motorsports Governing body, it wears a 2nd hat - that of a sanctioning body, just like NASCAR, CART and the IRL are sanctioning bodies.  Here is a complete list of races series the FIA itself sanctions.  The list is quite lengthy, and surprised even us.  And you thought NASCAR was big?  2) The FIA recognizes specific race series as 'International Series', including - Formula One, FIA International F3000 (Note - not Formula Nippon and others, they are just National Series), CART, World Rally,  the American Le Mans series, and a few select others. Note - the IRL and NASCAR are considered 'National' Series, not 'International.'  As an International Series, CART can race on any circuit in the world it so chooses and it can hold races in any country it so chooses, per the FIA regulations, provided it registers all its races with the FIA through ACCUS, the USA arm (called ASN or National Sporting Authority) of the FIA.  The FIA can choose to reject a CART race if it is scheduled too close to another FIA International Series event in the same country.  For example, if CART tried to schedule a race at Imola, Italy on the same weekend as the Italian GP at Monza, Italy, the FIA would not approve the CART race.   A maximum of one points paying event of a national championship series (such as NASCAR) may be run outside its national territory, provided it meets certain conditions.  3) After an exhaustive look at the FIA regulations we could find no FIA definition for the term 'World Championship,' nor any FIA claim to the rights of the term World Championship.  Hence, it's not the FIA that defines whether or not your race series is a 'World Championship,' you do.  All the FIA classifies is International vs. National. For example the FIA calls its F1 series 'Formula One World Championship Series.'  It calls its rally series 'World Rally Championship Series.'  What it all boils down to is the fact you can't misrepresent yourself.  CART can call itself a 'World Championship' series because it is an international series that races worldwide (in a previous article we proved CART is just as international as F1).  However, NASCAR, a National Championship Series, would be misrepresenting itself if it called its series a World Championship because it is NOT an International Series nor is it a World Championship Series, just a Stock Car National Championship of the USA. In conclusion, because CART is recognized as an official International Series by the FIA (See this World Motor Sport Council Bulletin put out on April 6, 2000) it is free to call itself the CART World Championship Series, or the CART FedEx World Championship Series.  Of course it may not call itself the FIA World Championship series, because the FIA doesn't sanction CART's races, CART does.  Therefore, it must be clear in the title that it's a CART series.  Now its up to CART's Marketing Department, and Chris Pook as to whether they want to start calling their series the CART World Championship Series, or forever be known as just the CART FedEx Championship Series. Leaving the word 'World' out would be a serious omission, and grounds for immediate inclusion in the now very long list of major CART blunders.  12/27/01 - It's reported that the CART tee-shirts say 'World Championship" on them as well. It appears CART has begun to use this throughout their product line.  12/27/01 - Another reader sends the four pictures below.  Talk about fan confusion, each patch on the jacket calls the series something different.  12/27/01 - Don from Ohio scanned the logo from his new CART jacket.  See image to right. 12/27/01 -  For years we have harped on CART, questioning why they did not call themselves "World Championship" in their logo, and in every piece of literature they put out.  In fact they should stress it.  Why do you ask?  Because the FIA now recognizes CART as a World Championship series, the same level of recognition as F1, yet that important title appeared to be totally lost on CART.  Lo and behold, a reader writes today - "I got a CART jacket, and the CART symbol was the usual CART with an oval around it, but the lettering around the oval said WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, not Championship Auto Racing Teams. Is this the rumored name change, CART World Championship?" Don from Ohio  Editors Note, Don - Perhaps CART is finally getting it.  Let's hope it wasn't a manufacturing error, and their Merchandising folks finally realize CART World Championship carries much more significance than CART - Championship Auto Racing Teams, which is what all their merchandise stated up until now.  Now that their Merchandising folks appear to have caught on, perhaps their PR and Marketing departments will catch on too. MC


(L to R) FRONT, BACK, LEFT SLEEVE, RIGHT SLEEVE

12/28/01
President Bush grants China favored status  More proof of why CART needs to be in China to satisfy existing sponsors and gain new ones - Beijing has welcomed the decision by United States President George W. Bush to formally grant China most favored nation treatment, known as permanent normal trading relations (PNTR), the final step in normalizing relations and its reward for joining the World Trade Organization. The White House on Thursday said Mr. Bush had signed the proclamation granting China the same low-tariff levels the US extends to most other nations, effective from January 1. After a fierce debate last year, Congress approved giving China permanent status. Then-president Bill Clinton signed it into law, conditional on China joining the WTO, which it did on December 11. Tao Wenzhao, deputy director of the US institute at the China Academy of Social Sciences, said Mr. Bush's decision was made because the US had become China's second-biggest trading partner and China had become the fourth-largest of the US. "The US is the largest investing country in China. According to recent surveys by the US Chamber of Commerce, more than 90 per cent of the American firms doing business in China are optimistic about the future of bilateral relations," Mr. Tao said.  HSBC (Jaguar F1 team sponsor) will today sign a deal to acquire an 8 per cent interest in Bank of Shanghai, making it the first foreign lender to take an equity stake in a mainland bank after China's entry to the World Trade Organization. Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp, the SAR-based unit of London-headquartered HSBC, yesterday said it planned to sign an agreement to acquire the holding in the Shanghai-based small commercial bank for a "consideration of 517.92 million yuan [about HK$485.39 million]". The long-awaited deal will see Hong Kong's biggest commercial lender become the first privately run overseas bank to benefit from the mainland's move to further open its highly controlled banking sector to foreigners after its WTO accession. MC
12/27/01
Emerson Fittipaldi has another accident  UPDATE  A reader writes, how come you didn't report yesterday that Emerson Fittipaldi was involved in a bike accident and was injured?  AR1 is always on top of the news?  Eric from Indiana  Dear Eric - we reported this news on December 22nd, some 4 days earlier.  It took everyone else 4 extra days to get wind of the news. We do our best to bring you the news first.  Thanks for writing.  MC 12/22/01 - Emerson Fittipaldi had a career ending accident on the oval at Michigan International Speedway years ago.  Then he was involved in a near-death accident in a small plane crash in Brazil.  Today he had another accident.  This time he had a bicycle accident in Key Biscayne, Florida leaving him with a broken hand and clavicle (collarbone).  Apparently he ran over another bicycle laying on the ground.  We're glad to hear Emerson will be OK, but perhaps he should stick to walking. MC
12/27/01
Why not camless engines? A reader writes - why doesn't CART adopt the IRL engine lock, stock and barrel except for one difference - allow (as an option) camless engines? This means different heads and software. Leave everything else 100% IRL for now.  It's the talk of the automotive industry right now with many companies close to making them work in production vehicles. If racing is supposed to challenge engineers who work for manufacturers, then why not give them another reason to compete in CART, to develop cleaner burning, higher output, better fuel economy engines. Renault is developing them for their F1 engines and are rumored to be using a camless engine in F1 this coming year. Here are some examples of what car companies are saying - "The camless engine is very intriguing to us," says Vance Zanardelli, manager of the transmission and engine-systems department at Ford's research laboratory in Dearborn, Mich. "We've had one running in a test cell in our lab for more than a year, and we think the camless design can provide a fuel-economy improvement of 10% to 15%, along with some other important benefits." Floyd Allen, vice president of power-train product engineering at DaimlerChrysler in Auburn Hills, Mich., says his company has been working on camless engines for several years in the U.S. and Germany. Allen foresees camless engines in production cars "perhaps in about five years." The aim of all this effort is liberation from a constraint that has handcuffed performance since the birth of the internal-combustion engine more than a century ago. The engines powering today's vehicles, whether they burn gasoline or diesel fuel, rely on a system of valves to admit fuel and air to the cylinders and to let exhaust gases escape after combustion. Rotating steel camshafts with precision-machined egg-shaped lobes, or cams, are the hard-tooled "brains" of the system. They push open the valves at the proper time and guide their closure, typically through an arrangement of pushrods, rocker arms, and other hardware. Stiff springs return the valves to their closed position. Such valve trains, as they are known, are complicated but reliable. Yet they have the major disadvantage of inflexibility. Like a very simple software program that contains only one set of instructions, the cams always open and close the valves at the same precise moment in each cylinder's constantly repeated cycle of fuel-air intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust. They do so regardless of whether the engine is idling or spinning at maximum rpm. As a result, engine designers can achieve optimum performance at only one speed. An engine designed for impressive high-rpm power may be a wimp at low rpm, and vice versa.  Ford's Zanardelli sees a handsome list of potential benefits beyond the camless engine's fuel savings. The better breathing that a camless valve train promotes at low engine speeds can yield 10% to 15% more torque, he says. That could pep up performance or give engineers the alternative of reducing engine size and weight. There's more. Ford believes camless engines can slash nitrogen oxide, or NOX, pollution by about 40% by trapping some of the exhaust gases in the cylinders before they can escape. The most intriguing prospect Zanardelli offers is momentarily shutting off individual engine cylinders by stopping their fuel supply and cracking open their valves to spoil the compression. "We call this the variable-displacement concept," he says. "It's a way to save fuel when an engine is running under a light load. The electronics are so fast that we should be able to selectively shut off cylinders in a way that will be imperceptible to the driver." Before a new generation of no-cam engines can get into mass production, everyone in the field agrees, engineers need to whittle away at the energy consumption of today's prototype camless valve-train components. Ford says that continued development should bring the camless valve train's energy requirement into line with that of the camshaft system it replaces. Another item on the agenda is eliminating the clatter and premature wear caused by electrically actuated valves, which tend to slam shut very briskly. Engineers think they can lick the "soft landing" challenge, as it's known. Using position sensors to detect when the valves are almost closed, the control chip would briefly reverse the current to the solenoid to ease the valve's touchdown. With prices higher at the gas station, work on the camless engine may move ahead much faster than it would have only yesterday, when fuel was cheaper than club soda. To the blessings already described can be added yet another. No-cam motors may be a cheaper answer to fuel conservation and pollution control than hybrid piston-electric drive trains like those powering the new Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight.  Hector Gomez from Dallas
12/26/01
Milwaukee improvements to now begin, race length extended to 250-miles  According to this Milwaukee Journal article  - in a letter dated Saturday and mailed Monday to current ticket-holders, the Milwaukee Mile promised to have 20,000 new, permanent bleacher seats in place for the coming season of racing at State Fair Park. According to the letter, the 67-year-old main grandstand will remain in place for one more season but will be replaced the following year. That would coincide with the track's 100th anniversary. The projects will be a joint venture of the state, which owns the facility, and Carl A. Haas Racing Teams, Ltd., which leases the rights to promote motorsports at the Mile.  Also, the CART race is to be extended from 225 laps to 250, the second increase in distance in three years. [Editor's Note:  unless they promote the race better, how do they plan on preventing those shiny new bleachers from being just that, shiny?  One would hope that Milwaukee fans don't come to the races because of new bleachers.  Let's hope extra money will be sent on promotion to go along with those new bleacher expenditures.  With venues out there wanting a CART race that can draw 100,000+ people, it's getting harder to justify Milwaukee from a financial standpoint.  NASCAR eventually stopped going to North Wilkesboro for this very reason.  One more thing this article misses - State Fair Park officials point out that despite assurances by the Milwaukee Mile this week that the track's bleachers will be replaced for 2002 and the grandstand for 2003, funding is not in place, bids for the work have not been solicited and no contracts have been signed yet].  MC
12/26/01
Hockenheim to get big facelift  UPDATE The government has approved the permits for the work to begin.  Groundbreaking will be January 2nd.  Work will be done in time for the July 28th race.  12/7/01 - Plans are underway for the Hockenheim circuit to get a £18 million facelift that will see the circuit reduced by 30 per cent. The German Grand Prix venue is set to revise its track layout, which will see much of the forest section through the Ostkurve removed. The circuit length will be reduced from 4.2 miles to 2.7 miles. The redevelopment, which will be completed in time for the 2002 German Grand Prix, is essential for the track to renew its license next year to hold the race for the following 10 years. The motor club which owns the circuit, which received its' last major update in 1966, insists the financing is available to upgrade the track from its current 75,000 seating capacity 120,000. But if the plans fall through, the new Eurospeedway track near Berlin is ready to replace Hockenheim as the new venue for the German Grand Prix in 2002. "   Eurospeedway will host a CART race in 2001.
12/26/01
Industry News
Unsers sue hospital  According to this AP article, the illness that left Al Unser Jr.'s daughter paralyzed from the waist down was diagnosed within 36 hours, but a lawsuit alleges that wasn't fast enough. According to a complaint filed Dec. 5 in district court against Presbyterian Hospital and Dr. Michael C. Shannon, intensive steroid therapy was ordered too late "to have any therapeutic value" for Cody Unser. The daughter of the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, became ill Feb. 5, 1999. The rare disease was diagnosed the next day as transverse myelitis.  MC
12/26/01
High cost in Hong Kong is driving firms to Shanghai  More proof of why CART can't overlook Shanghai - The high cost of doing business in Hong Kong is prompting some of the world's largest multinationals to relocate their administrative functions to the mainland.  This is despite Hong Kong's modern trade transport infrastructure and mature regulatory environment. Helmut Merkel, executive board member of German retailer Karstadt Quelle, which imports more than US$2 billion worth of goods a year, said China's accession to the World Trade Organization was inducing multinationals to relocate procurement offices across the border, mirroring the exodus of the manufacturing sector a decade ago. If Karstadt Quelle moves to the mainland, it will be the second recent defection after the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart. The retail giant, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, which sources US$4 billion in goods from China each year, said last month it would sever ties with Hong Kong purchasing agent Pacific Resources Export in February and move to Shenzhen.  MC
12/25/01
Industry News
Indoor Pittsburgh track dead  Last April we reported that a proposed indoor Pittsburgh auto racing complex had received approvals and was well on its way to becoming a reality. According to reports in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, plans for a $400 million world's first indoor race track, to be built at Pittsburgh International Airport, are in limbo because of the inability of the developer to finalize financing for the ambitious project. MC
12/25/01
Industry News
Holiday Greetings  All the staff at AutoRacing1.com would like to take this opportunity to wish our visitors a very Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. May Santa make all your racing wishes come true.  MC
12/24/01
Fran-Am
Loyning's to do Fran-Am 2000 engines  Arden Weatherford, Fran-Am Director of Operations, today announced that Loyning's Engine Service will be an official engine service provider for the 2002 Fran-Am 2000 Championship series. Loyning's, based in Portland, Oregon, has been authorized to maintain and rebuild the sealed 2.0-liter 186 HP motors (see picture to right) used in the professional racing series throughout the United States and Canada. "We're delighted to partner with Arnie Loyning as we seek to provide a level playing field for all Fran-Am competitors," said Weatherford. "We not only needed someone with a great deal of experience with high performance engine applications, but also someone who was committed to the high standards of our other partners. Arnie is well respected within the racing community and shares our goal of providing a high quality, consistent product at a contained cost." While the motor is capable of running an entire season without being rebuilt, a base rebuild for the Fran-Am 2000 engine is capped at $3,500. Loyning's Engine Service has been an industry leader in CART Toyota Atlantic and Formula Ford competition for more than 25 years. Loyning's engines have captured more than 20 victories at the annual SCCA Run-Offs, as well as two professional Atlantic titles.  On track, the Fran-Am 2000 race cars feature a spec-Tatuus carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, sealed 2.0-liter/186-horsepower motor, 6-speed sequential gearbox, and spec-Michelin Sport racing tires. Since gear sets are pre-determined, race weekend adjustments are basically limited to wings, spring rates, ride height, castor, camber and tire pressure. Each race begins with a standing start (something we have been trying to get CART to do at selected races for years), and culminates after 50-60 miles.
12/24/01
With Pook in charge, CART's stock rebounds From a low of just under $12 per share recently, CART's stock value continues to inch higher, now trading at over $17 per share today.  The announcement of Chris Pook as President has had a positive effect on CART. MC
12/24/01
Why Kool stayed in CART Kool is now available in more than 45 countries and is one of the fastest growing brands in Japan. Introduced in 1933, Kool is popular in the United States, Japan and also a number of Latin American countries.  Therefore, CART's worldwide reach certainly does help the Kool brand.
12/24/01
Bear Stearns stays positive on CART and Pook Reprinted with permission from Bear Stearns:
Mr. Pook addressed the investment community and media in order to provide his preliminary thoughts and views on the various issues and tasks related to CART’s future. It is clear, in our view, that Mr. Pook intends to pay close mind to the key parties that can influence the success or failure of the series. This includes the sponsors, the promoters, the teams, and the broadcasters. We sense that there will be a significant and immediate effort launched to corral support for the series and regain the respect of these constituents. We would not be surprised to see further management changes and paradigm shifts in terms of the future direction of the company, though any major efforts in this regard would take time to materialize, if at all. Mr. Pook has a reputation of respect within the industry and given his solid background as the founder and operator of the very successful Grand Prix of Long Beach, we continue to believe that CART is in good hands in terms of rebuilding the brand and the series, which is what is needed to create long-term shareholder value, in our view. 
WHAT ARE POOK’S MAIN OBJECTIVES? 
  • According to Mr. Pook , it appears as if CART will embark on a brand new business plan that will first involve the strengthening of the company’s staff and realigning the long-term objectives and focus of CART employees. Mr. Pook specifically commented that he believes that his first and most important plan of action at this point would be to realign (improve) the company’s management team. 
  • Also, a number of board members have already either resigned or indicated their intentions to resign in order to clear the way for a more objective and evenly split (outside and internal) board of directors. Yesterday, Gerald Forsythe, a rather influential board member, announced his own resignation simultaneously as Pook was named to his new post. Pat Patrick, another significant board member and contributor to the company, has also indicated his own willingness to resign his position if it would facilitate a faster and more precise execution of CART’s plans under Pook’s new leadership. 
  • Pook stated that he remains committed to the current CART business model and will look to continue to develop the brand as an international, multi-course, multi-track racing circuit. In terms of expansion, he noted that the company has identified a number of markets in which CART would be interested in placing on the schedule and has every intention of making the necessary overhaul to the schedule over the next few years in order to the best mix of events that provide value for the company’s constituents (i.e. sponsors, suppliers, manufacturers, etc.). 
  • On the media front, Pook indicated that despite the consensus opinion, he believes the current TV deal for the upcoming 2002 race season with FOX’s speed channel and CBS has great potential that the talent and ambitions of FOX should not be underestimated. While we agree that FOX may be a very talented and committed partner, the fact of the matter in the near term is that CART’s ratings will likely not be able to command high advertising rates, while at the same time battling a very difficult advertising market. This does not bode well for 2002 TV-related revenues, in our view. 
  • When asked about plans, if any, for the company’s cash balance, Pook indicated that he is not in a hurry to put it to work. In our view, once Mr. Pook has time to get fully integrated and begin executing on a new business plan, we believe he will maintain prudence and ultimately do what is best for shareholders. This includes strategic alternatives, in our view.
12/24/01

Is F1 pricing itself right out of business? 2nd UPDATE We now have further word that the high cost to participate in F1 (with no chance of winning) was driving Reynard right toward bankruptcy, much like it did to Lola. We hear Rick Gorne was brought in specifically to save the financially strapped company.  It probably explains why the 2002 CART update kits are priced as high as $250K, not far from the cost for an all-new car.  Reynard apparently made minor changes to just about every piece on the 2002 car so teams have to buy the entire expensive update kit, i.e. they are looking at making as much money as they can on the CART program so they can funnel it into the Black F1 hole. With many CART teams now switching over to Lola because it is perceived as the better car, Reynard is likely to see less sales, and hence, the CART program isn't going to be the cash cow it once was for the company. Insiders tell us that because Reynard isn't focusing enough development on the CART program, the cash cow is going the way of Lola.  Can Reynard survive, or will they eventually be forced to abandon F1 much like Lola did (and others before them) and stick to race series whereby they can turn a profit.......to survive?  For companies like Reynard that depend on customer car and part sales for revenue, there's no money to be made in F1 where everyone must build their own car. 12/2/401 - Niki Lauda's heart must have skipped a beat last week when he learned that their primary sponsor for the Jaguar F1 team, HSBC, was facing potential big losses in the wake of the Argentine economic meltdown. Business analysts in London are estimating that HSBC's total exposure in the failing South American country could be as much as $5 billion. While HSBC could be facing its largest-ever write-off, a bank spokesman claims that HSBC's exposure in Argentina is less than one per cent of its total assets.  As F1 budgets spiral out of control, it's increasingly likely we will see some teams go out of business if sponsors pull their money, and the field become more divided by the haves and the have nots.  The teams who don't have an engine manufacturer pumping some $100 million per year (i.e. ludicrous sums) into the team have zero percent chance of winning.  Must be disheartening to the drivers in the have not teams. 12/23/01 -  It certainly would seem so.  The Prost team is in bankruptcy, but other teams are also close to it.  "Our situation is not very different from that of other teams, except that we are really in need of immediate funding and the timing is unfavorable," Prost told the rival Financial Times, "The sponsors keep hearing from the media that only the large car makers will make it through the crisis, so naturally they do not come to us."  Britain's Daily Telegraph this week reported that several other midfield teams may find it hard to make ends meet in 2002, according to rumors circulating at the recent Motor SportBusiness congress in Monaco. Those mentioned in the report included expected stragglers Arrows and Minardi but also, more surprisingly, the names of midfield frontrunners Jordan and Sauber. The Swiss team has been particularly hard hit, with Red Bull defecting, ironically, to Arrows, and its other major backer, Credit Suisse, being hit by the September 11th attacks on the USA.  What happens when Tobacco is banned in 2006?  This is why the engine manufacturers want to take over the sport after the Concorde agreement expires in 2007.  They are spending the lions share of a teams budget and want a say in how things are run.  If CART were smart, they would court some of these weaker F1 teams who don't have enough money to do F1 with any hope of ever winning, but could participate in CART quite comfortably, and actually win races.......what a novel idea.  We doubt they can remember what that means.  CART, under Chris Pook, is going to have to turn the image of the series around such that teams and sponsors want to participate.  As it is right now, we heard people, such as retiring F1 driver Jean Alesi, say that he would not even consider CART because it was about to fold.  That's how bad things had become for CART in the last 12-months.  CART and its fans got the best Christmas gift they could have hoped for - Christopher R. Pook.  MC
12/24/01
Upcoming Players team testing schedule  Below is the 2002 off-season testing schedule for the Players-Forsythe team
Date Day Track Driver 
January 9-10 Sebring Tagliani 
January 22-23 Sebring Carpentier 
January 30-31 Homestead Tagliani 
February 13-15 Laguna Seca Tagliani 13 & 15/Carpentier 14 & 15 
February 18-19 Homestead Oval Carpentier 
February 25-26 Homestead RC Tagliani & Carpentier
12/23/01

CART, slow to react, likely to get beat to Shanghai by F1  2nd UPDATE It looks as though CART and F1 now have two choices in Shanghai, China.  Reports in China in the “South China Morning Post” indicate that if plans are approved, a $1 billion (USD) racing circuit meeting FIA standards for Formula One will be ready by 2004, Shanghai's Deputy Mayor Jiang Yiran said yesterday. Construction would start in 2002.  A consortium is said to have the money to finance the deal.  The Shanghai Daily said the city's plans were to construct the track around the Volkswagen factory in suburban Anting. Earlier this year there were hints that various groups were considering proposals for the circuit after the Zhuhai course built in 1996 in the country, while already built and to Formula One standard, never made it onto the calendar and is now reportedly run down and requiring an expensive upgrade. We already know about the street circuit we previously reported on, so it appears there are competing interests in Shanghai.  China, the world’s most populous country, is the next best thing since apple pie for Formula One and CART because of its less stringent tobacco laws and massive, untapped audience. And Shanghai, a city of 12 million people, is seen as an ideal host, with considerable involvement from major car manufacturers with many production factories and high tech surroundings (see our previous reports listed below).  Might we see F1 on the natural terrain road course and CART on the City streets, or vice versa, or will both race on the same track? 12/1/01 - Autosport reports in its latest issue that Formula One sources say negotiations for a F1 race in China have now turned away from Zhuhai and Beijing, and toward Shanghai. They are looking for a race in 2005 or sooner.  AutoRacing1.com has said all along that Shanghai is the place to have a motor race in China if you were going to have one.  Now F1 has seen the light as well.  We had two feature stories on Shanghai.  The first, 'Why Shanghai is the Best Venue', by Allan Ng; and the second, 'Is Shanghai in CART's future, by Mark Cipolloni. We don't know how to put it any simpler than this - if CART gets beat to Shanghai by F1, it will be one of the biggest blunders in CART's entire history, especially when CART could have been in Shanghai as early as 2002 if the right effort was put into helping Norman Lee secure the right financing.  Norman Lee, President of Auto Racing Legends (ARL) returned recently from Shanghai with a 10-year contract with the government to put on two races per year in the streets of Pudong, a province of Shanghai.  ARL, a California Corporation, has been contracted by the Shanghai City Government to co-organize this event.  We have written on numerous occasions that China is going to be a major economic power in a few short years, and Shanghai will be their lead commercial center, a place where every major USA corporation does or will do business.  Perhaps if the rumors are true that Chris Pook may take over as President and CEO of CART in the very near future, and with Pook being a super race promoter who understands a good 'market' when he sees one, this important matter will get the attention it deserves. 
Special report on Shanghai China  UPDATE
Our report by Steven Levinson can be found here as promised.  12/7/01 - With F1 now talking to Shanghai, and since CART was doing its usual procrastination act, AutoRacing1.com made a special visit to Shanghai, China this past week.  On numerous occasions we have printed reasons why Shanghai is a 'must' market for CART, however, even we were blown over by what we found in Shanghai.  It was more spectacular than one could have imagined.  To whet your appetite, we have included a teaser photo of the Pudong Shanghai skyline to the right.  The Grand Hyatt Shanghai hotel, located right next to the proposed track, is the 'highest hotel in the world' (located on the 53rd to 88th floors of the Jin Mao Tower, the tallest building in the photo), with spectacular views of the Bund, Huang Pu River and downtown Shanghai from all its guest rooms. In case you did not know, the Jin Mao Tower is the third tallest building in the world.  We will have a special report on our visit in the coming days, so stay tuned. MC
12/23/01
Atlantics: Valiante cements Lynx ride  Canadian standout Michael Valiante has cemented his deal with Lynx Racing for the 2002 Toyota Atlantic campaign, and will act as team leader in his second season in the class. Valiante, who scored two podiums and two top-five finishes in five starts with the Lynx team in 2001, finished ninth in the overall championship and will replace the graduating David Rutledge as driver of the team's traditional #19 car. Rutledge is working on a deal to take himself into the senior CART series, a process the team will assist with, as it has with previous graduates including Patrick Carpentier (Player's/ Forsythe), Memo Gidley (Target Chip Ganassi) and Alex Barron (Arciero-Blair). For 2002, Valiante will be teamed with Grant Ryley, a 28-year old Californian, who will race a car fielded by Lynx and sponsored by the Kart2CART program of Microsoft executive Rick Waddell. "Lynx is a legend among young drivers looking for a way to graduate up into CART, and I'm thrilled to be chosen for the team," Valiante said, "The five races I drove with the team this season were a real education in how a top team operates and what it takes to compete at this level. "My goal this year was to satisfy both myself and the team that I can learn and run fast at the same time, and I feel I've achieved that. As for next year, the team is ready and able to win another championship, and I'm going to do my best to give them what they want. I'd also like to thank Lynx for the opportunity, David Rutledge for his generosity and help this year."
12/23/01
Chris Pook interview  On our home page we have provided video of an interview with Chris Pook and Patrick Carpentier.  We now provide video four ways - high resolution (cable modem and DSL users), low resolution (dialup users), and both Real Media and Windows Media format.  We believe that should meet everyone's needs.  If you still have trouble, please let us know. MC

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