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DATE News (chronologically 2/4/02 to 2/9/02)

2/9/02

Cosworth's Bruce Wood talks CART engines  Bruce Wood, director of Cosworth's CART Champ Car program, was on hand for the opening of CART Spring Preview testing at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca (Calif.) today.    Wood discussed changes made to the Ford-Cosworth XF over the winter as the turbocharged powerplant heads into its third and final season.  Story

2/9/02

How good is the Chris Pook team?  After yesterday's long Franchise Board meeting in which numerous sweeping rules changes were made in one meeting, the CART Franchise Board stood up and applauded.  What does that tell you about the Chris Pook led CART organization when a group of individuals, who in the past had a hard time agreeing to anything, voted to approve some 59 rules changes in one meeting, and then got up and applauded?  As one board member said to us, John Lopes and his staff, and of course Chris Pook, are the best thing that ever happened to CART.  Many of us had doubts about CART's survival in late November, early December, but I gotta tell you I never felt so positive about CART's future as I do now, and I have been in CART for a long time."

2/9/02

Photos from Laguna Seca  Our first batch of photos from CART's Sneak preview can he found here, brought to you by Mike Veglia (Motor Sport Visions Photography) and AutoRacing1.com.  There should be a photo of every car .....and more, for your viewing pleasure..

2/9/02

CART's Class of 2002 


Click to enlarge.  Photos by Michelle Saunders

2/9/02

Toyota wins at Daytona  Robert Huffman, driving the No. 37 White House Apple Juice Toyota Celica, worked his way through the field to win the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Daytona U.S.A. 150 on Saturday, Feb. 9. “I’m really happy to bring Toyota another victory at Daytona,” Huffman exclaimed enthusiastically from victory circle. “We didn’t qualify as well as we wanted on Wednesday, but the Celica ran great today. This is our second win in a row at Daytona, which is a real thrill.” The Claremont, N.C., native is a four-time champion in the Goody’s Dash series; 2002 is his second year racing the Toyota Celica. His victory on June 16, 2001 at the Kentucky Speedway was the first win for Toyota in the series, and the first for an overhead-cam, multi-valve engine in all of NASCAR. Huffman, who qualified 16 th , patiently worked his way to the front of the pack to win on the famed Daytona superspeedway for the third time in his career. He led 12 of the last 13 laps of the 62-lap race, which kicks off the 2002 NASCAR Goody’s Dash season. The win is the 35 th of Huffman’s career, making him second in all-time series victories. “I’m not sure what my secret was today,” said Huffman, who owns the team with his wife Ashley. “I had great support from the crew, Toyota, TRD, and the folks at White House. Today was our day." Junior Miller, running the No. 77 Big Daddy’s BBQ Toyota Celica for Weaver Racing, also ran a strong race to finish 16 th . Miller, from Winston-Salem, N.C., took the wheel on Friday after replacing qualifier Mike Swaim Jr. He started from the 40th provisional spot and took to the Celica immediately. “The Celica was real easy to drive,” Miller said. “The first time in the car on Friday, I could motor it around with two fingers if I wanted.” Fellow Toyota driver Tim Nichols, in the No. 52 Food Country Celica, also ran a consistent race to finish 26 th . Nichols, Ceder Bluff, Va., also started from a provisional spot but did not stay at the back for long. He gained 10 spots by the final pit stop on his way to the checkered flag.

2/9/02

Already three engine suppliers for CART's new engines  Toyota, TWR and Judd will supply engines to CART in 2003 and beyond, and we think Ford, Honda and Chevy will join in supplying the 12,000 RPM IRL-like engines.

2/9/02

Atlantics races to be live on TV  of the 12 Toyota Atlantic races in 2002, 6 will be shown live on SpeedChannel and the other 6 will be tape delayed.  Details later.  The one for Long Beach will be a feed in right to the Champ Car race on FOX.  The Toyota Atlantic folks are ecstatic.

2/9/02

Da Matta again on top  Cristiano once again topped the speed charts inthe afternoon session of testing at CART's Sneak Preview at Laguna Seca.  Players teammates Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier turned in fast laps right at the end of the session to snare 2nd and 3rd quick.

2/9/02

Accelics  first major sponsor for DC race  National Grand Prix Holdings, LLC today announced Accelics, Inc. as the first major corporate sponsor for the 2002 National Grand Prix auto race to be held in Washington in July. Accelics, Inc., the leader in R&D Enterprise Management solutions for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, has signed a three-year sponsorship agreement with the National Grand Prix. The Baltimore-based informatics software company is inventor of the knowledge creation and management solution ­ The REM System ­ that enables R&D organizations to Accelerate InnovationSM. "Accelics was looking for a partnership in 2002 that would further enhance its speed, technology and innovation image and extend its reach into their markets. We¹re excited to have Accelics as our first major sponsor," said Chris Lencheski, founder and chairman of the board, National Grand Prix Holdings. . 

2/9/02

Red Bull mad at Arrows, would Verstappen's sponsor move to CART?  The Dutch subsidiary of Red Bull, energy drinks maker, is mad about Arrows’ decision to drop driver Dutch driver Jos Verstappen in favor of German Heinz-Harald Frentzen. ‘We Red Bull Netherlands where yesterday unpleasantly surprised with the message Jos Verstappen is no longer part of the Arrows Team,’ said a spokeswoman. ‘We regret the fact Jos lost his seat. We also wanted to see Jos driving this car for the 2002 season. ‘This was (Team Chief) Walkinshaw’s sole decision, and despite us being a major backer, we do not have influence of any kind in the team's strategies on driver policies.’  Editor's Note: But you can bet they will yank that sponsorship first chance they get.  This comes on the heels that Dutch Computer peripherals maker Trust yanked their sponsorship from Arrows when it was announced that Verstappen was out.  Trust has said they will continue to support Verstappen as long as he has a ride somewhere.  CART?

2/9/02

Max Mosley backs F1 expansion into Asia  FIA President Max Mosley has again spoken out in favor of Formula One’s global expansion into Asia, saying there is huge potential in those regions thanks to the high population. ‘If we had got India and China, we would have half the world population or something like it,’ he said earlier this week.  Is China 'fashionable', or does it just make good business sense?

2/9/02

DaMatta leads first practice session at Laguna Seca  Newman Haas driver Cristiano da Matta turned the fastest lap (1:09.952 min) in the morning practice session today at Laguna Seca, by a comfortable margin over Tony Kanaan (1:10.316 min.).  Patrick Carpentier, Townsend Bell and Christian Fittipaldi rounded out the top-5.  As the green track gets rubber laid down, it's expected the times will be faster this afternoon.  All three engine manufacturers were represented in the top-3.

2/9/02

Bombardier ATV to sponsor Phoenix race  Bombardier Recreational Products will be the title sponsor of the Indy Racing League event March 17 at Phoenix International Raceway, the Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200. "This really is a perfect marketing partnership," said Robin Braig, PIR executive vice president and general manager. "Race enthusiasts across Arizona already use the great products that Bombardier produces, including the award-winning Bombardier® ATV all-terrain vehicles, Sea-Doo® personal watercraft and sport boats and even Ski-Doo® snowmobiles. Bombardier will now be able to connect with these consumers even more. "We are very pleased that Bombardier has come on board with Phoenix International Raceway. I know they're already involved with Kelley Racing as an associate sponsor, and I'm glad to see they've expanded their involvement to the track level. What better way to strengthen their Indy Racing commitment than by backing an event that's been coming to PIR since 1964." The Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 will take place March 15-17. The Indy Racing League event March 17 is the featured event, with races from the USAC National Midget Series, USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series and SRL supermodified series forming the most diverse weekend of open-wheel racing in America.

2/9/02
FRAN-AM

Fran-Am series to run in Vancouver with CART Fran-Am Sport today announced that the Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship will be part of the 2002 Molson Indy Vancouver weekend. The event is scheduled to take place July 26-28 at Concord Pacific Place in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. “It comes with great pleasure to announce that the Fran-Am Championship will part of a weekend as exciting and successful as the Molson Indy Vancouver," said Arden Weatherford, Fran-Am’s Director of Operations. “Molstar Entertainment has a history of promoting first class, highly attended events, and we're delighted to join with them in showcasing the Fran-Am series to this exciting Canadian market." “Molson Indy Vancouver is both happy and proud to host the Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Series during its inaugural season in 2002," said Stuart Ballantyne, General Manager, Molson Indy Vancouver. "I was especially pleased to learn of Fran-Am’s commitment to attract and promote Canadian drivers. That in itself is sure to keep our home-town fans on their feet.” "Being part of the 2002 Molson Indy Vancouver is an integral part of Fran-Am's commitment to Canada," said Andrew Field, President of Fran-Am Canada. "Over the next few years, Fran-Am will be bringing some of the most exciting motor racing in the world to Canada and having Vancouver as one of the venues provides a tremendous opportunity for Canadian drivers and spectators to experience our series." The 2002 Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship is expected to include ten races, with additional events announced in the coming weeks. Fran-Am competitors will race for a purse of $25,000, with the 2002 overall series champion winning a fully-funded seat with a leading European team for the 2003 Formula Renault series.

2/9/02

Atlantics: Dave Wieringa tears up Homestead In testing his Toyota Atlantic car at Homestead yesterday, David Wieringa went 0.2 sec. faster than any Toyota Atlantic driver has ever gone on the Homestead road course.  His teammate, Rocky Moran Jr. is in the car today.

2/9/02

Audio from Sneak Preview Below are various interviews from CART Sneak Preview in Real Audio format.
Mario Dominguez talks about his big chance in the Champ Car ranks and what two races in Mexico means to him | Cosworth's Bruce Wood talks engines | Townsend Bell | Kenny Brack | Sigma's Gerard Hermsen | Scott Dixon | Bruno Junqueira talks Champ Cars vs. IRL cars

2/9/02

Atlantics: Dwomik signs on with Scuadra Fortia Allen Berg, a native of Calgary, Canada and owner of Scuadra Fortia announced today that British engineer Stefan Dwornik will be engineering for his team for 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic season. "I feel very proud to announce that Stefan Dwornik will be engineering for us for 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic season. He is an experienced engineer and hard worker. I think it's great that he is joining us," Berg said. Mexican driver Eduardo Figueroa said: "I'm very happy that Stefan (Dwornik) is joining us. He not only takes care of the technical issues, he also takes care of his drivers and I will learn a lot from him in my maiden season in the CART Toyota Atlantic Series." Figueroa's team mate, Argentinean Waldemar Coronas said: "After winning two consecutive championships in the ILP/Formula de las Americas Series, my goals in my first year in the Atlantic Series are to be competitive and to achieve the Rookie of the Year honors. I think Stefan's experience is going to be a key point to reach those goals." Dwornik said: "I am really happy to join Scuadra Fortia. I know Allen (Berg) for long time ago and we share similar goals. I like his way of working, he is very professional. That's why it did not surprised me when his Mexican team (Scuadra Berg-Guerrero), won the drivers and teams titles in the ILP/Formula de las Americas Series. That makes me feel confident that I will be working in the right environment, having the right person heading our team." He added: "I think we have a good combination of drivers (Waldemar Coronas and Eduardo Figueroa), who are looking forward to be at the wheel in the opener at Monterrey, Mexico as soon as possible. I think our maiden season will be unforgettable."

2/8/02

Penske duo tops charts in Phoenix  Already ex-CART team Marlboro Team Penske are making their presence known in the IRL.  Brazilian road racers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves topped the speed charts Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, the second day of practice during the Indy Racing League's Test in the West. Story

2/8/02

Speeds escalate in IRL  Test speeds by Team Penske topped 179 MPH at Phoenix today in the afternoon sun.  The bar is being raised in the IRL with Team Penske coming onboard.  With no turbochargers to control runaway HP, and with high downforce, the IRL speeds will continue to spiral out of control.  The high downforce results in very high cornering speeds.  When there is trouble in a corner, the high speeds result in worse crashes as the force of impact with the wall is proportional to the velocity squared.  And the HANS Device still isn't mandated by the IRL.  Amazing!  We are told by people who have attended IRL drivers meetings at tracks like Texas, Atlanta, and Charlotte, that the atmosphere is so tense you can feel it, the drivers are that worried about their safety.  With the cars running so close together, and no fenders like NASCAR, the chance for a fatal accident is high and the drivers know it.  However, to the IRL's credit, their chassis rules are very good.  The tubs have a layer of energy absorbent material between the outer and inner layers of carbon fiber.  We expect CAR will adopt similar chassis rules, especially after Zanardi's accident last year.  Already this year CART has strengthened their tubs for side impact.

2/8/02

Junqueira concurs that IRL cars are easier to drive  With all the downforce and less HP the IRL cars are much easier to drive than a Champ Car.  Bruno told us today that an IRL is "easy flat" at Fontana whereas the Champ Car is more on the edge and more sensitive.  He said on the big tracks where you are easy flat, it's pretty boring, i.e.  just droning around with your foot to the floor.  However, on the short tracks he thinks the higher downforce IRL cars will be more fun to drive than the Champ Cars which don't make enough downforce to race well.  He joins a chorus of drivers who have driven both cars who say the Champ Car is more challenging to master as a driver.  Audio of interview with Junqueira. Even Tomas Scheckter, a rookie from Europe who is already turning competitive times in the IRL cars after cutting his teeth on road course racing in Europe,  says Fontana was easy, compared to say a Phoenix - (About differences between Phoenix and Fontana): "Obviously, it is a lot shorter and more physical. You have to be more precise. You have to be much smoother and a lot more accurate. You can't get it wrong, and you can't afford for the car to be wrong, otherwise you'll be in the wall. There were a couple of times today that it got loose on me, or it was pushing, and I started seeing that wall come at me pretty quickly. You just have to take that into consideration and get the car right. It's a big jump from Fontana."  "Everybody warned me beforehand about this circuit and that it would take two days to learn, but I think I got back into it very quickly," Scheckter said, who was third fastest at Phoenix today behind the road racing duo of Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves.  Road course racing remains the best measure of a drivers ability, as witnessed by the complete annihilation of the Indy 500 the past two years by CART's Champ Car drivers who keep their skills honed on CART's demanding road courses.  That's why F1 drivers are considered the best in the world - 100% road courses with cars that are not so easy to drive - lots of HP, grooved tires and narrow track.  Too bad they spoil it with too much technology. 

2/8/02

Octagon negotiating international TV deal for CART UPDATE Here is the full audio from the TV schedule press conference.  We are sure you will enjoy it.  2/8/02 -  It was announced today that Eurosport would only be showing 1-hour highlight shows of all CART races in Europe.  Meanwhile, because the Eurosport deal does not preclude live race broadcasts on other channels, Octagon (a huge global TV distribution company) is negotiating with all countries worldwide to get CART on as many terrestrial TV stations as possible worldwide.  Many of those deals are already done including places like Israel, Norway, Africa, South Africa, Denmark, France, Poland, Switzerland and Austria.  Their ultimate goal would be to have CART on terrestrial TV in over 200 countries worldwide.  While that is not possible, they will get as many as possible.  Story

2/8/02

Montoya tops charts at Valencia  
1 Juan Pablo Montoya - Williams-BMW, 1m12.410s 69 laps
2 Pedro de la Rosa – Jaguar, 1m13.229s 78
3 Antonio Pizzonia - Williams-BMW, 1m13.377s 91
4 Ralf Schumacher- Williams-BMW, 1m13.484s 69
5 Heinz-Harald Frentzen - Arrows-Cosworth, 1m13.491s 20
6 Jacques Villeneuve - BAR-Honda, 1m13.577s 86
7 Olivier Panis - BAR-Honda, 1m13.744s 66
8 Anthony Davidson - BAR-Honda, 1m14.177s 81
9 Alex Yoong - Minardi-Asiatech, 1m15.353s 38
10 Mark Webber - Minardi-Asiatech, 1m15.908s 30

2/8/02

Ford lost 65 HP, gained 15 back already  When we interviewed Bruce Wood today, he told us going from 37 inches of boost down to 34 this year cost the engines about 65 HP.  However, they have gained 15 of that back already, and hope to gain it all back by years end.

2/8/02

Media days conclude, on-track action to begin at Laguna Seca  With introductions to the cars, competitors, and characters that will make up the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series now complete, the focus of attention at CART Sneak Preview 2002 now switches to two days of on-track testing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  Story

2/8/02

Upbeat CART Team Owners meet the press, back changes Many of the CART team owners met the press today in an open forum. Tom Anderson (Fernandez Racing), Barry Green (Team Green), Carl Haas (Newman/Haas Racing), Mike Lowery (PacWest) Bobby Rahal (Team Rahal), Derrick Walker (Walker Racing) and Tom Weiringa (Sigma Autosport) participated. They had some interesting things to say.  We bring you the full audio.  Audio (Real Media)

2/8/02

St. Pete gets City Council approval - Official Press Release Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (GPALB), a wholly owned subsidiary of Dover Downs Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:DVD), has been granted unanimous approval from the St. Petersburg City Council to move ahead on a plan to bring a major motorsports event to the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. This action clears the way for the completion of an agreement between GPALB and Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (CART, NYSE:MPH) to bring the CART FedEx Championship Series to the second largest city in the southeast for 2003. The agreement, which was reached following the approval on Thursday by the St. Petersburg City Council, gives GPALB the exclusive right to host the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which would be run on a temporary street circuit through downtown St. Petersburg and a portion of the Albert Whitted Airport. "We are extremely pleased that the City Council approved the agreement, allowing us to bring a world-class racing event to St. Petersburg while showcasing the many positive attributes of this beautiful city," said Jim Michaelian, the President and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be patterned after the highly successful Long Beach event, which has been one of the preeminent motor racing events in the country for the past 28 years, and has been sanctioned by CART for 18 consecutive years. The St. Petersburg event is scheduled to attract some of the sport's most notable drivers such as Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser and others. It has been estimated that the Grand Prix of Long Beach generates up to $39 million in economic impact annually, and city officials are estimating that the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will have a major economic impact on St. Petersburg. "We have an unprecedented opportunity to attract an international audience to St. Petersburg with this new world class event coming to our community", said St. Petersburg Mayor, Rick Baker. "With the caliber of racers and race teams, this Grand Prix will be like no other held in the southeast United States." According to Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Downs Entertainment, Inc., the vote by the St. Petersburg City Council is another positive step in bringing a major motorsports event to one of the country's largest media markets. "We're really excited about this opportunity to bring a major motorsports event to the 14th largest media market in the country," McGlynn said. "In addition, the possibility that the event could serve as the kickoff to the 2003 CART season makes it that much more exciting." This announcement follows a unanimous vote last September by the Denver (CO.) City Council, which granted to the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach the exclusive right to annually operate a temporary circuit CART event on the city streets of Denver. The Grand Prix of Denver will make its debut later this year on Labor Day weekend. DVD

2/8/02

Ground is broken on Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca   The groundbreaking for the first phase of a multi-year, $15 million improvement project at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca happened today with local dignitaries, city and Monterey County officials, Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) and Mazda representatives and Max Papis from the CART series on hand to usher in a new beginning at the world famous road course. The entire improvement project will direct $15 million toward revamping Mazda Raceway’s support facilities including permanent garages topped by hospitality suites, a revamped media center with race control and timing and scoring.  

2/8/02

Off-season crashing continues  The F1 contingent had a another crash today, and yet another almost complete write-off.  David Coulthard went off at turn 1 at Valencia and flipped his McLaren MP4-14.  The crash was believed to be caused by a deflated tire. He walked away OK.

2/8/02

St. Pete gets City Council approval   The local St. Petersburg Fox Television affiliate reported this morning that "world class auto racing took one step closer to racing in the Tamba Bay area yesterday. The St Petersburg City Council approved a multi year contract with the promoters of the Grand Prix of St Petersburg." The report went on to say that the only thing left is for the sanctioning body, Championship Auto Racing Teams, to approve the race.  Consider this race pretty much a done deal.

2/8/02

Daytona 500 comes to NBC  NBC and TNT drop the green flag on the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season with comprehensive coverage of the 44th annual Daytona 500 - the "Great American Race" - beginning with NBC's coverage of Bud Pole Qualifying from noon-3 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 9 and culminating with the network's inaugural broadcast of the Daytona 500 at noon on Sunday, Feb. 17.  Story

2/8/02

Formula One looking to cut costs  The FIA's Max Mosley hinted yesterday that F1 is looking to cut costs and one way to do that is to impose a 1-engine per car per weekend rule.  If you blow one up, say on Saturday, you start dead last in the race.   Expect this to happen in 2003.

2/8/02
Industry News

VW to increase investment in Asia/China  We are hearing more rumors about F1 getting a deal done to race in China.  Why do they want to race there do you ask?  Here is another example.  European car-maker Volkswagen (VW) will invest 2.5 billion euros (about $2.6 billion USD) in Asia in the next five years as it seeks to raise group sales in the region by 40 per cent to 650,000 units. VW's president of Asia-Pacific operations, Robert Buchelhofer, said the region was likely to be a bright spot this year in what was expected to be a largely static global market for car sales. The company, which claimed 12.5 per cent of the global market last year, said China remained its main focus, although it expected growing competition following Beijing's entry into the World Trade Organisation. Last year, China accounted for 78 per cent of the company's Asia-Pacific sales. The region represented 7.2 per cent of sales of 5.08 million units worldwide. VW said Asia-Pacific deliveries rose 7.2 per cent to 461,000 units last year, while total sales rose 4.5 per cent. It claimed a 5.5 per cent market share. "We expect China to develop as one of the major economic players in the region," Mr Buchelhofer said in Singapore yesterday. Last year, VW boosted mainland sales 7 per cent to 359,000 units as the overall passenger car market grew by 11 per cent to 700,000 units. "Our market share [in China], which is about 50 per cent, of course we would love to keep. But on the other hand, we are also aware of the fact that there will be fierce competition," he said.

2/8/02

Follow the Lights, Follow the Action on the American Le Mans Series in 2002.  The sports car endurance racing series will make it easier for fans to follow the action on the track this season through the use of a revolutionary new position lights system, the first of its kind in motorsports. The lights will identify the top three cars in each of the four classes within the series and will be carried by all cars in all 10 races that make up the series schedule for 2002. Introduced on a limited basis in the final ALMS race of 2001, the light system was designed to help alleviate an age-old problem in sports car endurance racing. Because of the difference in speed between the faster Prototypes and the slower GT cars that compete at the same time in events, it was often impossible after a few laps to tell what car was leading what class. While veteran sports car racing fans usually knew what was going on, new fans often missed exciting battles on the track. The light system will change that. All cars will be equipped with three lights that are located in front of the rear wheel on both sides of the car. If a car is leading its class, one of the three lights will be lit. Two lights will be lit of the car is second in class, and three lit lights will indicate that the car is running third in class. Each of the four classes of race cars will carry its own color of light, therefore making it possible to tell the class of the car as well as its position. Prototype 900 cars will carry red lights, while LMP 675 cars (smaller Prototypes) will carry blue lights. The lights on GTS cars will be green, and GT cars will have yellow lights. The system works directly from the official timing and scoring system of IMSA, the sanctioning body for the series. The lights operate on telemetry sent from timing and scoring computers to assure accurate and timely updates. If passes are made on the track for one of the top three positions, the lights will change when the cars cross the start-finish line. On an experimental basis, the American Le Mans Series introduced the system in the final race of the 2001 season, installing lights on a few cars in the GT class. During the off-season, the system has been tested and refined and is now ready for full use in the 2002 season.   ALMS

2/7/02
Sigma Team lands big sponsor 3rd UPDATE Sigma Autosport announced today that Rockwell FirstPoint Contact of Wood Dale, Ill., will be a multi-year partner of the #22 Sigma Champ Car team. Sigma Autosport brings Rockwell FirstPoint Contact into its first venture in Champ Car racing with high expectations. With nine international events scheduled in the 2002 CART FedEx Championship, the Rockwell name will be displayed worldwide on the #22 Champ Car, enhancing their global marketing efforts. “We are very excited to have a company like Rockwell FirstPoint Contact join our team,” said Tom Wieringa, owner of Sigma Autosport. “We will do everything possible to help bring them a championship in the 2002 CART season.” Rockwell FirstPoint Contact president Terry Murphy is thrilled to join Sigma Autosport’s effort in the CART FedEx Championship. “All of us at Rockwell are truly excited to be part of Sigma Autosport’s bid for the CART FedEx Championship,” said Murphy. “Sigma has an exciting and competitive team, much like the team at Rockwell FirstPoint Contact.” After a strong rookie year, Sigma Autosport is prepared to take Rockwell and the #22 Champ Car to the podium in 2002. “We’re lapping the competition and winning business in markets around the world,” explained Murphy. “We’re confident that the Sigma team and Rockwell FirstPoint Contact will have a lot in common this year.” Sigma Autosport, founded in 2000, began racing in the CART FedEx Championship at Monterrey, Mexico in 2001. The team competed in all 20 CART races and recorded its best finish with back-to-back fifth place results at Vancouver and Germany. Sigma is one of 13 franchised racing teams in the CART FedEx Championship, and is a top contender for the 2002 championship. The Sigma Autosport Champ Car is driven by Max Papis for the 2002 season. Rockwell FirstPoint Contact (www.rockwellfirstpoint.com), a business of Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK), is a global provider of complete customer contact solutions that support multiple channels (voice, e-mail web, wireless and VoIP) through a unique open interaction infrastructure. The first to develop technology to help automate customer call centers, Rockwell FirstPoint Contact has a 30-year global reputation for reliability, dependability, on-time, on-budget delivery and superior customer service. Where intelligent customer contact begins, Rockwell FirstPoint Contact specializes in helping organizations leverage data from across the enterprise to achieve their customer relationship management strategies.   2/1/02 - AR1 has learned that not one, but two big named companies are involved with this deal, but we promised we would not reveal their names out of respect for Sigma and the companies until the press release comes out.  Both are significant.  Stay tuned. 1/29/02 - Gerald Forsythe mentioned yesterday in Monterrey there will be an announcement at CART's Spring Break regarding a major European company.  He may have been referring to Sigma of course, but our sources say it's a USA company that does a lot of business both in the USA and abroad.  We spoke to Mr. Hermsen yesterday who told us negotiations are still ongoing for the 2nd car, and he remains hopeful.  They are trying to make sure they will have adequate engine supply from Ford since this deal came together late.  This week old story should be all laid out by Feb. 1st, Spring Break at the latest.  1/22/02 -  AutoRacing1.com has just learned from new Managing Director Gerard Hermsen that Sigma Autosport will announce a new multinational Champ Car sponsor on February 1st.  One car is definite and a 2nd car is looking very very good at the moment.  The sponsorship is a full 3-year deal. Roberto Moreno is one of the drivers being considered for the 2nd seat.  There are others.  All we are at liberty to say until the announcement is that the company will surprise a lot of people.  Since the 2nd car is looking pretty good, Mr. Hermsen told us they are going to be looking for more mechanics ASAP.  If you feel you are qualified for such a position, send us an e-mail at contacts@autoracing.com and we will provide you information where to send your resume.  Our hat's off to Sigma Autosport.  A new team who finished third in the pitstop competition their first year in CART, and has now landed a big multinational sponsor, something many established teams have been unable to do.  This is exactly the type of sponsor CART teams need more of, sponsors who sell product worldwide and recognize the value of the worldwide reach CART brings. We have updated our 2002 CART Silly Season Page Now do you get the feeling things are starting to turn around for CART? Mark C.
2/7/02
NASCAR announces full time medical personnel  NASCAR names safety analyst, medical liaisons to full time positions NASCAR announced today the appointment of a safety analyst and three medical liaisons in full-time positions, beginning with the upcoming 2002 season. "With these positions, we are delivering on a commitment we made last year as part of our latest safety initiatives," NASCAR President Mike Helton said. "Following a diligent search, we were able to identify and hire individuals who possess the experience and background we desired. The group's members are currently becoming oriented with the details of their roles and extremely busy preparing for the start of the season with Speedweeks arriving. As the opportunity presents itself throughout the season, they will begin integrating and familiarizing themselves among the NASCAR community." Jerry Kaproth, a retired Minnesota State Patrol district commander, has been named as the safety analyst. Kaproth's responsibilities will include investigating the results of race incidents and aiding NASCAR's engineering group with accident reconstruction. Robin Morrisey, Denese Meeks and Lance Davin were appointed as medical liaisons, and each will be assigned to one of NASCAR's national series - NASCAR Winston Cup Series; NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division; and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The role of the medical liaison will be to gather and maintain detailed medical histories of the drivers and coordinate medical services with the track, drivers, crew members and local hospitals. The liaison's interfacing among the involved groups will enhance overall communication among the different parties.
2/7/02
Dale Earnhardt statue unveiled  1. Teresa Earnhardt and Bill France Jr unveiled the Dale Earnhardt statue today at Daytona International Speedway. The statue including the base, is
9 ft. tall and weighs approximately 1,200 lbs. The statue is surrounded by a wall representing Daytona International Speedway's 2.5 mile tri-oval. Encompassing the wall is a walkway around the statue incorporates a timeline highlighting Dale Earnhardt's seven Winston Cup championships, his 1998 Daytona 500 victory and his last Winston Cup race. The statue was designed by North American Testing Company, and was constructed by John Lajba, of Omaha, Nebraska. 2. Kurt Busch on Pole for Budweiser Shootout Kurt Busch will lead the field of some of NASCAR's biggest and brightest during the 2002 season's first Winston Cup Series race * the Budweiser Shootout. The lineup, chosen Thursday by random draw, is a non-points, 70-lap race that pits last season's pole winners and active and past winners of the Budweiser Shootout and Busch Clash in head-to-head action at Daytona International Speedway. The race, formerly called the Busch Clash, is set for 2:15 p.m. Sunday.
2/7/02
OrangeArrows 2002 contender completes first day's running in Valencia  The OrangeArrows 2002 contender, the A23, completed it's first day of testing in Valencia today. In it's distinctive Orange and black interim livery, the car ran at the Valencia track with the newly-signed Heinz-Harald Frentzen at the wheel. "It's certainly good to be back in the cockpit again after such a long break", commented Heinz-Harald. "I'm getting used to my new team and they are getting used to me. The car feels good so far and the engine feels strong. Of course, we have had the usual problems faced with running a new car, but nothing major, and I can feel there is a strong foundation there to work with. I'm really looking forward to the new season now as I am optimistic about this car." The OrangeArrows team will continue running in Valencia until Saturday evening, before moving on to Barcelona. Test times will be issued daily on www.orangearrows.com.  The team's 2002 livery will be unveiled in Melbourne.
2/7/02
Motorola/Archipelago to field Indy 500 entry for Michael Andretti   Team Green announced today that CART's winningest active driver, Michael Andretti, will return to the Indianapolis 500 for the second consecutive year. Andretti will be entered to drive the Motorola/Archipelago entry for the 86th running of the Memorial Day classic on May 26, 2002. "I said last year when I came back to the Speedway that I felt like I had some unfinished business at this place," remarked Andretti, "and after coming so close last year, that feeling hasn't changed so I'm glad to be getting another opportunity." Andretti started 21st and finished third in his return to the Speedway in 2001 after overcoming a punctured tire, a collision on pit lane and enduring a mid-race rain shower. "Each time I come to the Speedway, it throws me a new curve," said Andretti who holds the record for most laps led (398) in the "500" without a victory. "I plan on changing the statistics after this year's race, hopefully adding "winner" to my final results column." The same crew that mans the Team Motorola entry in the CART FedEx Championship Series will handle the Motorola/Archipelago Indianapolis 500 effort.
2/7/02
Ferrari ready to defend titles with new car   Ferrari has unveiled the car it will use to defend the FIA Formula One Drivers and Constructors World Championships it won in 2000 and 2001. "Our motivation is still unchanged, and our target and goals are still the same," said driver Michael Schumacher, who will try this season to win his third consecutive championship as well as tying the record five championships earned by Juan Manuel Fangio. "We want to once again win both world championships, and there is nothing nicer than winning with Ferrari. We obtained beautiful results in the past, and that is what we want for the future." Ferrari has won a record 11 Constructors Championships. Williams has won nine titles and McLaren eight. Schumacher and teammate Rubens Barrichello will compete in the new Ferrari F2002, which Ferrari's Chief Designer Rory Byrne calls "the best ever" car that the team has ever produced. Ferrari is the only team to have participated in every season of the modern Formula One World Championship that began in 1950. The F2002 is the 48th Ferrari single-seater conceived specifically to contest the Formula One World Championship. According to Ferrari, the design philosophy of the new car follows that of the F2001. Ferrari have optimized the aerodynamic efficiency, lowered the center of gravity and created the optimum conditions to maximize the performance of the 051 engine and the Bridgestone tires. Despite the continuity of the regulations and apparent aesthetic similarities, all aspects of the car have been completely redesigned to achieve improvements in performance. The chassis is new, both in terms of its design and construction, resulting in a weight reduction and greater structural integrity. The sidepods, radiators, exhausts and the rear of the car are also completely new, achieving an improvement in the cooling and aerodynamic performance. The 90-degree V10 engine and the seven-speed gearbox are mounted longitudinally. The gearbox is completely new and has an improved gearshift operation.
2/7/02
Watkins Glen would be good fit for CART's void - Auto racing column by RON LEVANDUSKI   Could Chicago Motor Speedway's loss be Watkins Glen International's gain? Chicago Motor Speedway officials announced Tuesday the track is suspending this year's events, including the CART FedEx Series Champ Car race scheduled for June 30. That leaves an opening on the CART calendar that series officials said they'd like to fill. Watkins Glen officials have expressed a strong interest in adding a CART race -- or a similar open-wheel event -- to its calendar by the 2003 season. "We've been talking to CART for four years now," Julie Giese, a spokesperson for Watkins Glen International said Wednesday from Daytona, Fla. "They know our interest." The open CART date is the same weekend as the once-traditional NASCAR Busch Series race at Watkins Glen. That event, which had been a fixture at the Glen since 1991, was dropped from the 2002 schedule. Glen officials have been eager to replace the event with something of similar or bigger stature. The open CART date would be an opportunity for the Glen to snag a Champ Car event now -- if CART officials are interested. Officials from CART could not be reached for comment Wednesday. In a statement Tuesday, CART President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Pook said the series is reviewing options to fill the open date left by Chicago's closing. "As far as I know there hasn't been any communications about the open date," Giese said. "We're always looking for ways to improve our schedule." CART opens its 2002 season with its annual Sneak Preview today and Friday in Laguna Seca, Calif. The event includes interviews, announcements and testing on the track.
2/7/02
As expected, Frentzen named to drive for Arrows  2nd UPDATE As expected, Huub Rothengatter, the manager of Jos Verstappen, has said he is ‘dumbfounded’ at the news of Heinz-Harald Frentzen’s signing with the Arrows team. ‘Despite all rumors of the past few weeks, I am dumbfounded,’ the former F1 driver turned businessman said. ‘Officially, we still haven't been told anything. I am unpleasantly surprised with the press release on the Arrows Website. Rothengatter warned that he would be taking action. ‘In the twenty years that I have been involved in Formula One, I have never experienced something like this,’ he said. ‘It seems to be we are going to have a busy time in front of us. To be continued…’  Jos Verstappen said no-one from Arrows had bothered to call him to explain the team’s decision to replace him with Heinz-Harald Frentzen.  Don't you just love F1 and its politics?  2/7/02 - Were the Verstappen angels making a point to Frentzen and Arrows for taking Verstappen's ride away at Arrows even though Verstappen had a signed contract since June?  Frentzen already suited up and roared away from the pits at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo by nine this morning. Unfortunately his shakedown of one of the new Cosworth-powered 2002 spec A23s was short, very short. The car died shortly before completing its first lap. Marshals towed it back to the OrangeArrows garage where it disappeared behind locked doors to be examined by the team.  2/7/02 - After months of speculation, the OrangeArrows team is delighted to announce that Heinz-Harald Frentzen will race alongside Enrique Bernoldi in the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship. "We're very pleased that Heinz-Harald is joining the team", commented OrangeArrows Team Principal, Tom Walkinshaw. "He is a recognized top-line driver and has proved his mettle by winning three Grands Prix during his career. We are at an important stage in the development of OrangeArrows and feel that Heinz-Harald has the necessary experience to help us move forward." The thirty-four year-old German began his Formula One career in 1994 with Sauber. After three years with the Swiss team he moved to Williams where he secured his first F1 victory at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1997 and finished the season as runner-up in the Driver's World Championship. He left Williams at the end of 1998 and joined Jordan where he notched up another two victories before departing for the Prost team during the 2001 season. He commented, "I'm very much looking forward to racing for OrangeArrows. The team has a fantastic facility and a lot of very talented and dedicated people. All the ingredients are there to take a major step forward and I'm convinced we will be successful." The team also announced today that it has parted company with Dutch driver, Jos Verstappen. After two years with the team, Verstappen was released from his contract. The OrangeArrows team's 2002 contender, the A23, completed a successful shakedown program in the UK on Sunday and Monday in the hands of Enrique Bernoldi. It is now in Valencia where testing began yesterday. Heinz-Harald Frentzen will drive the A23 for the first time today.
2/6/02
Another Turkish city vying for F1 race  One of our many Turkish readers keyed us in on this story.  The Izmir, Turkey city governor said that "Izmir is ready to host a F1 race by mentality and heart."   Izmir, 3rd biggest city in Turkey,  is closer to tourist places and has a warmer climate than Istanbul. This may give them a leg up to steal a date on the F1 calendar.  Story (In Turkish) Savas Alparslan
2/6/02
Varsha and Kendall to announce CART races  SPEED Channel announced its CART FedEx Championship Series broadcasting lineup, teaming veteran motorsports play-by-play broadcaster Bob Varsha with former IMSA and Trans-Am Series racing champion Tommy Kendall in the booth. Versatile Derek Daly, one of few racers to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco and the Indianapolis 500, will host "CART Friday Night," a half-hour show on Friday nights before CART events. Daly also will serve as host to all CART pre-race programming, as well as providing commentary from around the track during practice, qualifying and race day. Calvin Fish and former CART racer Scott Pruett will serve as SPEED Channel pit reporters. "These were the five guys we went after as our top choices and we got all five," said Doug Sellars, SPEED Channel VP/Executive Producer Remote Productions. "This team has a strong combination of racing knowledge and television skill, so we couldn't be more excited as SPEED Channel heads into the CART season." Varsha, who has been with SPEED Channel since 2000, knows this team is something special. "As Dario Franchitti might say, I'm 'completely chuffed' to be rejoining the CART FedEx Championship Series coverage," Varsha said. "That means it's a good thing. I loved the two years I spent with the series previously. There's no greater challenge in motor sports than the combination of ovals, road courses and street circuits that CART visits, and the racing is terrific. "Given the resources and attitude of the people at FOX and Speed Channel, I think fans everywhere are about to see open-wheel racing in a whole new light," Varsha added. "We're devoting 60 percent more air time to the race weekends than ever before, including the new 'CART Friday Night' program, and we have a few surprises in the pipeline for the on-track coverage. I'm especially excited about working with Tommy Kendall, Derek Daly, Scott Pruett and Calvin Fish. These guys are racers to the bone, television pros, and great people as well. I can't wait for the new season."
2/6/02
IRL cars glued to the track, put on a 'show'  Interesting quotes from the IRL test at Fontana - CASTRONEVES: "I mentioned to everyone on the team as soon as I got out of the turn the first lap I was flat out."  LAZZARO: "The rules package is going to make for extremely good racing. In the IRL, the downforce keeps the car pretty much glued to the track."  CHEEVER: "We ran Tomas in (a private test) Las Vegas, and he was impeccable. We ran him here in traffic, and he beat me on speed. He didn't get in trouble all day long, and he's making my decision on who we are going to pick for a second driver a lot easier."
2/6/02
Construction of LB course set to begin  Construction of the 1.97-mile temporary race circuit through the downtown streets of Long Beach for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach begins Monday, Feb. 11. The first phase of construction will begin Monday at Shoreline Drive and Linden Avenue in Long Beach at approximately 8 a.m. The 28th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach takes place April 12-14.
2/6/02
Vasser tests Miller Lite car at Fontana  Track preparations have began for Rahal-Letterman
Racing’s onslaught at the Indianapolis 500 as driver Jimmy Vasser and the Miller Lite crew hit the two-mile oval at California Speedway this week for initial test runs of the No. 19 Miller Lite Menard/Dallara car.  Vasser, the 1996 CART series champion from Las Vegas, is no stranger to the current Indy 500 car specifications after finishing seventh in 2000 and fourth in 2001 in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Team owners Bobby Rahal, the 1986 Indy 500 winner, and Indiana native and television icon David Letterman also return with Vasser to the famed Brickyard this May with a single goal – crossing the yard of bricks first on May 26 in the 500-mile classic. Rahal and Letterman made the announcement last November that the Miller Brewing Company was returning to the Indy 500 with a their effort for the first time since 1995. Rahal drove the Miller Genuine Draft car to third that year in Rahal’s final Indy driving appearance. The 2002 Indianapolis 500 will mark the 30th season that Miller has been a sponsor in open-wheel competition dating back to 1973 in the United States Auto Club (USAC). Since its first involvement, Miller Indy and Championship cars have won 17 races including the 1985 Indianapolis 500 (with Danny Sullivan), 19 pole positions and two CART season championships (with Sullivan in 1988 and Rahal in 1992). “It’s exciting to come back to the Speedway,” said Rahal, the 13-time Indy 500 starter.  “I had the greatest day of my racing career in winning the 500 and the worst day of my career when we didn’t qualifying for the race in 1993. But the Indy 500 is a magical race and I would love to return to victory lane again with Jimmy, David and Miller Lite. We have all of the components to run up front.”  Vasser, a six-time starter with two fourth place finishes at Indy, has two 500-mile wins to his credit – 1996 U.S. 500 in Michigan and the 1998 Marlboro 500 in Fontana. The California
native has won nine champ car races in his career.  “Coming to Indy with an effort like the Miller Lite team is all a driver can ask for,” said Vasser. “I’ve raced at Indy with excellent teams and this effort will be one of the best in the garage area. Now we have to work hard to beat the best.”  This year’s Indy 500 will be the debut of Letterman as a car owner in the Indy 500, a race he visited numerous times as a child growing up in the Indianapolis area. “It’s a thrill to be a part of this great event and participate in one of the greatest sports stadiums in the world,” said Letterman.
2/6/02
NHRA
Toyota first import manufacturer in NHRA  Toyota, in conjunction with Team e-moola! Alan Johnson Racing, became the first import manufacturer to enter the NHRA POWERade top fuel ranks when the team’s Celica Funny Car debuted today at Pomona Raceway.  Gary Scelzi, a three time NHRA Top Fuel Dragster champion, will pilot the red and white entry sponsored by White Cap, a leading specialty construction supplier.  “Toyota is excited and proud to have one of the sport’s most recognized drivers and teams represent the Celica Top Fuel Funny Car in the POWERade series,” said Jim Aust, VP of motorsports and president/CEO of Toyota Racing Development (TRD), U.S.A. “It’s a great opportunity for Toyota to showcase the sleek and stylish Celica to the enthusiastic NHRA fans. We also look forward to growing the technical relationship we have established between TRD and Alan Johnson’s highly professional team.”
2/6/02
Team Players drivers eager to get back behind the wheel  With just over a month until the start of the 2002 season, Team Player’s drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani get the chance to measure their off-season progress when they take part in this weekend’s CART Sneak Preview on the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca road course. At least 20 cars are expected to be on the track for two daily testing sessions of 2½ hours on both Saturday and Sunday. “Up to now, most of our off-season testing sessions have been with only a few teams and drivers sharing the track with us, so the Sneak Preview is a great opportunity to find out where we are in relation to our off-season testing program,” said Carpentier. “Naturally, it’s not going to have the intensity of a race weekend, but it still gets your competitive juices flowing and gets you back into the racing mode again.” Thus far, Carpentier and his teammate Alex Tagliani have both had two separate off-season testing sessions four days each. Carpentier has tested on road courses at Sebring and Homestead, while both of Tagliani’s sessions were on the Sebring road circuit. “Our first two races on the schedule are both on road courses, so it’s good that we’ll be running on a track like Laguna for this year’s Sneak Preview,” stated Tagliani. “In those two days on the track, we’re going to be able to put the car to a thorough test and get loads of information that Team Player’s can use for its final season preparations over these next few weeks.” Racing fans who would like to converse with Carpentier and Tagliani can do so through web chats that have been set up with the two drivers. The Carpentier web chat is from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, Feb. 7, while Tagliani will be available from 8:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8. The web chats can be accessed by logging on to www.teamplayers.ca.
2/6/02
Highlights of CART Q4 investor conference  Highlights from today's CART 4th Quarter investor press conference that were over and above recent press releases.
1) Before Chris Pook came in there were 10 levels of management for an 80 employee organization. It has been restructured to 5 and may go to 4. It was quite a traumatic transition.
2) NAFTA was stressed heavily. CART is the only vehicle able to deliver this entire trading block as a marketing tool.  He also mentioned China...in passing.
3) A multi-national sports marketing company has been selected to handle the international marketing and TV rights. It is significant that both are under one roof. They are awaiting board approval on this one (next meeting Feb 19). National marketing will be done in house.
4) Still working on engine manufacturers for 2003. Engine specs to be finalized on Friday. He mentioned "what revs it will go to". Sounds like a rev limiter to me.
5) Predicts in 2-3 years Speed Channel will be the #1 source for motorsports television.
6) Fox Network will carry one CART event.
7) European TV will be a combination deal between the host broadcaster and the distributor. That is why it is taking so long, but progress was made in the last couple of days. They will get paid for the rights and not the other way around.
8) Chicago. Still working with those people on future relationships. In one week the replacement race will be announced and soon after that the 20th race will be made public.
9) Promoter relationships. Some tracks have agreed to co-promotion and some have not. Sanction fees are reduced in return for a 50/50 sharing on the upside up to the original sanction fee. The deals are for life so to speak.
10) Recently re-signed some race contracts, will announce more soon.
11) CART's heritage will be leveraged more going forward, including the Andretti name
2/6/02

'Speed Channel', All Systems Go, including CART and F1 Speedvision is putting things into high gear as it puts the finishing touches on Monday’s re-launch as SpeedChannel. 13 of CART's current 18 races for 2002 will be shown on Speed Channel. The powers-that-be at Fox and SpeedChannel are hoping that a beefed up programming lineup will mean more viewers, more cable companies, and more revenue. Race fans are more than likely to oblige with greater interest when they get a look at what the revamped channel has to offer. Indeed, just the buzz of the re-launch generated a 67% increase in Speedvision’s ratings in January over last year’s comparable period and the channel is now in over 46 million homes, with over 3 million of those added in the last month. "We’ve had some distribution successes in the last few weeks and we really feel like the February 11th launch people are looking forward to," says SpeedChannel president Jim Liberatore. Liberatore adds, "We are hoping to get into the 60 million number in the next two to three years, but I think it can actually be faster than that."  MotorsportTV Story
2/6/02
NASCAR Preview Guide out  UMI Publications, in cooperation with the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), has released the Official 2002 NASCAR Preview and Press Guide. The 456-page magazine, credited as the largest preseason publication for any major sport in America, is packed full of feature stories, statistics, bios, team updates, track info, schedules, race recaps and more leading into the 2002 season. Weighing more than two pounds, the Official 2002 NASCAR Preview and Press Guide is the only preseason publication covering all 12 NASCAR Racing Series' including the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge.
2/6/02
Honorary starter announced for Daytona 500  Daytona International Speedway announced today that Angie Harmon, former star of NBC's Law and Order, will drop the green flag on the 44th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17. The 29-year-old actress of Dallas, TX, is perhaps best known for her role as Assistant District Attorney Abbie Carmichael on NBC's popular drama series Law and Order. Harmon got her start in show business when she won a National Cover Girl Contest for Seventeen Magazine at the age of 15. Since then, she has been featured on the cover of Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Entertainment Weekly. Harmon also made headlines when on a Tonight Show appearance in March of 2000, she received a surprise marriage proposal from her then-boyfriend Jason Sehorn, New York Giants defensive back. Sehorn and Harmon were married in June of 2001 and he will join her for pre-race activities for the Daytona 500. As previously announced, Chad Holliday, CEO of DuPont, will be this year's Daytona 500 Grand Marshal.
2/6/02
Tickets on sale for Washington DC race  During a press conference held today at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, the National Grand Prix officially kicked off ticket sales when Chris Lencheski, founder and chairman of National Grand Prix Holdings presented Harold Brazil, Washington, D.C. City Council Member and Chairman of Economic Development, the first official ticket to the July 2002 event. Tickets for the event will officially go on sale to the public on February 6 at 10:00 a.m. Fans can call Ticketmaster at 202.432.SEAT (7328).
Ticket prices for the weekend are as follows*
FRIDAY, JULY 19
* General Admission - $20.00
SATURDAY, JULY 20
* General Admission Walkabout - $25.00
* Reserved Seating - $40.00
SUNDAY, JULY 21
* General Admission Walkabout - $35.00
* Reserved Seating Rows 1-5 - $65.00
* Reserved Seating Rows 6 & Up - $85.00
PIT / PADDOCK PASSES (Garage Area)
* $10 per day, $25 for three day pass ­ must be accompanied by a reserved or
general admission ticket
SUPERPASS - $150.00
Includes reserved grandstand seating all three days and three day
Pit/Paddock passes
"This wide range of ticket options will offer something for everyone ­ from the excitement and roar of engines in the Pit, to the comfort of grandstand seating," said Shawn Hackman, general manager, National Grand Prix. "This will be an ideal venue for spectators with 40,000 fixed seats and room and access for many more fans."
2/6/02
Tidbits from Fontana  The Mi-Jack Conquest team is currently installing an Infiniti engine in their car now. It was unknown if they would have a car ready for tomorrow with the new powerplant but it appears they will make it on the track without a problem. Racing Professionals entry for Jon Herb is running a new Roush Chevy engine. Ganassi has two cars rolled out now. One in solid red similar to the 2001 Target livery while the other is red and white similar to the new Target livery.  We assume both of these cars are their Indy 500 cars for their CART drivers.
2/6/02
Cheever picks up an associate sponsor  Red Bull Cheever Racing announced today that Lincoln Financial Group (NYSE: LNC) will sponsor 1998 Indy 500 champion Eddie Cheever Jr. and the No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti in the 2002 Indy Racing League series. "We are pleased to welcome Lincoln Financial Group to the team," Cheever said. "The company was founded nearly a century ago by a group of Fort Wayne, Indiana, businessmen. It makes sense that they be involved in the Indy 500, which has a history just a few years younger than their own. They will find the full Indy Racing League schedule will provide the marketing benefits they desire at a great value." Cheever will serve as a spokesperson for the annuities operation of Lincoln Financial Group as part of the sponsorship program.
2/6/02
Ferrari lands new sponsor, launches today  Ferrari lost FedEx as an associate sponsor to the Williams team, but they have secured a replacement - AMD.  The big computer chip maker will be on the car for two years.  The team will launch their 2002 car today as well.
2/5/02
Michel Jourdain Sr. announces 26 drivers for Monterrey support race  In Monterrey, things keep shaping up for a formidable program to start the 2002 racing season To CART and Toyota Atlantic races, now we can add the Mexican touring Mustang championship. The latter is organized by veteran promoter Michel Jourdain Declerq, famous Mexican driver who ran in CART 1980-81 and father of Michel Jourdain Lascuráin (MJ Jr. or MJ II), driver for Team Rahal. Michel came to Monterrey to announce the Mustang series will once again be the Mexican preliminary race for CART's 2002 opening, the Tecate-Telmex Grand Prix. Along came Humberto García, series director,  they held a press conference at the Media Center with Alberto Botello, executive director of the CART race. During the conference, Michel explained he doesn't know if there will be one or two races during the weekend for the Mustangs: "The organizers are offering us a great time slot for Sunday, 1 p.m., but Saturday's time is too late, after the Atlantic race, maybe when people are starting to leave the track.....Both races would be 20 lappers, about 40 minutes each, and we are considering it. What worries me a bit is a multicar crash on Saturday that could eliminate several cars and take some of the luster from Sunday's race. What we have is 26 confirmed cars and they could easily be 28 or 29 since some teams take out their muletto -third car- to use it in the race because everybody wants to participate in it". About new drivers in the series, Michel confirmed negotiations with some of the top drivers of other categories to join the Mustang series in 2002: "Team Ford has Rafa Martínez -runner up 2001- and it seems they are getting Jorge Goeters (Indy Lights 1998 and Mexican F3 champ 2001). It looks like his brother Patrick (Pick Up Truck Challenge champ 2001) will be joining another team. We also have Fernando Plata (Brit F3 B class champ a few years ago), who'll be running with Team Canel's, and we know a team from Aguascalientes (Rolcar) is trying to get Derek Higgins who hasn't ran in Mexico since 1997. We are sure we'll get Rubén Pardo, brother of Carlos Pardo, 2001 rookie of the year, and both champs of the Neon Challenge 2000. Carlos might be going to Team Telmex with Jimmy Morales, and another of the stars in the series is Scot Rod MacLeod, whose teammate, Mara Reyes, is by far the best woman driver ever in Mexico, and we also have 2000 champ, Rubén García Novoa another driver who guarantees your ticket's worth......I firmly believe the Mustang drivers are some of the best in the world and we have already sent one to NASCAR (Carlos Contreras) and the current champion, Freddy Tame, is testing with a CART team, which just let's you know the quality of the drivers in this series": Michel ended the conference with a few comments about his son Michel Jr. and his 2002 chances: "Team Rahal is a big team, a great team. Michel has a great teammate, Jimmy Vasser, he has great support form big sponsors behind him, and some others that will join soon. Last year Team Rahal qualified first at Monterrey and they should have very good settings for the track. Michel should have the chance to fight for the leading places, and I expect him to do it".  Monterrey GP
2/5/02
Laurent Redon compares driving a F1 car to an IRL car  QUESTION: Could you compare the physical difference between driving a Formula One car and an IRL car, especially at the end of the race at Chicago? Can you put things in perspective for us? [Editor's Note: Redon finished 7th in his very first IRL race after being a F1 test driver]  MR. REDON: It is a good question. Driving a Formula One car is really physical, and I promise you it is really physical to drive a Formula One car. You really have to be ready and fit for that, but it is different in the IRL.  You don't need as much strong arms or to be an athlete like you can run a mile or something like this. I believe for Formula One you have to be an athlete.... but in an IRL race what is difficult is to concentrate during all the race, because after all this lap with the speed (high), at least you need -- I don't know what it is exactly, but it is physical. After the race I couldn't walk. When I jumped out of the car, I couldn't walk. I had to stay at least 15 minutes, sit and wait and try to recover a little bit. So that is something different. I think that is what is difficult in the IRL, during all the race to not go down and to stay ready for the race and to concentrate. That is the difference, I think."  Editors Note: in an attempt to decipher Mr. Redon's broken English, we believe what he meant to say was that after all the high speed laps on the oval in Chicago he was dizzy and could not walk.  He had to sit down for 15 minutes after the race until the blood replenished the brain cells.  This does not seem too different than what the CART drivers experienced at Texas last year, only to a higher degree in Texas due to even higher g-loads.  Whereas it happened within 20 or 30 laps at Texas last year, perhaps a long period of sustained g-loading (that is less than Texas) has a similar cumulative effect of depriving the brain of the necessary blood supply.  Perhaps a study is needed along these lines as well.  The g-force loading seen at Texas may be the absolute maximum for a short period of time, but there may be lower limits for longer durations.  Mark C.
2/5/02
Barron, Lazzaro, Redon and Mack press conference  Indy Racing League drivers Alex Barron, Anthony Lazzaro, Laurent Redon and George Mack were the featured guests at the Indy Racing League Welcome Feb. 5 during the Test in the West media day at California Speedway. The four drivers will be competing in their first year of Indy Racing competition in 2002.  Transcript
2/5/02
Barnhart - We are an oval-only series  Perhaps this gives some indication that the IRL has decided to focus 100% on the ovals and let CART focus 100% on the road courses.  At today's State-of-the-Series press conference, the IRL's Brian Barnhart stated, when asked, QUESTION: "The new IRL chassis regulations, are these cars dedicated to oval race cars or can they be adaptable to road or street circuits?" BARNHART: All we do is oval track race. We make rules based on oval track racing so they are designed to be as safe as possible for oval track race and that is what the specs are for. QUESTION: No room to maneuver? BARNHART: We don't have any desire to make them -- our rules are for an American-based oval track series. All we do is oval track race. Our rules are built for our cars to oval track race.  Perhaps there is more to this article than meets the eye. MC
2/5/02
IRL State-Of-The-Series Press Conference The following is a transcript of the press conference Feb. 5 featuring Indy Racing League Vice President of Operations Brian Barnhart and Vice President of Business Affairs Ken Ungar.  Transcript IRL
2/5/02
Verstappen - American drivers are cowboys  Hello from the Netherlands, I like to send you some comments about Jos Verstappen (in regards to the rumors about Verstappen). On several occasions he publicly stated that he was not at all interested in a move to CART. He mentioned the drivers over there as "cowboys" and that he thinks the racing between concrete walls on ovals is too dangerous. I like reading the topics at Autoracing1. Regards, Barend Blom, Waalwijk - The Netherlands
2/5/02
County Supervisors Ratify Modified Financial Plan for SCRAMP  The Monterey County Board of Supervisors has officially ratified a modified financial plan that includes a new loan agreement for the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP). The loan secures more than $7 million for the non-profit organization's multi-year, $15 million improvement project. SCRAMP took out the $7,112,300.00 loan with 1st National Bank. As the over-seeing body of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, SCRAMP was required to get the board's ratification as part of its use agreement with Monterey County. This unprecedented transaction in the history of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca helps solidify the world-renown track's future as a world-class facility. Cooperation between Monterey County, SCRAMP, 1st National Bank and Mazda North America Operations have all created a strong financial foundation for improvements that will allow the heritage of top notch racing and hospitality at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to flourish for many years to come. "The ratification allows us to move forward in our continued efforts to improve Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca," said SCRAMP President Kathy Hayworth. "The Board of Supervisors are good partners in helping us achieve our goals of increasing the economic vitality of the Central Coast by improving the level of our facility, through completion of the Master Plan. We appreciate their continued support." The groundbreaking for the first phase of the project at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is set for Friday, February 8, 2002. From 11:30am to 12:30pm, local dignitaries, city and Monterey County officials, SCRAMP and Mazda representatives and drivers from the CART series will be on-hand to usher in a new beginning at the world-famous road-course. The event coincides with CART Sneak Preview, which will be taking place throughout the weekend. Honorary co-chairs of the Leadership Cabinet for the Capitol Campaign, set-up to help fund the project, include racing legend Mario Andretti and car designer Carroll Shelby. World-renown motorcycle racer, Wayne Rainey, is the honorary chairperson. The entire improvement project will direct $15 million toward revamping Mazda Raceway's support facilities including permanent garages topped by hospitality suites, a new media center with race control and timing and scoring. Phase I is slated to cost $7.8 million. The groundbreaking kicks-off construction of Phase I that entails the project section which is nearest to Turn 11. That includes the northern most ten Garages, one Concession Facility, one Women's Restroom, one Men's Restroom, one Catering Kitchen and twelve Hospitality Suites. These twelve suites consist of four Corporate Suites and eight Individual Suites. Construction of Phase I is slated to be completed by the end of the 2002 racing season.
2/5/02
IRL/IROC Press Conference The transcript of the videoconference Feb. 5 featuring drivers Helio Castroneves, Sam Hornish Jr., Buddy Lazier and Scott Sharp, who will represent the Indy Racing League in the True Value IROC series this year. The four drivers were speaking from Daytona International Speedway, where they were testing IROC cars.  Transcript IRL
2/5/02
Back surgery behind him, Rudd ready for 2002 Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 28 Havoline Ford, climbed out of his racecar after the season-ending race at New Hampshire International Speedway and began preparing for a different kind of challenge. Rudd underwent outpatient surgery on Dec. 5 to repair a bulging disk in his lower back. The disk was putting pressure on his spinal cord. "I woke up one morning at Dover in June and could hardly straighten up," Rudd said. "I thought I had just slept on it wrong, but it never got better. Fortunately, it never got worse either. It just was there for six months before I could get it fixed. "I went into surgery early that morning and they knocked me out. I woke up and felt so much better than when I walked in there. I walked out around noon that day." As a precaution, Rudd opted not to participate in off-season testing to insure complete healing. On Feb. 8, Rudd will climb back aboard his Robert Yates Racing Taurus at Daytona International Speedway after 76 days out of the seat, the longest spell away from the wheel in his 25-plus year career. "I'm very well rested and looking forward to the season." Rudd said.  "I've never been out of a car this long because we've always tested in January and even in December years ago. It was a nice break for me, but I'm very ready to get back at it."
2/5/02
Reader responds to suggestion for a race in Adelaide  I was lucky enough to go to the ALMS race in Adelaide, and it was great fun. The locals and the locale were every bit as warm as you described in your editorial. Here are a few additional points (plus & minus) that I noticed:
1. For the fans, the paddock area is nearly nonexistent, thus paddock passes were not available to the public. Worse, even in the paddock I rarely got to see the cars or the drivers, because the teams used tall partitions in their garages. The cars were on the track side, and I was on the paddock side. (A problem which I have pointed out to some folks at Laguna Seca. We'll see how they handle it.)
2. Local prices are very favorable compared to the Gold Coast.
3. Some part of the crowd was certainly due to the free post-race concert featuring numerous bands, including INXS.
4. The support races were very entertaining, and their paddock areas were entirely accessible.
5. Pre-race publicity was incredible (related article).
6. The adjacent horse race track required some compromises for fan access, and could be a significant problem for larger crowds.
7. You noted the many restaurants by the track. Most of those on Rundel Street had outdoor seating and/or outdoor kitchens, creating a street fair atmosphere. I've attended over 200 races all over North America, and Adelaide had the best setting of all. (Not to be confused with best race track and grounds. Road America has retired that trophy.)
I agree that a CART race in Adelaide would be a big hit. However, I oppose the idea -- at least for the time being. CART is being pulled in too many different directions. There is already a great wailing about the lack of US publicity due to the championship possibly being decided overseas, at TV-unfriendly times. A second Australian race at the end of the schedule would add fuel to their fire. You suggest dropping the courses at Houston, Chicago and Milwaukee because the half-empty stands discourage sponsors. Another national columnist frequently says that Laguna Seca, Portland and others don't bring in enough fans, and should be dropped due to poor promotion. John Vannini seems to say that CART should go wherever they can get the largest sanctioning fee. (Meanwhile, CART approves a layout in Denver that makes Caesar's Palace look like Spa.). Other divisive issues include engines, American drivers, reconciliation with the Boring Ovals Racing League, the Franchise Board, whether sponsors are the tail or the dog, and lesser issues. There are a lot of changes being suggested which I favor. But, what CART needs most right now is some stability. First, let's stop the bleeding. CART should mend its fences wherever they still can, and seriously help promote the current races. Roger Wyman - Pleasant Hill, CA
2/5/02
Kmart pulls the plug on NASCAR team 2nd UPDATE  Now Kmart Corp. has requested a bankruptcy court's permission to opt out of a sponsorship agreement with the Daytona 500. The discount retailer, which sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Jan. 22 in Chicago, called the Daytona 500 contract an unnecessary use of its much-needed cash.  2/1/02 - Kmart announced Friday that it will continue its sponsorship of two Winston Cup teams for the start of the Winston Cup season (2 races). Haas-Carter Motorsports fields a pair of Fords, driven by Joe Nemechek and Todd Bodine, which each carry Kmart sponsorship. The corporation says that the Nos. 26 and 66 will run with Kmart sponsorship for the season-opening Feb. 17 Daytona 500 and Feb. 24 North Carolina 400 at Rockingham. Bodine will also drive the No. 66 Kmart Ford in the Feb. 10 Bud Shootout at Daytona. Reports had previously indicated that Kmart would withdraw sponsorship for the cars and its presenting sponsorship of the Daytona 500. "We regret that we will not be able to support our NASCAR Kmart racing program this year as we had hoped," Kmart CEO Charles Conaway said in a statement released Thursday and obtained by Thatsracin.com. "... However, at this critical time in our company's history, we are forced to look at every aspect of our business. Right now, we must concentrate on servicing our customers."  1/31/02 -  Bankrupt Kmart has pulled the plug on both Haas-Carter Winston Cup cars effective immediately on Thursday.  The team is now scrambling for new sponsorship.  Kmarts contract with Carl Haas's CART team ended after 2001 and now he has been dealt this double blow. ThatsRacin.com
2/5/02
CART issues statement on cancelled Chicago races  Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (CART) President & CEO Christopher R. Pook issued the following statement today regarding the suspension of auto racing at Chicago Motor Speedway: "We were very sorry to hear about the decision regarding Chicago Motor Speedway today and remain grateful to the principals behind the organization," Pook said. "We had three great years there and we are appreciative of the opportunity to participate. However, the City of Chicago and its great race fans remain important to CART, our sponsors and our teams and by no means does this close the door on Chicago for the CART FedEx Championship Series in the future." [Editors Note: Can you say 'street race' three times fast?] Additionally, series officials are presently reviewing options for an event to replace the Chicago race on the 2002 FedEx Championship Series schedule in a major market not yet covered by CART. [Editor's Note: Read that Miami or Nashville, or both].
2/5/02
CMS cancels all races  Officials of Chicago Motor Speedway today suspended the track's 2002 auto racing schedule, which includes the CART FedEx Series™ Target Grand Prix and the Sears Craftsman 175 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Horse racing at Sportsman's Park is unaffected. Chicago Motor Speedway Chairman Charles Bidwill and President Chip Ganassi determined that the races are not financially feasible at the present time due to business and economic conditions in the motorsports industry today. "The people of Chicago and our sponsors have supported auto racing and other events at the Speedway, and we look forward to providing this region with continued entertainment and sporting events in the future. With the entire industry in a period of widespread change, we know it's the appropriate decision." Bidwill said. "However, we remain excited about the upcoming horse racing season at Sportsman's Park, the 70th year of thoroughbred racing here. Our energies are fully focused on Sportsman's," he added. "Since the inaugural Target Grand Prix in 1999, the outstanding professionals at CART racing have provided many thrills and our fans have shown their appreciation," Ganassi said. The track will continue to host a variety of events, including concerts, and Sportsman's Park remains an integral part of horseracing in Illinois. The traditional spring season at Sportsman's begins March 1st and concludes on Kentucky Derby day, May 4th.
2/5/02
Industry News
Women go-kart driver seriously injured in Australia 2nd UPDATE We are sorry to report that "Nicole Franks, a 23 year old Australian woman seriously injured in a Kart Race on Sunday at the Wollongong Street Race died in hospital yesterday. A dedicated kart Racer who has raced since she was 12, Nicole was a leading woman Kart racer in NSW. her father, Rod Franks runs a Kart shop in Newcastle and her brother, Lee is also a Champion Kart racer." The circumstances of her death will be the subject of a coronial inquest. Unfortunately, this is now confirmed fact.   2/4/02 - We have good news to report, the women was not killed after all. We have also learned her identity.  Nicole Franks of NSW was been seriously injured during a race accident at the Wollongong Street Grand Prix. Nicole, who impacted the plastic safety barrier is said to be in a serious condition in hospital, as reported on Channel 9 Early News today. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nicole and her family as we hope for a speedy recovery  2/3/02 -  Our sources in Australia report that in the Wollongong Street Australia go-kart race today, a female competitor was killed, about 3.30 pm local time, (about 23 years of age) she did not see the checkered flag, was running 2nd and when the winner lifted off she ran into the back and became airborne into and over the concrete barrier. The class was Resa light. The Wollongong Street Race is an annual event run around a lighthouse right on the cliff overlooking the beach at Wollongong, about 1 hours drive south of Sydney.  We don't have the women's name at this time, but our condolences go out to her family and friends.
2/5/02
Heidfeld to the front at Valencia  Sauber continued to impress during pre-season testing in Valencia today with Nick Heidfeld setting the pace. Heidfeld, who covered 90 laps, was happy with his efforts: "I mainly concentrated on set-up work today, and I'm very satisfied with the way the car went." His team-mate Felipe Massa again focused on completing a race distance: "I'm getting used to it and my fitness is fully up to the task." The C21 cars were running impressively and once again proved reliable. "We had two separate programs for the drivers today," Technical Director Willy Rampf stated, "with Nick doing more development work in setting up the car in a number of different configurations, and Felipe concentrating on a long distance run."   Once again the new Williams failed to impress.
2/5/02
Corvette to pace 2002 Indy 500  The 86th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2002, will bring together two powerful symbols that stir the imaginations of enthusiasts around the world. Chevrolet's Corvette, an international performance icon, has been named Official Pace Car of this year's Indianapolis 500, the world's most prestigious open-wheel race. Chevrolet will pace the Indianapolis 500 a record 13th time, and Corvette will perform the Pace Car duties for the fifth time since 1978 - the most appearances by a single brand. "This year's Memorial Day classic will showcase America's favorite sports car at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing," said Corvette Brand Manager Rick Baldick. "This is a milestone event because it will signal the start of a yearlong celebration leading up to Corvette's 50th anniversary in 2003." Said Tony George, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: "Chevrolet and Corvette have a proud and storied history with the Indianapolis 500. We look forward to having the 2002 Corvette pacing the greatest race in the world." The 86th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race also will mark the return of Chevrolet to the most hallowed ground in motorsports. Chevrolet will compete in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since 1993 with the all-new Chevy Indy V8 racing engine. Chevrolet won 86 Indy-style races, including six Indianapolis 500 victories, and five series championships from 1986-93. "We are proud that Corvette has been named Official Pace Car of the 86th Indianapolis 500," said Kurt Ritter, Chevrolet general manager. "The excitement that builds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from opening day until the checkered flag falls mirrors the excitement that is building around Corvette's 50th anniversary. "Chevrolet's racing heritage began with company co-founder Louis Chevrolet, who gained international fame as an engineer and race car driver. I wouldn't be surprised if the bronze statue of Louis Chevrolet that stands outside the Hall of Fame Museum was smiling at the news about Corvette and Chevy's return to the Brickyard." IRL
2/5/02
Images from Monterrey  Here is the latest Monterrey track map as well as a diagram showing the new curbing being installed at the Monterrey, Mexico track.

2/5/02
Autoliv to sponsor Petree and Mike Wallace for the Daytona 500  Autoliv Inc.- the safety technology innovator and world's largest supplier of automotive safety systems - has signed with Andy Petree Racing Inc. as its primary sponsor for the Daytona 500 race this month. Autoliv will sponsor the #33 car driven by Mike Wallace. "The opportunity to participate as a primary sponsor in one of the world's greatest sporting events is a big thrill for all of us at Autoliv," said Chip Jackson, communications manager for Autoliv North America. "It's exciting to be teamed with Andy Petree Racing and driver Mike Wallace. Andy Petree Racing has impressed us with all aspects of its operation. This sponsorship is a natural extension of the safety technology awareness and testing services we have provided to a number of the race teams." The team's owner, Andy Petree, echoed Jackson's comments. "We're looking forward to having a company like Autoliv support us at Daytona," said Petree. "A corporation like Autoliv knows the business and industry. Autoliv provides numerous exciting safety innovations for passenger vehicles, and it's great having an industry leader like that team up with us - even just for the one race."
2/5/02
Colin Fleming - one bright and busy star in racing  Colin Fleming, one of the brightest new prospects on the motorsports scene, has a full plate of racing for the winter 2001-02.  From his ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ Champ Car test, his first  Formula Dodge race and victory, to the Skip Barber Karting Scholarship win, Colin is making his presence known.  Story
2/4/02
Steve Welk Announces Plans to run the 2002 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship  Steve Welk has announced his plans to contest in the 2002 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship. After finding success in the Formula Dodge regional championship last year, and competing in the Barber CART Scholarship program, Steve has decided to take on the full national championship this season. Steve has distinguished himself as one of the top karters in the nation over the last few years. Steve competed twice in the Karting World Championships and has won several national championship events. Now he will make his first attempt at a full time car program in 2002. "I am really looking forward to the first race of the championship at Laguna Seca. I know that the competition at these races is incredibly strong and I am prepared for the challenge. I have wanted to make my transition into cars for sometime now and I feel that the Formula Dodge National championship is the best way to go. Right now I am actively searching for marketing partners to secure the budget for the championship." Steve also is trying to finalize plans to contest in select karting events throughout the year. For more information about Steve Welk Motorsports visit his official website at www.SteveWelk.com.
2/4/02
NASCAR.com gets a new look  NASCAR.com, the official Web site of NASCAR, re-launches on Wednesday, February 6, with a new look and format that provides easier navigation and print capabilities for NASCAR fans. NASCAR.com will continue to offer NASCAR fans all of the popular content and features they currently enjoy, including important news and notes from all of NASCAR's drivers, teams and tracks; video and audio feeds; official up-to-the-minute point standings; the animated series The Kellys; exclusive driver chats; and an improved subscriber-based version of RaceCast. “NASCAR.com has never looked better,” said Jeffrey Pollack, managing director of new media for NASCAR. “Turner Sports Interactive has again set a new standard for NASCAR’s official site.” The site will also attempt to mirror its fans race week focus by following a set format of coverage. Every Monday, NASCAR.com will recap the previous weekend’s races. In-depth features and news coverage will be the focus midweek, with a day dedicated to pole qualifying at the end of the week. The focus on the weekends will center on that weekend’s NASCAR Winston Cup, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racing. "As successful as we were last year at growing our audience, we saw a terrific opportunity to help bring the race experience closer to NASCAR fans by incorporating their feedback into the process of the re-design,” said Drew Reifenberger, executive vice president and general manager for Turner Sports Interactive. “We are excited about the site’s new look, which will provide our audience with extended features and race coverage right at their fingertips." Last year, NASCAR.com experienced huge growth across the site - reaching an amazing one billion page views throughout the year, a 45-percent increase from the previous year. In addition, the site has consistently ranked among the top sports sites on the Internet, including general sports news sites such as cnnsi.com, sportline.com and espn.go.com. Users also downloaded an astounding 80,069-multimedia streams a day on average and almost 25 million audio and video features through Dec. 10.  NASCAR
2/4/02
Montoya fastest in the wet at Valencia  Just five drivers tested today in Valencia.  BMW Williams led the way behind the strong driving of Juan Pablo Montoya. The Colombian completed 57 laps setting a best time of 1:26.639 in wet conditions. Ralf Schumacher was second fastest in the second BMW Williams machine, lapping just over half a second slower than his team-mate.  Williams test driver Marc Gene set the fourth fastest time. The team will remain at the Spanish venue until Sunday before moving to Paul Ricard to continue test and development of the FW24.
2/4/02
Impressive 2002 Toyota Atlantic grid taking shape  With the green flag for the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship’s debut in Mexico quickly approaching, the roster that will make up the 2002 Championship is starting to finalize, and it appears to be a wide open race for the season ending trophy.  On the current roster, only two drivers have won a race in Atlantic competition.  2001 Rookie of the Year, Joey Hand, returns with DSTP Motorsports with two wins last season and Rocky Moran Jr., fresh off of winning his first career Atlantic race at the season ending race last year at Laguna Seca, joins forces with Sigma Autosport. Story
2/4/02

NASCAR does it right.......again  UPDATE Well what do you know, Super Bowl ads are worth the money.  A report on ABC World News tonight stated the obvious - the experts agree that everyone remembers Super Bowl ads longer than any other advertising, and they are proven quite effective.  The report talked about DOT.com companies and their ads from two years ago.  Most that ran Super Bowl ads are still in business (unlike a good majority of DOT.com companies) and some are healthy enough to run ads again this year.  Unfortunately, they didn't talk about NASCAR, and what the Super Bowl ads did for their TV ratings last year. Given that NASCAR did absolutely nothing else in the way of marketing to increase TV ratings a whopping 25+% in one year, there is no other explanation but the effect of the Super Bowl.  Kudos to FOX and NASCAR for having the foresight to do it again this year.   2/3/02 - Last year FOX NASCAR ads during the Super Bowl resulted in an instant 25% increase (a record) in Daytona 500 TV ratings and they maintained that momentum right through the 2001 season.  This year even more NASCAR ads were shown during the Super Bowl, and one would expect more high TV ratings for NASCAR.  CART races will be shown on FOX's Speed Channel station, and one race will be shown on FOX Network.  Was there even a mention of CART during the Super Bowl by FOX?  Nope.  While there was talk of CART running their own ads during the Super Bowl, and AutoRacing1 was told just that in the autumn of 2001, it appears getting CART's name in front of the biggest TV audience of the year wasn't deemed important enough and the idea was canned.  Jackie Smith from LA writes - "because of lack of promotion and branding, it's safe to expect CART's TV ratings to remain dismal and the average Joe on the street to think CART is nothing more than something you use at the grocery store."
2/4/02
CART Sneak Preview helps Monterrey Peninsula  The financial impact of CART Sneak Preview is tremendous for the Monterey Peninsula. Traditionally, many hotels and local businesses see a lag in the amount of tourist revenue during this time of year, except for one large event. With the influx of CART teams, sponsors, drivers, series personnel, national and international media and race fans the dollars start to add up. Big time! Not only are restaurants full of hundreds of hungry visitors to the Monterey Peninsula, but the hotels see the positive impact as well. "Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and CART deserve the checkered flag for bringing Sneak Preview to the Peninsula this week,” said Greg Keebler, General Manager of Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center on Monterey Bay. “Not only do local businesses benefit from a new infusion of business in February from the CART teams, officials and associated business partners, but the local fans get a behind-the-scenes experience at the track for free. Sneak Preview is a win-win!” Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is unique in the sports world. The racetrack is run by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP). SCRAMP is a not for profit organization chartered to benefit local charitable and not for profit groups, and to promote economic vitality. SCRAMP motorsports events have an economic impact of more than $129 million dollars annually for central coast businesses, and over the last 44 years that has added up to more than $1 billion dollars for area business owners. SCRAMP
2/4/02

NASCAR announces hiring of Mike Zizzo  The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced today that it has hired Mike Zizzo, former vice president of competition public relations at Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), as a communications manager in its public relations department. Zizzo, 39, arrives at NASCAR following five years at the open-wheel sanctioning body, where he primarily oversaw all public relations-related activities associated with the competition and driver aspects of the open-wheel sport. “We are building a strong public relations department at NASCAR and Mike Zizzo is an excellent addition to our team,” said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of corporate communications. “Mike understands racing, is respected by the motorsports media, and fits well into the new NASCAR PR team that now includes Rob Copeland, Danielle Humphrey, Herb Branham, Jeremy Davidson, Owen Kearns and Kate Davis, among others.” Zizzo held three positions during his five-year tenure at CART, beginning in 1996 when he was hired as news manager. Within 10 months of joining CART, he was promoted to director of public relations and in 2000 was named vice president of competition public relations. His honors during this period included the 1997 Jim Chapman Award, given to the most outstanding public relations representative in the CART series, and entry in the 2000-2001 Strathmore’s Who’s Who, which is limited to individuals who have demonstrated leadership and achievement in their profession. Prior to CART, Zizzo served 12 years as a reporter for The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, where he covered a variety of professional sports, including NASCAR. Zizzo, a native of Cheshire, Conn., also worked four years at The Lakeland Ledger (1980-84) while earning his B.S. degree in Journalism at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. NASCAR
2/4/02
New Orange-Arrows hits the track  The OrangeArrows team completed a successful shakedown of its 2002 contender, the A23, yesterday (Sunday) at a secret location in the UK. The shakedown program then moved on to Kemble in Gloucestershire this morning (Monday). The team will test in Valencia later this week. OrangeArrows
2/4/02
Steve Nichols resigns from Jaguar  Did he resign or was another Bobby Rahal hire forced out of Jaguar?  Jaguar technical director Steve Nichols has resigned from the team. The move follows the disappointing form of the new R3 challenger, which was discovered to have a fundamental design flaw with its front wing in its first tests last month. The Jaguar R3 was designed by Chief Designer John Russell and Chief Aerodynamicist Mark Handford and their teams, under the overall direction of Technical Director Steve Nichols. Rumour has it that problems with the new chassis have forced Jaguar's hand and in doing so, Nichols has left the team.  A team statement read that "there is a need for the design and the development activities of the company to receive fresh impetus and direction." Nichols will be replaced in the interim period by managing director Gunther Steiner until a permanent replacement is found. Steiner joined the team late last year from the Ford rally program. The move leaves Nichols out of a job just 14 months after being hired by former Jaguar boss Bobby Rahal. Rahal announced Nichols as the replacement for Gary Anderson on his first day at the team in December 2000.
2/4/02
Newman Haas GM explains car safety upgrades  While on a break from numerous planning sessions, Brian Lisles, General Manager of Newman/Haas Racing took a few minutes to discuss a new development in the area of safety that the CART Champ cars will utilize this season. "In the constant effort to improve safety, all 2002 Champ cars will have permanent anti-intrusion panels on the inside and outside of both sides of the chassis," said Lisles. "As a result of the information gained from the Zanardi and Gidley accidents, CART has worked with Lola and Reynard to lessen the chance of side intrusion into the area of the chassis where the driver is seated. Four, 0.15 inch thick carbon fiber panels are glued to the inner and outer side skins of the chassis running from just in front of the drivers feet to beyond the back of his seat. Each panel is approximately 60 inches long by 16 inches high. To account for the added safety material, CART has increased the minimum weight by 15 lbs. Safety is a priority for Newman/Haas Racing as well as everyone involved with our sports so we welcome this new development." NH
2/4/02
Dale Earnhardt Jr. to smell good  Drakkar Noir launches its first advertising since the mid-1990s with an unlikely sports tie-in: stock-car racing. sponsorship agreement that includes appearances in Drakkar Noir advertising. The 27-year-old driver will be the main attraction in a $10 million-plus effort starting Feb. 17 with the Daytona 500.  See full AdAge story.
2/4/02
Tony Kanaan to change numbers  AutoRacing1.com has learned that the Mo Nunn Team has obtained the #10 from CART for the Tony Kanaan entry.  He will no longer be in the #55.  We have updated our 2002 CART Silly Season Page.
2/4/02

Team Green to enter Tracy and Franchitti in Indy 500  Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti will drive a pair of Team Green-entered Dallara-Chevrolets in the 86th Indianapolis 500 on May 26. The race will mark Franchitti’s Indianapolis 500 debut while Tracy will be returning to the Memorial Day classic for the first time since 1995. “Team Green is delighted to be part of the Indianapolis 500 again in 2002,” said Barry Green, founder/owner of Team Green. “We’re proud, not only to give Dario the chance to make his Indy 500 debut but to bring Paul back for the first time in six years.” Team Green won the 1995 Indianapolis 500 with Jacques Villeneuve but did not compete in the race again until last year when Michael Andretti finished third in the team’s only Indy Racing League appearance in 2001. For the remainder of the season, the team fielded a three-car entry for Andretti, Franchitti and Tracy in the CART FedEx Championship. “Competing with all the IRL regulars at Indianapolis is certainly a challenge,” said Green. “But as the saying goes, ‘There’s strength in numbers.’ Dario, Paul and their crews have been working together since 1998 and have developed a very productive relationship in that time. I have every hope and expectation they’ll be potential winners at Indianapolis this year.” The Team Green entries will be supported by the engineering and mechanical staffs associated with Franchitti’s and Tracy’s CART programs, including team manager Kyle Moyer, chief mechanics Eric Haverson and George Klotz and race engineers Steve Challis and Allen McDonald. Team Green consultant John Anderson, who calls race strategy for Tracy in CART events, will oversee the organization and coordination of the Indianapolis 500 program. Support for the cars of Franchitti and Tracy comes from Brown & Williamson Tobacco and Klein Tools. “The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world, and we’re excited about the opportunity for Brown & Williamson Tobacco to be associated with it and to share the experience with some of our key business partners,” said Steve Kottak, manager of corporate communications. This will be Tracy’s fifth Indianapolis 500, and although he has failed to finish in each of his previous starts, he is eagerly anticipating his return to the Brickyard. “It’ll be great to get back to the Indy 500,” he said. “I’ve never had much luck there, but I plan on doing everything I can to change that this time. It’s the greatest race in the world and I want to win it.” In contrast, Franchitti will be a rookie at Indianapolis. Although he has plenty of speedway experience, including a second place in the 2001 Michigan 500, he is well aware the Indianapolis 500 is a unique experience. “When I came to race in America one of my goals was to race in and, of course, win the Indianapolis 500,” said the native of Edinburgh, Scotland. “Believe me, with Jimmy Clark winning the race in 1965 and Jackie Stewart earning Rookie of the Year, Indiana polis holds a special place in Scottish motor racing history. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway commands enormous respect and I know my first Indy 500 will be a unique experience, but I intend to add to Scotland’s record at the Speedway.” In addition to competing full time in the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series, Team Green plans two IRL car test outings for Tracy and Franchitti before practice begins for the Indianapolis 500 on May 5. Team Green
2/4/02
Sofía Vergara Named Grand Marshal Of The Grand Prix of the Americas  Sofía Vergara, one of the hottest Hispanic T.V. stars and one of the most loved personalities of the Latino world, has been named Grand Marshal of the Grand Prix of the Americas, a high voltage street race slated for the streets of downtown Miami on April 5-7, 2002.  The American Le Mans Series will be the featured series on Sunday, April 7. Story
2/4/02

English speaking Chinese will greet F1 or CART in Shanghai  When F1 and CART decide to race in Shanghai, getting around the city for the teams, drivers and English-speaking fans will get easier every year.  English-learning in Shanghai, the mainland's most international city, has become a vogue. Competence in English is seen helping the city's overall economic development following the mainland's entry into the World Trade Organization last month and in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Around the city, there are indications of the Government's promotion of bilingualism. Road signs were changed last autumn to include English, as the city prepared to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meetings. Promotional banners and advertisements these days are often written in Chinese and English. More young people spend thousands of yuan each year to develop their English skills. It is not uncommon to see university students practicing English with Westerners in the big cities. Children in Shanghai primary schools are taking language lessons on weekends as extra-curricular activities on top of already busy schedules. Young Chinese parents have recognized the importance of English and many want to introduce the language to their children while young, as the Shanghai market becomes increasingly competitive. English is already compulsory in the primary school curriculum. Edith Steinel, principal of Sunflower Bilingual Kindergarten, said that, with rising incomes in Shanghai, parents were not hesitating in providing the best for their children, knowing their children would have an advantage if they could speak English from a young age. Fluency in English fits in with Shanghai's aggressive efforts to enhance its status as a financial and commercial city in the Asia-Pacific region. External factors have also been in the city's favor.
2/4/02
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo speaks  In an interview in Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo stated, "We have tried to innovate but it was not easy to improve a car that was already perfect. "The biggest change is in the gearbox. We just have to see how it performs now on the track." This comment confirms that Ferrari have yet to decide whether to run the new car in Melbourne or stick to a modified version of the car. "We know how important reliability is and that's why we are waiting for the results of the first tests, hoping that the climate will be favourable," Di Montezemolo said. He also went on to say that Ferrari number two driver Rubens Barrichello must improve his attitude or else. "If he takes a step forward in his relationship with the team and Schumacher then I don't see why we would change". "There are not many drivers on the market capable of driving a Ferrari."  He also had a warning for Bernie Ecclestone - "The Prost affair would probably never have happened. If the system we have in mind was in place." The system he has in mind is a total breakaway by the constructors and motor manufacturers from Bernie Ecclestone when their contract with him expires after 2007 (Concorde Agreement). The plan is to run a new F1 championship without him and to use his current cut of television and other commercial revenues to boost the size of the payouts to the teams in F1. "Little teams must be protected, they are a useful school for the younger drivers and also adds an element of surprise to the championship," he added.
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