Hot News

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

Go to our forums to discuss this news.

DATE

News (chronologically 2/10/02 to 2/17/02)

2/17/02

Earnhardt tries to run over NASCAR official  It remains to be seen whether NASCAR will levy any stiff fines on Dale Earnhardt Jr. after Earnhardt tried to run over a NASCAR official on pit lane during today's Daytona 500.  With millions watching on NBC, Earnhardt accelerated hard out of his pit stall directly at the NASCAR official who had to dive out of the way to avoid being run over.  Earnhardt was mad because NASCAR made him prove his brakes still worked after he was unable to stop in time to avoid missing his pit box. After proving his brakes still worked, a hot Earnhardt must have figured he'd show him the accelerator still works too.

2/17/02

Daytona comedy review  PLACE: 2002 Daytona 500 / 175,000 fans and millions watching on NBC.  SITUATION: Red Flag, lap 196. Cars parked on track. Ganassi Racing Radio monitored conversation from Pit to Car:  (And as Bob Newhart would say...it might have gone something like this) - - -
CHIP TO MARLIN: "Hey Sterling - - - when no one is looking, unbuckle your belts, take the netting down, sneak out of the car, walk around the front and fix that right fender!"
MARLIN TO CHIP: "Uhhhh Yup Boss I think I can do that. Maybe you guys can distract the officials in the pace car in front of me. I can see them through the back window cuz they're really, really close.  Wow they look sooo close!  We're waving at each other now."
CHIP TO MARLIN: "They ARE close Sterling!  Now - - - Just be real quiet and stay low!  Keep your helmet on, maybe they won't recognize you!"
MARLIN TO CHIP: "Cover me !"  .........Then 3 minutes later....

CHIP to MARLIN: I told you to stay low.  What did you say to the official when he saw you tugging on the fender?
MARLIN TO CHIP: Man that official guy jumped out of that pace car so sudden I done almost had a heart attack.  I seez I got a bad cramp in my back and I'm 'stretchin' to make it better
CHIP TO MARLIN: I don't think they believed you, you gotta go to the back of the line now.
MARLIN TO CHIP: Heh boss.  When this race is over I'm fixin on taken me some some 'actin' lessons so next time they will believe me when I say I gotta cramp
CHIP TO MARLIN: Just stick to driving Sterling.  MC

2/17/02

Skip Barber trained driver wins Daytona 500  Once again Skip Barber's road racing training of young drivers is paying off even on the ovals.  Skip Barber grad Ward Burton outlasted the field in a final three lap sprint to win NASCAR's most storied race, the Daytona 500. Piloting his Dodge Intrepid from the point on the re-start after the race was red-flagged with five laps remaining, Burton powered around Daytona's high banks with the specter of any one of the drivers in the tightly grouped field using the draft to snatch the victory from Burton's grasp. The Virginian would see it through to the end to claim his first Daytona 500 victory and the first for Dodge at Daytona since 1977. The win is the fourth Winston Cup victory of Burton's career. Dodge has been the official vehicle of Skip Barber, LLC since 1995.  Skip Barber is the official race driving school, amateur national championship, regional amateur championship, and entry-level professional racing series of CART. -Skip Barber-

2/17/02
Industry News
Reynard forced to downsize due to financial woes  2nd UPDATE An article in today's Sunday Times of London says the racing-car manufacturer that aborted plans for a £150m float three years ago, is in financial difficulties. It appointed bankers nine days ago to find new investors willing to pay up to £10m for a stake in the firm. Recently it laid off a fifth of its staff. It has been badly hurt by a slump in America’s CART sales.  Adrian Reynard, who still owns a 71% stake in the business, also owns a stake in BAR, the Formula One team owned by British American Tobacco. The business was approached by a trade buyer last year but could not agree terms. Price Waterhouse Coopers was appointed to conduct due diligence, and Eric Kohn, a banker, of Geneva-based Barons Financial Services, is seeking investors who could buy a majority of the shares. Reynard said: “We have good prospects for the future and the business is sound. It’s a bloody difficult market at the moment.”  Read that - we sunk all out money and resources into F1 and neglected our bread and butter market - CART. 1/22/02 - A reader writes - In regards to Reynard's downsizing, keep in mind that this has happened before, with the aborted 1997 MasterCard Lola F1 ( which Keith Wiggins ran...) program draining the money from the CART program to F1. The Mastercard Lola's ran in qualifying for the Australian GP but were more than 10 secs. off the pace of the front-runners, although Lola engineers said that with a little more testing that gap could be reduced dramatically. The season was short lived for the team, but nonetheless caused a huge downturn in the CART market for them which required new ownership to emerge from to be in this healthy state compared to Reynard. Reynard has had problems with F1 before-- Reynard tried to establish his own F1 team in 1990, with the intention of entering F1 in 1992. He bought land and hired Rory Byrne and some of his engineers from Benetton and began negotiating for an engine deal with Yamaha. That deal fell through and Reynard sold his entire project - including the Enstone factory - to Benetton. 1/22/02 - The current economic conditions within the motorsport industry has led Reynard Motorsport to reduce its workforce, with just over 50 redundancies in various divisions of the company announced today. Reynard, like many similar companies within motorsport has experienced a downturn in demand for its products and services, particularly in the USA.  In response, the company has streamlined its operations to ensure that the company continues to maintain the high levels of service and quality that it is renowned for, with the appropriate cost levels. Adrian Reynard, Chairman of Reynard Motorsport, comments, “It has been a difficult time for us over the last few months and this has, unfortunately, led to a need to tighten our belts to ensure we can operate efficiently. This has inevitably caused a loss of jobs in some areas. My commitment to the company has never been stronger and we have a dedicated management team that is aligned and focused on these challenges. We are all working very hard to maintain our leading position within the marketplace during these tough times.”  Editor's Note: We are of the opinion that because Reynard has put so many resources into their F1 program, they have lost CART market share to Lola, which seems more willing to make radical changes to their car to improve performance. The Reynard car has not made any radical changes for the last 4 or 5 years, just annual updates.  The Penske Reynard won the CART championship in 2000 and 2001, but it was highly modified by the team.   In CART Reynard makes money from its customers, whereas its F1 program is like a black hole sucking every last penny to keep up with Ferrari, McLAREN, etc.

2/17/02

Interview with Renault test driver Fernando Alonso  Born on 29 July, 1981, Spaniard Alonso was only 19 when he made his Grand Prix debut in 2001 as the third-youngest driver in the history of the sport. By the end of the season, however, he had earned the respect of the veterans for his speed and talent. For 2002, having demonstrated his ability as a racer, he steps into a more demanding arena as an important part of the Renault team in his role as test driver. Interview

2/17/02

ASCAR Champion to get NASCAR test   In addition to an unprecedented package of Channel 4 and satellite television coverage and the customary prize fund, the winner of the 2002 ASCAR Championship will receive the unique opportunity to test in America for one of the leading teams in the NASCAR Winston Cup, America’s biggest racing series. “It’s a unique opportunity. A lot of European drivers have aspired to racing in the States, but few have ever been able to achieve it” said Bob Berridge of Oval Racing Management, who runs the ASCAR series. “With the incredibly high quality of drivers in ASCAR, we know the series can be a benchmark for the best UK oval racing drivers to graduate to the ovals in the United States and we have the contacts across the Atlantic to help drivers on their way.” If proof were needed, Michael Vergers, runner-up in the ASCAR series last year, recently completed a successful test in an ARCA car, just two steps below the NASCAR Winston Cup series. At the super-fast Talladega Superspeedway, Vergers was lapping quicker than last season’s race winner Bobby Gerhart and at Daytona, he qualified seventh on the grid for his first
race! ”What we are doing is giving our 2002 Champion the chance to work with the very top people in the sport in America” said Berridge. “Experience gained on the ovals at Rockingham in England and EuroSpeedway in Germany will give them the ideal chance to make the most of that opportunity. I know that there are drivers here in ASCAR at the moment who could get to the very top in the USA.”

2/17/02

As expected, #3 back in Victory Lane at Daytona   Playing to the fans sentimental emotions like only NASCAR knows how, The No. 3 Chevrolet returned to victory lane Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, and an Earnhardt took it there, who else. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the EAS/GNC Live Well 300 Busch Grand National race in a car jointly entered by Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. It was the first time the No. 3 had been run since Earnhardt was killed in last year's Daytona 500. Earnhardt Jr. spun doughnuts in the infield grass just as his father had done after winning his lone Daytona 500 in 1998. He was hugged in victory lane by Childress, Earnhardt's longtime car owner, and Teresa Earnhardt, widow of Dale Sr.. "This was a special deal. It's great to put the No. 3 back in victory lane. Kind of a last hurrah," Earnhardt Jr. said. "This is a good tribute. I know daddy would be real happy."

2/17/02

Dale Jarrett calls Jeff Gordon the best driver   In the Charlotte Observer, in an article by David Poole, Dale Jarrett had this to say - "You have a talented driver like Jeff Gordon and if you give him any kind of support at all, that’s going to be a very powerful team,” Jarrett said. “That’s what they have.” At that same time, Jarrett makes it clear that he believes that Gordon’s team has a lot on its side, too. “There’s a lot of talent that will be in the field on Sunday,” Jarrett said. “But I’ll tell you right now that there’s no race driver out there who’s more talented than Jeff Gordon.”   Like Tony Stewart, given his open wheel roots, we don't find that surprising.  While stock car drivers have never mastered open wheel cars, open wheel drivers have gone into NASCAR territory and done quite well.  Mario Andretti started it with his dominating win in the 1967 Daytona 500.  AJ Foyt dominated regularly, Tim Richmond, and more recently Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon.  Learning to drive a car sideways on the dirt, helps a driver learn how to drive a car 'loose' and anyone will tell you, the fastest way around a race track is a slightly 'loose' setup. Just as Juan Montoya.

2/17/02

Ecclestone buys new house  According to the Daily Mail, Bernie Ecclestone paid $80 million for a 55,000 sq ft mansion in Kensington Palace Gardens in the heart of, London. Previously the building used to be the Russian and Egyptian Embassies. The mansion has an underground car park for 20 cars, a ballroom, an oak-paneled picture gallery, a Turkish bath, hairdressing salon and a swimming pool.  His current home is worth just $6 million.

2/17/02

Skip Barber trained drivers finish 2-3-4 in Daytona IROC  Once again Skip Barber's and CART's road racing training of young drivers is paying off even on the ovals.  Skip Barber trained drivers, led by Sam Hornish Jr. (a former CART protégé like most IRL drivers), finished 2-3-4 in the season opener of the International Race of Champions at Daytona International Speedway victory. Hornish was running his first IROC race ever and would finish .111 seconds behind the race winner. The 2001 IRL Champion, who ran strong all day but never led the race, nearly led the one lap that counted but would end up settling for second. "I had been stuck on the high side most of the race, and anybody that I pushed by somebody moved directly down in front of the inside line," Hornish said. "I got stuck out. I figured I'm going to go with the guy on the inside line. It's a guaranteed second place." Hornish managed to finish second despite a first-lap crash that sent he and Skip Barber trained Helio Castroneves spinning off of Turn Four. Castroneves went hard into the outside wall but got the chance to go to a backup car since the first lap had not yet been completed. Skip Barber (and CART) trained Scott Sharp, the race polesitter, led only the first lap but kept his car up front for most of the day, and would finish third in his first IROC race since 1994 when he earned an invitation by virtue of his success in the Trans-Am series. "It was a blast," Sharp grinned. "They say IROC races are always a lot of fun and boy it really was. I just hung in there and learned a heck of a lot as quickly as I could. I got moved around a lot but just moved them back a bit. I noticed with about five to go it was little Al (Unser) then Tony (Stewart) then Hornish and myself. I was like, wow, three out of the top four that is pretty good." Fourth place was captured by reigning NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Jack Sprague. The Skip Barber trained racer was also contesting his first-ever IROC event. -Skip Barber-

2/17/02

Hornish and de Ferran top Homestead testing A total of nine Indy Racing League drivers took part in a rain-shortened day of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway's Open House on Saturday where fans witnessed teams testing in preparation for the 20th Anniversary Grand Prix of Miami. The Grand Prix of Miami, the season-opener for the Indy Racing League, takes place Thursday, February 28 - Saturday, March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Following a rain delay of over four hours, the Indy Racing teams tested until nearly dusk in windy conditions. Sam Hornish Jr. of Pennzoil Panther Racing and Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske posted the fastest times in the abbreviated day of testing.   "It was pretty windy today," said Hornish, the defending Grand Prix of Miami and Indy Racing League champion. "We were just making sure that the car was underneath me all day. This track has similarities to Indianapolis."  Due to the rain-shortened day, Marlboro Team Penske decided to test with de Ferran for a third consecutive day at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  "Today was a bit frustrating but only because obviously we started late," said President of Penske Racing Tim Cindric.
Driver, Team - Time
#4 Sam Hornish Jr., Pennzoil Panther Racing - 26.72
#6 Gil de Ferran, Marlboro Team Penske - 26.72
#24 Robbie Buhl, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing - 27.28
#34 Laurent Redon, Conquest Racing - 27.40
#52 Tomas Scheckter, Red Bull Cheever Racing - 27.53
#8 Scott Sharp, Kelley Racing - 27.69
#51 Eddie Cheever Jr., Red Bull Cheever Racing - 28.00
#91 Buddy Lazier, Hemelgarn Racing - 28.06
#7 Greg Ray, Kelley Racing - 28.22

2/16/02

Formula One testing update As the start of the 2002 season nears, all the F1 teams are frantically testing as a final warm-up before Melbourne.  Story

2/16/02

Rudd - Our Ford's can't keep up with the GM horsepower   DO THE FORDS HAVE A CHANCE ON SUNDAY? "I'll be real honest, I cannot answer that question right now. It's kind of like the other day when we had a quarter-inch cut before the 125s. It didn't seem to help matters, and I guess we ended up being the best Ford finishing fourth, but we could not hang with the GM cars in a straight line [Editor's Note - the Chevy's have the same body as last year, so clearly they are pumping out more HP than the Ford's since the winter break.   It's similar to the Corvette vs. the Mustang on street, Chevrolet always has something in their back pocket for the Ford Mustang]. They just drove away from us. So, if you go back and duplicate that race again and took a quarter off our spoiler at that time, certainly it would help, but would it be enough to let us keep up and race with those guys?  As soon those GM cars got to the front and got in line, I tucked in behind them but they just eased away.  I don't know. Somewhere along the line you're gonna get to the point that it is enough, but the other thing about it is that every time you keep cutting these rear spoilers, it changes the aerodynamic balance of these race cars. So, what you gain in straightaway speed, you could be giving up in corner speed. It's a fine line. We went out there and practiced with the extra quarter-inch cut (on Friday) and it's hard to tell in practice if it helped. The cars are running two-wide and three-wide, but when you get in race trim they end up going more single-file and that's when it shows up. We could not duplicate that in practice. We couldn't get enough good cars to get lined up single-file to find out if we had enough to stay in line or not. I think we'll find out in Sunday's race. That's the only time we'll know for sure."

2/16/02

Robert Yates hospitalized with chest pains UPDATE WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY AND HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? "I feel fine today. I feel a lot better. I woke up at four o'clock in the morning (on Friday) and I really thought my heart had quit pumping and I just started panicking, I guess. Me and my wife (Carolyn) went to the hospital, but it was like my arms had fallen off my shoulders. It was like my heart wasn't working. I found out the best place in the world to be is knowing Bruce Kennedy and Halifax Hospital and the doctors that came in and checked me out. They gave me awesome attention." WHAT HAPPENED? WAS IT A MEDICAL REACTION? "No. They said, 'Hey, with these symptoms we want to check you out.' They checked my blood and said there was a reason to go ahead and do a heart cauterization. They prepared me for whatever and said if they found something, they'd fix it. In a very short time they went in, did the cauterization, and came back and said my heart was as healthy as a horse. There was no plaque, so I must have been eating at good places or something. That made me feel a lot better, but I still didn't feel real good until about three o'clock this morning (Saturday). That's when I started feeling more normal, so I think there might have been some other problems than my heart. I felt bad last weekend. I had a miserable cold, kind of like the flu, and I was on the Z-pack, the zithromax, and I think the last day was Thursday or Friday. Maybe the combination of the stress of Daytona and all of that something shut down." DID THEY CHECK YOU FOR AN ANGINA ATTACK OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT? "They were checking all of my vital signs, so they did a good job. They went in and checked my heart and I feel good that I had that done. The other stuff, I think, is working fine now." HAVE THEY REQUESTED YOU DO A FOLLOW UP IN CHARLOTTE? "No. As far as my heart, they're saying that I'm good to go. If I have another kind of arrhythmic problems or something like that, there's a heart monitor I'm supposed to have on right now, but I'll put it back on in a little bit. As far as the valves, there's no plaque -- big, clean arteries -- the heart looked good so I was happy to hear that. That makes me feel better because I think you all remember I passed out on pit road or something last year and a couple things felt funny, so I just wanted to have that checked out. I feel a lot better. I'm glad I was hear in Daytona and had the right people to work on me." WHAT ARE THEY TELLING YOU TO DO? "Go about your normal business and don't lift anything. They put something like a tire plug in that dissolves in 90 days. Still, they don't want me lifting anything, but it's a lot better than having a big sandbag like they put on you. They say that's very miserable. It was a brand new procedure. In fact, the guy that's selling the thing helped the doctor put it in, so I've got a tire plug in right now."  2/15/02 -  NASCAR car owner Robert Yates was hospitalized Friday morning after waking up with chest pains. The 58-year-old Yates awoke with tightness in his chest and drove himself to a hospital. A team spokesman said Yates was alert and talking and asked to be updated with team developments at Daytona International Speedway.

2/16/02

Ferrari to stick with 2001 car for season opener in Melbourne UPDATE Some are speculating that the real reason that the Ferrari team is not taking the F2002 to the Australian Grand prix is that they fear the car may not pass inspection. McLaren boss Ron Dennis has said that is concerned that a rival team are not completely within the rules with their new gearbox - "We are very comfortable that everything on our car is completely consistent with the regulations," Dennis said. "We are not so sure about other people's. It will all unfold." But according to Ferrari Technical Director Ross Brawn the new 'box is 'not radical in terms of interpretation of the regulations'.  2/15/02 -  "The new car has proved to be very quick right from the start, but we do not have sufficient time at our disposal to be entirely sure about its total reliability for the first round of the season," said team boss Jean Todt. "Therefore, we have decided to go to Melbourne with the F2001, which even in this winter's tests, has proved to be very competitive and reliable. We think it will be able to bring home valuable points for the championship. Next week, we will continue our on-track development of the F2002, as well as fine tuning the F2001 for the first race."

2/16/02

Mosley admits Interlagos is cut some breaks  In a recent interview, FIA President Max Mosley said, that the only real reason Brazil is kept on the F1 calendar given their poor facilities and danger to the teams and drivers is because they want at least one race in South America.  "Well, everybody says it’s not very good. I have to confess that the last time I went to Brazil was in ’82 and that was Rio so I can’t claim to be up-to-date. The biggest problem is that we don’t have another South American race. We’re a little bit in difficulty that if we cancelled Brazil, that’s it, that’s South America right off the World Championship calendar which is a great traditional place, so there’s a reluctance, but a point is coming where if they don’t do something, that’s it. It is a reason for keeping a race. It’s as if Silverstone was the only one in Western Europe and we couldn’t get one anywhere else. Whereas in Western Europe, we’ve got too many already, being brutal about it, and we need to free up a few races. So if people don’t want to take it seriously…You have to weigh up how much we are willing to tolerate Interlagos versus the importance of having at least one event in South America. If South America went, it would probably have an effect on the whole of South America in a way. Things change. Suddenly there’s Montoya coming up. We’re always saying we want to be more of a World Championship."

2/16/02

Mosley criticizes F1 teams for not giving Wilson a shot  In a recent interview, FIA President Max Mosley said, "We can’t make the Formula One teams take or even try someone like Justin Wilson. One suspects that if they gave him a trial he would be very quick and he would probably be quicker than some of the existing Formula One drivers, but I suppose it’s inconvenient because he’s 6ft 3in and they just can’t be bothered. I think it’s a great pity. Actually Formula 3000 last year was very competitive, and to win as he did, he did all the things you needed to do: he didn’t go off the road, he won the races, sometimes very close races, and he’s obviously a very very good driver."

2/15/02

Mike's Hard Lemonade to sponsor Fittipaldi in Busch events   Innovative Motorsports, Inc. (IMI) is proud to announce that mike's hard lemonade will be the primary sponsor on the #30 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Christian Fittipaldi in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2002. Fittipaldi will compete in six of seven Busch Series events slated for IMI's #30 car, starting with the spring event at Bristol, Tenn. "Mike's hard lemonade is thrilled to be a part of America's fastest growing spectator sport. We can't wait to see the mike's hard lemonade #30 Chevy on the track again," said Todd Martin, vice president of marketing for mike's hard lemonade. Fittipaldi's first Busch Series start came last November at Homestead, Fla. Mike's hard lemonade served as the primary sponsor for that one-time effort. "Last year's race in Miami had me longing to investigate the NASCAR world to a greater degree, and I am very excited to have mike's hard lemonade on board with us," said Fittipaldi. Mike's hard lemonade will be an associate sponsor on IMI's other two Busch Series entries - the #47 Thomas Pacconi Classics Chevrolet driven by Shane Hmiel, and the #48 STACKER 2 (The World's Strongest Fat Burner) Chevrolet driven by Kenny Wallace. Both cars will compete full-time in 2002. Mike's hard lemonade is the best selling alcoholic lemonade in the US. More information on mike's hard lemonade can be found at www.mikeshardlemonade.com.

2/15/02
F3000
Basso likely to run in the Italian F3000 series  With his Argentina sponsors drying up as fast as the Argentina economy, Martin Basso has headed to Italy to land a ride in the Italian F3000 series.  So far he's just testing though.
2/15/02
Industry News
Drivers ready to test new Sears Point karting center  Crews have completed the final layer of asphalt on the new Sears Point Karting Center kart track, and a select group of drivers are scheduled to test the course early next week. The Center is scheduled to open in early March, but drivers will test the surface of the new three-quarter mile, 16-turn course on Monday, February 18, to ensure that the pavement holds up to race speeds. Among those racing the first laps on the course will be instructors from the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School, including American Le Mans Series competitors Tyler McQuarrie and Dave McEntee. The drivers will run laps at full speed. The Sears Point Karting Center will be operated by Jim Russell International Karting and will feature a kart track, pro shop and kart storage. The Karting Center will open to the public in March with a variety of karting programs, testing schedules and open days. The Jim Russell School has been based at Sears Point Raceway since 1996. The newly designed Center is expected to one of the top three karting facilities in the country. The 28-foot wide track is designed to meet CIK/FIA standards for safety and performance, which makes it suitable to host national and international karting events.
2/15/02
Industry News
Speed Channel takes over FOX office  Speed Channel has taken over the Fox Sports Net offices at 10000 Santa Monica Blvd. in Century City, California.
2/15/02

 

IRL sells out again in Kansas City  Kansas Speedway has maintained its perfect record: two Indy Racing events, two sellouts. Season tickets for the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 Indy Racing League event on July 7 at Kansas Speedway are sold out for the second consecutive year, track officials announced Feb. 13. The inaugural Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series event also will take place on the same date in front of a full house of more than 78,000. Tickets for the track's other three events, in the NASCAR Winston Cup, NASCAR Busch and NASCAR Craftsman Truck series, also are sold out. "Renewals really exceeded our expectations," Kansas Speedway President Grant Lynch said. "I think it is the overall package at Kansas Speedway and the interest in a diverse motorsports schedule that made people want to come back. It even generated some interest with new race fans. If you thought 2001 was good, just wait. This year will be even better."
2/15/02
IROC
Tony Stewart wins IROC  Tony Stewart continued his successes during Speedweeks 2002 by winning Round 1 of True Value IROC XXVI on Friday at Daytona International Speedway. Stewart, who had Sam Hornish Jr., glued to his bumper, passed Al Unser Jr. down the Superstretch with two laps remaining to win the 40 lap, 100-mile invitation-only event. Rounding out the top five were Hornish, Scott Sharp, Jack Sprague and Unser. It's the third victory for Stewart at Daytona International Speedway and his second during Speedweeks 2002. He captured last Sunday's Budweiser Shootout and finished second in one of Thursday's Gatorade 125's. The victory is Stewart's second in True Value IROC history with his previous triumph coming last year at Michigan Speedway. The Rushville, Ind., native's margin of victory over Hornish was .111 seconds and he'll earn 21 points toward this year's True Value IROC title. "It was a fun race today," said Stewart. "We got into second there and I was a little bit optimistic that the three of us were going to break away when they got two-wide behind us and we got a big gap there. I knew that Al Unser Jr. was a good partner up front and I knew that he'd run real smooth. When you're following the guy that's won the most IROC races in history, he knows how to stay up there and he knows how to lead. But he was able to give us a lot of big steam and big momentum and a couple of good pushes there toward the end that helped us win this thing."
2/15/02
Terry Dale named Trans-Am Chief Steward Veteran motorsports official Terry Dale has joined the Trans-Am Series as Chief Steward and will assume his at-track duties beginning with the Trans-Am’s season-opening Grand Prix of the Americas, April 5-6 on the streets of Miami, Fla. In his new position, Dale will serve as the senior race official at all Trans-Am events, and will be responsible for administration of all competition-related issues. He joins the Trans-Am following four seasons (1998-2001) as Chief Steward of the Indy Lights championship sanctioned by Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). A native Canadian, Dale has also served as Chief Steward in the SCCA/CART Super Touring Championship (1996-97); the Michelin Enduroseries (1993-94), the Firestone Firehawk Championship (1992) and the Player’s Ltd./GM Motorsport Series (1987, ’89). He has held an FIA International Class A Race Steward’s License since 1975, and served as Deputy Clerk of the Course for the FIA’s annual Formula One event in Montreal from 1980-89. “The addition of Terry Dale as Chief Steward strengthens the Trans-Am’s continuing commitment to professionalism in the conduct of its events,” said Trans-Am Series president Dennis Huth. “His qualifications are impeccable, and he will be firm, but fair in his dealings with our teams and drivers. His integrity and sense of fair play are qualities that will be a real asset to the entire Trans-Am Series.”  “It’s going to be a great challenge,” he says. “My style is to be very interactive with the mechanics, the drivers, the crew chiefs and the officials. I plan to be a very visible type of Chief Steward. I’ll be very visible throughout the paddock, working with all of our different groups to identify potential problems and get them solved so that we can get on with the business of racing.”
2/15/02
Ganassi to enter 2-cars in Indy 500 Chip Ganassi will enter both of his CART drivers (Brack and Junqueira) in this years Indy 500.  The question remains as to whether he will run 4 cars this year as he did last.  If Ganassi runs an IRL car for Jeff Ward this year, that will be a 3rd. But will Ganassi run a Memo Gidley or Tony Stewart in a 4th car after his top cars are qualified?  Time will tell, but it's rumored he has been talking to Stewart.

2/15/02

NASCAR gives Dodge and Ford another aero break   Not able to beat the GM products on the race track, NASCAR has given the Ford and Dodge camp yet another break on the rules to equalize the cars.  Why not just call it IROC and be done with it?  In a series where ingenuity and advancements are frowned upon (they still use carburetors and look where there were on safety up until now), NASCAR reacted swiftly to the cries of the Ford and Dodge teams after yesterday’s Gatorade twin 125-mile qualifying races at the Daytona in which Chevrolet continued their dominance from hard work over the winter in their engine and chassis departments. NASCAR today gave Ford and Dodge teams an extra quarter-inch off of their rear spoiler. The statement from NASCAR read as follows: ‘During practice and the race (Daytona 500), the only spoiler permitted will be 5-3/4 inches in height and 57 inches in width for all Ford Taurus models and 6-1/4 inches height and 57 inches in width for all Dodge Intrepid models.’  The GM camp reacted to the announcement. "We don't believe that the changes announced this morning are warranted," said GM Racing’s NASCAR group manager Doug Duchardt. "There is no question that the Chevrolet and Pontiac teams, in general, have had a successful Speedweeks thus far in Daytona, but they have not had it handed to them. They've earned it. At some point, you have to question whether these changes are designed to even the mechanical packages or to compensate for the strength of our teams."

2/15/02
Champion team has champion drivers One of the top privateer teams in the American Le Mans Series has assembled an all-star lineup of drivers for the 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, presented by Dodge, at Sebring International Raceway on March 16. Champion Racing of Pompano Beach, Fla., has entered an Audi R8 Prototype in the event for drivers Andy Wallace, Stefan Johansson and Jan Lammers. Two of the three are former Sebring winners, two are former Formula One drivers and all are former winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Wallace, from England, will run the full American Le Mans Series schedule in 2002 for Champion Racing. The overall winner at Sebring in 1992 and 1993, Wallace is also a two-time winner of the Daytona 24 Hours (1990, 1997) and won the 1988 Le Mans classic while paired with Lammers. Wallace has one of the most remarkable records of any driver to have competed at Sebring, with four seconds, two thirds and a fifth along with his two wins coming in 12 starts. Johansson has only raced in five Sebring 12-hour events, but has two overall wins (1984, 1997). The Swede, a former Formula One driver, also has a third and a fourth at Sebring, with the fourth coming last year. He was part of the overall winning team at Le Mans in 1997. Lammers, who paired with Wallace to win at Le Mans in 1988, is seeking his first Sebring victory. The Dutch driver has a second, third and seventh in five starts at Sebring and is also a former Formula One competitor. In addition, he was part of the winning team in the 1990 Daytona 24 Hours. Wallace will pair with fellow Englishman Johnny Herbert in the remaining nine races on the ALMS schedule in 2002. Herbert is joining the factory Audi team at Sebring but will return to the Champion Racing seat for the April 7 Grand Prix Americas in Miami and the rest of the events.
2/15/02
Mosley - CART and IRL lack drama In this interview, FIA President Max Mosley claims that Formula One has such a big following because it is full of drama.  He thinks CART and the IRL are not as popular as they could be because they lack drama, a polite way of saying they are too sterile, and without any real rivalry's.  NASCAR is also popular because it has always had good rivalry's between drivers.  All successful sports have rivalry's that engage the fans.  CART and the IRL would be well served by creating a rivalry between the two series that would come to a head at three triple crown races each year, including the Indy 500.  With CART adopting IRL-like equipment, all the pieces are now in place to create that rivalry.  It's all laid out in this article.  CART, IRL, are you listening?

2/15/02

Jenson Button interview  Jenson Button doesn't hesitate to admit that after a sensational debut season in F1 with BMW Williams, he came crashing back to earth with a bang. Yesterday he talked frankly of the ups and downs of his brief career and his hopes and aims for the future in a lengthy interview published on the Renault F1 website.  Interview

2/15/02

Honda teams complete next-to-last race in Spain  Both Honda-powered teams have completed their penultimate pre-season test sessions and are now back in the UK preparing for their final test prior to the start of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship in Australia on 3 March. Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda completed a five-day test in Valencia last week while Jordan Honda returned from an encouraging three-day test in Barcelona on Wednesday.  Story

2/15/02
DMSB organizes German 500, F3 support race The DMSB - Deutscher Motor Sport Bund e.V. (German Motor Sports Association) - will organize the "German 500" at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, the 16th race of the CART series in 2002. The national organization for car and motorbike racing sports will act as official organizer of the top event in Lausitz in close cooperation with the Lausitzring Betriebs- und Management GmbH (Operating and Management Ltd.). In 2001 the European premiere of the CART series attracted more than 148,000 fans to the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. From September 12-21, 2002 the CART stars like Michael Andretti and Christian Fittipaldi with their 850 HP Champ-Cars will once more join the races at the tri-oval in Lausitz. This time the DMSB will organize the race. Hans-Jörg Fischer, CEO of the EuroSpeedway Lausitz said: "We are glad that we were able to win the support of the national top authority for motor sports for this cooperation. This is unique in the history of German motor sports. I am sure that together we will make this top event in Lausitz a tradition.“ Another highlight of the "German 500" will be the Formula 3 races: While the Champ-Cars and the new British stock car series ASCAR will start this weekend on the 2 mile superspeedway the world's best Formula 3 pilots will race on the 4.5 km long Grand Prix course of EuroSpeedway Lausitz. They are fighting to win important points in this last race of the International German Formula 3 Championship 2002. Winnie Urbinger, President of DMSB said: „With the German 500 motor sports in Germany were enriched by a top event which will attract many fans to Lausitz this year again.“ Hermann Tomczyk, Vice President of DMSB automobile sports stated: „For me it is great that with this event we are able to offer another highlight of the season for Europe's best Formula 3 Championship.“

2/15/02
Industry News

Sears Point Update  The finishing touches are now being completed on Sears Point Raceway's newest seating area,  (the S/F grandstands shown to right, and the Turn 7 hillside terrace seats. These seats are designed to mirror the hillside terrace seats that debuted for the 2001 season in Turns 2-4, and have been added as part of Sears Point Raceway's $50 million Modernization Plan. The Turn 7 seats have been carved into the hillside and will provide spectacular views of more than 65-pecent of the road course. Each seat is 24-inches wide, which is 33-percent wider than the average bleacher seat (18 inches), and each seat features more than three-feet of legroom. These seats will be offered as reserved seating for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Winston Cup event and as general admission seating for all other events. Work continues on another section of hillside terrace seats that are being built above Turns 8a-9 on the road course. Both the Turn 7 and Turns 8a-9 hillside terraces will be ready for the 2002 Big O Tires Racing Season, which begins in April. Work has also been completed on the Turn 10 and start/finish underground pedestrian tunnels. Both tunnels have been constructed and backfilled, making way for the paving of the drag strip and reconnection of the road course. Filling of the drag strip will begin this week to prepare the quarter-mile for paving. The renovated drag strip, which will be completely separated from the road course, will be raised eight-feet at the finish line resulting in an up-hill grade of three-quarter percent overall. Paving on the road course is scheduled for mid-March to remove the link between Turns 9 and 1 and reconnect the 12-turn circuit. At the south end of the property, the final layer of asphalt on the Sears Point Karting Center is scheduled for completion this week in preparation for the opening on March 2. Structural steel for the new tenant shops has been installed, and work continues on these shops, which will replace the majority of tenant shops currently located in the paddock.

2/14/02

Kasey Kahne debuts with Robert Yates team  Robert Yates poses with his new driver Kasey Kahne at Daytona. Kahne will race for Yates in the Busch Grand National Series in 2002. Yates and Kahne are joined in the launch by from left Bill DeArment CEO of Channellock and Dan Davis, Director of Ford Racing Technology. Photo: Autostock.

2/14/02
Rockwell FirstPoint Contact’s Potter Gets Hands-On Approach at Laguna Seca Graham Potter got more than he bargained for when he helped arrange a partnership between Rockwell FirstPoint Contact and Sigma Autosport for the 2002 CART FedEx Championship season. Potter, who serves as Rockwell FirstPoint Contact’s Vice-President of Global Services and Support, was present at CART’s Sneak Preview, held at the Laguna Seca Raceway. Potter figured he would watch the two-day testing session with Sigma Autosport and driver Max Papis, however the native of Sussex, England, got a little extra surprise courtesy of Sigma Autosport owner Tom Wieringa and managing director Gerard Hermsen. Both arranged for Potter to participate as a driver in the Skip Barber Racing School located at the track. “I really have to thank Tom and Gerard for this,” said Potter. “Earlier they kidded me then conned me into getting in one of the cars. I figured you don’t get the opportunity to drive a race car every day, so I did it and thoroughly enjoyed it.” Before Potter had the chance to complete a lap at the famed racing circuit, he and several other would-be racers took part in a class, which was an elementary introduction to vehicle dynamics. On hand for instruction were professional racers from the Skip Barber Racing School. “I went through the orientation period which lasted for about forty-five minutes,” said Potter. “I was with some other students and we went through the rudiments of driving. Things like understanding where the weight shifts in the car, what happens when you accelerate, brake, how to corner properly, and other racing elements. “It was not only great from a racing point of view, but from a regular street driving one as well.” After the class, Potter was fitted for a driving suit and helmet and entered his mount, a Formula Dodge R/T 2000 with a 150-horsepower 2-liter Dodge engine. In race trim, the Formula Dodge R/T 2000 can reach 140 mph on long straights, but Potter’s car ran at a “modest” 115 mph. Potter indicated he had no problems with the R/T 2000 and its 5-sequential gearbox, nor did a little rain dampen his day, especially entering the famed “Corkscrew” turn of the racecourse. “I followed a Dodge Viper through the Corkscrew,” said Potter. “Tom (Wieringa) was in the Viper along with driving instructor Tom Fogarty. The track was really wet when I was on it and that made the car a little more twitchy, but a challenge.” 

2/14/02

Raikkonen fast at Valencia again  Kimi Raikkonen topped the time sheets in Valencia once again today (Thursday), and set a new lap record as well with a 1.10.937 in the McLaren MP4-17.   He just barely nipped the record time set by Juan Pablo Montoya a few days ago.
1. Raikkonen McLaren 1'10"937 84 Laps
2. Wurz McLaren 1'11"914 92  Laps
3. de la Rosa Jaguar 1'13"215 46  Laps
4. Irvine Jaguar 1'13"977 49  Laps

2/14/02
Surprise - CART will be on Satellite Radio UPDATE Sirius Satellite Radio launched today in Houston, Denver, Phoenix and Jackson, Mississippi.  They hope to be nationwide by August 1st.  As we stated below, and now probably more important because the CART Radio Network was cancelled for 2002, CART can have it's TV audio feed broadcast via Speed Channel Radio that will be on Sirius Channel 124. Speed Channel is creating an exclusive radio service for Sirius. Speed Channel will feature racing news and information, consumer tips, features on classics and collectibles, profiles on the names in front of the action, and interviews from behind the scenes, as well as classic road tunes.  Sirius has joined the Evernham Motorsports/Ultra Motorsports Dodge racing team, part of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing's (NASCAR) Winston Cup Series. Sirius will be the primary sponsor of the No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T, driven by Casey Atwood (see picture to right). 1/11/02 -  From the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. Motorsports is alive and well! Pioneer had their Champ Car on display although no driver name was on the car. Pioneer was showing some CART race & pit stop highlights on their Elite Series flat Plasma Display Panels which captured attention from attendees. All in all, Pioneer appears to be a sponsor who knows how to use their CART relationship effectively. As a side note - in our 2008 crystal ball article we noted "CART finally takes a clue from NASCAR and starts a XM satellite radio station while NASCAR celebrates its 6th anniversary on XM. Available anywhere in the USA via satellite, XM radios are now standard equipment in all cars and fans can now listen to CART news whenever they are on the road." We have good news to report - Did you know CART is allied (via Speedvision radio) with Sirius Satellite Radio scheduled to launch next month? XM may have been the first to market but has some drawbacks (over half its content is commercial radio versus SSR which is commercial free). We don't know about you but if we're going to subscribe to a service and listen to a CART race, we would prefer they don't interrupt it with commercials. SSR appears to be less about hype and more about developing a strong management infrastructure. The CEO at SSR is Joe Clayton, the former RCA executive that managed the rollout of DirecTV. He has assembled quite a team who have been working with the major auto company's. The good news here is there seems to be a lot more to CART's Speedvision deal than first meets the eye. We can expect Speedvision Radio to be superior to NASCAR radio in content and on-air personalities. 

2/14/02

Quotes from Twin 125's  Pole Sitter Jimmy Johnson - "Nowhere to go. At the start I was going with (Jeff) Burton and he pulled up and kind of left a lot of air for me so I had to hang on to whatever I could. I got in line and then a crash happened in front of me and there was nowhere to go." He was penalized by NASCAR for going out of bounds and finished 27th.  Ryan Newman - "It was pretty exciting at the start of the race, to run three wide and sometimes four wide. We're just happy to be in the 500 with an 11th place finish and not have to use a provisional or take a chance on using a provisional. I'm happy to learn a lot of stuff. I got to work with Dale Jarrett, who has won the 125 and the 500 a few times. It's great to be able to follow somebody like that and work with and learn." "It's a big relief to make the field, but we have to make the car better. We finished 11th after 125 miles. We've got to make the car better, make it drive better through longer runs. We'll see how Rusty's (Wallace, Newman's teammate at Penske Racing) does here. We have really similar setups and maybe he has some kind of ideas of what to do better and maybe drive the car a little bit different around these banks."

2/14/02

Marcis retires, Robinson makes field  Dave Marcis finished in 7th place during the second of the Twin 125s earlier today. The top ten finish qualified Marcis for a record 35th Daytona 500, the race will however be his final Winston Cup start as he will retire following the Daytona 500. Shawna Robinson will be the 2nd woman to ever race in the Daytona 500. Even though she wrecked in her Twin 125 qualifying race, Robinson will start 36th in a field of 43 cars this Sunday.

2/14/02

Mike Helton comments on safety  A guest on the Feb. 13 edition of Speed Week on Speed Channel, NASCAR President Mike Helton discussed the issue of safety as NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams prepare for this weekend’s Daytona 500. The following are excerpts from that discussion...More

2/14/02

Atlantics:  Yet another new team forms with eyes toward Champ Cars  Greg Sorrentino announced today in Atlanta the formation of Transnet Racing that will compete in the 2002 the Toyota Atlantic series. Transnet Racing will be based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Sorrentino stated that Venezuelan Alex García will be their driver. His recent experience includes the participation in the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 series, in 1998 and 1999.  You can obtain additional information on Alex García at http://www.alexgarcia.net. At the moment Transnet Racing is finalizing its agreements for sponsorship and in the next several weeks a formal announcement will be made. Transnet Racing intends to compete in the Atlantic Formula for two seasons before moving up to the CART FedEx Championship Series.

2/14/02

 

Japanese driver passes rookie test  Japanese open-wheel veteran Hideki Noda completed the speed phase of his Indy Racing League rookie test Feb. 11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Noda, a native of Osaka, Japan, completed each of the four 10-lap phases of the test in just 82 laps, with an unofficial top speed of 205.7 mph on the 1.5-mile oval. Noda drove a G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone prepared by new IRL entrant Convergent Racing. "Hideki adapted very quickly and made a very smooth transition to the IRL car," said Don Batchelor, managing partner for Convergent Racing. "It was our first test, and everything came together even better than we had anticipated." Indy Racing League Technical Manager Mark Bridges observed Noda. "He did a fine job," Bridges said. "He was very smooth and very comfortable in the car. He adapted to it very quickly and got right with the program." Noda started racing karts in 1982 and since then has competed in Formula One with the Larrousse team in 1994, F3000, Indy Lights and British Formula 3. He won the Indy Lights race in 1997 at Portland, Ore. Noda has raced in the Japanese Formula Nippon open-wheel series for the last three years. Indy Racing League Vice President of Operations Brian Barnhart must clear Noda before receiving his Indy Racing League license.
2/14/02

 

Team Cheever test Tomas Scheckter, announces press conference 2nd UPDATE  Indy Racing League team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. has selected driver Tomas Scheckter for his second car. Cheever expects Scheckter, 21, the son of 1979 Formula One champion Jody Scheckter, to be under contract to the Red Bull-sponsored team by Friday, when a two-day test begins at Homestead, Fla. 1/29/02 - Did you know that Scheckter was sacked by Jaguar F1 as test driver last year after being arrested for soliciting a prostitute in the UK?  Perhaps he is using the IRL to try and get his career back on track, but some sources say Al Unser Jr. may get the 2nd Cheever seat.  As with other drivers, Cheever put Tomas through PitFit's driver fitness testing program. He did extremely well. While they don't give out specific numbers, he broke the record on the V02 max treadmill aerobic capacity test, and this was after the poor kid flew in on a redeye with only one hours sleep. Excellent level of fitness. 1/23/02 -  The Red Bull Cheever Racing crew completed their first test of 2002 at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Jan. 21 and 22. "The purpose of this test was two-fold," said General Manager Richard Caron. "First to continue our testing program with Eddie, in preparation for the 2002 Indy Racing League championship, and second to hold our final evaluations of drivers for the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Infiniti." Tomas Scheckter, a 21-year-old racer from South Africa, joins Jeff Ward, Buddy Rice, and Dan Wheldon as drivers that have tested for the coveted second seat at Cheever Indy Racing. Tomas, the son of 1979 Formula One World Champion Jody Scheckter, passed his Indy Racing League rookie test by completing 85 laps, and reaching a top average speed of 210.7 mph. His unofficial speed was several miles per hour faster than the pole position (208.502 mph) for the last IRL race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in April 2000. "The first few sessions were unbelievable with the g-forces I felt," said Scheckter about his first oval track experience. "Driving an average speed of over 200 miles per hour was a great feeling, similar to a roller coaster. I got used to the feeling pretty quickly, and with guidance from Eddie, was able to do some good lap times. The team was very professional. Hopefully they feel as good about the test as I do." Currently the runner-up in the European Formula Nissan championship, Scheckter spent part of last year as a test driver for the Jaguar Racing Formula One team. His racing resume also includes championship titles in go-karts and the European Opel Lotus series, and second in the 2000 British F3 standings with two victories. In addition to monitoring Scheckter's rookie test, team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. drove 35 laps during the two-day test, focusing on engine development with the Infiniti Indy 35A. "The proverb, the apple does not fall far from the tree, is very much the case with the Scheckter family," said Eddie Cheever Jr., owner and driver, Red Bull Cheever Racing. "Jody was a phenomenal driver, and Tomas is following in his footsteps. He didn't miss a beat and was very methodical in his approach." Cheever Indy Racing will announce the driver of the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Infiniti during a press conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum at 10 a.m. (EST), Feb. 1. The new colors of the Red Bull Cheever Racing cars will also be unveiled at the event.  Nissan

2/14/02

Domínguez makes drastic improvement at Laguna Seca They say the third time is a charm - and the Herdez Competition team proved that yesterday completing their third and by far most successful day of testing at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. Continuing their pre-season testing plan, the team completed 120 laps during the day with rookie Mario Domínguez posting a best time of one minute, 9.82 seconds; just a shade under a second faster than his best time during last weekend’s Sneak Preview open test. The 26-year-old Mexican was a half-second per lap quicker right “out of the box” on Wednesday morning, reinforcing the team’s belief from Sunday that they were performing better than the time sheet demonstrated. “This was a much better day, by far”, said Domínguez. “For sure we learned a lot and we came away with a much better set-up on the car. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t show this speed on Sunday in front of the crowd at Sneak Preview – we thought we had a handle on the set-up at the end of the day but then we couldn’t get a lap in because of the red-flags at the end of the final session. But this test proves that we were on the right track. We had been fighting a constant understeer over the weekend but it was a completely different car when I got in it (yesterday).” Herdez Competition Managing Director Keith Wiggins confirmed this assessment. “It was about 25 degrees colder on Wednesday than it was over the weekend so it took a bit of time to get heat in the car and in the tires. But I’m confident that Mario’s performance yesterday would have stood up against the other drivers had they been there. We knew that Sunday wasn’t an accurate reflection of what we could do so it was good, both for Mario and for the team, to get out there and put a competitive time on the board. We felt the track had less grip overall and we were running about 3 m.p.h. slower at top speed, so clearly the car was cornering significantly better than previously. At the end of the day, we’re happy to have resolved the issues that confronted us on the weekend and now we can move forward with the rest of our pre-season testing.“ The team and driver return to Indianapolis today before setting off for Sebring, Florida to test on Wednesday and Thursday of next week. This two-day test will be the team’s final tune-up prior to the season-opener in Monterrey, Mexico on March 8-10.

2/14/02

Mosley would allow F3000 cars to race in F1  F1 grids could be filled with F3000 cars in future if any more teams go out of business. The hugely overpriced F1 series is in financial turmoil. The demise of Prost last month has led to concern that smaller F1 teams could struggle to stay afloat during the global economic slowdown. FIA president Max Mosley told Autosport magazine: "There have to be 16 F1 cars and if there are fewer than that we would have to take steps, probably to allow F3000 cars in. "It happened in the 1960s, when there were mixed grids of F1 and F2 cars." The last occasion F1 and F2 cars raced head to head was the 1969 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. Formula 3000 cars are typically more than 10s per lap slower than their Formula 1 counterparts, not too far from Minardi territory.

2/14/02

Trucks faster than Cup cars  Jason Leffler turned heads Wednesday with a lap of 193.823 mph in practice. "Right now, the way they're running, it would make for a hell of a race," said Tim Kohuth, Leffler's crew chief. "But I guess no one wants to see the trucks run three or four miles an hour faster than the Winston Cup cars. Some people can't accept that." "It's a shame if they do something, because it's going to take way from the quality of the race." Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 pole with a lap of 185.831. Ted Musgrave won the truck pole with a lap of 187.215 Tuesday. The trucks are the only NASCAR series running at Daytona without a carburetor restrictor plate.

2/14/02

Mosley wants to streamline F1 appeal process  FIA president Max Mosley has proposed changes to the current appeals system, in an attempt to cut the number of costly appeals by F1 teams. Rather than teams appealing through their national sporting authority at the Paris-based Court of Appeal, Mosley wants the race stewards to decide if an appeal can get this far in future. "There are too many appeals now, as teams have the resources, and this should cut down that number," Mosley told Motorsport News. "Currently you appeal through your national sporting authority but there isn't a national authority anywhere that will refuse a team. "This way the chance of it not being over on Sunday night are very low - if the stewards refuse leave to appeal they'd have to show they've got a point of interpretation of the regulations."

2/14/02

Ecclestone still rates Michael the best  Bernie Ecclestone has told Playboy magazine that he believes Michael Schumacher is still the man to beat in F1. "Schumacher will stay in control for a long time, as I have already said," the 71-year-old told the magazine. "Michael doesn't have to fear anyone." Ecclestone thought that the four times world champion would also relish competition from other drivers. "He loves the sport so much that he would be pleased if another top driver forced him to go beyond his current performance limits," he stated. One of Schumacher's strongest rivals this year is expected to be Juan Pablo Montoya, another driver that Ecclestone rated. "He is a very good driver. This year will be an even bigger challenge for him," Ecclestone commented. However, he also felt that today's drivers were not as brave as in time gone past. "Only a driver who is fully prepared to explore the limits of his car can get to the top," he said.

2/14/02

Jaguar signs deal with EDS  Jaguar and EDS announced today that they have signed a technology sponsorship agreement through which EDS software will drive the digital design of Jaguar Racing's cars. Under the three-year agreement, EDS becomes an official technology partner to Jaguar Racing.  "Through the application of EDS PLM Solutions products and services, Jaguar Racing has been able to develop its entire racecar using a completely digital process," said Jaguar Racing Team Principal Niki Lauda. "In one of the most time critical businesses in the world, this gives us a leading edge in both development time and ultimately, competitiveness. "Because our development process is entirely digital, we are able to make changes and experiment with new configurations at a faster pace than many of our competitors. At a time when many F1 teams are commenting on sponsorship difficulties within the business, we are delighted with what is both a significant, long term sponsorship deal and state-of-the-art technology that will benefit Jaguar Racing and its partners. "Shortening cycle times is a key criteria for our business. Major design changes are often required between races - a time span as short as two weeks. These changes can result in quicker lap times - times that are just tenths of a second less can provide the team with the vital edge over our competitors. "This would simply be impossible without digital technology. The software provided by EDS is a critical element of our future development." "This is a natural way for EDS to raise its global brand profile while demonstrating what we do," added Don Uzzi, senior vice president of global advertising, marketing and communications for EDS. "Formula1 is all about managing complexity and deploying technology to maximize its value. This is what EDS does every day for its clients."

2/13/02

Daytona Wednesday test times  Test Times and Speed from Wednesday.  Link

2/13/02

Bill Simpson will sue NASCAR  2nd UPDATE NASCAR issued this statement concerning the Simpson lawsuit on Wednesday afternoon: "The Bill Simpson lawsuit is totally without merit," the statement said. " We will vigorously defend ourselves against his false allegations. NASCAR will continue to focus its efforts on safety, working with members of the NASCAR industry, including Simpson Performance Products, Inc." Simpson Performance Products released a statement Tuesday saying they would not participate in any lawsuit. 2/13/02 - As expected, Bill Simpson has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against NASCAR in Indianapolis. Simpson filed the suit alone, however, after Simpson Safety Products asked to be removed as a plaintiff. "Originally, Simpson Performance Products were part of our lawsuit, but they said they prefer Bill go it alone so we spent most of Tuesday re-drafting the document," said James H. Voyles, who along with Robert W. Horn are representing Simpson. "You can anticipate the litigation will be filed (Wednesday) morning here in superior court."  2/12/02 - According to a report by Robin Miller on ESPN.com, Bill Simpson is blaming NASCAR for wrongly accusing his company of playing any part in Earnhardt's death on the final lap of the Daytona 500 last year. Bill Simpson wants his name absolved in the death of his friend Dale Earnhardt. According to the report, attorneys James H. Voyles and Robert W. Horn will file a suit Tuesday morning (today) in an Indianapolis superior court. Simpson has confirmed he is filing a multimillion dollar lawsuit, charging NASCAR with defamation of character, defamation by implication and reckless disregard for the truth. "NASCAR brought me to my knees like nobody else ever has and, for eight months, I felt (helpless) because these charges just kept coming and there was nothing I could do," said Simpson, the subject of several death threats. He eventually moved out of his former home in Charlotte, N.C. "Everyone who has ever dealt with NASCAR has acquiesced to them and nobody will stand up to them. But they picked on the wrong guy this time. I'm not going away quietly and they deserve to pay for what they did to me and my company's reputation. "This isn't about money. This is about integrity and the truth."

2/13/02

NASCAR contributes to huge FOX loss  Rupert Murdoch's News Corp took a $909 million sports related loss for 2001.  NASCAR contributed $297 million to the loss or about 1/3 of it, as FOX took a bath even though NASCAR TV ratings skyrocketed.  Although the economy was soft, there was no way they were going to turn a profit because they bid too high for NASCAR, Major League Baseball and the NFL.  Though FOX announced it was a one-time write-off, look for more red ink in coming years if the economy does not improve significantly.  News Corp is an Australian company and already the stock has dropped 5.4 percent in Thursdays trading on the Australian markets.

2/13/02

2002 CART Barber Dodge Pro Series schedule announced  Two new venues in Montreal, Canada and Mexico City, Mexico will headline the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series schedule that includes four international races. Paring down to a ten-race schedule, the remaining eight races will be familiar to the drivers returning to the Series that will kick off with the traditional start at the 50th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Memorial Day weekend at Lime Rock Park supporting a round of the Trans Am Series. Rounds three through ten will follow the CART FedEx Series, with stops at Laguna Seca, Toronto, Cleveland, Vancouver, Mid-Ohio, and Road America before visiting the two new venues in Montreal and Mexico City. "We are thrilled to announce this schedule for the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series. The growth into Mexico and the further expansion in Canada speaks to the depth of our organization and I expect to see it continue to attract the best up and coming drivers in the CART Ladder," said Managing Director Jeremy Dale. "With ten of the best motorsports events in North America, the Barber Dodge Pro Series continues to offer its drivers and marketing partners not only fantastic race venues but considerable exposure before some of the most ardent and knowledgeable race fans around."
The schedule with dates:
March 16, Sebring International Raceway, Sebring Fla.
May 27, Lime Rock Park, Lime Rock, Conn.
June 9, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif.
July 7, Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ont., Canada
July 14, Burke-Lakefront Airport, Cleveland, Ohio
July 28, Concord Pacific Place Circuit, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
August 8, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
August 18, Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.
August 25, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Que, Canada
October 11, Circuito Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico

2/13/02

Calkins retires from racing  Although he's still quite young, 1996 Indy Racing League co-champion Buzz Calkins announced Feb. 13 his retirement from Indy Racing competition after he was unable to find sponsorship for his Bradley Motorsports ride in 2002. Calkins, from Denver, made 53 career starts in the Indy Racing League and won the league's inaugural event in January 1996 at Orlando, Fla. Calkins, 30, plans to use his master's degree in business administration from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management toward new business ventures in the near future, including team ownership. "I have always admired guys like Roger Penske, Bobby Rahal and Niki Lauda, who have had successful racing careers and then stepped out of the car and became successful in business and other facets of life," Calkins said. "This is the direction I want to go. We have a great group of people here and awesome equipment. I truly believe we present the best opportunity for sponsors and a driver. "I've been thinking long and hard about this, and I think it is time for me to focus on a new direction. I am at a time in my life where the risks aren't worth the rewards."

2/13/02

Mike Helton on Speed Week to talk safety  NASCAR President Mike Helton will be a guest on Speed Week on SPEED Channel tonight (Feb. 13), discussing topics ranging from safety to the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing season. Speed Week on SPEED Channel, which airs for one hour at 8 p.m. (ET), is hosted by Bob Varsha and includes Daytona 500 segments from the FOX broadcasting team of Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond.

2/13/02
Industry News

Two new open wheel development series  The ChampCar Lights Racing Series has adopted a new chassis & engine combo for 2002. The Series will be using the Dome FD99 carbon composite chassis with 220 bhp 2000cc MUGEN RS-X engine. The existing Van Diemen FRS chassis is still eligible to race in the Scholarship Class. Also, the 2002 season will be the first time more events have been held in the U.S. than in Canada. More info can be found at the Series web site at www.champcarlights.com. The organizers of the ChampCar Lights Racing Series have created an additional series for 2002 called ChampCar F6000. This Series utilizes the '97 Lola Indy Lights chassis. So far past Indy Lights teams Genoa Racing, Roquin Motorsports, Brian Stewart Racing and Indy Regency Racing have expressed support for the Series. In addition, TMR Racing will be joining as a new team. More info can be found at the Series web site at www.champcarf6000.com.  These series are not affiliated with CART in any way.

2/13/02

IRL support series lands another CART Indy Lights team  Veteran CART Indy Lights team Brian Stewart Racing will field the No. 3 car in the 2002 Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, team owner Brian Stewart announced Feb. 13. A longtime Indy Lights stalwart, Brian Stewart Racing recorded 361 starts in the development series between 1988-2001. One of the program's most consistently competitive organizations, Brian Stewart Racing earned 31 wins, 27 pole positions and two series championships. "I'm happy to be in the Infiniti Pro Series," owner Stewart said. "It's the road to Indy, and Indy has always been our goal. For the past few years, we deviated from that course. Now we're back on track. "I think the Infiniti Pro Series is going to be great, and we're going to do our best to make it even greater. We bring a very strong work ethic to the series. If teams want to compete with us, they'll have to work just as hard."   Brian Stewart Racing, which maintains a race shop in Sutton, Ontario, outside Toronto, has fielded cars for such open-wheel standouts as Paul Tracy, Cristiano da Matta, Bryan Herta and Indy Racing League race winner Jaques Lazier. A driver for Stewart's Infiniti Pro Series car has not been announced. "I'm delighted to have someone like Brian Stewart, who has such a history of success in open-wheel competition, join us in the new Infiniti Pro Series," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series.

2/13/02

CART, slow to react, likely to get beat to Shanghai by F1  3rd UPDATE Our Steve Levinson paid another visit to Shanghai this past week on business. He did a little more research on the proposed permanent road course the Shanghai government is willing to build for F1 and/or CART.  Shanghai will spend $240 Million USD, not the $1 billion previously reported by the South China Morning Post.  Like we said, China has decided Shanghai will be their commercial center and they spare no expense. Construction will start this year! This will be the most expensive race facility in the world, and that cost includes building it with inexpensive Chinese labor!  When was the last time the USA spent $240 million to build a state-of-the-art seven-kilometer (about 4.2 miles) road course to host F1 or CART? It will include an auto center, auto manufacture, design, sales and service facility. Will Bernie sign an exclusive deal with Shanghai locking CART out of this magnanimous facility, or will CART stick their foot in the door before it gets slammed shut? But again, some of CART's sponsors are holding back further overseas races, and it's an education process to help them understand we are in a global economy now.  We wonder if new CART sponsor Eli Lilly would want to market its new Cialis product to the half-billion men in China?  The Chinese buy computers too, lots of computers (hint to another new CART sponsor coming on board).  12/23/01 It looks as though CART and F1 now have two choices in Shanghai, China.  Reports in China in the “South China Morning Post” indicate that if plans are approved, a $1 billion (USD) racing circuit meeting FIA standards for Formula One will be ready by 2004, Shanghai's Deputy Mayor Jiang Yiran said yesterday. Construction would start in 2002.  A consortium is said to have the money to finance the deal.  The Shanghai Daily said the city's plans were to construct the track around the Volkswagen factory in suburban Anting. Earlier this year there were hints that various groups were considering proposals for the circuit after the Zhuhai course built in 1996 in the country, while already built and to Formula One standard, never made it onto the calendar and is now reportedly run down and requiring an expensive upgrade. We already know about the street circuit we previously reported on, so it appears there are competing interests in Shanghai.  China, the world’s most populous country, is the next best thing since apple pie for Formula One and CART because of its less stringent tobacco laws and massive, untapped audience. And Shanghai, a city of 12 million people, is seen as an ideal host, with considerable involvement from major car manufacturers with many production factories and high tech surroundings (see our previous reports listed below).  Might we see F1 on the natural terrain road course and CART on the City streets, or vice versa, or will both race on the same track? 12/1/01 - Autosport reports in its latest issue that Formula One sources say negotiations for a F1 race in China have now turned away from Zhuhai and Beijing, and toward Shanghai. They are looking for a race in 2005 or sooner.  AutoRacing1.com has said all along that Shanghai is the place to have a motor race in China if you were going to have one.  Now F1 has seen the light as well.  We had two feature stories on Shanghai.  The first, 'Why Shanghai is the Best Venue', by Allan Ng; and the second, 'Is Shanghai in CART's future, by Mark Cipolloni. We don't know how to put it any simpler than this - if CART gets beat to Shanghai by F1, it will be one of the biggest blunders in CART's entire history, especially when CART could have been in Shanghai as early as 2002 if the right effort was put into helping Norman Lee secure the right financing.  Norman Lee, President of Auto Racing Legends (ARL) returned recently from Shanghai with a 10-year contract with the government to put on two races per year in the streets of Pudong, a province of Shanghai.  ARL, a California Corporation, has been contracted by the Shanghai City Government to co-organize this event.  We have written on numerous occasions that China is going to be a major economic power in a few short years, and Shanghai will be their lead commercial center, a place where every major USA corporation does or will do business.  Perhaps if the rumors are true that Chris Pook may take over as President and CEO of CART in the very near future, and with Pook being a super race promoter who understands a good 'market' when he sees one, this important matter will get the attention it deserves. 
Special report on Shanghai China  UPDATE
Our report by Steven Levinson can be found here as promised.  12/7/01 - With F1 now talking to Shanghai, and since CART was doing its usual procrastination act, AutoRacing1.com made a special visit to Shanghai, China this past week.  On numerous occasions we have printed reasons why Shanghai is a 'must' market for CART, however, even we were blown over by what we found in Shanghai.  It was more spectacular than one could have imagined.  To whet your appetite, we have included a teaser photo of the Pudong Shanghai skyline to the right.  The Grand Hyatt Shanghai hotel, located right next to the proposed track, is the 'highest hotel in the world' (located on the 53rd to 88th floors of the Jin Mao Tower, the tallest building in the photo), with spectacular views of the Bund, Huang Pu River and downtown Shanghai from all its guest rooms. In case you did not know, the Jin Mao Tower is the third tallest building in the world.  We will have a special report on our visit in the coming days, so stay tuned. MC

2/12/02

Sigma Atlantic team concludes test in Miami  Sigma Autosport’s Toyota-Atlantic team concluded its final pre-season test of the season Monday at the Miami-Homestead Motorsports Complex. According to Atlantic team manager Jim Griffith, it was a successful test for Sigma drivers, Rocky Moran Jr., and rookie Dave Wieringa. The test, run over four days on the road course, was a chance for both drivers to get seat time and to test different handling settings, and different spring and shock packages. Each driver had two days of testing. “We wanted to get the bugs out of the car and to try several different aerodynamic packages,” said Griffith. Most important however was giving Moran an opportunity to test not only the car, but also his physical health. Moran had broken his back in December, after falling off a motorcycle and until recently, had been using a back brace. Moran was also involved in what turned out to be a minor airplane accident in January, however for this test Moran managed to steer clear of motorcycles and aircraft tarmacs. “It was important to give Rocky some time in the car,” said Griffith. “He did a great job and didn’t have a back brace on. He put in several laps and felt very good after completing his test.” Griffith said that between Moran and Wieringa, approximately 600 miles were completed during the test, something the team was trying to accomplish. “One of the goals was to keep increasing the mileage each day,” said Griffith. “Both David and Rocky each got in plenty of miles and a lot of time in the car. That was important and those two learned a lot during this test session. To emphasize the point, Moran drove more than 250 trouble-free miles on Monday. The team now returns to their Chardon, Ohio facility to complete work on two new Swift 014a-Toyota cars. Sigma Autosport then ventures to Monterrey, Mexico, for the CART/Toyota-Atlantic season opener on March 10.

2/12/02

NASCAR broadcasts bring nearly $4 billion in value  According to research conducted by Joyce Julius and Associates’ Sponsors Report — which specializes in documenting exposure received by corporate entities during national television broadcasts — 888 sponsors accumulated more than 356 hours of on-screen time and Overall, mentions of sponsors fell during the 2001 telecasts by some 6,400; however, increased on-screen time (+21 hours) and a dramatic rise in advertising rates due to the increased number of broadcast network telecasts stemming from NASCAR’s new television deal with Fox In terms of individual sponsor success, Budweiser reigned supreme among brands backing racing teams for the second straight season with an exposure intake valued at $165.6 million, up 185% over 2000. 2001 Series champion Jeff Gordon’s sponsor Du Pont ($136.4 million) finished next among the team sponsors, followed by Texaco ($105.4 million), series newcomer UPS The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Sponsors Report conducts in-depth studies of sponsor exposure monitored during more than 2,500 nationally televised sports and special event programs annually. The Sponsors Report has monitored every nationally televised NASCAR Winston Cup Series event since 1985.  Julius Report

2/12/02

Busch TV exposure value increases  According to research conducted by Joyce Julius and Associates’ Sponsors Report — which specializes in documenting exposure received by corporate entities during national television broadcasts — 961 sponsors accumulated a combined $708 million of exposure value during the 34 telecasts devoted to the Busch Series in 2001, compared to $480 million garnered throughout the 2000 broadcast season. Exposure value is calculated by comparing the amount of time each sponsor appears clear and in-focus, as well as all mentions of sponsors, to the cost of purchasing a commercial during the network’s broadcast.  The exposure news was also positive from a primary team sponsor standpoint. In 2001, a typical team sponsor ranking among the top 25 earned some $7.5 million of exposure value for the season, or nearly $330,000 per event. Under the old seven-network arrangement of 2000, the top-25 team sponsors averaged $5.6 million apiece, or $175,000 per event. Julius Report

2/12/02

Advertising/Branding spending in NASCAR phenomenal  NASCAR's Young & Rubicam ad spend will be $30 million in 2002, including a major push on the Busch Series, which NASCAR officials say will be bigger than ever before. One important thing Young & Rubicam does is help NASCAR with branding of their products. CART (or the term Champ Car) is not branded and it's going to take CART 100's of million of dollars to do so, something it does not have.  This is where we come back to the world's #1 branded name "FedEx" and the concept of "FedEx Cars".  On another note, maybe Michael Andretti and Paul Tracy should start running Toyota Atlantic races to make the series more attractive.  Winston Cup drivers run Busch races to build that series and NASCAR appreciates that, yet Champ Car and F1 drivers, though they won't like us saying it, would never dream of stepping down to a support series to help grow it.  One of the primary reasons for NASCAR's success is the willingness of the drivers to go the extra step for fans, sponsors, RPM2Night, and the sanctioning body.  Mark C.

2/12/02

Grids set for Thursday's 125-mile qualifiers  Race one line-up
1. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
2. Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet
3. Ward Burton, Dodge
4. Terry Labonte, Chevrolet
5. Bill Elliott, Dodge
6. Mike Wallace, Chevrolet
7. Dale Jarrett, Ford
8. Ricky Rudd, Ford
9. Bobby Hamilton, Chevrolet
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet
11. Brett Bodine, Ford
12. Ken Schrader, Pontiac
13. Sterling Marlin, Dodge
14. Joe Nemechek, Ford
15. Geoff Bodine, Ford
16. Hut Stricklin, Dodge
17. Mark Martin, Ford
18. Ryan Newman, Ford
19. Johnny Benson, Pontiac
20. Elliott Sadler, Ford
21. Rick Mast, Ford
22. Kurt Busch, Ford
23. Ricky Craven, Ford
24. Matt Kenseth, Ford
25. Carl Long, Dodge
26. Kyle Petty, Dodge
27. Kirk Shelmerdine, Ford


Race two line-up
1. Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet
2. Robert Pressley, Dodge
3. Robby Gordon, Chevrolet
4. Michael Waltrip, Chevrolet
5. Jeff Green, Chevrolet
6. Bobby Labonte, Pontiac
7. Jerry Nadeau, Chevrolet
8. Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge
9. Kenny Wallace, Chevrolet
10. Tony Stewart, Pontiac
11. Dave Marcis, Chevrolet
12. John Andretti, Dodge
13. Jeff Burton, Ford
14. Casey Atwood, Dodge
15. Shawna Robinson, Dodge
16. Rusty Wallace, Ford
17. Todd Bodine, Ford
18. Dave Blaney, Ford
19. Greg Biffle, Ford
20. Stacy Compton, Pontiac
21. Buckshot Jones, Dodge
22. Jimmy Spencer, Dodge
23. Bobby Gerhart, Pontiac
24. Hermie Sadler, Chevrolet
25. Mike Skinner, Chevrolet

2/12/02

Cool Cats Petty, Garfield Come Together  The “coolest cats” in their field have come together in one of the most exciting licensing programs in the history of motorsports. Richard Petty, the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion, and Paws Inc., the corporation that handles Jim Davis’ Garfield series of newspaper comic strips and television cartoons, have announced a two-year licensing agreement that will surpass anything the sport has seen. The announcement was made today at Daytona USA. “Garfield has been a part of my life and part of my family’s life for his 25 years. In talking with (creator) Jim Davis, I found out that the Petty family and NASCAR racing have been something he has been following too,” said Petty. “We obviously think this is going to be a great deal for all of us, and especially for the race fans. “But I’ll tell you right now it’s as big a deal as it gets for my grandchildren and their friends,” he added. “They are jumping up and down over this one.” Petty Enterprises and Paws Inc. will collaborate in a series of souvenir merchandise, specialty cars, events and promotions. Much of the proceeds will go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp for chronically ill children and the Kyle Petty Charity Ride.

2/12/02

Schumacher breaks Fiorano record again  Formula One world champion driver Michael Schumacher set a new track record at Ferrari's private Fiorano circuit with the new Ferrari F2002 car, the team announced. Schumacher's new time of 58.378sec surpassed the mark of 58.620sec set by him on Sunday in his first day of testing with the new car. Schumacher will continue testing on Wednesday at the Mugello track.

2/12/02

Record ticket sales at Sebring  Ticket sales are at record levels for the 50th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Dodge. America’s premier sports car race runs Saturday, March 16, at the historic Sebring International Raceway. “Enthusiasm for this historic event has been building at a phenomenal rate,” stated Raceway Director Tres Stephenson. “Our reserved trackside parking is already nearing a sell-out, and many fans from across the country have told us they haven’t been to Sebring in years, and are looking forward to attending the 50th Anniversary celebration.” The opening race of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Sebring will be a key prelude to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. The winning team at Sebring the past three years has gone on to win Le Mans. Gates open Wednesday, March 13, for four-days of world-class road racing. Sebring Supertickets (both 4-day and Saturday-only tickets) are available at advance purchase rates (a savings of $10 per ticket) through March 1st. After that date, gate prices will apply. A limited number of Reserved Trackside Parking/Camping spaces are still available, along with a very limited number of Club Sebring memberships. The first fan arrived in line at Sebring 65 days before the gates open. By the time the gates open at 7 am on March 13, thousands will be on hand for the four-day event, often called the Mardi Gras of motorsports. Complete details on Sebring tickets can be found at www.sebringraceway.com. Race fans can also call toll free in Florida 800-626-7223; outside Florida 863-655-1442. Sebring

2/12/02

Verstappen to sue Arrows  As we reported last week, Verstappen would probably sue the Arrows team for braking his contract.  Now, according to Reuters, Verstappen's people are considering legal action, especially since the broke the contract so late, and he has no chance to find another ride.

2/11/02
Industry News

TMS turns down Lewis/Tyson fight  Texas Motor Speedway today announced it will not submit a bid on the proposed Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson heavyweight championship fight. The announcement came after a week of speculation that the superspeedway would host the event if Tyson is licensed to fight in the state of Texas. "Texas Motor Speedway will not submit a bid to host the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson world heavyweight championship fight," said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage. "I have said that people can choose to buy a ticket to this fight or they can choose not to buy a ticket to this fight. In the case of Texas Motor Speedway -- we choose not to buy a ticket to this fight. "We have had the opportunity prior to this to host a world championship boxing card that did not include Mike Tyson. At that time, we were unable to do so. In this case, we have dates available, but Mike Tyson makes this fight undesirable for us. "At the same time, we do not criticize or look down on any sporting venue that may host this fight. According to the laws of our country, Mike Tyson is a free man to practice his profession. "Regardless of the money, regardless of the national and international exposure, regardless of what some consider the upside -- the downside overshadows all of them. "We hope to host a world championship fight somewhere down the road -- but not this one."

2/11/02

Final Toyota CART decision in May/June  We spoke to Toyota's Lee White about when his company might make a final decision on supplying CART engines in 2003 and beyond.  Lee told us that they are OK with the technical and supply part of CART's new engine rules. It will go before the Toyota executives in May or June for a final ruling as to whether it makes business sense.  He also told us Toyota is willing to supply up to 10 cars, in addition to what they will do in the IRL.  With CART's new supply rules, Toyota can only pick 5 of the 10, the remaining 5 cars get picked from a hat.  This prevents any single manufacturer from getting all the good teams.

2/11/02

TV ratings to dream about  Hot off their Super Bowl advertisements, and similar to the affect the Super Bowl ad had last year for NASCAR, NASCAR qualifying got a 3.5 overnight rating on Saturday, up from about a 2.2 last year.  And NASCAR overnights grow when the smaller markets are added in a few days later . . .

2/11/02

No Dale Coyne team for 2002? UPDATE Not so fast - see rumor on rumors page about the possibility of the Gonzalez brothers driving for Coyne. 2/9/02 -  We spoke to Dale Coyne today and he said Martin Basso's sponsors have not come to fruition, largely due to Argentina's economic woes.  That coupled with the fact that it's very expensive to buy new equipment for just one year (CART's rules will be totally different in 2003) makes it almost certain we will not see a Dale Coyne entry in 2002.  However, with costs cut almost in half in 2003, he seems pretty certain he will be back.

2/11/02

IRL support series lands Mexican team  The IRL was formed based on the premise that CART had too many foreigners and Americans needed a place to race.  Not only is the IRL field populated with many foreign drivers, it now appears the support series may be as well.  Former CART Indy Lights team Roquin Motorsports will field two cars in the 2002 Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, the first confirmed multi-car effort for the new development series. Owned by Roberto Quintanilla and his sons, Rolando, Roberto Jr. and Rodrigo, Indianapolis-based Roquin Motorsports is seeking potential drivers to test for its two Infiniti Pro Series entries. "Roquin Motorsports is fully devoted to the Infiniti Pro Series for the 2002 and 2003 seasons with the goal of competing in the Indy Racing League in future years," Rolando Quintanilla said. "The support that we've received from Tony George and Roger Bailey is what convinced us to commit to the Infiniti Pro Series. We feel that in the long run the series provides the best opportunity for our team and the best target market for our sponsors." Roberto Quintanilla, an accomplished businessman in his native Mexico and a veteran motorsports competitor, formed Roquin Motorsports in 1988. The team enjoyed success in Super Vee, Formula 2000 and Indy Lights competition, fielding entries for drivers such as Roberto and Rolando Quintanilla, Guillermo Rojas, Piero Rodarte and Luis Diaz. "I'm exceptionally pleased to welcome Roquin Motorsports into the Infiniti Pro Series," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series. "The Quintanillas have been strong proponents of CART support-series programs for the last 20 years, and I am delighted that they have chosen the Infiniti Pro Series to continue that tradition."

2/11/02

Alesi to test McLaren  Jean Alesi will return to the Formula 1 cockpit this year in a one-off test drive for McLaren. He has been given the chance after joining McLaren's engine partner Mercedes for the DTM touring car series for this year. He will drive an updated version of last year's McLaren at an upcoming test. "Obviously, I'm looking forward to sitting behind the wheel of an F1 car again and I'm sure that driving a West McLaren Mercedes is going to be an experience," Alesi said. "I have no plans to return to F1 competition and am 100 percent committed to my DTM championship challenge with Mercedes-Benz. However a drive in a McLaren was missing from my CV and I'm really looking forward to the challenge." McLaren's managing director Martin Whitmarsh said: "Jean has extensive F1 experience and we are, therefore, pleased to have this opportunity to benefit from his knowledge. Following the test, Jean will concentrate on his DTM programme and we currently have no further plans to test together."

2/11/02
Industry News

Skip Barber hires McHugh  Skip Barber LLC announced the appointment of David McHugh to the position of Senior Vice President Operations. McHugh will oversee the company's extensive Operations, which include the Skip Barber Racing School, Dodge/Skip Barber Driving School, Skip Barber Race Series and the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Additionally, McHugh will manage Skip Barber's Scheduling, Travel, Programming, and Instructor-related issues. He will report to Skip Barber LLC, CEO Aaron Hollander. "The level of talent here at Skip Barber is amazing," said McHugh. "Everyone is dedicated to racing and to the success of the organization. We look forward to strengthening the core of our business, the racing schools and the racing series and expanding our corporate events group and Barber Dodge Pro Series. I see nothing but profitable growth for Skip Barber Racing." "We are very fortunate to have David on the team," said CEO Aaron Hollander. "He brings a wealth of auto racing and industry experience that will greatly contribute to our organization's success." Recently, McHugh was a Project Manager for Volvo Cars of North America, a position he graduated to after a short time as a Quality Follow-up Engineer. At Volvo, McHugh oversaw many of the major technological projects that reshaped Volvo and formed its position in the U.S. market including the development of VADIS - Volvo's PC based interactive diagnostic and information system. McHugh contributed to Volvo's new electrical architecture and established several E-commerce websites for vehicle service information and software download. He also was involved in the creation of diagnostic strategies and service processes.

2/11/02

Bear Stearns issues report on CART  Championship Auto Racing Teams reported its 4Q 01 earnings yesterday and held a conference call to discuss the results. A replay will be available through February 13, 2001 by dialing (888) 566-0120. CART reported 4Q 01 EPS of ($0.09), excluding a $2.9 million ($0.13 per share) severance charge associated with the company’s recent restructuring and management changes. These results were a penny below the Street consensus estimate of ($0.08) and in line with our estimate. Last year, the company reported 4Q EPS of $0.21. Including the severance charge in pretax expenses, the company reported fourth quarter EPS of ($0.22). Although the company indicated that it was not ready to provide 2002 guidance at this time, it did announce that official earnings guidance would be provided later this month (February 2002). Management also confirmed that the 2002 race at Chicago Motor Speedway has officially been cancelled, although the company is actively pursuing a replacement at this time. Given these factors and the several other uncertainties for 2002, we are not yet changing our 2002 estimates, but will wait until the company provides investors with further guidance later this month. We continue to be impressed with the quick action and results-oriented approach Mr. Pook has taken since becoming CEO of CART. Furthermore, we believe Chris Pook is making notable headway in its plans to restructure CART and change the company’s overall mission and image. After streamlining and realigning the senior management team, the company now appears to be approaching closure on several open issues, including signing its engine manufacturers, the international television contract, race promoters agreements and efforts to rebuild the sponsorship effort. Notwithstanding our near-term caution on the shares, given that the turnaround effort will take time, we are optimistic about the companies long term prospects. As such we maintain our Attractive rating.

  •  In our view, Chris Pook remains determined to rebuild the CART business model and is focused on creating an environment where CART is better positioned to take advantage of additional sponsorship and television distribution opportunities.

  • Mr. Pook has already made significant strides in streamlining the company. On the call, he indicated that he had halved the levels of management in the company to five from ten, providing a much more flat organizational structure. Recently, the company also announced a change in voting procedures for the Franchise Board, who will now only need a simple majority vote (51%) to pass a ruling on necessary issues, as opposed to an 80% majority. In essence, this new stipulation should help the Board be more agile and swift in making critical decisions related to competition and other important issues, in our view.

  • In terms of the CART business model, Mr. Pook indicated that he believes the company has a completely different management philosophy and will continue to execute on that philosophy going forward. Not only will the company continue to be a sanctioning body, but it will aim to be a full service company for advertisers and sponsors, as well as other companies looking to leverage the CART model to reach an increased customer base through the media and other means.

  • In essence, we believe MPH management is aiming to develop a model similar to NASCAR, which has been able to leverage its own brand strength and media exposure in order to provide a medium in which related companies can develop closer relationships, particularly on the marketing side. In our view, the company will continue to position itself to provide this delivery vehicle, given its solid brand and international presence.

  • MPH has a significant presence in a number of countries and global markets, which we believe potential sponsors might find appealing. Essentially, we believe a European company looking to gain access to North American consumers, or establish more significant relationships with North American companies, might find CART an attractive facilitator, or broker. This could lead to growing sponsorship revenues, or “broker fees.”

  • According to the company, MPH will soon be announcing that it has retained a “well respected,” internationally known sports marketing firm to help it negotiate all of its international market and sponsorship agreements, including CART’s international television rights contracts.

  • Furthermore, management did indicate that it was closer to finalizing a European TV rights deal, although it would be able to disclose more details when it provides updated earnings guidance. All of its domestic (U.S.) marketing will remain in house.

  • Looking ahead into 2002, we believe that CART’s agreements with promoters will become an increasingly important issue, as a number of promoters continue to complain about high sanction fees and would like to renegotiate something similar to the company’s Denver deal. In our opinion, this could lead CART to hold more races based on the Denver model, which Mr. Pook specifically indicated the company was actively pursuing at this time.

  • Lastly, the engine issue is of critical importance, in our view. CART will officially change its engine specifications for the series to a non turbo (normally aspirated) format following the 2002 season. Management indicated that it is at this point in talks with several engine manufacturers to be its official suppliers, and negotiations appear to be steadily progressing. In our view, we believe the company could look to announce a final engine supplier in the near term, as Pook’s commitment to the company should ultimately yield more positive results.

 Reprinted with permission from Bear Stearns

2/11/02

Kirch Group considers F1 sell off  Cash-strapped German pay-TV firm, the Kirch Group, might unload part of its stake in Formula One to prevent financial collapse. The Kirch Group is thought to have debts totaling $5.2 billion, with at least $2.2b billion in other liabilities. Last year, Kirch paid $1.75 billion for it 58.3 percent stake in the Formula One holding company SLEC and selling all or part of the stake would possibly save the company.  Will Bernie buy it back at a huge discount and then sell it to the manufacturers?

2/11/02

Guy Smith to race at Sebring  Following his sensational second place in the recent Rolex 24 at Daytona, Briton Guy Smith has been confirmed to head the line-up in the Jim Matthews Riley & Scott in next month’s opening round of the ALMS, the Sebring 12 hour race. The 27 year-old from Hull, Yorkshire will drive the MkIIIC he used in the Daytona race, but in accordance with the series’ regulations, the car will run to IMSA/ALMS specifications. “I’m delighted to be competing at Sebring as it’s a great event and I led the race there last year until brake problems dropped us to fourth. Following the success we had at Daytona, I feel confident of having another strong finish although we’ll be looking for a win this time”, said Guy.

2/10/02

Drivers happy with new Bridgestones  The much-anticipated premiere of the FedEx Championship Series' newest major supplier and partner was a rousing success, as Bridgestone's Potenza racing radials made an impressive debut at this weekend's Sneak Preview. Bridgestone is the Official Tire of CART and will equip every entry in 2002. The 20 Champ cars on hand ran 2,853 timed laps over the 2.238-mile permanent road course that will play host to its 20th Championship Auto Racing Teams event in June. That's a total of 6,385 miles completed on the Potenzas, and they were more than up to the challenge. "Bridgestone Motorsport is proud to be a member of the CART community and we're proud of our debut performance this weekend," said Joe Barbieri, Bridgestone Motorsport Project Supervisor. "This was just a practice weekend, but it was still important for us to demonstrate to all the teams our commitment to providing race tires drivers can rely on without question in the grueling months ahead. The fact that the Potenza tires completed 6,385 flawless miles the past two days says a lot for their consistency and durability. We can't wait for Bridgestone to make its 'official' debut next month in Monterrey, Mexico, and look forward to supplying the FedEx series teams with the same impeccable tires throughout the season and crowning the first Bridgestone CART champion in November." Drivers participating in the Sneak Preview were impressed with the Potenzas as well. Newman/Haas Racing's Cristiano da Matta was fastest in each of the four sessions and gave credit to his Bridgestone tires. "The car showed some good speed every session," da Matta said. "No matter what we were trying, we were able to go quick. That's pretty important. We have a good barometer since every other guy was here, so I'm happy. The Bridgestone tires felt good all weekend. I think the track hasn't been used very much recently, so there was a little more wear than on a race weekend, but nothing too different. Everything was good. Bridgestone has a good tire, no doubt about it. Four straight championships in Formula One says a lot. The service we've had trackside, everything from Bridgestone has been up to our expectations. Very good."

2/10/02

Ford reaction to NASCAR rules change  Reaction to NASCAR's announcement that the Taurus would receive a quarter-inch spoiler reduction beginning with Tuesday's practice session. ROBERT YATES, Car Owner --28 and 88 Ford Tauruses -- "We've worked extremely hard. We didn't sit back or sand bag. My good 'ol buddy Rick Hendrick can get his towel out and cry about it all he wants to, but the bottom line is that physics is hurting us. Thank goodness NASCAR is making some adjustments for that. There are a lot of good Ford teams and a lot of other teams that are good, but you can't erase too much of a handicap." WILL THIS END ALL OF THE TALK ABOUT RULES FOR THE REST OF SPEEDWEEKS? "All of the testing showed that we needed a half-inch and now we have that. What I'd like to do is tell all the Ford fans to come on down and see the race because we've got a shot at winning it. We'll work hard between now and Sunday and I think it's gonna be a great race." SO YOU FEEL THIS GIVES YOU A CHANCE TO WIN? "We're pumped up. We're gonna work as hard as we've always worked, but we now have a better shot at it. I've been around and won this thing a few times in my life, but never have I remembered winning it from an underdog standpoint. We've always had good equipment when we won this race. We would have had to been awfully lucky to win it with where we were. The way it was before we were out of the picture, but now I think we're in the picture." DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus -- "That should help because we've known all along that the biggest problem area we have is too much drag. I hope this does the trick and I applaud NASCAR for realizing that we had a need and for taking the initiative to make a change. This should give us a chance in the Daytona 500." GREG SPECHT, North American Operations Manager, Ford Racing Technology -- "Besides being an obvious step in the right direction, we feel this should allow us to be more competitive in the race. I think the key now is to see what kind of effect this will have on Thursday. I'm really pleased about the fact that NASCAR decided to make this change before the 125s because it's another opportunity to see how competitive all the cars are in race conditions."

2/10/02
Industry News

Penske bids to purchase luxury car dealer in England  Roger Penske, has emerged as the frontrunner to buy Sytner, a luxury-car dealer in Europe.  Penske’s American car- dealership network, United Auto Group (UAG), has made a takeover approach to the British group. It is thought that a European company has also submitted a tentative offer to Sytner, which has a market value of £83.5m. In recent months Penske has shown an interest in expanding overseas and has opened a new operation in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, for Mercedes-Benz. Last November UAG increased its revolving credit facility to $250m, boosting its total credit capacity to $950m.  The arrival of UAG comes at a time when huge changes are proposed for car-sales practices in Britain. The European commission wants to enhance competition. A key proposal is to allow dealers to sell more than one make of car. The commission also wants to break the link between sales and after-sales by allowing independent operators to set up servicing and repair centers.  Mr. Sytner hit the news a few years back for suing a farmer over cows muck on the country roads near his house. He lost.  Regardless, if Penske wants to do business in Europe, then why the IRL?

2/10/02

Montoya blows away teammate at Valencia  With Frank Williams and Patrick Head looking on, Juan Pablo Montoya set the pace at Valencia today in his FW24 setting a best time of 1:10.977 - an incredible lap time and a record, as the fastest time to date had been in the one-minute 12-second bracket. Montoya completed 57 laps with his fastest time of the day coming on his 40th lap. Lapping eight-tenths of a second slower, was Ralf Schumacher his teammate.

P.

Driver

Team

Tire

Laps

Time

Gap

To Fast.

1

J P Montoya

Williams

M

57

1:10.997

2

R Schumacher

Williams

M

68

1:11.787

0.790

0.790

4

O Panis

BAR

B

80

1:12.606

0.819

1.609

5

J Villeneuve

BAR

B

50

1:13.037

0.431

2.040

6

R Fukuda

BAR

B

43

1:14.180

1.143

3.183

7

A Davidson

BAR

B

7

1:15.266

1.086

4.269

2/10/02

CART to publish press releases in various languages  AutoRacing1.com has learned that Chris Pook has gone on record as saying all CART press releases will start going out over the wires in various languages, i.e. Japan will get them in Japanese, Germany in German, etc.  We have also heard French (because CART now races in Montreal) and Spanish (Mexico) and Portuguese (Brazil and other Latin American countries), i.e. all the places CART races and more.  One would assume that they will also do them in Chinese and send them to the press in China.  In the event CART someday decides to race in China, the people will be more familiar with their product.  Perhaps CART should also do their website in these various languages (like many F1 websites), or at least the press release section. Mark C.

2/10/02

The Three Amigos  The Three Amigos, i.e. the three 2002 Mexican Champ Car drivers were captured by Michelle Saunders in this photo today, strolling down pit lane.  With CART being so popular in Mexico, and with so many Mexican drivers in the Toyota Atlantic series, one has to wonder how long it will be before the Three Amigos become the Four, Five or Six Amigos.

  Much More...click on 2002 archives button below

Hot News Archives

2000 2001 2002 2003

 


Autocourse 2001/2002

Order Now

List Price: $54.95

Our Price: $38.46

You save $16.49 (30%)


Autocourse CART 2001/2002

Order Now

List Price: $34.95

Our Price: $24.46

You save $10.49 (30%)



Autocourse 2001/2002 CART or F1 Calendars

Order F1 Now

Order CART Now

Our Price: $14.95

DRIVEN on DVD

Order Now & Save $$

List Price: $24.98
Our Price: $18.74
You Save: $6.24 (25%)

Convert this page to
another language

e-mail us:
contacts@autoracing1.com

Back to the top

AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA,  FedEx, Winston, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.
User agreement & disclaimer

Copyright 1999 - 2001, AutoRacing1, Inc., Hamilton, NJ