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DATE

News (chronologically 3/17/02 to 3/24/02)

3/24/02

Ferrari to race one 2002 car in Brazil  Ferrari announced that Michael Schumacher will race the 2002 specification F2002 for the first time next weekend in Brazil. "The development program on the new car, which has gone ahead over the past few weeks means we have been able to take the F2002 to the Interlagos race," explained Jean Todt. "The new car has proved to be quick and reliable. We will send one F2002 car to Interlagos, chassis 220, which was given a shakedown test by Luca Badoer at Fiorano this morning." "The car will be allocated to Michael Schumacher, who will have a modified F2001 as a spare car," Todt continued. "Rubens Barrichello will have two modified F2001s at his disposal for his home race."

3/24/02

Want to own a Winston Cup team?  Fanz Enterprises, Inc. has announced plans to form a fan-owned NASCAR Winston Cup Racing Team. Fanz is the first company to give individual NASCAR fans across the country the opportunity to own stock in a multi-car team intended to be traded on the stock exchange. The company is offering a maximum of 2.5 million shares of its common stock at a price of $10 per share. Racing fans can become part owners of "America's Team" by purchasing a minimum of 25 shares of stock (a $250 one-time investment).  The “America’s Team” concept was the brainchild of J. Roe Hitchcock, a successful businessman and lifelong race fan. “Our goal is to give auto racing fans a stake in the growth and excitement of Winston Cup racing,” said Hitchcock, chief executive officer and founder of Fanz. “Up until now, the perks and access of team ownership have not been available to everyday race fans. We have a historic opportunity to change that.” The unique nature of the Fanz opportunity has received positive reviews from key figures in the sports community. Larry McReynolds, legendary NASCAR Winston Cup crew chief and current Network TV racing analyst has been a vocal supporter. “I’ve been involved with NASCAR racing for over 25 years, and I’ve seen a lot of ideas come and go over that time,” said McReynolds. “This is the first time I’ve seen a plan like this—one that has real potential to impact the way teams are built, and give race fans an unprecedented opportunity to experience ownership.

3/24/02

Montreal tidbits  Our sources in Montreal write to say tickets are already on sale for the people who hold F1 Grand Prix tickets and the sale for the public will kick off on Wednesday. There will be no major changes to the track for CART and they will fit the CART transporters near the rowing basin close to the start-finish line.  There are no transporters for the F1 race because it's a fly-away event.

3/24/02

Stewart can't finish race due to pain  Still suffering ill-effects from last week’s accident at Darlington Raceway, Tony Stewart was forced out of the Home Depot Pontiac prematurely Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Stewart was running third on lap 366 behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch when he spun out alone in Turn 2. Stewart immediately came on the radio and apologized to his team. “I’m just not 100 percent right now, guys,” he said. Following the spin, Stewart pitted and turned over the reins to relief driver Todd Bodine. After the driver exchange -- during which they somehow managed to stay on the lead lap -- the No. 20 team restarted 21st. Turner

3/24/02

Ashley Judd (Franchitti) on the radio  Heard on the radio this morning on NPR's Click and Clack show none other than Ashley Judd asking the pair of them for advice. Apparently she's only driven three times in the three years her and Dario have been together - she said he'd told her that she drove like a guy - and she was wanting to know what she could do to drive more. Advisedly, they told her that she didn't have a chance in hell and that it was probably a good idea that she let him drive. As an aside, she said he is extremely courteous and considerate as a driver, adding that Tony Kanaan's nickname is Miss Daisy (too funny) given his off-track driving style. Anyway, they concluded that if it was her car, then she has the right drive anytime she wants to. They also advised her that the truck she should get is a Toyota Tundra. Initially we thought this might impinge upon Dario's other "commercial" arrangements, given that he drives for Honda. Then we remembered that CART uses the Tundra for the Simple Green Safety Team, and realized it was a good choice on the part of Click and Clack. Jim Allen

3/24/02

A fan can't believe Unser said it  A fan writes - Is Al Unser Jr. smoking something or do my eyes deceive me? His comments about CART running single file at California leave me spellbound [See Unser's quotes from Fontana].  What the *%!&?  Maybe he was referring to his last years in CART, where you usually run single file while alone at the back of the pack. Unreal. California has had some of the best racing EVER in the history of the sport, always with CART. Oh well. He is a bitter old man. Maybe he's wondering why Penske hasn't hired him yet, now that they are running in the IRL. After all, both of Penske's drivers are foreigners (Brazilian) and Unser is a former true blue American icon.  Wasn't the IRL suppose to be for Americans? Bill Thomas

3/24/02

Lazier tears up primary car, moves to backup  Buddy Lazier will start 26th in the Yamaha Indy 400 today after he was forced to move to his backup car due to a crash in the final practice this morning at California Speedway. Lazier will start just ahead of Memo Gidley, who remains last on the 27-car grid after substituting for Robbie Buhl, who suffered a concussion in a crash Saturday. 2000 Indy Racing League champion Lazier was unhurt and cleared to drive after the crash in Turn 2. Lazier's No. 91 Coors Light Life Fitness Tae-Bo Delta Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone suffered substantial right-side damage when it hit the outside retaining wall. Lazier, who qualified sixth, was the fastest driver during the session at 32.5292 seconds, 221.340 mph. IRL  [Editor's Note: Oval track racing is the most expensive form of racing in the world.  Hit the wall and it almost always does major damage.]

3/24/02

Formula One team update  After posting its first 1-2 finish in a Grand Prix for almost six years, the BMW Williams squad started a five day test at Barcelona on Tuesday with Juan Pablo Montoya driving a brand new FW24 chassis and Marc Gene handling an interim FW23C. Between them, the two drivers completed over 120 laps with Montoya handling the shakedown of the new car, plus specific brake tests, while Gene was also carrying out brake development work.  More..

3/24/02

Vasser says his Menard engine is down on power UPDATE Just to underscore how the driver means zero in the IRL cars at Fontana, de Ferran said his car was wide open all the way around and 'totally' trimmed out. That was all she wrote folks, the driver just can't to anymore.  It all comes down to engine HP.  May the best engine win. 3/23/02 -  At Fontana in an IRL car the driver accounts for close to zero percent of the equation.  You run wide open for 400 miles and if it wasn't for pitstops, you could never lift your right foot all day.  Therefore, you can understand Jimmy Vasser's frustration when he runs wide open and it just won't go any faster.  He blames his Menard built Chevy engine, saying it's down on power compared to the fast guys.  Makes you wonder if Team Rahal won't switch to Speedway engines based in Indianapolis before the 500.  That's who builds the engines for the Pennzoil rocket ship.

3/23/02
GrandAm

Theys wins Fontana before sparse crowd, Menard's son best in class    While polesitter Belgian Didier Theys captured Saturday's Grand American 400 on California Speedway's new road course in his Doran Lista Dallara, Paul Menard won Saturday's AGT class. Menard, driving the Menards Team Flis #90 Corvette finished 5th overall. "That was the longest race I've ever done, I think I was in the car for close to 3 hours in total. Based on the blisters on my hands, I'm going to need a new set of gloves," said Menard, 21, competing in his first Grand Am event. "Can't say enough about the car and Team Flis. All day long the Corvette was on rails. "It's gets pretty crazy out there having all the different classes, some guys are passing you and at other times your closing speeds on cars are so fast. This was a lot of fun and it feels great to win. I'm looking forward to the Phoenix race next month." Menard is the son of Indy Racing League team owner John Menard. Menard currently races full-time for Team Menard in NASCAR¹s ReMax Challenge Series which will have its first race of the season April 7th in Rockford, IL. Last season Menard won his first ReMax Challenge race on the road course in Elkhart Lake and finished ninth in the 2001 series points standings.

3/23/02

Friday and Saturday Fontana crowd UPDATE How bad was the crowd?  As this photo to the right shows, even the Mens Room was locked shut. 3/23/02 -  Indy car racing continues to draw almost zero fans on Friday's and Saturday's, making you wonder why it's all worth it.  These pictures were taken today at Fontana, minutes before qualifying was to begin.  And they say the IRL is growing? Marlboro got all the exposure they were bargaining for today.  Meanwhile tens of thousands of fans will take time out of their busy schedules to come out to see CART on Saturday's and Friday's on road and street circuits, leading pundits to ask, Beating a Dead Horse, Where's my Fork?


Photos by Steve Levinson

3/23/02

Pictures of Ayrton Senna testing a CART Champ Car  While you won't have access to the large images, you can nevertheless, enjoy this page full of pictures showing the late great Ayrton Senna testing a CART Champ Car, courtesy of Sutton Images..  At the end of the 1992 season Ayrton Senna was weighing up his options for the following season. With the door closed at Williams and McLaren losing its Honda engines, Senna was tempted to look at the CART series in America. With the assistance of fellow Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi and Marlboro, Senna tested the Penske Chevrolet PC22 Indycar at the Firebird Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona. Whilst he was impressed with the performance of the car and enjoyed the lack of driver aids, he opted against competing in America and was to continue for another season with McLaren.  Ah, but what might have been.

3/23/02

Petty says no Indy 500 for John Andretti  AP reports that John Andretti will not be allowed to do the Indy 500 this year.  "John's not going to do it," Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises, said Saturday. "We're just not in a position to let John do this at this time. I want John to do it, but we need his focus to be on the Winston Cup cars." That's disappointing news to Andretti, who tried the double in 1994. He's been trying to do the grueling 1,100-miles of racing in the same day ever since and approached Petty on Friday to ask if he could do it this year. "I 100 percent want to do it, so I asked and then I listened for a while," said Andretti, who is hopeful Petty might change his mind. "He kind of made his thoughts known and I believe he thinks the conversation is over. I kind of think it might still be hanging a little bit." Petty didn't sound like there was any room for negotiation.

3/23/02

MG Rover teams with China car company  MG Rover Group Ltd. has formed a joint venture to build cars in China, barely two years after losing so much money that its previous owner, Germany's BMW, gave it away. MG Rover and China Brilliance Industrial Holdings said Thursday they have agreed to take equal shares in the venture, which will finance, develop, manufacture and export a new medium-sized car and, later, a smaller model.  Could this lead to China selling cars worldwide?  It appears so, and it may use MG Rover's worldwide distribution facilities.

3/23/02

Gidley to replace Buhl After just hanging out by the fence most of the day (see photo to right by Michelle Saunders), Buhl's misfortune turned to Gidley's fortune.  Veteran CART driver Memo Gidley will drive the back-up car for Team Purex/Aventis Dreyer and Reinbold Racing for tomorrow's Yamaha 400 at the California Speedway. Gidley will start at the back of the pack, following the morning crash of Robbie Buhl, just after qualifying for the Sunday race. Buhl hit the wall in turn two, and was airlifted for precautionary reasons to the local medical center. "I hate that it is unfortunate for Robbie, because his car was clearly performing well. But for me, I'm used to stepping into these situations," said Gidley. "I'm working very quickly to get up to speed with the team, and we'll be ready to go for the race tomorrow." The Yamaha 400 will be Gidley's IRL competition debut. He has more than a thousand miles of testing experience with the IRL chassis, and made qualification attempts for the Indianapolis 500 in 2000 and 2001. Gidley's best career finishes in CART are a pair of second-place efforts at Cleveland and Houston in 2001. He last ran at the California Speedway in the CART season finale last November, finishing 14th. "We're fortunate to have Memo in the back-up car," said team co-owner Dennis Reinbold. "The team's performed well at this track, and we have confidence in Memo's experience to get us back to the front of the pack." Buhl qualified in the fourth position, and had taken the checkered flag before the impact in turn two. He was awake and alert, and undergoing precautionary medical tests at the Loma Linda Medical Center. No stranger to the medical complex, Buhl visited more than 80 young patients at the adjacent Loma Linda Children's Hospital on Thursday morning on behalf of "Racing for Kids."

3/23/02

Buhl crashes, air lifted to hospital  Indy Racing League veteran Robbie Buhl is awake and alert and is being transported via air to a Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, Calif., for further evaluation after a crash during MBNA Pole Qualifying for the Yamaha Indy 400 today at California Speedway. Buhl is responding to commands. Buhl hit the outside retaining wall between Turns 1 and 2 on the 2-mile oval immediately after claiming the provisional pole for this event with a speed of 219.268 mph in the No. 24 Team Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone. Buhl was momentarily unconscious and was taken to nearby Loma Linda Medical Center for a thorough examination. Track officials said Buhl was awake and alert and did not appear to have any serious injuries. Because he was knocked out, though, IRL rules prohibit Buhl from racing on Sunday, so the team immediately hired Memo Gidley as his replacement. IRL

3/23/02

Witherill to drive in Infiniti Pro Series  Native American Cory Witherill will drive the No. 92 Hemelgarn 91/Johnson Motorsports entry in the 2002 Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, Indy Racing League championship team owner Ron Hemelgarn announced March 23. "If it has wheels and goes fast, Cory has probably driven it," Hemelgarn said. "His passion for racing is exemplified in his resume. From a driver to a sprint-car owner, he has done it all." Witherill, 30, made his Indy Racing League debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway in April 2001. One month later, he qualified 31st and finished 19th at the Indianapolis 500. An accomplished off-road racer, Witherill won the PACE U.S. Off Road Championship in the Super 1600 dune buggy class in 1998 and 1999. He also has competed in the Shelby Pro series, Formula Ford 2000 series, SCRA sprint-car series and Dayton Indy Lights series. Witherill, from Santa Monica, Calif., is a Navajo and is believed to be the only full-blooded Native American driving in professional open-wheel racing. He will team with 19-year-old USAC Midget and Silver Crown standout Aaron Fike under the Hemelgarn 91/Johnson Motorsports banner. IRL

3/23/02

TJ Bells says there's more to come  TJ Bell believes he has more on offer than shown in Daytona and Sebring. His maiden races couldn’t have happened at more historic places. TJ Bell, the most promising US rookie in sportscars, started his career with Ascari at the long distance classics in Daytona and Sebring, the two most important sportscar races in the USA. A winter and spring to remember for the youngster.  Story

3/23/02

Jaguar to stick with new car   Following back-to-back tests this week in Barcelona, Spain with both the old R2 and the new R3 Jaguar, the Jaguar F1 team has decided to stick with the R3 rather than revert back to the R2.  'The performance differential between the two is just not big enough to go on with last year's car,' Lauda said. 'Also, we cannot afford to spend precious resources on any kind of parallel development, so this is where we are and I am satisfied we have done everything to make sure that our next move is forward.'

3/22/02
GrandAm

Theys on pole again   Belgian Didier Theys captured his third-straight pole of the Rolex Sports Car Series season during qualifying for Saturday's Grand American 400 on California Speedway's new road course. Theys piloted the #27 Doran Lista Racing Judd-powered Dallara to a blistering 1:29.151 lap at 113.874 mph, shaving more than two seconds off his best practice time. Englishman James Weaver will start the inaugural Grand American 400 in the outside pole position with his 1:31.811 lap (110.575 mph) in the Dyson Racing Team #16 Thetford/Norcold Judd-engined Crawford. GrandAm.

3/22/02

Mosley looks to cut F1 testing   This week the FIA announced several rules changes that will reduce costs in F1,  and they have also now mandated the HANS Device.  In addition, Max Mosley is now talking about eliminating in-season testing (like CART) t further reduce costs.  Reality is finally setting in.  If F1 stayed on the unchecked upward cost spiral, they were surely headed for a nasty crash and burn. MC.

3/22/02

Patrick Carpentier completes successful test at Sebring Team Player's two-day testing session on the 1.72-mile Sebring road course concluded Friday with encouraging results on two fronts - driver Patrick Carpentier clocked the fastest lap time on this second day and the team's Ford-Reynard Champ car package performed exceptionally well.  Story

3/22/02

Fittipaldi fast at Sebring Hot off of a third place finish in the CART FedEx series season-opener in Mexico, Eli Lilly and Company driver Christian Fittipaldi continued Newman/Haas Racing's testing program and completed a two-day test at the 1.65-mile Sebring International Raceway today. Fittipaldi and team are preparing for the next round of the CART FedEx Championship at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 12-14 and hope to bring the team its fourth consecutive victory in the series.  Story

3/22/02

CART Communications Department restructuring complete Completing a staff restructuring that included several promotions, one new hire and the return of a former departmental employee, CART Vice President of Communications Adam Saal announced today the new and complete CART Communications headquarters staff.  Story

3/22/02

Atlantics: Sigma team concludes 4-day test  The Sigma Autosport Toyota-Atlantic team concluded a four-day test at Carolina Motorsports Park, in Kershaw, S.C., Thursday afternoon. It was the team’s first on-track action since racing at the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix nearly two weeks ago. Sigma Autosport drivers Rocky Moran Jr. and Dave Wieringa had two full days of testing on the .98-mile long track. Moran tested on Monday and Tuesday, while Wieringa had his turn on Wednesday and Thursday. All told, Moran completed 200 miles worth of testing while Wieringa put in approximately 250 miles. Wieringa tested in the rain Thursday morning, but the track dried out enough in the afternoon for more dry runs. “This was a good test for us,” said Sigma Autosport Atlantic Manager Jim Griffith. “The biggest thing for us was getting seat time and having both Rocky and Dave get acclimated to the Swift 014 chassis. Dave had a good test and was improving every minute he was in the car.” Griffith said that except for a brake problem in one of the Swifts, there were no real problems during the test. Wieringa performed some double duty in his #3 Swift and Moran’s #4 car. “I think this test went very well for us,” said Wieringa. “I got the benefit of testing in dry and wet conditions and using both Swifts. We resolved the problems with the brakes and feel very confident heading into Long Beach.” Griffith also added the test was beneficial for his crew as well. “This helps not only Rocky and Dave, but the guys too,” said Griffith. “The team is still fairly new and it was as much a test for them as it was for the drivers. I believe the guys are starting to gel as a team and we’re looking forward to the Long Beach Grand Prix.” First day Atlantic qualifying for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach begins on Friday, April 12, with final qualifying the next day (April 13). The race begins at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.  Sigma

3/22/02

Long Beach TV cameras  FOX/SPEED Channel and the Terry Linger Group are pulling out all the stops to bring better TV to CART viewers.  If you click on the image to the right, you will see the location of all the cameras they are setting up for the Long Beach race.  They're even working on a cable cam to fly the hairpin.  MC

3/22/02

Long Beach promotion machine in high gear  The Long Beach Grand Prix promotion machine is in high gear. Chevron gas stations is on the radio asking their customers to fill up and receive a pass for Friday. Chevron is now the partner with Texaco, so the Newman Haas # 6 Lola will display Chevron colors for the west coast races of the CART Fed Ex series. Toyota is also gearing up on the radio asking their customers to have their cars serviced for passes to the Long Beach Grand Prix. All of the newspapers are running ads for the race. The LBGP has produced two pieces of artwork that features Andretti, Tracy, Brack and Vasser showing up in the newspapers. The artwork is also a full sheet poster going up all over Long Beach. April 2 is Long Beach Press Day and the track will be hot for a couple of hours of on track lapping. The celebrities involved in the Toyota Celebrity event will receive their first practice. All of the local television stations will be there taking laps in the Toyota Pace Cars.

3/22/02

Why Honda would like to see CART back in Brazil  Honda’s presence in Brazil epitomizes the company’s global outlook. The company’s business in South America originated with the export of motorcycles to Brazil in the late 1960s and has since grown formidably to include all aspects of Honda’s activities. Key developments in Honda’s South American business have always originated in Brazil, with motorcycle and automobile production started in the early 1970s and 1997 respectively. Honda’s Manaus motorcycle plant in Brazil now produces more than 400,000 motorcycles annually and has contributed to the growth of the overall motorcycle market in South America. Typifying Honda’s push for higher environmental standards, the plant acquired ISO 14001 certification, the international standard for environmental management systems, in October 1998. While maintaining this motorcycle-based business foundation, Honda began marketing automobiles across South America in the 1980s. Mirroring its successful motorcycle business strategy Honda commenced local automobile production in Brazil in 1997. Honda's power equipment business in South America has rapidly evolved since exports to Peru began in 1966. With a sales network that now encompasses 13 countries across the continent, Honda products such as electric generators and pumps are sold throughout the region. Honda's business includes two R&D offices in Brazil, one for motorcycles and one for automobiles. Honda

3/22/02

George Tamayo named marketing chief  Skip Barber LLC announced the promotion of George Tamayo to the position of Director of Marketing and Communications. Tamayo was previously the Marketing Communications Manager, a position he accepted in September 1999, where he managed Public Relations for the company. In his new role, Tamayo will have responsibility to direct all Marketing functions and staff related to Skip Barber properties which include the Skip Barber Racing School, Dodge/Skip Barber Driving School, Skip Barber Race Series and the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Additionally, he will oversee all of the department's business units, including Sponsor Development, Partner Servicing, Corporate Communications, Web Development, Public Relations, Advertising and Brand Management and Development. "George combines an extraordinary knowledge of the motorsports industry with a keen strategic focus," said Skip Barber LLC CEO Aaron Hollander. "Moreover, his overall knowledge of the Skip Barber brand and our component business units, backed by one of the best marketing teams in the industry, will prove very valuable as the company moves forward." "The past two and half years have been enormously fulfilling for me," said Tamayo. He continued, "I look forward to taking up the charge of keeping the Skip Barber brand positioned amongst the great brands that populate our industry. I wish to take this opportunity to thank those who have helped me get to where I am today, and although there are many, it begins with the outstanding group of individuals that I have the pleasure to work with." Tamayo replaces former Director of Marketing Jim Bowie, who left in January to join CART as Director of Team, Manufacturer, & Supplier Partnerships. During Bowie's administration, Tamayo was instrumental in rebuilding the Marketing department and launching several key initiatives like daily web site updates, greater public relations interest in race series events and consolidation of all marketing services in house. Skip Barber

3/22/02

Ecclestone in Moscow  UPDATED The BBC reports this morning that Bernie Ecclestone has not inked the deal for the Russian GP to take place in 2003, feeling everything was not going to be ready.  Instead the race will take place in 2004. The facility includes a road course and an oval.  3/21/02 - It was reported on NPR (radio) that Bernie Ecclestone is in Moscow today and Friday to work on plans for the upcoming Russian GP.  Though not officially on the 2003 F1 calendar yet, Ecclestone has gone on record as saying he will add the race once the track is complete and the financing is in place.  It's rumored that Bernie is there to review the progress and possibly even sign the deal this week.

3/22/02

Milwaukee Mile reconstruction  The Milwaukee Mile's rehabilitation project took a giant step forward recently with the demolition of Section UU at the famed and historic race track. Witnessed by dozens of interested parties, from State Fair Board Members and Chief Executive Officer, Joe Chrnelich, to one very interested race fan, Jerry Zimmerman. Zimmerman has sat in the top row of Section UU watching races from seat numbers 98 and 99 since the early 1960s. Section UU sat just north of the main grandstand and was the largest bleacher section at the track with 5,668 seats. "Today is a great day for us and State Fair Park," said Milwaukee Mile General Manager, Jim Melvin. "Seeing some visual evidence of this project moving forward is a much needed boost to all of us emotionally...race fans, the State Fair Park board and employees and to us as the race track operators. The new seats will be a vast improvement and this entire project will insure the stability of racing at America's most historic speedway well into the future." Work has also begun outside of Turn One with the dismantling of eight bleacher sections in that area of the facility. All new seats in Turns One and Four will not only improve the comfort level for race patrons, but sight lines from each seat as well. The first row of bleachers will be elevated ten feet from ground level. In 2003, when the new grandstand is built, patrons who sit in the bleachers assembled in the area of the old Section UU will be integrated into the new grandstand structure.  Milwaukee Mile

3/22/02

Lazzaro released from hospital, but....concrete wall breaks another back  2nd UPDATE Surprisingly, the IRL, which puts out a press release immediately for everything else, chose to not publicize the fact that Lazzaro suffered a slight vertebrae fracture during the accident and will be out for three to four weeks for recovery.  Lazzaro will have to sit out both the Rolex Sports Car Series and Indy Racing League races this weekend due to an injury suffered during a crash at last weekend's IRL race in Phoenix. Lazzaro was scheduled to pull double duty at this weekend's event, as he did earlier this month when he ran in both the Rolex Series and IRL races on the same day at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  While our best wishes go out to Anthony for a speedy recovery, it can't be ignored that for a driver, those hard concrete walls on an oval track can cause serious injury, and when all your races are on ovals, the risk and stress borne by each driver takes its toll.  Already three IRL drivers this year (Caulkins, Beechler and Carlson) have decided they had enough and have retired as drivers.  3/19/02 - Anthony suffered a serious back injury when he crashed and got airborne in his ARCA debut at Talladega in Oct. 2000, which resulted in him sitting out the rest of the year and pre-empted him from getting the requisite superspeedway experience needed to race Cal Wells' BGN car at Daytona the following Feb. Is it possible he may have now aggravated this injury, which is why he is not cleared to drive yet?  3/18/02 -  Indy Racing League rookie Anthony Lazzaro was released March 18 from Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Phoenix without injury after he was admitted to the hospital March 17 after a three-car accident during the Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200.  Lazzaro, from Acworth, Ga., has not been cleared to drive, said Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services. He will be re-evaluated by Bock this week before his driving status is determined. The next Indy Racing League event is the Yamaha Indy 400 on March 24 at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif.  Lazzaro spun and hit the outside retaining wall on Lap 103 of the 200-lap race at Phoenix International Raceway, also colliding with the cars driven by Eddie Cheever Jr. and Scott Sharp. Lazzaro was transported to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, complaining of lower back pain. IRL [Note: Three IRL drivers have decided to hang it up this year rather than risk further injury against the hard concrete walls.  Hopefully Lazzaro decides to stick with it]

3/22/02

2nd IRL race shows slight drop in TV rating UPDATE The final TV ratings for the IRL race in Phoenix dropped more, the final number being 1.2 and 1,235,141 homes, a 20% drop from the opening race in Homestead. NASCAR at Darlington came in with a 5.8 rating and  6,248,800 homes, i.e. about 500% higher than the IRL.  3/19/02 -  The TV rating for the 2nd IRL race on ABC at Phoenix came in with a preliminary number of 1.3, down from the 1.5 the series received for their season opener at Homestead.  We are checking to see how the 1.3 compares to their 2001 Phoenix rating, but we believe it is slightly higher.  Typically CART and the IRL have higher TV ratings at the beginning of the season and they trend downward as the season progresses.  So far, this year appears no different, at least for the IRL.

3/21/02

IRL tidbits  The Indy Racing League is scheduled to be featured in a segment in Fox Sports Net's "The Best Damn Sports Show Period" on March 21. Show reporter Leeann Tweeden visited California Speedway this week, took a ride in the two-seat Indy Racing car and interviewed Indy Racing drivers Eliseo Salazar and J.J. Yeley and IRL President and CEO Tony George. Check local listings for show time in your area … A party for Indy Racing fans will start at 3 p.m. (EST) March 24 at the Flag Room at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort and Inn, where the ABC telecast of the Yamaha Indy 400 will be shown … Kentucky Speedway recently launched its new-look Web site at www.kentuckyspeedway.com . The site features many new enhancements, including more news, fan information, corporate information and easier online ticketing. The third annual Belterra Casino Indy 300 is scheduled for Aug. 11 at Kentucky Speedway … Paul Menard, son of Team Menard owner John Menard, also will race in the Rolex Grand-Am sports car race March 23 at California Speedway, a support event for the IRL's Yamaha Indy 400.  Nazareth Speedway

3/21/02

Other CART sponsors could learn a thing or two from Simple Green  Simple Green is doing some big promotions with Ace Hardware this year tying in CART races. The Long Beach and Chicago races will see in-store promotions that have one enter to win a pair of tickets. Any purchase of Simple Green gets you a free Friday ticket for the LB race and each store will be giving away a pair of weekend tickets. They have 32 stores involved in the LB area and 170 stores participating in the Chicago race. Townsend Bell, the Simple Green girls, and the Safety Team and truck will be part of live radio remote promotion being done at Ace stores the Thursday before race weekend. Each race will have a Grand Prize winner receiving a "Safety Team Member For A Day" in which the lucky winner will don a Safety team uniform and headset and be behind the fence along side a safety truck during the race. Their goal with these promo's are to sell more product (obviously) and get more fans in the stands through the in-store promotions. The response from their retailers has been phenomenal!  Oh, and did we forget to mention....the Simple Green toy safety trucks are in production too!  Simple Green is doing what we have seen NASCAR sponsors do for years, wrap their product lines around racing and together grow the sport and their sales.  MC

3/21/02

CART Chicago tickets on sale Friday  CART announced today that tickets for the CART Grand Prix of Chicago FedEx Championship Series race will go on sale Friday morning, March 22 at 9:00 a.m. CT. The race is scheduled to take place at the Chicago Motor Speedway on June 30, 2002 (CBS-TV, 3:30 p.m. ET). "Since the CART Grand Prix of Chicago announcement just two weeks ago, thousands of loyal fans and numerous valued sponsors have shown tremendous support for the return of the FedEx Championship Series to Chicago," stated Rena Shanaman, CART Vice President of Joint Venture Operations. "Although many challenges lie ahead, we anticipate that fans are ready to purchase tickets and experience CART's unique brand of racing." For the 2002 race, CART is maintaining 2001 price levels for all reserved seat race day tickets. Added savings of up to $15.00 have been created for ticket buyers planning to attend on both Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, Pit and Paddock passes will be affordably priced and reflect the change to a two day event weekend. As an added convenience for fans, pre-reserved parking in the public lot closest to Chicago Motor Speedway may be purchased in advance at a savings from the event weekend price. Tickets purchased or postmarked by May 1, 2002 will receive a 10% discount. There are five easy ways to purchase tickets:

  • Call Ticketmaster at (312) 559-1212 or the Chicago Motor Speedway box office at (708) 656-6300

  • Visit the Chicago Motor Speedway box office at 3301 South Laramie, Cicero, IL 60804 or any Ticketmaster outlet

  • Online at www.grandprixofchicago.com

  • Fax a completed order form to (708) 652-0015

  • Mail a completed order form to Chicago Motor Speedway at 3301 South Laramie, Cicero, IL 60804

3/21/02

NASCAR Modifies Height Measurement Line for Chevrolets  Officials for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced modifications in the inspection and measuring process, specifically for the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, beginning with the NASCAR Winston Cup event weekend at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5th. The current NASCAR Winston Cup Series inspection process utilizes reference lines for inspection located on the inspection-room floor to help determine the overall length of the front of the car for each manufacturer. The Chevrolet's reference line has been moved to the same point as the Ford Taurus and Dodge Intrepid. It will now be measured at 100 ¼ inches in length. (Prior to this modification, the Chevrolet was measured at 99 inches). The Pontiac Grand Prix is measured at 100 ½ inches.

3/21/02

NASCAR amends starting procedure  NASCAR Officials announced this week teams in the NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch Series will not be charged with a provisional starting position used if the entry field for an event is equal to or less than the number of starting positions provided by the official entry blank. A team is granted a maximum season allotment of eight provisionals and under this amendment, provisionals assigned to fill starting positions 37-43 will not count against this allotment. Prior to this amendment, teams were charged for a provisional regardless of the number of entries at an event.

3/21/02

500th Winston Cup start for Mark Martin  Mark Martin returns to Bristol this weekend for his 500th career Winston Cup start. It will be Martin's 31st Winston Cup go around at the track and his 16th spring race at Bristol. Martin has won twice at Bristol, both times in fall and has won a total of seven poles at the track, with four coming in the spring race and three in the fall. Last year Martin set on the pole for the Food City 500 in Bristol in March. The pole was the 40th of his career. He is tied with Rusty Wallace for the most poles of any active driver at Bristol. Martin has also tallied 20 top-10 finishes in his 30 Cup races at Bristol, including 10 top-10's in his 15 races in the spring.

3/21/02

BAR fires technical leaders  Both Malcolm Oastler - Engineering Director and Andy Green - Chief Designer are both leaving BAR. In addition there is likely to be a reduction of some 15 percent of the workforce at the Brackley based team. "I have the greatest respect for the people who created this team, and the dedication they have shown to the task, but at the end of the day the organization has not delivered," explained Dave Richards. "I know that Malcolm and Andy recognize that the results have been below their expectations and I appreciate their disappointment, and thank them for their efforts." "We need to build a team with a very clear structure, with the very best people and give them the responsibility to deliver against precisely determined goals," Richards continued. "As I have said from the beginning, BAR has many extremely talented people, and what we are now doing is giving them the framework within which they can fulfill their true potential."

3/21/02

Aviation Today article focuses on the Gurney Flap  This Aviation Today article talks about the Dan Gurney Flap and how it influenced on race cars and then aircraft.  This is the first of a 2-part series.

3/21/02

17 ALMS teams selected for 70th 24-Hours of Le Mans  The first day of Spring brought great news from France for 17 American Le Mans Series racing teams that have been selected to compete in the 70th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Selection Committee of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), organizer of the French endurance racing classic, announced the 48 cars that will race in the June 15-16 event this morning. The committee chose from 96 entry requests. In addition to 17 teams that regularly compete in American Le Mans Series events, the list of 48 also includes many teams that compete in selected ALMS races, including last week's season-opening 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Dodge. ALMS teams are represented in four of the five classes of race cars that will compete at Le Mans. As an element of the strong relationship between the American Le Mans Series and the ACO, teams that regularly compete in ALMS races receive special consideration in the selection process. ALMS

3/21/02


NASCAR claims Busch series #2 in USA - you can blame CART/IRL split   NASCAR put out a press release today claiming that it's Busch Series is now the #2 most popular form of motorsports in the USA, and based on TV ratings, they are probably correct.  And if you want to place the blame on anyone, it clearly falls in the lap of those who created the IRL, since in 1995 (the year before the split) CART's attendance and TV ratings far surpassed that of the NASCAR Busch series.  However, the split drove a wedge right through the heart of the sport of Indy Car racing, opening up the door for NASCAR to completely dominate USA motorsports. If one were to split NASCAR in half, much like Indy Car racing was split in half when the IRL was created, NASCAR would flounder and die away as well.  Here is a portion of the almost laughable press release by NASCAR:
NASCAR BUSCH SERIES CLOSING THE DOOR ON OPEN-WHEEL RACING, STRENGTHENING POSITION AS NATION’S NO. 2 MOTORSPORTS SERIES - The NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division has evolved into America’s No. 2 motorsports series, lapping open-wheel racing in terms of popularity and potential for further growth.  And that was before this season.  That was before a trio of second-generation drivers started congregating at NASCAR Busch Series events, drivers with legendary names - names that fans used to associate, primarily, with the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) open-wheel series. Foyt.  Mears.  Fittipaldi. Collectively, they represent an imposing trio - drivers of resplendent open-wheel lineage who have noticed the trend in motorsports appeal, and are now going NASCAR racing, in full-bodied, paint-trading stock cars. [Editors Note: they bypassed the IRL too, but it's clear NASCAR's intent with this press release was to paint CART in a negative light].  Larry Foyt is A.J. Foyt’s son; Casey Mears is Rick Mears’ nephew; Christian Fittipaldi is Emerson Fittipaldi’s nephew. Those bloodlines are responsible for a total of 10 victories in the Indianapolis 500 {an IRL race), and considerable success internationally. NASCAR

3/21/02

Nazareth hopes IRL/NASCAR combo tickets boost attendance   The deadline is drawing near! Fans wanting to take advantage of the weekend combination ticket packages at Nazareth Speedway for both the Firestone Indy 225 and the NASCAR Busch Series event weekends have just eight days to get that order in. On March 29, this new fan-friendly ticketing option will no longer be available. "These new ticket options have been very well received by all of our guests," track president Craig Rust commented. "We created this combination ticket package to assist our guests who want to come out to the track each day by giving them a special price if they purchase early." This is the first year Nazareth Speedway is offering a weekend combination reserved adult ticket for $60 and a child ticket for only $50, with general admission adult and child combination tickets also available, at a savings of up to $10. The combination ticket covers all three days of open-wheel action for the Firestone Indy 225 weekend and both days for the NASCAR Busch Series weekend. IRL and USAC practice are on the menu for Friday, while Saturday features practice and qualifying for the Indy Racing League, plus USAC Midget and Sprint Car races. Sunday is the inaugural Firestone Indy 225, preceded by the USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown race. Saturday, May 18 features NASCAR Busch and Featherlite Series' qualifying and the running of the Burnham Boilers 100 NASCAR Busch North Series race. Sunday, the rising stars of the Busch Series takes to the track, followed by the Service Electric 100 NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series race. Tickets for the 2002 season at Nazareth Speedway are now available. For tickets, reserved camping, and additional information, please contact the Nazareth Speedway ticket office at 1-888-629-RACE(7223) or log on to the official Nazareth Speedway web site at www.nazarethspeedway.com.   Nazareth Speedway

3/21/02

CART and K&K Insurance renew deal  Officials from Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (CART) and K&K Insurance Group announced today that K&K has renewed its business relationship with CART, and has retained its status as "Official Corporate & Special Risk Insurance Company of CART." "We are delighted to welcome K&K Insurance back for another season with CART," said CART Vice President of Marketing, Steve Fusek. "For many years they have provided CART and its teams with a great deal of security, and it's great to have them here to manage risk. Clearly, they have seen real value in aligning themselves with us, and everybody in CART will continue to work hard and deliver even more value to K&K in 2002 and for years to come." K&K is celebrating its 50th year of operation in 2002, and has had a relationship with CART since the sanctioning body's inception in the late 1970s. The company provides CART and many of its teams and sponsors peace of mind with regard to insurance coverage, which includes excess liability, owners' and sponsors' liability, participant accident and catastrophic medical coverage, property and casualty, and workers' compensation. "K&K is extremely pleased to renew our long standing relationship with CART and continue to manage their insurance needs," said K&K Vice President of Motorsports, Dave Hatlem. "CART's international reach as a global sports property is a natural fit for K&K, as we are a multi-national company with offices in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Additionally, CART's leadership in motorsports safety and medical services provides a great platform for K&K to promote our risk management services within the motorsports industry." In addition to its designation as "Official Corporate & Special Risk Insurance Company of CART," K&K has been a major sponsor of the Simple Green CART Safety Team since 1989. K&K has also been a sponsor of the CART Medical Center-a state-of-the-art mobile medical facility that services the on-site medical needs of CART drivers, trackside staff, and series officials-since its introduction in 1996.

3/21/02

Phoenix name changed to Dart  This Financial Times article says that Phoenix's name was recently changed to the Dart Grand Prix Team Limited. It remains to be seen whether Dart will eventually take Prost's place on the Formula One grid.  Charles J. Nickerson is the man whose Phoenix Finance surprised everyone by emerging as buyer of some assets of the collapsed Prost F1 team.

3/21/02

Germany a threat to the UK's motorsports dominance  This Financial Times article talks about the threat to the UK that Germany poses.  BMW does their engine development there, the Toyota F1 program is in Germany and of course Mercedes can decide to move all engine development to Germany at any time.  Man people are employed in England in companies that supply components to the race car and engine manufacturers.

3/20/02
FRAN-AM

World Speed Motorsports focuses on Fran-Am and CART Atlantic series  Chuck West, owner of World Speed Motorsports, today confirmed that the team will focus solely on the Fran-Am and CART Toyota Atlantic championships for the 2002 season. A fixture in the Formula Mazda category for more than ten years, World Speed's departure leaves the Star Mazda series without it's reigning North American championship-winning team for the 2002 season. "We've had some great success and certainly enjoy competing in the Star Mazda Championship," said West, whose team has captured three pro and four regional/national Formula Mazda championships and five pro series Rookie-of-the-Year titles including the 2001 Star Mazda North American championship with driver Scott Bradley. "It's been a terrific series, but a number of drivers have had difficulty coming up with a full budget for this year. The Fran-Am 1600 West Coast series presents an attractive alternative and we should be able to announce at least one more driver in the next few weeks, as well as a possible driver for the Fran-Am 2000 Championship." It was recently announced that World Speed will field a car for Mayer Motorsports, Inc. (MMI) to be driven by karting standout Michael McDowell in the 2002 Fran-Am 1600 West Coast Championship Series. Star Mazda veteran Frank McCormick will also join McDowell as part of the World Speed Fran-Am 1600 team. The Palm Springs, California-based team continues to campaign the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship with rookie Alex Figge.  Further information is available at www.worldspeed.com and www.fran-am.com

3/20/02

New pit procedure at Bristol  A new pit-road procedure during caution periods will be utilized for Sunday's Food City 500. Under the new procedure, the pace car will be stationed in Turn 3, rather than the customary Turn 1, and pick up the field during a caution from that location while the front and back pits are closed. Once the field enters Turn 2, all lead lap cars planning to pit must enter pit road at the backstretch entrance of Turn 2, regardless of the location of the team's pits. Cars planning to pit on the front stretch will proceed off the back pit road, around the apron and into the front stretch pits. Once a pit stop has been completed, all cars will exit the front stretch pit road in Turn 1. Cars a lap or more down will then follow the same procedure. This change will not affect pit stop procedure under green-flag conditions.

3/20/02

F1 to go with one engine and HANS Device The FIA now intends to make the Head and Neck Protection System (HANS) Device standard. They are also going with one engine for the entire weekend - a big change. The FIA press release:

Safety
Head and Neck Protection System (HANS) – Use of the Head and Neck Protection System (HANS) will be compulsory in the FIA Formula One World Championship from 1 January 2003 (and also for F3000) provided the FIA has confirmation from each team that no driver is disadvantaged by using the device and that the FIA is able to conclude a licensing agreement with DaimlerChrysler which enables the device to be used in all international motor sport.
Sporting Regulations
Engine limitation during the event – From 1 January 2004, each driver may use only one engine for the three days of a Grand Prix weekend. Each time his engine is changed during the event, the driver will move back 10 places on the grid. The FIA, in consultation with the teams, will define an engine change so as to prevent the rebuilding of an engine at the circuit. Use of its spare car counts as use of an additional engine. Chassis – The FIA has undertaken not to change the Formula One chassis regulations for the two years 2003 and 2004.
Penalties available to the stewards – In addition to their existing powers, the stewards have been given the power to move a driver involved in an incident 10 places back from his qualifying position for the grid at the next event (immediate application).  Cars delayed at the start of the formation lap – Any car which is still unable to leave the grid under its own power 30 seconds after the green light will be pushed to the pit lane (immediate application).
Race numbers – Race numbers will follow the Constructors’ Championship order of the previous year, except for the numbers 1 and 2, which go to the team for which the World Champion is driving.

3/20/02
Formula 3

American Phil Giebler fast in Spain  American Phil Giebler tested a F3 car in Spain yesterday (the Albacete circuit). All of the top Spanish teams were present and Phil was fastest for the day (by over a 1/2 second). Look's like he'll be speaking Spanish this year. Team is: Azteca Motorsport. He will be testing in Jarama today, before heading off to pack up his things in the UK and move to Madrid. His management team tried everything to race F3 in the UK and then Germany, but they could not raise a large enough budget to run with the right teams. So it's off to Spain...the budget is a third of what it cost to run in England and half the cost of Germany. The winner of the Championship receives a two day test with the Toyota F1 Team and a subsidized (possibly free) seat in the new Super Nissan Series for 2003. After a 2001 European season, that saw him race a series of "one off's" in two different Championships, Phil's career appears to be back on a track that has seen him win races in every year and series he has ever run. For more info, click here.

3/20/02

Bear Stearns likes what they see with CART  Yesterday, CART made two announcements, both of which we believe are evidence that the company continues to make strides to improve its outlook. First, the company announced that the upcoming Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, to be held April 14, would be broadcast live on FOX's over-the-air television network. This race marks the first time any CART event has been broadcast on FOX, and represents what we believe is a significant opportunity for the company to increase CART's exposure and brand awareness. In addition, we also believe this broadcast should provide the company's sponsors with better visibility as well as the potential to attract additional sponsorship opportunities, given the reach of the FOX network and its attraction for advertisers. Separately, the company also confirmed that it will hold its previously announced St. Petersburg, Florida race in 2003, which is a joint venture with Dover Downs and has a structure similar to the Long Beach Grand Prix. The race dates are scheduled for February 21-23, 2003, making St. Petersburg the first race of the CART FedEX Championship Series, the first time since 2000 that the Series will begin in the U.S. The contract between MPH and DVD calls for a seven-year agreement with a five-year extension option. In our view, these latest announcements from CART are further evidence the company continues to make strides in repositioning itself as a marketing vehicle through the enhancement of its business model. While we note that 2002 will be a transition year for CART, we believe the company's prospects for 2003 continue to improve. We maintain our Attractive rating.  Bear Stearns

3/20/02

Budweiser to be associate sponsor for Andretti at Indy  Budweiser announced today that it will serve as an associate sponsor of the Motorola / Archipelago entry driven by Michael Andretti for the 2002 Indianapolis 500. Andretti is entered to drive the No. 39 Motorola / Archipelago Dallara - Chevrolet in the Memorial Day classic, scheduled for May 26, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "Budweiser has a long, rich tradition in open-wheel racing, including two Indy 500 victories, and we're excited about the opportunity to team up with Michael Andretti," said Tony Ponturo, vice president, Global Media and Sports Marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. "He is one of the top open-wheel racers in the world, and we look forward to continuing our winning history with the Andretti family." Budweiser has previously sponsored winners at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and in open-wheel motorsports. The "King of Beers" served as the primary sponsor on Bobby Rahal's Indianapolis 500 winning car in 1986 and as an associate sponsor during Juan Montoya's victory in 2000. The brand also was an associate sponsor for the Galles Racing entry driven by Al Unser Jr. in last year's Indy 500. Budweiser has also claimed national team championships in open-wheel racing in 1984 with Mario Andretti and in 1986 and 1987 with Rahal. "We are excited to have Budweiser as an associate sponsor for the Motorola / Archipelago entry and driver Michael Andretti," said Kim Green, general manager of Team Motorola / Archipelago. "Budweiser has a great history in motorsports and we're looking forward to partnering with them for the 86th running of the Indy 500." Andretti, who will be joined by team manager Tony Cotman and crew chief John Cummiskey, finished third in the 2001 Indy 500, his first time in the historic race since 1995. The Nazareth, Pa. native has seven top-10 finishes in the Indy 500 including a career-best second-place finish in 1991. Andretti, the 1984 Indianapolis 500 Co-Rookie of the Year, will attempt to make his 13th career start in the race. Anheuser-Busch's associate sponsorship of the Motorola / Archipelago entry is supported by Budweiser identification on Andretti's car, firesuit and helmet, crew uniforms, in-car cameras, and garage and pit equipment. Additionally, Andretti will be featured on billboards in Indiana, as well as in a variety of point-of-sale materials - including stand-ups, cooler stickers, danglers, c-poles and autograph cards - with the tagline "Budweiser: The Crown Of Champions". A special Budweiser open-wheel racing simulation game will visit Indianapolis area bars and restaurants before the Indy 500, allowing adult consumers 21 and over the opportunity to win prizes including the chance to race against Andretti in the championship p event and to be an honorary pit crew member during pre-race activities on race day. Budweiser

3/20/02

IRL Fontana happenings  Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a popular swing band formed in 1992 in Los Angeles, will perform after the Yamaha Indy 400 on March 24. The concert will take place near Gate 13 and the center elevator tower behind the main grandstands. Denise M. Quinones August, Miss Universe 2001 from Puerto Rico, will sing the National Anthem prior to the Yamaha Indy 400. Miss Universe is appearing compliments of Maurice Lacroix Swiss Watches, the Official Watch of the Indy Racing League. Miss Universe also will present a Maurice Lacroix IRL "Tiago" Chronograph to the winner of the race. Sandy Mack, mother of Indy Racing League rookie George Mack, will sign the National Anthem before the Grand American 400 Rolex Sports Car Series race March 23 at California Speedway, a support event for the Yamaha Indy 400. Sandy Mack has made appearances in television commercials, live stage plays and films, as well as numerous singing appearances, including opening for Garth Brooks at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles and as a background singer during Barbra Streisand's performance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.   IRL

3/20/02

CART support series happenings  Two regional rounds of the CART Stars of Tomorrow karting program get under way this weekend, March 22-24 with events at Willow Springs, California and Oklahoma Motorsports Park.  The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will race next as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 12-14. Monterrey, Mexico winner Jon Fogarty will look to retain his points championship lead in Southern California, with Scotland's Ryan Dalziel and American Joey Hand among those competitors battling behind Fogarty.  The Barber Dodge Pro Series will return to action in the traditional Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park, Connecticut. Round 2 will commence on Monday, May 27 as part of the Trans-Am Championship weekend. The Pro Series will then join in support of the CART FedEx Championship for the remainder of their eight events, starting with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in June.  Rounds 3 and 4 of the Formula Dodge National Championship will be at California Speedway, April 11-13, in conjunction with the Champ Car weekend at Long Beach. Americans Burt Frisselle, Grant Maiman and Al Unser lead the Championship battle following the FDNC double race weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Toyota Atlantic Championship  (Through Round 1 of 12)
1. Jon Fogarty 21 points
2. Ryan Dalziel 16 points
3. Joey Hand 14 points
4. Luis Diaz 13 points
5. Michael Valiante 12 points

Barber Dodge Pro Series (Through Round 1 of 10)

1. AJ Allmendinger 22 points

2. Davy Cook 16 points

3. Julio Campos 14 points

4. Nilton Rossoni 13 points

5. Christian Szymczak 11 points

Formula Dodge National Championship (Through Round 2 of 13)

1. Burt Frisselle 36 points
2. Grant Maiman 34 points
3. Al Unser 27 points (son of Al Unser Jr.)
4. Scott Speed 25 points
5. Robbie Montinola 21 points

3/20/02

Atlantics: Stellar field set for Long Beach  After a thrilling, but wet season opener at Monterrey, Mexico which fielded 23 entries, Vicki O'Connor and the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship have confirmed 25 entries for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The second event of the twelve race Toyota Atlantic season, taking place April 12-14 on one of the world's most famous temporary street courses, could still see an additional five to six entries. John Brooks and his BBGP Racing Team are one of those teams expected to make an announcement soon about their 2002 intentions. "This is an extremely exciting time of growth in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, as witnessed by the phenomenal entry list," commented series President O'Connor. "The combination of competitive racing, great venues, the unwavering support of Toyota and the recognition of being the top rung in the CART Ladder System has led to this positive situation. We can hardly wait for Long Beach."

3/20/02

Zanardi to return to Eurospeedway  Alex Zanardi has agreed to throw the green flag in September when the CART series returns to Eurospeedway. site of the track where Zanardi was seriously injured and nearly lost his life, if not for the quick action by CART's Simple Green Safety and Medical team.  Recognized as the best in the business, they saved Zanardi from almost certain death that would have occurred had they not been on the scene that day.  Our hats off to Dr. Steve Olvey and Dr. Terry Trammel.  MC

3/20/02

In-Kart Shifter Kart footage  Take a ride with Memo Gidley and others as they drive their shifter go-karts with a video camera mounted over their shoulder.  Notice the gear changes, braking and accelerating and controlled 4-wheel drifts the drivers put the karts into.  It's no wonder why CART has chosen shifter karts as the official first rung of their ladder series.

3/19/02

Fittipaldi's Busch debut delayed  Christian Fittipaldi, who was scheduled to make his 2002 NASCAR Busch Series debut this weekend at the Channellock 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway, will instead debut the #30 mike's hard lemonade Monte Carlo at the Hardees 250 at Richmond International Raceway the evening of May 3. A conflict arose for Fittipaldi this weekend when his Newman/Haas Racing CART FedEx Championship Series team scheduled a last-minute test session in Sebring, Fla., on Thursday and Friday. The CART series remains Fittipaldi's priority this season, and the session precludes his ability to qualify his #30 Monte Carlo at Bristol. "I am disappointed that Bristol did not work out," Fittipaldi said. "I was really looking forward to racing there. We will get everything ready for Richmond, and I am excited about racing under the lights there at night. I've raced at night in many parts of the world, in many different types of cars, and I really enjoy it."

3/19/02

Vasser and Team Rahal prepare for Fontana  Jimmy Vasser, a former 500-mile race winner at California Speedway, returns to the lightning fast two-oval banked oval this Sunday (March 24) with a new car, a new team, a new sponsor and a new agenda. Vasser is entered in Sunday’s Yamaha Indy 400, his third career Indy Racing League event. He started the Indy 500 in 2000 and 2001. Vasser, the 36-year-old veteran open-wheel driver from Las Vegas, brings his all-new No. 19 Miller Lite Chevy/Dallara car along with the Rahal/Letterman Racing team as part of a development program for this year’s Indianapolis 500 set for May 26. The 1996 CART series champion, who won the Marlboro 500 in 1998, will be making his sixth California Speedway start this weekend as the Ohio-based racing squad competes in its first IRL race, the 200-lap contest set to start at 12:30 p.m. (PST). "We have come to Fontana basically for one reason, to test our new car,” said Vasser, who finished fourth in last year’s Indy 500 for Ganassi Racing. “The Miller Lite crew is very experienced with the champ cars but not as much with the IRL cars. So we need to learn as much as possible heading into Indy. We can learn about the chassis, the engine and the aerodynamics in testing. But we want to learn in race conditions too.” Vasser’s experience at Fontana is unmatched by the majority of the Indy Racing League field as the California native won the 1998 CART race as well as finishing second in 1997. He has started on the front row twice also. “Fontana is a little different than Indy with the higher banking of the track and the drafting is much more prevalent than Indy,” said Vasser, a two-time 500-mile winner in CART. “But this program with the Miller Lite team is just as important to me as the Shell program in CART. To win the Indy 500 would be the ultimate for me as a driver. That’s why we want to test at the Fontana race. We need to learn about these cars and a variety of components like pit speed limiters, fuel economy, gearboxes, wing settings and the 400-mile race at Fontana is perfect for that learning process." Vasser understands the depth of this year’s Indy 500 field and believes the Yamaha 400 will give his Miller Lite team additional experience with the Chevy/Dallara. "We at Team Rahal realize that going to Indy and running a different chassis (Dallara) and engine (Chevrolet) than what we run in CART is no easy undertaking,” said Vasser. “That is why any track time we can get is valuable. Any success we have at Fontana is simply an added bonus to our ultimate goal of preparing for the Indy 500."  Miller

3/19/02
Industry News

ISC changes - Sperber to Phoenix, Rust to The Glen  Craig Rust, who has served as president and general manager at Nazareth Speedway for the past two years, has been named president of Watkins Glen International. Rust replaces Bryan Sperber who will now serve as president of Phoenix International Raceway. Both facilities are owned by International Speedway Corporation (ISC), a motorsports entertainment company based in Daytona Beach, Fla. Rust will continue his duties as president and general manager of Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania. As president, Rust oversees all operations of both facilities, including marketing, corporate sales, administration, public relations, ticketing and maintenance. Bryan Sperber, who has served as president of Watkins Glen International, New York's Thunder Road, since 1997, will assume his duties as president of Phoenix International Raceway duties April 1. He replaces Robin Braig, who was recently named vice president of consumer sales and marketing for ISC. "I look forward to working in this new capacity as the president of such an historic facility as Watkins Glen," said Rust. "Bryan Sperber leaves me a strong foundation and I am excited about the opportunities which lie before me." "Having Craig serve as president of both Nazareth Speedway and Watkins Glen, gives us the opportunity to take advantage of his many talents as well as maximize ISC's performance and leadership positions," said Lesa Kennedy, ISC executive vice president. "This strategic move is another way for ISC to enhance shared resources, promotional strategies and cooperative interaction across tracks in close proximity of one another." Rust, a native of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was named president and general manager of Nazareth Speedway in January, 2000.

3/19/02

2nd IRL race shows slight drop in TV rating  The TV rating for the 2nd IRL race on ABC at Phoenix came in with a preliminary number of 1.3, down from the 1.5 the series received for their season opener at Homestead.  We are checking to see how the 1.3 compares to their 2001 Phoenix rating, but we believe it is slightly higher.  Typically CART and the IRL have higher TV ratings at the beginning of the season and they trend downward as the season progresses.  So far, this year appears no different, at least for the IRL.

3/19/02

Andretti to test first Lola for Team Green  Michael Andretti has been designated to test Team Green's new Lola at Homestead on March 26th. He is most familiar with the Lola chassis, having raced them at Newman/Haas Racing from 1989 to 1992, as well as in 1995, '96 and 2000. In a CART.com interview with John Oreovicz, Kim Green stated - “We're certainly running Reynards at Long Beach.” “There's no question about that at the present moment. Reynard are working their tails off and we had a very successful test on the Fontana road course last week. “I think we've had a pretty productive winter testing with the Reynard and we feel pretty confident about the Reynard in street course and road course set-up,” he added. “Reynard's oval kit is not fully out yet. Dario (Franchitti) is scheduled for a one-day oval test at Homestead next week where he'll be running the latest Reynard.” “We have so much familiarity with Reynard that we are very confident that we can receive a new car from Reynard and turn it around in four or five days and be ready to go testing,” he said. But there's a learning curve with a Lola. We don't underestimate the task of getting a car ready because it's a new car to us. We've not had a Lola in a Team Green shop since Jacques Villeneuve tested a 1992 Lola in 1993 when he was running an Atlantic car for us. Certainly the Lola/Honda packaging is very tight and that's going to take some time getting ready to run. The risk for us in changing manufacturers is what sort of blip does that put in the team's performance getting up to speed with the new car?”  We here at AR1 have a feeling you will see Andretti in a Lola (Motorola Team) at Japan, while the Team Kool Green guys stick with the Reynard for awhile.  In the past he has had great success with the Lola on the ovals, and it's generally acknowledged that Lola has been the car to have on the ovals. After Japan, CART has a six week gap to their next race in Milwaukee, at which time Team Green will likely decide if they will convert all three drivers to Lolas, or stick with Reynards.  The pressure certainly is on Reynard to make their better.

3/19/02

Ticket sales up for Sepang  2nd UPDATE The final official numbers - 90,000 race day and 60,000 for Friday (free day) and Saturday (Quals) for a 3-day total of 150,000.  Since Friday was free, the paid total was closer to 130,000.  The information was released by Sepang International Circuit chairman Tan Sri Basir Ismail. 3/16/02 - Only 67,000 tickets have been sold as of Saturday.  Look for many empty seats on race day, and another financial loss for the promoter who pays Bernie Ecclestone outrageous sanctioning fees. 3/12/02 - Organizers of the Malaysian Grand Prix are hoping for their biggest ever race this weekend. ‘There has been a huge increase in purchase and interest over the week and we even had to add a few more fax machines at the ticketing counters to cater for the increase in demand,’ said Sepang circuit boss Ahmad Mustafa. ‘We've sold 52,000 tickets so far and I am confident that our target of 100,000 spectators for Race Day can be achieved.’ ‘We can expect a huge crowd at the circuit this weekend,’ added Mustafa. ‘We have lots of enquires and purchases this week and we look forward to the numbers going up.’

3/19/02

Sebring generates record website hits  The 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Dodge generated a record crowd as well as a modern-day record number of entries. The high level of interest in the American Le Mans Series race also produced record traffic for the series website, resulting in some periods of time when access was not available. "We're very pleased that so many people wanted to go to the website," said Dennis Huth, President of IMSA, the sanctioning body for the American Le Mans Series, and also the body responsible for www.imsaracing.net. "That demonstrates that people were interested in the series and intrigued by the 50th annual running of Sebring. "But we were very disappointed that some people attempting to access the site were momentarily delayed," he said. "To put it simply, we underestimated how many people would want in, which turned out to be more than 10 times the traffic of any previous record on our site, and we weren't prepared for the onslaught. "This is one of those problems that is both good and bad to have," Huth said. "And, with the popularity of the series continuing to grow, we have already taken steps to prevent such delays from happening in the future." The American Le Mans Series Radio Web broadcast of Sebring was available through the site, as was live timing and scoring of the event. Both areas of the website proved very popular during the race. IMSA

3/19/02

Malaysia economy gets boost from race  According to reports in the Malaysian press, the Malaysian Grand Prix has significantly boosted the country's economy since its debut on the FIA Formula One World Championship four years ago. Datuk Pandikar Amin Mulia, a government minister from the Prime Minister's Department, was quoted by the Malaysian newswire Bernama: "Last year alone, the F1 race in Malaysia succeeded in contributing about RM500 million ($130 million USD) in the form of tourism related activities." In addition, he said the follow-on effects to the nation's motoring, tourist and hotel industries, as well as the enhancement of Kuala Lumpur's image as a world class tourist destination further justified the existence of the race. "We hope the F1 race will attract more spectators from within and outside the country to Malaysia," he was reported by Bernama to have said. [Editor's Note: What did you expect him to say after his government sank so much money into building the expensive state-of-the-art Sepang circuit - "We only sold 67,000 seats (about $6.7 million revenue each year) and between paying Bernie $15 million per year sanction fees plus the $130 million we sank in building the track means I had to play voodoo economics with your hard earned tax money in order to justify why you should reelect me?" MC

3/19/02

Lazzaro released from hospital, but.... UPDATE Anthony suffered a serious back injury when he crashed and got airborne in his ARCA debut at Talladega in Oct. 2000, which resulted in him sitting out the rest of the year and pre-empted him from getting the requisite superspeedway experience needed to race Cal Wells' BGN car at Daytona the following Feb. Is it possible he may have now aggravated this injury, which is why he is not cleared to drive yet?  3/18/02 -  Indy Racing League rookie Anthony Lazzaro was released March 18 from Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Phoenix without injury after he was admitted to the hospital March 17 after a three-car accident during the Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200.  Lazzaro, from Acworth, Ga., has not been cleared to drive, said Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services. He will be re-evaluated by Bock this week before his driving status is determined. The next Indy Racing League event is the Yamaha Indy 400 on March 24 at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif.  Lazzaro spun and hit the outside retaining wall on Lap 103 of the 200-lap race at Phoenix International Raceway, also colliding with the cars driven by Eddie Cheever Jr. and Scott Sharp. Lazzaro was transported to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, complaining of lower back pain. IRL [Note: Three IRL drivers have decided to hang it up this year rather than risk further injury against the hard concrete walls.  Hopefully Lazzaro decides to stick with it]

3/19/02

Team USA Scholarship Winners Shine in Sebring Openers  Gifted young American drivers A.J. Allmendinger and Bryan Sellers took full advantage of their intensive "off season" exploits in New Zealand -- their prize for winning last year's Team USA Scholarship -- by scoring respective victories in the first Barber Dodge Pro Series and Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship races of the season over the weekend in Sebring, Fla. Sellers was the first to make his mark, qualifying on the pole for the opening F2000 Zetec event in his Cape Motorsports Van Diemen RF02 and then romping away to a clear victory. Sellers, who narrowly missed winning the New Zealand International Formula Ford Challenge Series after he was involved in an accident on the final weekend, thoroughly dominated the proceedings in Florida by finishing more than 13 seconds clear of the 25-car field after just 13 laps. "It was definitely a great feeling, especially after everything that happened last year," said Sellers, 19, from Centerville, Ohio, who lost his ride in 2001 when the team folded soon after the start of the season. "To be honest, I don't think I could ask for more of a perfect weekend. We showed people we are definitely in the running, which is what we wanted to do. "No doubt it, the racing in New Zealand really helped," continued Sellers. "Nothing prepares you better for racing than racing, and whereas everybody else had been away from racing for several months, I was in the groove and ready to go." Allmendinger, 20, from Hollister, Calif., was equally dominant in his Barber Dodge race, securing the pole with a spectacular lap in the final session of qualifying and then making up for a minor miscue in the early stages to beat fellow American Davy Cook and a tough 23-car field by almost three seconds. "It was a perfect week," said Allmendinger, who was making only his fourth Barber Dodge appearance. "A month ago I didn't even know if I'd be racing this year, but some people came through for me and made this happen. The Team USA experience was a big deal in terms of the fact I learned so much, and to win the first race of the season -- considering how tough the Barber Dodge Pro Series is -- is just amazing. It's given me so much confidence going into the second round at Lime Rock." Support for the Team USA Scholarship has been provided by CART, Steve and Christine Horne, The Craig Company, American Honda, Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Prappas Company, Klein Tools, Las Vegas Karting Center, Road Racing Drivers Club, Sparco USA, Skip Barber Racing, Jim Russell Racing Drivers School, Buttonwillow, Speedstar and Racer.

3/19/02

Jeff Gordon's wife files for divorce  2nd UPDATE If you're interested in reading the entire Divorce Petition filed by Brooke, click here 3/18/02 - Earlier today Jeff Gordon issued the following statements concerning his impending divorce proceedings. "As you are probably well aware, Brooke has filed for divorce. Being a personal matter, I hope that everybody will respect our privacy as we work through this difficult time. "I also hope everybody will understand that it would be improper for me to discuss or comment on this matter publicly. "I appreciate the support I've received from my family, friends and those in the racing community." 3/16/02 - According to this article by Kathryn Quigley, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer, Brooke Gordon, wife of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, filed for divorce on Friday after more than seven years of marriage. Their marriage is "irretrievably broken as a result of the husband's marital misconduct," according to the document.  Brooke Gordon, 30, wants exclusive use of the couple's 23,095-square-foot oceanfront home in Highland Beach, valued at $9 million for tax purposes. The couple also owns a second home on Palm Beach, according to the divorce petition filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. She is asking that her husband continue to pay the salaries of the daytime and evening housekeepers, maintenance workers and the chef at the Highland Beach home. She is also seeking alimony, the Porsche and the Mercedes 600 SL, and periodic use of their boats and the Falcon 200 airplane owned by one of their companies. Jeff Gordon is temporarily living with a business associate in North Carolina, according to the divorce suit. Jennifer Brooke Sealey, a former Miss Winston, married Jeff Gordon on Nov. 26, 1994. They had met in victory lane after a race at Daytona Speedway.

3/18/02

Tony Stewart tests negative, held overnight UPDATE Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Pontiac, was released in good condition from Carolinas Hospital System in Florence, S.C. earlier today. Stewart was X-rayed and given CT scans of the head, chest, back and pelvic area on Sunday, was admitted to the hospital for overnight observation, and underwent an MRI early this morning. All tests were negative. 3/17/02 -  Tony Stewart was airlifted to the hospital after today's wreck in the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington and underwent a CT scan of the head, back and abdomen and all tests were negative, according to Dr. Tony Curry. Stewart was admitted for overnight observation as he was still experiencing lower back tenderness. Greg Zipadelli, crew chief for Stewart, had a chance to talk with Stewart after the accident. "He has lower back and stomach pains," Zipadelli said. "He's awake and all, they're just going to fly him to the hospital to check things out."

3/18/02

Long Beach live on FOX Network  Officials from Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach and FOX Sports announced today that live television coverage of the 28th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be carried on the over-the-air FOX Television Network in the United States. "Our goal is to provide big event, high quality sports programming to our viewers, and we believe we have done that once again by airing our first CART event," said Ed Goren, President of FOX Sports. "CART has had an impressive ratings impact on the re-launched SPEED Channel, and we hope that the platform of network television helps increase the exposure of this exciting brand of racing." The race is scheduled to air live in a two-and-a-half hour window beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 14. This will mark the first time in the 23-year-history of CART that one of its events will air on the FOX network. "While the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will always be special to me for obvious reasons, I am most pleased as the president and CEO of CART that we have been able to add a network of FOX's stature to our already stellar group of broadcasters for 2002," said Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach founder and current CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook. "There is no doubt that the FOX network has broken new ground in the world of sports broadcasting over the past decade, and I believe that having FOX on board with CART and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be a successful venture for all involved. This is also a direct reflection of the strength of CART's new television package with SPEED Channel, that is part of the overall FOX family of networks. To have such a strong presence with a television group of this stature and power is an incredible plus for CART and our race event organizer partners." The broadcast team will be the same as what is currently used for CART's telecasts on SPEED Channel, with Derek Daly serving as the host, Bob Varsha and Tommy Kendall in the play-by-play booth and Scott Pruett and Calvin Fish working pit lane. The race will be produced by Indianapolis-based Lingner Group Productions. "Obviously, we're delighted at the opportunity to have our event carried on a prestigious network like FOX," said Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO, Jim Michaelian. "This broadcast will create an excellent showcase for our sponsors and partners. I'd like to thank FOX and CART, and especially our partner, Toyota, and its agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, for their hard work in bringing this to fruition." While the race itself will air on FOX, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend will enjoy a total of seven hours of television coverage between FOX and the FOX-owned SPEED Channel. The first round of qualifying on Friday, April 12 will air live on SPEED Channel from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. ET, with the 30-minute, magazine-style "CART Friday Night" slated for 10:30 p.m. ET. On Saturday, April 13, the final round of qualifying airs live on SPEED Channel from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. On Sunday, April 14, same-day, tape-delayed coverage of the second round of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship is scheduled for 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. ET, leading directly into the live broadcast of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, CART FedEx Championship Series event at 3:30 p.m. ET.  CART

3/18/02
ASCAR

Minassian lands ride in ASCAR  Former Champ Car driver Nicolas Minassian has confirmed he is to drive for the ASCAR superteam of Ray Mallock Ltd this year alongside Kelvin Burt. Ray Mallock Ltd (RML) now has an impressive two-car ASCAR team ready to make its championship challenge in the 170mph, ‘Days of Thunder’ oval racing series. “We’re delighted to confirm our ASCAR driver line-up with Nicolas joining us to drive alongside Kelvin Burt,” said Ray Mallock, boss of RML. “With the depth of talent taking part, it’s a further demonstration of the status the ASCAR series.” The signing of Minassian by RML emphasises the importance of the 18-race ASCAR championship as an international series and adds to an already impressive driver line-up in the 500 bhp, V8-powered cars in 2002. Minassian will be up against some stiff opposition, including reigning British Touring Car champion, Jason Plato. Minassian, who has plenty of oval experience after racing for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in Champ Cars and the Indianapolis 500 last season, joins the team who became the most successful BTCC team in the history of the Super Touring Car era of the 1990s. Minassian, from Marseille, has a fine racing pedigree. He became the first Frenchman to race for a top Champ Car team when he replaced F1-bound Juan Pablo Montoya at Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2001. He repaid the compliment by finishing in the points in his first two Champ Car races in Mexico and Long Beach, California. Prior to racing in America, Minassian cut his teeth competing in all the leading European single-seater championships. He finished runner-up the British Formula 3 Championship in 1997, starting on pole position six times and scoring seven victories, before joining McLaren’s F3000 Junior team in 1998. ASCAR

3/18/02

Ferrari chief again pushes IPO to fuel Maserati return to racing  This Financial Times of London article by Paul Betts, says that a Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari's chairman, is keen to see the sports car and racing company launch a public offering on the stock market. He told the Financial Times this would help fund Ferrari's expansion into entertainment, including the development of Ferrari theme parks. It also wants to step up its retailing activities and further develop its Maserati car business. An IPO would also help develop Maserati.  Ferrari relaunched Maserati four years ago and Mr .Montezemolo said he now wanted to develop its racing activities. Maserati is talking to CART about entering the series as an engine supplier and use it as a catalyst to grow the Maserati brand in the NAFTA market, as well as the Pacific Rim.

3/18/02

UK government likely to vote to ban tobacco  This Financial Times of London article by Rosemary Bennett, says that a new bill will ban press, billboard and internet advertising of tobacco products. It will also prohibit the promotion of smoking through mailshots, coupons and free distribution of cigarettes. It will also bar sponsorship of sporting events by tobacco companies. However, Formula One, along with other "transcontinental sport", will escape the ban on sponsorship until 2006. Other sports will face the ban next year. The bill will ban press, billboard and internet advertising of tobacco products. It will also prohibit the promotion of smoking through mailshots, coupons and free distribution of cigarettes. It will also bar sponsorship of sporting events by tobacco companies. However, Formula One, along with other "transcontinental sport", will escape the ban on sponsorship until 2006. Other sports will face the ban next year.

3/18/02
Industry News

Biggest mall in China to open next month  The biggest mall in China, with over 1,000 stores, will open next month in the Pudong district of Shanghai, China.  The mall will be very international with stores from around the world.  Why is this significant to motorsports? Because, as we have said all along, China's goal is to make Shanghai the commercial center of China, a title that Hong Kong currently holds.  And the Pudong district is where the proposed street race would be held.

3/18/02

Another IRL casualty  A reader writes - In reviewing the various news reports about the IRL debacle at Phoenix is that fact that no journalist has mentioned the paltry crowd that was hidden amid the 80,000 cavernous seats at PIR's massive grandstands. It's obvious that there is a "CHILL" hovering over the motorsports press. Gordon Kirby has been silenced, and Robin Miller, the pre-eminent newspaper motorsports journalist was "removed" from the Indy Star and was replaced by gentlemen who have been reduced to writing bibliographies and reprinting IRL "Press Releases". The fact remains that the whole idea in combining the " Copper World Classic" with the anemic IRL race at PIR was to take the IRL's 10,000 fans and combine them with the usual 30 to 35,000 fans that used to come to PIR every first week-end in February for what "WAS" a short tracker's "dream week-end" of non stop USAC Midget, Super-Modified and Silver Crown action. PIR/ISC and Tony George figured that maybe they could boost the crowd to 50,000 (the prior CART attendance) and make it look good for TV. (NOTE: as it is now, you never get a shot of the crowd as it would be an embarrassment.)   Well guess what happened. The "short trackers" refused to have their undiluted week-end of Silver Crown and Midgets "polluted" by the IRL. Last year, the Silver Crown and Midgets raced on Saturday to a crowd estimated at 28,000 and then the Sunday crowd for IRL had dropped to 18,000. This year, the "short trackers have apparently were totally repulsed and refused to take part in this "bait and switch" approach. The net result is the destruction of the traditional "Copper World Classic" weekend. Clearly ISC/PIR will have to re-consider combining the two week-ends. The PIR "bait and switch" has not worked with Indy Car/Champ Car fans, and now it is apparent that it has not worked with "Short Track Fans".  Will ISC/PIR get the message, or will they continue their scorched earth policy of destroying everything in their path from major open wheel racing, the Indy 500 and now the "Copper World Classic"!  Mordichai Rosen, LA, California

3/17/02

2002 Attendance figures to date 
IRL 1-Day 3-Day CART 1-Day 3-Day
Homestead 24,000 25,000 Monterrey, Mexico 95,000 236,000
Phoenix 16,000 20,000 - - -

Average

20,000 22,500

Average

95,000 236,000

Note: To date - IRL numbers are for oval races.  CART for road course races.  We doubt CART's oval races will fair much better than the IRL's, maybe by 25%.

3/17/02

Allmendinger wins CART Barber Dodge opener  UPDATE We have added two photos to the story of AJ on his way to victory.  3/16/02 - He said it was the longest 40 minutes of his life, but in the end, it was worth the wait. A.J. Allmendinger from Hollister, Calif. scored his first Barber Dodge Pro Series career victory in the opening round of the 2002 season at Sebring International Raceway. From the pole, Allmendinger relinquished the lead to eventual second-place finisher Davy Cook, but after settling the nerves, he retook the lead for keeps, just before the halfway point. Cook earned a career best finish as did Julio Campos who finished third in his first career start. Allmendinger leaves scoring a 22 out of 23 maximum point by virtue of taking the win, pole and fastest race lap.  Story

3/17/02
Industry News

Parker Johnston sighting For those of you who have inquired about what happened to CART ABC/ESPN TV announcer Parker Johnstone, we caught him doing drag racing broadcasts on ESPN.

3/17/02

Malaysian GP tidbits (IMS)
Royal visit: The King of Malaysia, His Royal Highness Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Syed Jamalalullail, attended the race along with Her Royal Highness.
Ford support continues: The fact the Jaguar-Cosworths have been uncompetitive so far this season has not changed the support of Ford, said Jaguar's team principal, Niki Lauda, who recently talked with Ford President William Clay Ford.  "I don't know why there's all this talk," Lauda said. "Basically Ford's commitment is as it is. Everything is signed for the next four years and even Bill Ford, at the Geneva Motor Show, confirmed all this. He's my big boss. So there's no problem whatsoever with the Ford commitment."
New sponsor: Liqui Moly has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with the DHL Jordan Honda team. Based in Germany, Liqui Moly is a leading manufacturer of motor oil, greases, fuel, oil additives and car care products.
High climber: Former F1 driver Ukyo Katayama, who climbed Mount Everest last year without oxygen, plans to climb both Everest and K2 this year.

3/17/02

Tyce Carlson crashes again  UPDATE It seems short track driver Tyce Carlson finally realized he was in over his head and retired from the sport for good. Carlson said he made the decision to end his Indy Racing League career before he hurt himself permanently.  Many of the drivers in the IRL are slowly starting to realize that their careers, or life, could end against one of those hard concrete walls at any time.   "You know I've had a couple of bad accidents (at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) and it's best that I walk away with my health," the Indianapolis native and North Central High School graduate said. "The (PDM Racing crew) guys who work so hard on these cars don't deserve to have a driver who can't give 110 percent. And I don't think I could get back in a car and not think about (the possibility) of the next accident." He joins Buzz Calkins and Donnie Beechler as this years class of IRL retirees. 3/16/02 - Tyce Carlson spins and hits the wall during the Saturday morning practice session at the Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 held at Phoenix International Raceway. Carlson was checked by medical personnel and released. He was not hurt, but will miss the race because the car is a wreck.

3/17/02

Crowd down at Phoenix  Attendance at Saturday's IRL qualifying and Copper World Classic Super Modified race was estimated at just 6,000, significantly down from the 2001 Saturday crowd.  Sundays crowd will be interesting because the Silver Crown cars are running with the IRL cars on the same day this year.  Whether this helps the Sunday crowd remains to be seen.

  Much More...click on 2002 archives button below

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