Hot News

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DATE

News (chronologically 4/1/02 to 4/7/02)

4/7/02

Observation from Europe  Dear AR1, Food for thought...I went to the Easter 'Monday' race meeting at Brands Hatch featuring Touring Cars, GT's, Formula 3 etc. and was treated to an excellent days' racing. There was a good crowd on hand which according to this weeks Autosport magazine was around 18,500...Interesting how as many people turned out to see Matt Neal and James Thompson win at Brands on a Monday, as bothered to show up for the series built around the once great Indy 500 at Fontana featuring names legendary in motorsports like Unser, Penske... hmmm, need I say more! Keep up the good work. Stuart Page, England

4/7/02

Bernie Ecclestone in top 5 richest list  We reported below where Dario Franchitti lies among Britian's richest figures, in his case the under 30 year old category of sports figures.  In the same London Sunday Times article of the “2002 Rich List”, Formula One names stood out. Bernie Ecclestone and wife Slavica came in at fifth richest with an estimated wealth of $4.1 billion. They currently hold a 25% share in the family trust SLEC, which owns the F1 commercial rights for the next century. At 176th was McLaren Team Principal Ron Dennis with $258 million. Frank Williams came in 222nd with $222 million. 1979 World Champion Jody Scheckter was listed at 333rd with $143 million. Jordan team owner Eddie Jordan was at 392nd with $129 million, followed by the Arrows team owner Tom Walkinshaw at 465th with $107 million. Jackie Stewart was in 514th place with $100 million, ad Williams co-founder and Technical Director Patrick Head was 555th with $93 million. Nigel Mansell, the 1992 World Champion, was listed at 874th in the list with a fortune of $57 million.

4/7/02

Johnnie Cochran says it's time to break up the NASCAR, it's a monopoly  It's not only what ISC is trying to do down in Miami to prevent CART and ALMS from putting on a race downtown, but you can bet it will be used against them by one Johnnie Cochran.  This story by Ed Hinton in the Orlando Sentinel says the person challenging NASCAR is controversial celebrity attorney Johnnie Cochran (of OJ Simpson fame). Cochran seems like he's ready for a fight. He says he has "in excess of 50 lawyers" ready to examine the practices of NASCAR. At the center of the charges is the claim that NASCAR engages in "monopolistic" business practices. "The big picture really looks like, and smacks of, anti-trust." Cochran said earlier this week. He plans to attend today's race at the glitzy, $250 million Fort Worth facility. Added Cochran: "[NASCAR] needs a second look -- an outside look. It becomes almost incestuous, if you will." Cochran, who gained national attention by gaining an acquittal for O.J. Simpson, said he's prepared to initiate legal action that could potentially break up the France dynasty's iron rule. This suit is only the first step in what could become a long and expensive affair. "That [breaking up NASCAR/ISC] is the logical end result, and we have the legal counsel to do it," Cochran said. "In addition, we have the resolve."  Samuel Cherry, the Cochran-firm partner who is supervising the litigation, said he plans to use France's comments at a recent meeting of ISC stock holders to his advantage. France Jr. was alleged to say that ISC was "uniquely positioned to take advantage of the growth of NASCAR." Cherry said he believes that statement helps prove his case. "Sure they are [positioned]. That's because of the incestuous relationship that exists between ISC and NASCAR. They're the ones handing out the dates."

4/7/02

Hand and DSTP look forward to Long Beach  "Long Beach is the race that everybody wants to win, and I want to win it bad," said DSTP driver Joey Hand, who led six laps at Long Beach last year. "Long Beach is a true street race and the track suits my style. It's a kart racer's track -- very tight, and not a lot of room for error. Most importantly, you really have to hustle the car, go over the curbs, and let it out right to the wall to lay down a fast lap. It's exactly the type of place I grew up racing on. This is also the first time I'll be racing on a track that I've raced an Atlantic car at before, which should play in our favor. I've really been waiting for this one since last year and we're looking forward to a great weekend in Long Beach." "I absolutely love coming to Long Beach," said Dede Rogers, an El Paso, Texas native, whose DSTP team won the race in 2000 and went on to win the Atlantic championship title in its rookie season with driver Buddy Rice. "We won our first time here in 2000, and Joey did such an outstanding job last year in his very first Atlantic race. There's no other race in the country like Long Beach, and we're all very excited about having another excellent race this weekend." DSTP

4/7/02
Industry News

Bankruptcy court tells Penske to stay open  A bankruptcy court yesterday issued a temporary restraining order requiring Penske Auto Centers to continue operating service centers at Kmart locations in 44 states.  The order was issued the same day Penske Auto Centers LLC had planned to close 563 (wow!) centers at Kmart locations.  The judge' order prohibits Penske from taking any action to close or liquidate the centers.  Kmart has been talking to Penske about the 563 centers and said Penske told them it was closing them on Friday. On April 1st Kmart defaulted on  $5 million payment due to Penske.  Penske Corp., founded by NASCAR and IRL team owner Roger Penske, purchased the centers from Kmart in 1995. Excerpts from AP Report

4/7/02
Industry News

Dover Downs changes name, completes spin-off  Dover Motorsports, Inc., formerly known as Dover Downs Entertainment, Inc. , announced this past week that it had completed the previously announced tax-free spin-off of its gaming business. Effective immediately, the Company will be known as Dover Motorsports, Inc. reflecting its focus on motorsports activities. It will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under its existing symbol "DVD." As a result of the spin-off, the gaming business of Dover Motorsports, Inc. has been transferred to Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, Inc. . Effective immediately, shares of Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, Inc. will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "DDE." Dover Motorsports, Inc. is a leading promoter of motorsports events in the United States. Its motorsports subsidiaries operate seven motorsports tracks (four permanent facilities and three temporary circuits) in six states and promote motorsports events under the auspices of four of the premier sanctioning bodies in motorsports -- NASCAR, CART, IRL and NHRA. The Company owns and operates Dover International Speedway in Dover, DE; the new Nashville Superspeedway near Nashville, TN; Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, MO; and Memphis Motorsports Park near Memphis, TN. It also organizes and promotes the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in California, the Grand Prix of Denver in Colorado and the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida. Dover Downs

4/7/02

Franchitti enters ranks of richest British sporting figures  Dario Franchitti has entered the ranks of Britain's leading sporting millionaires. Franchitti, 28, from Bathgate, who races cars on the CART circuit, came in joint sixth place of Britain's richest sportsmen under the age of 30 with an estimated worth of 10 million British Pounds. The racing driver, who married the Hollywood actress Ashley Judd at Skibo Castle in Dornoch last year, shared the spot with Tim Henman, the tennis player, and Robbie Fowler, the Leeds footballer. The Scotsman - United Kingdom

4/7/02

Rahal says Lauda's judgment day is nearing  Bobby Rahal thinks Niki Lauda's judgment day will come.  In an interview with the London Sunday Mirror, Rahal has spoken out about his eight-month term with the Jaguar F1, saying he was forced to leave the team in favor of Lauda who to this day still hasn't managed to get the team where it needs to be. Rahal believes that under his guidance the team was headed in the right direction despite Lauda's insistence that the American could not successfully run two teams, one in CART and one in Formula One. "Niki and I are very different people. Jaguar's upper management think he is the right man for the job - time will tell. Jaguar have cast their lot with him so the assumption is that they are prepared to be patient with him. We'll see at the end of the year” (i.e. whether Management is satisfied with the Jaguar teams results). “I think there was an improvement last year. Things were progressing. But I didn't have the confidence of Jaguar's upper management. I didn't want to leave. There's no way you can run a company single-handedly - you need able lieutenants and that's what I was trying to put in place. I don't miss the politics. There's much more of it in Formula One than there is in CART.''

4/7/02

Humpy Wheeler says NASCAR's future depends on non-whites  H. A. “Humpy” Wheeler, President and COO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI), said when he was recently informed of HRT’s new sponsorship and scheduled debut at Lowe's Motor Speedway, “The future growth of NASCAR will greatly depend on increasing diversity among our fans. Many NASCAR speedways are in heavily Hispanic markets; particularly Texas, Florida, California and Arizona. The HRT Team (see Hot News Item below) is greatly welcomed by us and we are so pleased with their sponsor”.

4/7/02
AMA Superbike

AMA Superbike rider killed in Fontana  AMA Superstock racer Ricky Lundgren, 40, of La Mesa, died from blunt force trauma to the head and chest following an on-track incident in the area of turn four on the 21-turn, 2.3 mile road course during qualifying for the AMA Superstock race yesterday afternoon. He was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 6:25 p.m.  It was a complete freak accident. Another rider lost his bike and the bike "Bounded" over the wall and hit the rider who was on another part of the circuit.  “California Speedway is deeply saddened by this news. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lundgren family, and our sincerest condolences go out to the entire racing community. We will observe a moment of silence during the invocation prior to today’s Superbike race”, stated Bill Miller, President of California Speedway.  Despite a wet weather delay, the 'Saturday' crowd was better than what the IRL/Grand-AM could produce. California Speedway

4/7/02

Roberto Guerrero lands Busch ride  HRT Motorsports is pleased and proud to announce CiclÓn International as their newly signed primary sponsor for their Busch Series No. 09 entry driven by Roberto Guerrero. CiclÓn International is headquartered in Panama City, Panama and is the producer and distributor of CiclÓn Energy Drink. HRT Motorsports, established in 1999 as the first NASCAR team with both Hispanic owners and Hispanic drivers, plans on running a limited schedule of 5 races in 2002 commencing in Charlotte for the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 on May 25, 2002, with full-time plans for the 2003 season and beyond. Other confirmed races in their 2002 schedule include the Hills Brothers Coffee 300 in Chicago on July 13, 2002 and the GNC Live Well 300 in Homestead on November 16,, 2002. Their remaining schedule will be confirmed and announced shortly, however, other potential races include: the Food City 250 in Bristol on August 23, 2002, the Aaron’s 312 in Atlanta on October 26, 2002, and the Arizona 200 in Phoenix on November 9, 2002. Regarding their newly signed sponsor, Mike Vazquez, Co-Owner of HRT Motorsports and Miami native, says, “We couldn’t be more pleased to be representing CiclÓn Energy Drink in the NASCAR circuit. Back in 1999 when Rudy and I formed HRT, we knew that HRT would be a valuable tool for companies who wanted to gain the support of both the Hispanic consumer and the great NASCAR fan. As a highly recognized company throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as with U.S. Hispanics, and now with distribution in the United States, CiclÓn Energy Drink fills that role perfectly.” Founded in 1996, produced in Austria and now headquartered in Panama City, Panama with sales and marketing in Puerto Rico, CiclÓn Energy Drink is fortified with vitamins C, B2, B6, and B12. CiclÓn Energy Drink launched in Puerto Rico last year and was No. 1 in its category within only seven months. CICLÓN thinks global and acts local in both their sales and marketing approach, making HRT Motorsports and NASCAR obvious partners www.ciclon.com   Established in 1999, HRT Motorsports is the first NASCAR race team which has both Hispanic owners and Hispanic drivers. HRT Motorsports leverages exposure on three continents for corporate branding through a physical racecar on the track, a "behind the scenes" Latin television broadcast and an unparalleled interactive database. HRT Motorsports maximizes their sponsors' demographic reach and fan-potential by enlisting two well-known auto-racing personalities within the Hispanic community, Roberto and, brother, Jaime Guerrero. Both drivers are joining forces for the first time, bringing their experience and dedicated fan base to America's speedways. www.hrtmotorsports.com  HRT

4/7/02

Ayrton Senna CD out  Established in 1994 by Senna's sister Viviane, six months after her brother's death, the Ayrton Senna Foundation works to give needy children and adults in Brazil a better future, picking up where Ayrton left off. A part of the proceeds from the sale of this CD will go towards funding this organization. This highly original CD illustrates Senna's life using popular music linked by quotes from both the man himself, and those who knew him. The accompanying book offers an added dimension, as it guides you through the contents of the CD, explaining the specific significance of each song and providing insight through others' views of Senna.  More...

4/6/02

Townsend Bell talks about Long Beach  Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Townsend Bell will be seeking his second consecutive victory on the streets of Long Beach, California at this year's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 12-14. Bell, who moved to southern California while in his early teens, will be making his third start and first in a champ car at Long Beach, which he considers his hometown race (he is from San Luis Obispo, California). "I really like the atmosphere at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It is a terrific event for the southern California community," Bell said. "Like any street circuit it is inherently bumpier than a permanent road course. That always presents some setup problems as you try to get the car to work properly over the bumps while trying to maintain overall balance. Another factor is Turn #1 at the start of the race. It is always tricky. It is very similar to Cleveland because it funnels down. You are going over 175 mph and it funnels from being three to four cars wide down to one to two wide, so that keeps everyone on their toes. This is a very important race for me. It is the home event for Toyota, which is the Visteon/Patrick Racing team's engine supplier and as a southern California resident I will have lots of friends and family attending. Hopefully I can continue to enjoy the success I had last year when I won the Indy Lights event," Bell concluded. Patrick Racing

4/6/02

Montreal transporter problem solved  Because Montreal is a fly-away race for the F1 circus, they never had to worry about room to park their team transporters at the picturesque Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve on an island in the St. Lawrence Seaway.  There is a big rowing basin just outside the back of the pit garages and there is not enough room to park the CART transporters there.  Click on the diagram at the right to see where they managed to fit them and where they are in relation to the pit lane and garages. Where they are located used to be an area for suites.  Needless to say, no more. MC

4/6/02

Automobile imports to double in 2002 in China  China is expected to import 100,000 to 200,000 vehicles this year, up from 72,000 last year, as the country slashes tariffs and raises import quotas as part of its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments.  That number will continue to increase each year, and all of a sudden CART and F1 engine manufacturers are going to start to stand up and take notice.  Sure companies can build a plant in China and sell all the cars they want (for example, Nissan Motor, Japan's third-largest vehicle maker, has just boosted its stake in a Chinese light-truck joint venture with Dongfeng Group to 30 per cent from 5 per cent), but now they will have more options thanks to letting China into the WTO MC

4/6/02

Is CART making a mistake?  We started a new poll (see at right) a few days ago to judge which race cars fans think sound the best.  Based on the results, it appears the high revving CART and F1 engines are the favorite.  So what is CART switching too?  The low-revving IRL engines that are not garnering many votes. CART sold its sole to the IRL by adopting its cars and engines and extending an olive branch to the IRL by saying we need to come together, only to find that its customers don't like them. And to throw salt in the wounds, now the IRL is putting the screws to the CART teams by saying they might restrict chassis manufacturers to only their series so CART teams will have to buy all new equipment in order to compete in the Indy 500. There's a bit of injustice somewhere in there.  MC

4/6/02

Barber Dodge Pro Series and the Reynard dilemma  The Skip Barber Dodge Pro Series, and some of their lower level formula, use strictly Reynard chassis'.  Now that Reynard is in receivership (bankruptcy) we wonder how they will be affected with regard to a steady flow of replacement parts as they are needed.  We think another company is going to buy Reynard (we think a Japanese group) and try to turn it around.  They have good people, good facilities and are a well-known name.  If the Japanese group wants to get into racing and avoid the steep learning curve, Reynard can be had for a discounted price right now.  MC

4/6/02

Paul Tracy tops last year's Indy 500 pole speed  In only his second day at the Indy Speedway since 1995, Paul Tracy ran laps faster than last years pole sitter, Scott Sharp, on Friday.  Tracy's fast lap was over 226.3 mph.  We expect qualifying speeds to approach 230 mph this year if the weather conditions are right.  It's getting close to the time to either reduce revs further or reduce engine displacement again. MC

4/6/02

Dear Mr. Penske  Dear AutoRacing1.com, I stumbled upon this open letter to Mr. Roger Penske written by Steven Levinson last July (Penske letter).  After seeing the IRL races at Fontana, Homestead and Phoenix, and seeing all those empty seats, his letter really hit the nail on the head, a must read for anyone with any common sense. CART is doing the right thing moving away from those big oval tracks with all those empty seats, and just because Roger made his move to the IRL to race on ISC tracks (he sits on the board and it is likely the real reason behind his move), doesn't mean they are going to sell any additional tickets.  Too bad Marlboro, who is paying Roger all that money as a sponsor, has to look up and see all those empty seats at the IRL races and scratch their heads wondering what they're doing there.  And I loved Emerson Fittipaldi's comments that Chris Pook was the Bernie Ecclestone of CART.  I think he's right, CART is finally in good hands.  Mordichai Rosen, LA, California

4/6/02

CART series update  CART Chief Orthopedic Consultant Dr. Terry Trammell was a guest of Formula One last weekend at the famed Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil to introduce the HANS Device to the drivers competing for the World Championship. By all accounts, Trammell's trip to Brazil was a success.  More...

4/6/02

Formula One team update  The BMW WilliamsF1 team began a three day test at Valencia in wet conditions on Tuesday where test drivers Marc Gene and Antonio Pizzonia shared an FW24 and an FW23C interim chassis, working on tire development programs with Michelin in addition to certain areas of engine software. "It rained all day and as a consequence we suffered plenty of red flags on the track", said test team manager Tim Newton. "Marc had a minor incident on his installation lap.  More...

4/6/02
Industry News

SMI shareholder sues NASCAR and TMS  UPDATE Bruton Smith is still pushing hard to land a second Winston Cup race at TMS.  He stated yesterday - "We've built a spectacular facility, in my honest opinion," Smith said. "I think we deserve another race."  The biggest issue Smith faces is the fact that there are 36 races that span 40 weeks. There simply is no room to add dates to an already exhausting slate. If TMS wants another race, it would need to get one from another track.  Good Luck..  2/20/02 - According to an AP report, a shareholder of the group that owns Texas Motor Speedway has filed suit against his own company and NASCAR because of the lack of a second Winston Cup race at the Fort Worth track.  Francis Ferko's lawsuit against Speedway Motorsports Inc. and NASCAR was filed Feb. 13 in the U.S. District Court in Sherman.  The 21-page lawsuit, which provides only one side of a legal argument, seeks to have NASCAR grant a second Winston Cup race to Texas Motor Speedway.  The suit accuses NASCAR of breach of contract and antitrust matters, claiming that NASCAR promised SMI a second race date for Texas Motor Speedway, but reneged on the promise and instead granted races to tracks owned by International Speedway Corporation, which is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. The France family that owns NASCAR has a controlling interest in ISC.  Hmm...antitrust matters.  Is Ferko accusing NASCAR of acting like a monopoly?  Sure sounds like it given the France family controls ISC and ISC tracks seem to get favoritism as far as getting race dates.  Sounds like this investor thinks he has lost share value because TMS didn't get another Cup date when new ISC tracks did.  He'll probably use the argument of the ISC lawsuit to stop the race in downtown Miami as another example of NASCAR throwing their weight around, i.e. acting like a monopoly.

4/6/02

IRL moves to discourage teams running in both CART & IRL, will Lola sue for restraint of trade?  UPDATE Judging by the feedback AR1 has received and discussions on our forums, what the IRL is trying to do by dictating how many series a manufacturer can sell product in, they have managed to really piss off what few fans they had left.   4/4/02 - According to this article on RPM.ESPN.com, the IRL is not going to allow any chassis manufacturer who supplies chassis' to CART to be a supplier in the IRL starting next year.  That means a team must buy totally different cars to compete in both series.  Once again CART has extended an olive branch to try to bring the two series together by adopting similar engine and chassis rules (remember they have been rebuffed before in no uncertain terms) and this is the latest example of where the IRL wants no part of it.  While they claim they are doing it to limit the number of manufacturers so everyone can make a profit (we agree with that part), to throw in a stipulation that you can't supply two series, highlights their real motive.  IRL spokesperson Fred Nation danced around that question and left the door partially open, but if indeed it comes to pass that the door is slammed shut, one would think Mr. Pook and the rest of the CART community will say, "enough is enough, no more olive branches, this is all-out war." Now they limit chassis' to one series, will engines be next? Will Toyota be forced to supply engines just to the IRL? The irony of it all is that CART risked throwing away its 30+ years heritage of turbo engines and clean slick chassis profile (no hideous bulky engine airbox), for that of IRL-like cars.  Now the teams will have to buy all new cars for Indy anyway, which is how it is now, so why bother to have changed? How does the old saying go?  "Shaft me once, shame on you; shaft me twice, shame on me." In this June 1999 article, we stated "CART owners and management have been banging their heads against the wall for two years trying to convince Tony George to unify Indy Car racing into one series. It is quite evident that Tony does not want to make any compromises that would be necessary to bring CART and the IRL together under one roof."  It's now two years later and we are back to where we started. And in closing, will Lola sue for restraint of trade after spending $750K to gear up for the IRL. MC

4/5/02

CART ladder series update  This CART ladder series update brings you the latest happenings in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, Barber Dodge Pro Series, Formula Dodge National Championship and Stars of Tomorrow.  Story

4/5/02

Sweden to broadcast 17 CART races lives  UPDATE The channel that just announced their contract will show 17 of 19 races live on SVT-Extra (also known as SVT-24). that is shown in 1.3 million homes, and is available with a digital box. On Eurosport.se (Eurosport in Sweden), it shows that they will be showing the Long Beach race on April 14th. No time is available. 4/2/02 - As CART's international TV package takes shape, we are picking up bits and pieces.  This article (in Swedish) talks about the deal that was recently done.  The station reaches the vast majority of homes in Sweden where Kenny Brack is a local hero.

4/5/02

Infiniti Pro Series website debuts   Race fans eager for information about the Indy Racing League stars of tomorrow now can visit the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series Web site, which was launched April 5 to provide fans with information about the new development series. All the latest Infiniti Pro Series information is accessible via www.indyracing.com, the official World Wide Web site of the Indy Racing League. In addition to Infiniti Pro Series news, photos, driver, team and sponsor information, schedules, track information and event broadcasts, users will have access to special features, including:  1) Calendar and event tabs accompanying the lead story on the site, giving readers easier access to Infiniti Pro Series event information. 2) Live Timing and Scoring from all events, providing statistical information, including track segment speeds, lap information and much more. Live Timing and Scoring is a free service to all users. 3) Mobile updates. Users can receive daily Infiniti Pro Series information updates to their mobile devices, such as personal digital assistants and mobile phones, for free after completing a quick registration at www.indyracing.com

4/5/02

Nazareth snowed out (again)   CART had one of its Nazareth races snowed out.  Snow flurries and cold temperatures forced the cancellation of the second day of the Indy Racing League Open Test on April 5 at Nazareth Speedway. There was no track activity during the day, as air temperatures in the 30's and low track temperatures during the morning prevented Indy Racing League drivers from turning any laps on the 1-mile oval. Indy Racing League Vice President of Operations Brian Barnhart canceled the day's activity after a brief snow squall at approximately 12:45 p.m. (EST). Teams will return to their respective shops to continue preparations for the Firestone Indy 225 on April 21, the inaugural Indy Racing League event at Nazareth Speedway.

4/5/02

Comparing CART and F1 ticket prices for Montreal  
Ticket Option Formula One CART
Gold 3days $415 Canadian $245 Canadian
Silver 3days $340 $195
Bronze 3 days $185 $110
General Admission 3 days $75 $75
General Admission Tickets by day Sunday $50, Saturday $35 Friday $20 Canadian Both Series

4/5/02

Panoz Driver Lineup  Panoz Motor Sports founder Don Panoz believes his team's 2002 driver line-up for this year's Le Mans 24 Hour will be one of the strongest he has ever assembled. Panoz today announced the #11 machine will be driven by David Brabham, Jan Magnussen and Bryan Herta at Le Mans, while David Donohue, Gunnar Jeannette and Bill Auberlen (pictured right) will contest the race aboard car #12. "I am very excited about our line-up for this year because we have a fantastic blend of speed and experience," Panoz said. "Audi will obviously be very tough, but the team is working very hard in the preparation for the race and all the drivers are extremely keen to do well. "David, Jan and Bryan should make a fantastic combination and I am also very pleased to take an all-American trio to Le Mans in the #12 car as well. "It will be Gunnar's first Le Mans in a prototype but David Donohue and Bill Auberlen have a lot of experience and the three of them should combine well. Gunnar is the youngest driver to ever finish the 24 Hour and his podium finish in GT last year was very impressive. "It will be great to see the three of them wave the flag in one of the 'Spirit of America' machines." Panoz

4/5/02

Spencer announces new Busch Series deal  Today at the Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR veteran Jimmy Spencer and Spencer Motor Ventures unveiled a new Busch Series car to be driven by rookie Stuart Kirby. The #34 Chevrolet is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force and emblazoned with an anti-drug message, as Kirby joins Spencer in being part of the White House Office Of National Drug Control Policy’s National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. Kirby, a 20-year old from Bowling Green, Kentucky began racing go-karts at the age of eleven. After being ranked # 1 in the world in the World Karting Association, Kirby started racing stock cars in Tennessee at the age of 16. Kirby competed in the Late Model division at the Nashville Speedway finishing second in the Rookie-of-the-Year honors at age 17. In 2001, Kirby entered his first-ever ARCA race at the Daytona International Speedway, where he qualified fourth and finished fifth. Kirby went on that season to compete in eight ARCA races, posting five top-5 finishes, winning two poles and completing 94% of the laps. Kirby’s most notable performance was his first-ever NASCAR Winston Cup event in Charlotte last October where he qualified 22nd. “The thing I like about Stuart Kirby is he listens and learns,” Spencer said. “When we were testing at Charlotte last October, I gave him some pointers on how to drive the track. He went out and did exactly what I told him, and that impressed me. That’s one of the reasons I hired him, and I think Stuart is a natural.” “With the team we’ve put together, I think this kid is going to run upfront and win races,” Spencer added.

4/5/02

Sale of Miller Brewery may bring Miller back to CART  –This article talks about the pending sale of Miller Brewery by Philip Morris to South African Breweries PLC (SAB).  SAB recently moved into markets like China, where it is the largest foreign brewer; China leads the world in beer consumption, which is still growing there at 6 percent to 7 percent annually.....as CART continues to examine Shanghai.  With the sale, will SAB push Miller in more overseas markets?  Does CART all of a sudden make a whole lot more sense?

4/5/02
Fran-Am

Watkins Glen and Las Vegas added to schedule  – Fran-Am Sport today announced that the Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship Series has landed a date at Watkins Glen International in conjunction with the Grand American Sports Car Grand Prix weekend on June 21-23. In addition, the Fran-Am 2000 series will join with the Fran-Am 1600 NASA weekend in Las Vegas on October 27. "Watkins Glen has such a rich history of racing, and we are proud to join with the Grand-Am series for this great weekend," said Arden Weatherford, Fran-Am Sport's Director of Operations. "We've also finalized a double-header event in Las Vegas, featuring the Fran-Am 2000 as well as the Fran-Am 1600 series. We feel that we've assembled a schedule with a solid mix of events, and look forward to locking in more dates in the next couple of weeks." Other official race dates confirmed so far for the 2002 Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship include the Molson Indy Vancouver on Saturday, July 27, CASCAR at Mosport on June 16 as well as at Calgary's Race City on July 21, Mid-America Motorplex on September 8, and the series finale at Firebird International Raceway on December 1.  Fran-Am

4/4/02

ALMS and Eurosport sign multi-year deal  – The American Le Mans Series and Eurosport have signed a multi-year agreement that will continue the relationship between the sports car endurance racing series and the most-distributed television channel in Europe. American Le Mans Series racing will lead Eurosport's three-hour "American Zone" motorsports programming on 10 Sunday nights as part of Eurosport's Super Racing Weekends. The 10 rounds of the ALMS will be presented in a one-hour highlights format beginning at 20:00 (Central European Time). NASCAR and Indy Racing League action will follow the ALMS broadcasts on the Sunday nights, which will be one week after ALMS events. American Le Mans Series racing has appeared on Eurosport since the formation of the series in 1999.  ALMS

4/4/02

Pook named Grand Marshal for Long Beach  – Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) President and CEO Christopher R. Pook, who created the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 28 years ago, will return to the race this year as its Grand Marshal. Pook, 61, left the Grand Prix Association last December and has been charged with the task of transforming the 23-year-old race sanctioning body into a 21st-century organization. "There couldn't have been a better choice," said Jim Michaelian, who replaced Pook as president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. "Chris' immense contribution to the success of the TGPLB is well known, and what a better time to recognize these efforts than to honor him on his first return to Long Beach in his role as CART President and CEO. But I promised him that we wouldn't take up too much of his time on the weekend so he can tend to his numerous CART duties. I'm sure all the fans will join with me in welcoming him back to Long Beach." "I'm deeply honored to be the Grand Marshal of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach," said Pook. "It is with a great deal of personal and professional pride that I return home to Long Beach in my new capacity as President and CEO. To be able to serve as Grand Marshal for a race that means so much to me is truly special." Pook will take part in the pre-race ceremonies on Sunday at the Grand Prix, which will get underway at approximately 11:30 a.m. The green flag drops on the 90-lap race at approximately 12:45 p.m.  GPALB

4/4/02

Rain forecast for Sunday – Our recent article by Pete McCole, In the Fast Lane at Texas - may by moot. The local forecasters are all but guaranteeing rain and storms on Saturday night and Sunday in Forth Worth.

4/4/02

More Indy 500 entries   Two-time Indy Racing League champion Team Menard filed two entries for the 86th Indianapolis 500, fielding cars for IRL standout Jaques Lazier and NASCAR Winston Cup star Robby Gordon. Team Coulson Racing also filed an entry for 1996 Indianapolis 500 runner-up Davy Jones. Entries for the 86th Indianapolis 500 must have been postmarked by April 3. Additional entries are expected to arrive at the Indy Racing League office in the next few days. The tally is now 34 drivers and 76 cars entered.

4/4/02

Castroneves fastest in first Nazareth test  2001 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves posted the fastest lap of the first day of the Indy Racing League Open Test at Nazareth Speedway, 19.4556 seconds, 172.824 mph, with less than 30 minutes remaining in the afternoon session April 4. Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, took the top spot from Jaques Lazier, who ended up second at 19.5116, 172.328 in the No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Thirteen drivers turned a total of 1,932 laps in preparation for the Firestone Indy 225 on April 21, the first Indy Racing League event at Nazareth. Castroneves, in his first full season of IRL competition, has made six prior starts on the tricky 1-mile oval at Nazareth in CART and Indy Lights. That experience helped during the first day of this two-day test, which took place in air temperatures in the 40's. "We learned a lot over here with the new equipment," Castroneves said. "In terms of the first time here with this car, I was very happy. It was pretty much the way I was expecting. The track temperature, it's very low. On the race weekend, it may be totally different, but so far with the conditions that we had, the car seems very solid."  Jeff Ward and Laurent Redon also will not participate in the second day of testing, which starts at 9 a.m. (EST) Friday. Ward and Chip Ganassi Racing completed their test tasks in one day, and Redon's No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone was damaged during an accident in the afternoon. Redon hit the outside wall exiting Turn 4 but was unhurt.

1., 3, Helio Castroneves, 19.4556 sec., 172.824 MPH
2., 2, Jaques Lazier, 19.5116, 172.328
3., 4, Sam Hornish Jr., 19.6718, 170.925
4., 8, Scott Sharp, 19.6770, 170.880
5., 52, Eddie Cheever Jr., 19.7805, 169.986
6., 34, Laurent Redon, 19.7926, 169.882
7., 6, Gil de Ferran, 19.8251, 169.603
8., 9, Jeff Ward, 19.8292, 169.568
9., 21, Felipe Giaffone, 19.9355, 168.664
10., 44, Alex Barron, 19.9752, 168.329
11., 91, Buddy Lazier, 19.9998, 168.122
12., 7, Al Unser Jr., 20.6802, 162.590
13., 12, Shigeaki Hattori, 23.0087, 146.136 IRL

4/4/02

Skip Barber to support safety  – Skip Barber LLC, through its Dodge/Skip Barber Driving School property, will join the National Road Safety Foundation to stage a major driving demonstration for an audience of traffic safety advocates gathered for the New York Auto Show's World Traffic Safety Symposium. The New York Auto Show is hosting the Safety Symposium in concert with the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. The event expects to draw over 150 safety professionals from around the United States. The Dodge/Skip Barber Driving School will throw its considerable weight and credibility to the area of driver safety to advocate higher standards of driver proficiency through greater driver training and awareness. Utilizing the core competencies of three instructors and two Dodge production vehicles, the Driving School will demonstrate the following driving proficiencies: ABS vs. non-ABS braking techniques; how to handle an emergency lane change and elements of skidding and skid recovery. The demonstrations will use the Dodge Neon and Dodge Viper and be coordinated by Brett Roubinek, Managing Director of Instructors for Skip Barber, LLC. "Skip Barber has been at the forefront of improving the quality of racing drivers for over 25 years and road drivers for over 10," said Roubinek. He continued," We are pleased to contribute our skills and resources to the World Traffic Safety Symposium in its efforts to raise awareness on these critical issues.".  Skip Barber

4/4/02

Got Milk?  – The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is getting extreme in 2002 as the in-line skaters, skateboarders and BMX bikers of the got milk? Gravity Tour prepare to perform at the Auto Club Lifestyle Expo throughout the April 12-14 race weekend. The got milk? Gravity Tour will be one of the featured activities at the Auto Club Lifestyle Expo, free to all race attendees, which highlights the latest high-tech products and services in automotive, travel, entertainment, electronics, recreation, food, home and garden and fitness. “The Auto Club Lifestyle Expo is the perfect fit for our eye-catching tour,” said Denis Collins, tour manager of the got milk? Gravity Tour. “We are excited to launch our fifth season at this year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. We are the nation’s largest traveling extreme sports event and what better way to kick things off than with an appearance at California’s greatest motor racing spectacle?” The got milk? Gravity Tour team performs demonstrations on a u-shaped ramp known as a vertical half-pipe. With three fully choreographed performances each day, the got milk? Gravity Tour is designed to be similar to the popular X-Games in format. Among the top athletes performing with the team are John Parker, legendary BMX stunt rider; Chris Gentry, veteran X-Game skateboard competitor; Jim Burgess, veteran BMX stunt rider, and Mark “Turtle” Rich, retired in-line pro skater.  GPALB

4/4/02

Unser named Grand Marshall  – Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser will serve as grand marshal for the Firestone Indy 225 on April 21 at Nazareth Speedway, Firestone Racing and Nazareth Speedway officials announced April 4. "When we asked Al to serve as grand marshal for the Indy Racing League event here later this month, he told us he won his first championship race at Nazareth in 1968," said Al Speyer, Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports executive director. "Al told us that win came on Firestone tires, so being grand marshal at a Firestone-sponsored event 24 years later at Nazareth is very special to him. His service as grand marshal will add more excitement to an event that is already shaping up to be an amazing race."

4/4/02

Irvan named Grand Marshal  – Watkins Glen International President Craig Rust announced today that Ernie Irvan will serve as special guest of the track and Grand Marshal for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race August 8-11. Irvan, winner of the 1991 Winston Cup and 1992 Busch Series races at The Glen, will commemorate the 10-year anniversary of his consecutive wins by proclaiming, "Drivers, start your engines," to this year's NASCAR Winston Cup field on August 11. A schedule of appearances will be released closer to the event weekend. "Ernie Irvan has left his mark on the sport of NASCAR and in the record books at Watkins Glen," said Rust. "We are pleased to welcome him back to The Glen, the site of his last NASCAR Winston Cup race, as well as the place where he won two NASCAR races in 1991 and 1992."

4/4/02

CART and Racing Radios renew deal  – Officials from Racing Radios and Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (CART) announced today that Racing Radios has signed on for its 12th season as the "Official Two-Way Communication Service" for the auto racing sanctioning body. "Racing is our business," said Chris Thornton, president of Racing Radios. "Clearly, CART provides us with an environment to showcase our technology and expertise, as well as an opportunity to conduct business with our clients-the race teams. The worldwide nature of the CART FedEx Championship Series schedule presents some unique challenges for our company, because you can't just show up in Japan, Australia, Germany, or England and just turn your radio on. But we have been able to build good relationships with the government officials in those countries, which I believe has made Racing Radios even stronger. The CART and Racing Radios partnership makes perfect sense, because CART needs an expert radio communications management service that can perform around the world, and Racing Radios needs a partner that provides a first rate auto racing product and strong race teams, which is CART's biggest strength." Racing Radios provides system maintenance for the Motorola two-way radio equipment used by CART's racing officials, doctors, Simple Green CART Safety Team members, and executives, as well as providing CART race control with the ability to communicate with teams and the CART Pace Car team. The company is essential to the communication efforts of CART and other auto racing sanctioning bodies, as well as many top teams in various different forms of auto racing. "Simply put, without Racing Radios, we can't communicate at the race track," said CART Vice President of Marketing Steve Fusek. "The ability to communicate is critical to our ability to put on safe and entertaining events, and the service provided to CART and its teams by Racing Radios over the years has been nothing short of stellar. Each of our international events has a unique radio frequency system and stringent government regulations, which Racing Radios handles on behalf of CART. We can count on them to sort out any issues that may arise and we know that their system will work flawlessly."

4/4/02

British GP sold out  – All 60,000 tickets for the 2002 British Grand Prix at Silverstone are sold out for race day. Race promoters Octagon Motorsports were forced to reduce capacity to 60,000 to improve traffic congestion. If you don't yet have a ticket, your best bet is a qualifying ticket for Saturday.

4/4/02

NASCAR considering Pay-Per-View  – Much like Formula One, according to Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Journal, NASCAR could launch a multi-channel pay-per-view package soon. Apparently several legal issues still need to be worked out with FOX and NBC. The package, which would be provided by iN DEMAND, would allow users access to eight channels of coverage, most of them in-car cameras. The report says the package would include every Winston Cup race and the total cost for the season would be in line with the NFL Sunday Ticket package, which sells for $169 US. iN DEMAND provides television premieres of movies, the NBA, MLB, NHL, college basketball, as well as championship boxing, wrestling and exclusive originals on a pay-per-view basis.

4/4/02

Jon Vannini to compete in 24 Hours of Le Mans  – The car pictured to the right (photo courtesy of Barton Workman) is none other than CART stockholder and CART Barber Dodge driver Jon Vannini at this years 12 Hours of Sebring in his Ferrari Modena 360.  Vannini will drive for the same team in this years 24 Hours of Le Mans.

4/3/02

Bace Motorsports aligns with Andy Petree Racing  – BACE Motorsports and Andy Petree Racing, Inc. announced this week the formation of a strategic alliance in conjunction with BACE Motorsports’ NASCAR Winston Cup debut with driver Chad Little. BACE Motorsports will field the No. 74 Chevrolet Monte Carlo in up to 15 Winston Cup events during the 2002 season with engines and chassis supplied by Andy Petree Racing (APR). Additionally, the alliance includes the continuous sharing of information between the No. 74 Team and Andy Petree Racing’s current Winston Cup entry, the No. 55 Chevrolet Monte Carlo piloted by Bobby Hamilton. The two teams will work together to exchange technical information learned on and off track in efforts to increase their collective performance. Both teams feel the information sharing is an integral part of the partnership. “I’m excited we are aligning ourselves with a proven Winston Cup Team,” Chad Little, driver of the No. 74 Chevrolet Monte Carlo said. “The support that we will receive by entering into a relationship with Andy Petree Racing is invaluable in helping us to bridge gaps technically. We will now have access to information that would have initially taken our new team a great deal of time to gather. This partnership positions us ahead of the learning curve with proven cars that have won poles and races. In turn, we are able to assist Andy Petree Racing and the No. 55 by sharing the information we learn with them, the same as a multi-car team would do. By compiling our resources it helps both teams to capitalize on opportunities to run successfully.” Bace

4/3/02

Chevrolet signs Trans-Am sponsorship  General Motors and the Trans-Am Series have reached an agreement that makes GM’s Chevrolet Division a contingency sponsor at all 12 events during the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup season. Under terms of the agreement, Chevrolet will provide $20,000 to any Corvette driver who wins a 2002 Trans-Am event, provided that the winning Corvette carries the “new style” bodywork introduced last year, and displays the appropriate General Motors, Chevrolet or Corvette signage and graphics package. The agreement could result in a contribution from General Motors of up to $240,000 during the 2002 Trans-Am season, which opens with the April 14 Johnson Controls 100 on the streets of Long Beach, Calif. “Chevrolet is, far and away, the winningest marque in the 36-year-history of the Trans-Am Series,” said Dennis Huth, Trans-Am president, noting Chevrolet’s 152 race victories, to 101 for runner-up Ford, as well as Chevy’s 16 Trans-Am Manufacturers’ Championships. “The success and support they have given us in the past will continue in 2002, thanks to this generous contingency program. “Given their success with us over the years, we expect that our friends at Chevrolet will be making a substantial contribution to Trans-Am race purses on behalf of Corvette drivers during the coming season,” Huth added.

4/3/02

More Indy 500 entries filed  Four of the heavyweight teams of recent Indianapolis 500-Mile Races - A.J. Foyt Jr. Enterprises, Chip Ganassi Racing, Penske Racing and Red Bull Cheever Racing - were among the six teams that combined to file 12 entries April 3 for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Past Indianapolis 500 winners Kenny Brack, Helio Castroneves and Eddie Cheever Jr. were named as drivers on three of those entries. The rush of entries came on the deadline date by which entries must be postmarked for the 86th Indianapolis 500. Additional entries are expected to arrive at the Indy Racing League office in the next few days. All drivers will compete for one of the 33 starting spots in the world's most prestigious auto race May 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  DRIVERS (31) Former race winners (6): Arie Luyendyk, 2 (1990, 1997); Al Unser Jr., 2 (1992, 1994); Buddy Lazier (1996); Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998); Kenny Brack (1999); Helio Castroneves (2001). Former pole winners (4): Arie Luyendyk, 3 (1993, 1997, 1999); Al Unser Jr., 1 (1994); Billy Boat, 1 (1998); Scott Sharp, 1 (2001). Rookies (10): Alex Barron, John de Vries, Dario Franchitti, Shigeaki Hattori, Hideki Noda, Tony Kanaan, Anthony Lazzaro, Laurent Redon, Tomas Scheckter, Rick Treadway. U.S. born (15): Michael Andretti, Alex Barron, Billy Boat, Robbie Buhl, Eddie Cheever Jr., John de Vries, Jon Herb, Sam Hornish Jr., Buddy Lazier, Anthony Lazzaro, Robby McGehee, Scott Sharp, Rick Treadway, Al Unser Jr., Jimmy Vasser. Foreign born (16): Kenny Brack, Sweden; Helio Castroneves, Brazil; Airton Dare, Brazil; Gil de Ferran, France; Dario Franchitti, Scotland; Felipe Giaffone, Brazil; Shigeaki Hattori, Japan; Bruno Junqueira, Brazil; Tony Kanaan, Brazil; Arie Luyendyk, Netherlands; Hideki Noda, Japan; Laurent Redon, France; Eliseo Salazar, Chile; Tomas Scheckter, South Africa; Paul Tracy, Canada; Jeff Ward, Scotland. CARS (70) Chassis: Dallara 53, G Force 17. Engines: Chevrolet 58, Infiniti 12.

4/3/02

Indy track gets even smoother  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway's asphalt oval surface was made smoother in early March in a process called "diamond-grinding." The process grinds and eliminates bumps in the asphalt, smoothing the track. The current 2.5-mile oval asphalt surface has been in place since the fall of 1995, the last time the Speedway was paved. "Over time, asphalt pavements degrade and crack," said Kevin Forbes, director of engineering and construction for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "The cracks allow water to infiltrate, and in the wintertime it freezes and expands. This creates some slight upheavals, some slight vertical movement of the pavement itself, and over time these movements become magnified, resulting simply in a rough surface. For the standard highway this is typically acceptable, but for racing surfaces it is unacceptable." This is the first time that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's surface has been ground to smooth the surface. The entire 2.5-mile oval was ground. "Historically, there has been typically only one way to alleviate this condition, and that is to simply repave the track at great expense," Forbes said. "It also takes a great deal of time. We anticipate that this process will cure the problem for two to three years before we have to repave the entire surface again." Forbes indicated the smoother surface will improve grip for race cars because the smoother surface eliminates cars bottoming out and disrupting the downforce generated by ground effects. With the grinding of the asphalt, small to medium grooves or channels are added to the texture of the track, increasing the coefficient of friction between the tires and the track surface and resulting in better grip. "We are also hoping, that by adding a series of very small channels in the racetrack, that if and when a car blows its engine and the resulting oil spill gets between the tire and the track, we are hoping that it will somewhat channel that oil, and cars that might have otherwise lost control may possibly be able to retain control after a blown engine," Forbes said. Speedway officials indicated they received positive feedback regarding the surface from Team Green drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy, who were the first drivers on the new surface during the first day of spring testing April 3 at the Speedway. Other improvements made to the facility this spring include new concrete between the Tower Terrance grandstands and the inner pit wall, north of the start/finish line. Restrooms are being renovated in the Paddock Grandstand, and sidewalks are being reconfigured just inside of Gate 1 for fans as they approach the Speedway's main gate. Landscape work also is being done just inside of Gate 9 near Turn 4. The Southwest Vista grandstands were dismantled so the steel could be regalvanized. The stands now are being reassembled, with no seats added or removed. The driver motorhome lot in the infield near the garage area is also being renovated. "Most of the work is routine," Forbes said. "We are always thinking of ways to improve the facility for everyone, from the drivers to the fans." IMS

4/3/02

ChampCar F6000 news   The ChampCar F6000 Racing Series, a new open-wheel series created in the fall of 2001, has several new developments to announce for it's upcoming 2002 season. The series was initiated after the Indy Lights Series folded at the end of the 2001 season. ChampCar F6000 will utilize the '97 Lola chassis as used in the Indy Lights Series. The announcements involve engines, chassis and schedule. The spec engine for the '97 Lola chassis will be the same 420 HP V6 engine that was used in the Indy Lights Series. They are available for purchase at a cost of $20,000 US from George's Speed Shop in Dayton, Ohio. George's Speed Shop will also provide rebuild services and at-track support services. Lee Abrahamson, President of ChampCar F6000 commented that, "It made sense to go with the V6 and with George's Speed Shop. It provides an easy transition for existing Indy Lights teams and they will have the engine support that they are accustomed to." The series has opened up the chassis specs to include the '94 Indy Lights chassis as used in Mexico by La Fórmula de las Américas. In early March, Lee Abrahamson visited series organizers in Monterrey, Mexico and was impressed with what he saw. "The series is a very professional organization, both in terms of staff and facilities", he noted. The visit was an initial planning session with Jose Luis Villasenor, Series Promoter and César Jiménez, driver and team owner. In late March Villasenor and Jiménez returned the visit by traveling to Ontario for more meetings with Abrahamson. César Jiménez, a well known driver in Mexico, stated "I'm looking forward to running on some of the world famous tracks like Mosport, St Jovite, Lime Rock and Watkins Glen that this new series covers". In addition to cars, the organizers of La Fórmula de las Américas will be bringing their television production crew and hospitality trailer. All rounds of the 3 championships will be shown on Fox Sports in the USA. Teams using the '94 Indy Lights chassis have the option of using the V6 or using their existing V8. The 2002 ChampCar F6000 season will consist of 3 different championships. The first is the Am-Can Championship comprising 8 events in Canada and the U.S. The second will be the 5 event Winter Series contested at Mexican circuits. The third series is the Formula of the Americas. This series consists of select events from the Am-Can Championship and Winter Series including two events from Canada, three from the United States and four from Mexico. To see the complete schedule of all 3 championships visit the ChampCar F6000 website at www.champcarf6000.com. Abrahamson commented on the value of ChampCar F6000, "For about $250,000 US a driver can compete in a thirteen race series at top quality circuits, in a carbon composite monocoque chassis powered by a 420 HP engine. That represents a great driver development opportunity and incredible value for the money". All with an excellent TV package, prize money and hospitality. The inaugural event for the ChampCar F6000 Series is June 2 at Shannonville Motorsport Park in Ontario, Canada.

4/3/02
FRAN-AM

Fran-Am series announces another venue  Fran-Am Sport today announced that the Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship Series will run at the CASCAR Mopar Parts 300 weekend at Race City Motorsport Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on Sunday, July 21. The Fran-Am championship race will take place on Race City's 2.0-mile road course. "We're truly excited about adding this event to our 2002 schedule," said Andrew Field, President of Fran-Am Canada. "CASCAR and Race City have always been a pleasure to work with, and this race will be another terrific event. It also sets our teams up with a logical route to the Molson Indy Vancouver for the following weekend."  Fran-Am

4/3/02

Davy Jones hired to drive in Indy 500  UPDATE A reader writes - 1997 was not the last time Davy Jones was in a race car. In 1999, he competed in the 12 Hours of Sebring for Porsche in the GT2 class. They ran as high as third before mechanical problems took the team out of the race. Also, in 2000, Jones tried to qualify for the Indy 500. Unfortunately, his team (Coulson) had 1999 equipment prepared by Simon and could not make the show. But, given what he had, he did an impressive job. He also had to go through on track tests monitored by Brian Barnhardt to show that his skills were up to snuff, and he passed. Yes, 1996 was the last year Davy drove full-time. However, he is keeping busy with a karting center http://www.kartzone.net , and races on a regular basis there. Another reader writes - if this is Corey Coulson of years past, his claim to fame was bringing the defunct Northern Lights to the IRL and for trying to sell sponsorship for his team on eBay years ago.  4/2/02 - According to an AP report today, Davy Jones says he has been hired to drive for Team Colson at the Indianapolis 500. "It's huge," Jones told Houston television station KRIV on Tuesday. "It's a great opportunity. When you're at the top of your game and you have the best surroundings with the top team, and you get injured and sidelined for about a year and a half and get back into the sport, it's difficult."  Jones suffered a very serious neck injury against one of those merciless concrete walls during an IRL race in 1997 and has been out of racing ever since.  Last we saw him he also appeared to be having some trouble with his speech.

4/3/02

New crew chief for #88  Effective immediately, Jimmy Elledge has resigned as crew chief of the No. 88 UPS Ford. While still a Robert Yates Racing employee, Elledge has been given permission to seek other opportunities. The team has confirmed that Todd Parrott will be resume his role as crew chief for Dale Jarrett and the Robert Yates Racing entry. While it has not been announced, Elledge is expected to join Ray Evernham's Dodge operation as crew chief for Casey Atwood and the Jimmy Smith owned team.

4/3/02

Ganassi announces Indy 500 lineup  Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced today their intentions to compete in the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500. Over the last two races at the Indianapolis 500, the team has recorded one victory and scored five top-10 finishes. The lineup for this year’s team include Kenny Brack, the winner of the 1999 Indianapolis 500, full-time Chip Ganassi Racing IRL driver Jeff Ward and Bruno Junqueira, who finished fifth in his first Indy 500 last year and In 2001, Team Target qualified four cars for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, placing three of the cars in the top 6 finishing positions. Jimmy Vasser finished fourth, Junqueira placed fifth and Tony Stewart came home in sixth after leading 13 laps. This year, the goals are set much higher: To win the race for the second time in three years. Although former Team Target driver Tony Stewart is not returning for the 2002 Indy 500, the team is confident that Target Chip Ganassi Racing can return to victory lane on May 26. Team owner Chip Ganassi feels that his stable of drivers has the ingredients for a winning recipe this year. TCGR

4/3/02

Heitzler files another lawsuit   UPDATE This 2nd lawsuit story that we broke yesterday was missed by the majority of the media.  We failed to add that 1) The suit was for $20 million for defamation of character, 2) one of the things Heitzler is charging is use of his social security number without his knowledge to hire detectives to search his background.  Apparently these detectives must have found evidence which led to Heitzler's immediate dismissal.  Typically if an employee is found to have lied on their resume, it's grounds for immediate dismissal with any severance pay (in the first lawsuit Heitzler wants the $2 million he feels he has coming to him).  Perhaps that is why Heitzler was suddenly removed from the position of Chairman of the Board as well. This all should get pretty ugly before it's all over.  4/2/02 - Here is a summary excerpt from the LA-based Courthouse News Service regarding a complaint filed by Joe Heitzler on 4/1/01 in federal court in Los Angeles: Joseph Heitzler v. U.E. "Pat" Patrick, Carl Haas et al., 4/01 CV02-2673 RSWL. Complaint for defamation, slander. From the inception of Heitzler's position as President and Chief Executive Officer of Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc., defendants have attempted to sabotage his position, including causing the widespread publication of alarming misrepresentations about Heitzler's integrity. This appears to be a separate complaint from the breach of contract and fraud claims filed last week by Heitzler in state court (LA County Superior Court). The federal action alleges libel and slander against CART directors Haas, Patrick, and others.

4/3/02

Jordan sponsor pulls plug, wants to be a winner  UPDATE The Jordan team stated today that Infineon had not left the team as a sponsor, but had significantly reduced their effort.  4/1/02 -  Daily F1 is reporting that a sponsor of the Jordan team has reportedly withdrawn its backing of the outfit because the company feels it is getting the tag of a “loser” by being associated with an under-performing team. Infineon, the German semiconductor maker with stock market listings on the Frankfurt DAX and NYSE that had supported the team in a reputed $7 million a year branding deal, said it was unsatisfied with Jordan fighting for places in the midfield and not making apparent progress towards the top of the grid. ‘In a tough time it's not good to have the image of a loser,’ Infineon’s sponsorship chief Brigit Fischer-Harrow said. ‘It's no good fighting for places five and six.’  We don't know if this is a bad April Fools joke, or real yet.  If it is true, it's the same scenario Honda and Jaguar (Ford) are facing in F1.  Whereas as they get their fair share of wins in CART and could advertise they were winners, in F1 they are sinking all that money down a deep money pit and only get one return - the image of that of a loser.  Do you realize what Infineon can get with that $7 million per year?  Primary sponsorship of Champ Car plus the title sponsor of CART's German race.  Hmm....

4/3/02

Scalpers beware at TMS  Fans planning to sell race tickets on speedway property this week may find themselves in hot water. A Fort Worth City ordinance makes it illegal for race tickets to be re-sold on speedway grounds. "Sometimes fans buy extra tickets with the intention of reselling them," said speedway manager Eddie Gossage. "We can't stop them from doing that elsewhere, but on the speedway grounds -- which is Fort Worth property -- it's illegal. The Fort Worth Police Department will certainly have a presence here this week and are well aware of this ordinance." Those who are caught re-selling tickets on speedway grounds will be subject to a fine and confiscation of tickets. The race in NOT soldout. TMS

4/3/02

Nazareth testing up next  The Indy Racing League Open Test at Nazareth Speedway takes place April 4-5. Testing starts both days at 9 a.m. (EST) and continues until a lunch break at noon. Testing then will resume from 1-4:30 p.m. April 4 and 1-4 p.m. April 5. Stay tuned to Indy Racing Online (www.indyracing.com) on April 4-5 for hourly updates of the Open Test at Nazareth Speedway. There will be no live timing and scoring from the test. Testing is open to the public from noon-4 p.m. (EST) April 5. Admission is $5 at the gate for adults, with children 12 and under free. Any fan who has purchased a ticket for the Firestone Indy 225 on April 21 will be admitted free to the test. . Fans should present their Firestone Indy 225 tickets at the gate to gain free admission or bring their confirmation to the ticket office to obtain a voucher if they have not received their event tickets. Gate 1 will be open for admission from noon-4 p.m. April 5. IRL

4/3/02

Chris Pook - Fontana future for CART fuzzy  In this Long Beach Press Enterprise article, Chris Pook states that he has had talks about changing the date of next years Fontana race (Chris wants Miami to be the season closer) and that he favors flat ovals over the high-speed ones like Michigan and Fontana.  Although he does not come right out and say it, he indicates his reasons are safety - 245 mph is just too fast.

4/3/02

How can they afford to pay Bernie with this attendance? UPDATE The Brazilian promoters paid Bernie Ecclestone $18 million (USD) and the government chipped in $21 million to maintain the track. We can hear the conversation now - "Hello Interlagos, this is Chris Pook calling. We have a lot of popular Brazilian drivers in the CART series and we will bring our circus into town for far less than $18 million.  That means you can lower ticket prices and make it more affordable for the Brazilian fans.  Do we have a deal?"  Officially, Interlagos can hold 80,000 spectators. The F1 ticket price were very expensive and the Brazilian economy is not in good shape. The cheapest tickets cost R$ 198 (about US $85). The minimum salary in Brazil is R$ 200 (about US$ 86 per month).  4/2/02 - With F1 sanction fees being triple that of CART,  how can the Brazilian promoter afford to pay Bernie with these attendance numbers?  Ah, more voodoo economics.  The Formula 1 Grand Prix of Brazil Attendance:
Friday - 32,420
Saturday - 45,300
Sunday - 53,340

4/2/02

Miami people want CART & ALMS downtown  The upcoming CART and American Le Mans Series event in Miami received overwhelming support in a recent online poll conducted by a Miami television station. Of nearly 2,000 votes cast on the question of "should Grand Prix racing return to the streets of downtown Miami?" there was a 90 percent positive response. Miami NBC-TV affiliate WTVJ-TV hosted the poll on its website. The Grand Prix of the Americas will be run on Saturday, October 5th and 6th, marking the return of street racing to Miami for the first time since 1995. The American Le Mans Series will be paired with CART in a unique, double-headliner weekend of racing. The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup will also run an event on the same day as the ALMS race.

4/2/02

Team Green's first day back at Indy


Dario Franchitti (Photos courtesy of IMS)

Paul Tracy (Note aero piece on back of helmet)

4/2/02

More teams file Indy 500 entries, count still down  Seven teams, led by defending Indy Racing League champion Panther Racing, filed a total of eight entries April 1-2 for the 86th Indianapolis 500. Filing single entries were Bradley Motorsports, Cahill Racing, Convergent Racing, Curb/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing, Panther Racing and PDM Racing. Nunn Racing filed two entries. Entry invitations for the 86th Indianapolis 500 must be postmarked by April 3. All drivers will compete for one of the 33 starting spots in the world's most prestigious auto race May 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. So far only 21 drivers are entered.

4/2/02

Sweden to broadcast 17 CART races lives  As CART's international TV package takes shape, we are picking up bits and pieces.  This article (in Swedish) talks about the deal that was recently done.  The station reaches the vast majority of homes in Sweden where Kenny Brack is a local hero.

4/2/02

Team Kool Green at Indy...it's been too long  We had to chuckle. Our spy satellites picked up a slight snarl in traffic this morning near the Indy Speedway as the Team KOOL Green transporter tried to find its way into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The driver was definitely confused on Crawfordsville Road and 16th street. Welcome back Team Green - obviously it's been too long!

4/2/02

First Infiniti Pro car arrives, and behold, it has a real gearbox  Remember when we pointed out how the IRL cars had a gearbox sticking out the back of the car like a sore thumb, and how unsafe that indeed was?  Well with the Infiniti Pro car at least they decided to do it right this time.  The first Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series Dallara arrived April 1 in Indianapolis in preparation for the car's on-track debut April 8 at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla. The chassis, which was shipped from the Dallara Automobili factory in Parma, Italy on March 30, is being assembled and fitted with an Infiniti Q45 engine at the Gasoline Alley shop of Sinden Racing Service. The all-new car design incorporates several state-of-the-art elements, including a longitudinally mounted monoshock front suspension unit, a front-loading, six-speed sequential gearbox and forged magnesium wheels. "The new forward-mounted gearbox allows us to improve the design and function of the attenuator (affectionately called a butt pad), and this, along with many other safety features, makes the new Infiniti Pro Series car the perfect package for oval racing," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series. "We're really looking forward to seeing the car on track on Monday." Indy Racing League driver Robbie Buhl, who was scheduled to shake down the new car at the Walt Disney World Speedway test, suffered a concussion in qualifying for the Yamaha Indy 400 and has opted to turn over the testing responsibilities to 1999 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year Robby McGehee.

4/2/02

Penske to run Toyota in IRL for 3 years  Remember where you heard it first, right here on AR1.  In fact during the Fontana IRL race weekend, some people in IRL circle's had the audacity to laugh at us regarding this rumor.  Well here is the official announcement - Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and Penske Racing, Inc. announced today that they have reached an agreement for Toyota to supply Indy Racing League (IRL) engines to Penske Racing beginning in 2003, the manufacturer's inaugural season of IRL competition. The agreement ensures Toyota another top-level team, along with Kelley Racing, in its quest for its first Indianapolis 500 victory and an IRL championship. "It's a historic day as we enter a partnership with Penske Racing, the most successful team in open-wheel racing history," said Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports. "It's great to partner with the 11-time Indy 500 winners. In addition, we're thrilled to continue a long-term relationship that has developed both on and off the track." Roger Penske-led companies own Toyota dealerships in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil. The Penske-owned Longo Toyota in El Monte, Calif., is the largest Toyota dealership in the world. Penske Racing will be one of the teams involved in testing the new Toyota Indy engine later this season. Principal components for the Team's engines will be supplied by Toyota Racing Development (TRD), U.S.A., in Costa Mesa, Calif., and the engines will be assembled by Penske Racing in Reading, Pa. Penske Racing will serve as one of TRD's designated engine rebuilders. The powerplant has been undergoing dynamometer testing by TRD in Costa Mesa since February and will begin on-track testing this summer. "Toyota's automotive and motorsports heritage demonstrates its commitment to excellence," said Roger Penske. "We have had many successes with Toyota in our business to business relationships over the years and look forward to continuing successes on the race track." Penske Racing has registered a record 111 Indy car racing victories, with 11 Indy 500 victories and 11 championships. Team driver Gil de Ferran won the last two CART championships, while teammate Helio Castroneves is the defending Indianapolis 500 winner and winner of the 2002 IRL event at Phoenix International Raceway.

4/2/02

Heitzler files countersuit against CART UPDATE This Autoweek article gives an account of the Joe Heitzler lawsuit as well as the full text.  3/29/02 - When Joe Heitzler came on board at CART the lawsuits against CART began, and now, even after he is gone they continue.  He appears to be the common denominator.  This AP article reveals the lawsuit filed by former CART President CEO against CART, just two days after CART sued him for fraud.  Heitzler charged in an action filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court that his termination was in response to actions he took to eliminate conflicts of interest and self-dealing by several of CART's directors. Among the allegations is that several directors sold their holdings in CART before the organization adopted a controversial engine change for the upcoming racing series to prevent a potential stock loss. "As a result of these actions, (Heitzler) antagonized several members of CART's board of directors. ..." the lawsuit stated. "On or about Dec. 4, 2001, at CART's board of director's meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., several CART directors sought to terminate (Heitzler's) employment 'for cause'. ... This attempt was rejected by a majority of CART's board."

4/2/02

Jean Todt knew Williams was the favorite  Jean Todt was relieved and a little surprised after Michael Schumacher's win the third round of this year's Formula One World Championship at Sao Paulo, Brazil. The new F2002 had done all that was required of it, said the Ferrari team principal, but it certainly wasn't a result that was expected. "I think it was very difficult to win yesterday, particularly given what we'd seen of our rivals' performance. Their package seemed more consistent than ours. And it didn't work out like that. In the end it worked in our favor." "I thought we were going to be competitive but I thought the others would be very competitive. I thought that they were favorites. But having said that, I knew we had an opportunity and that has been shown yesterday." "But it's a world where people react with too much emotion. Saturday we were a tenth from pole having been on pole twice and people were saying that a miracle had happened. I leave with them their emotion. What is important is that we have our way of working, our standard of working, we react the right way and all the rest is nothing. It's a result of work. But still, when you know the others are strong, it's a good surprise." Typically, Todt paid tribute to his driver. "Michael managed to drive an exceptional race, without ever bowing to the very strong pressure which he had throughout the race. In the first part of the race, he had to pull out a fairly large advantage and afterwards he was pushed very hard by his brother. It was hard to push hard and keep the car on the track." Todt said that it was a relief that his decision to bring the new F2002 had been vindicated. "I knew that we needed to reach a certain level of reliability before deciding to come here with the new car, so I was quite relieved when I saw what we were able to do in testing at Barcelona, because if we hadn't been able to do what we did, then we would not have decided to bring the new car, and definitely we knew that the new car had the better potential." "But yesterday you saw that Rubens, even starting from eighth position, would have finished third, so it's a question of the overall package and today, our package was probably better than we could expect before the beginning of the race." Todt admitted that it hadn't been a massive effort to bring the new car was well as last year's cars. "We just had to bring some extra people to do the extra jobs but it went quite smoothly, the guys were able to finish work quite early in the evenings so it was not so difficult." Once again, there was an incident on the first lap, and as in two weeks ago in Malaysia, it involved Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya. Did it worry Todt that this rivalry could be getting out of hand? "It has always been like that. I think Michael has been remarkable. He's not getting into any games. He's a fighter, he defended his position in a very nice, a very talented way. I think it has always been like that." Ferrari

4/2/02

Reader comments about Reynard It seems kind of funny that Adrian Reynard is blaming the USA mostly for his problems and those of the company that builds racing cars that bare his name! He blames the failed "Stock float" and "changing markets" in the US! What changing markets??? Lola has squarely kicked their butt in the CART Chassis business by working harder and smarter! The Lola is definitely the car to have now, and next year when they introduce a IRL car, watch out Dallara and G-Force! Lola has now won that last three CART/Fed Ex races! And on the ovals, they have their act together! Reynard built cars for the "Premier 1" series that never was, yet doesn't mention it at all! Yes, their "Sports Car" efforts did not produce instantaneous results either! Although they are the last decade's biggest producer of Champ Cars and also did well with the Nippon cars, where did all of the money from those successful years go? They have also produced quite a few "spec series" racers for Mexico and the US recently. He also never mentioned the F1 effort and the tremendous money pit that has become (for Lola too a few years back)! He even had the gall back then to suggest that they might win their debut F1 race! Ha! Even the super star designers there of yesteryear have had nothing but bad luck of late! What a turn of events! I too would like to see Reynard come back from the grave and prosper once again, like Lola did! Maybe the combined IRL/CART racer is the way to go, but they should drop back into the smaller formula, like F3 and try their hand at that, like poor little Ralt are, and Lola next year! Hey, if Dallara are coming after your market, go after theirs! F3 offers a great and world formula utilized around the world and yearly must account for many chassis sold, just ask Dallara to show you the order books from the last ten years! Too bad so many of the smaller formula have gone to "spec car" contracts! It has made being a formula car constructor more risky than the annual risk of building a bad racing car! At least F3 still offers a place to compete. F3000, Atlantics, the old Indy Lights, and so many others of those series are choking away the entrepreneurial aspect of race car construction!  David Siller

4/2/02

2002 Attendance figures to date (Updated through IRL race in Fontana)
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 - - -
Fontana 15,000 16,000 -    

Average

18,333 20,333

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%.

4/1/02
Industry News

Sears Point karting track opens   The Sears Point Karting Center opened its doors on Monday for its first-ever test day, and the Center was given a big thumbs up by all in attendance. More than 100 people made the trip to Sears Point Raceway for the much-anticipated first laps around the 16-turn, three-quarter mile circuit. Racers came from as close as San Anselmo in the North Bay, and as far as Shingle Springs above Sacramento. "This is just a great overall track," said Andrew Alfonso, a 19-year-old Danville resident who is also a past national karting champion. "I've been to about 40 tracks across the country and this place ranks No. 1 in terms of the layout. This place exceeded my expectations." Jimmy Moon, a 9-year-old from Shingle Springs, has been racing karts for four years and has not seen a place like Sears Point. "This place has long straightaways and it's pretty technical, too," he said. "There are also places to pass at every turn. It's a pretty cool track." The track is 28-feet wide and can be divided into six different configurations. Some of the track highlights include an 850-foot sweeping straightaway, and another 450-foot sweeping straightaway that leads into a challenging combination of turns. The Center will also feature a scoreboard, two transponder-timing systems and bleachers, as well as a kart maintenance and storage center. The track, which was designed in part by Jim Russell International Karting, was built to CIK/FIA standards. The Jim Russell School is the track operator.

4/1/02

New security measures at Texas Motor Speedway   Texas Motor Speedway will open the gates one hour earlier than usual on race days to allow extra time for security checks. The extra hour will give the fans additional time to go through the security checks and get to their seats for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 on Sunday, April 7 and the O'Reilly 300 on Saturday, April 6. Gates are set to open at 8:00 a.m. both days. With 1:00 p.m. start times for both races gates would traditionally have opened at 9:00 a.m. The new security measures were in place for the October 2001 Indy Racing League event as a result of last September's terrorist attacks. "The stricter security measures are still in effect," said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage. "While we do not anticipate any problems, we want the fans to know we continue to do whatever we can to ensure their safety while at Texas Motor Speedway." The speedway has enforced a number of safety guidelines since opening in 1997, however, many of those have been stepped up for next week's race events including:
* Extra security personnel will be placed at each gate entrance to enhance the checking of coolers and personal backpacks. (Cooler checks for glass containers have been routine in year's past. Tables will be set up at each gate for fans to pass through where items will be checked.)
* Each entry gate will be staffed by the Fort Worth Police Department during fan entry.
* There will be increased overnight security guards patrolling the Grandstands and other facility buildings after hours.
* All vehicular traffic will be cut off from entering the concourse two (2) hours prior to each day's gate opening times.
* All vendor re-stocking activity must be handled from the loading dock areas with golf cart access to the stands from the fire lane behind the concession stands. No golf cart activity allowed on the concourse.

4/1/02

Kanaan joins Giaffone at Indy  CART FedEx Championship Series veteran Tony Kanaan will join 2001 Indy Racing League Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone in a two-car Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing entry at this year's 86th running of the Indianapolis 500. It will be the first-ever appearance at the legendary Brickyard for Kanaan, the 27-year-old Brazilian in his third season with Mo Nunn Racing and his fifth on the CART circuit. Giaffone, also a 27-year-old Brazilian, started 33rd and finished 10th in his first Indy 500 in 2001 enroute to earning top rookie honors for the season driving for Treadway/Hubbard Racing with Hollywood sponsorship. Kanaan and Giaffone will pilot identical Hollywood-sponsored Chevrolet G-Force Indy cars, with associate sponsorship provided by Mo Nunn Racing IRL and CART partner WorldCom on both Indy 500 entries. "This is truly exciting from an owner's standpoint, taking our own team to the greatest event in all of motorsports for the very first time," said longtime open-wheel racing engineer Morris Nunn, who founded his own Indianapolis-based team in December of 1999. "Thanks to Hollywood, our charter sponsor, we have assembled a very solid, two-car entry that has every reason in the world to run for the race win. Felipe is well into his second IRL season and has proven to be a very steady driver who's almost always there at the finish. And even though this is Tony's first time here, he's proven to be a very quick study and is a fierce competitor. He certainly wouldn't be the first driver in recent years to pull out a top finish here in his first attempt. We can't wait for the month of May to get started." Mo Nunn Racing

4/1/02

New Townsend Bell website  Townsend Bell, driver of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota/Reyanrd/Bridgestone entry in the 2002 FedEx Championship Series, today announced that his website www.townsendbell.com is now available to the race fans and the media. Townsendbell.com is not your ordinary driver website. Yes, there is biographical information, statistics and the latest news and photos from each of the 2002 FedEx Championship Series races, however townsendbell.com includes much more. There is a merchandising store where you can order Townsend Bell souvenirs on-line plus a unique, interactive Fan Forum, which allows race fans the opportunity to post messages and ask questions to which Townsend will personally respond. “We have been testing this site for the last six months to see how the Fan Forum interface would work,” Townsend said. “After working out a few bugs we feel we are ready to go on-line. I hope the launch of this new site will give me the unique opportunity to communicate with both my fans and other racing enthusiasts. We hope that everyone in the racing community will find www.townsendbell.com an Internet destination worthy of many visitors,” Townsend concluded. Ryan Aubry, www.townsendbell.com website administrator noted, “Townsendbell.com is an easy to navigate website, updated weekly with news and professional photos hot from the track. In addition the Fan Forum provides racing fans the chance to interact with Townsend on a one-to-one basis. We feel we have created something very unique and interesting and we hope fans take the opportunity to visit www.townsendbell.com.”

4/1/02

Infiniti Pro:  Roth joins Brian Stewart Racing  Marty Roth will drive the No. 3 Brian Stewart Racing entry in the 2002 Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, team owner Brian Stewart announced April 1. "I'm happy to be in the Infiniti Pro Series, especially with Marty Roth," said Stewart. "We've always had a good rapport. We ran Brian Stewart Racing's first race in Indy Lights together, and now we're running the first race in the Infiniti Pro Series. Marty and I have the same goal: to win the Indianapolis 500. The Infiniti Pro Series is our first step on the road to Indy." Roth, from Toronto, is a former Superbike racer and also has competed in the Formula 2000 and Indy Lights series.  "The Infiniti Pro Series is a great stepping-stone to the Indy Racing League, which is our goal for 2003," said Roth. "Brian has put together a first-rate group of guys, and I have absolute confidence in our team. Brian Stewart Racing was the winningest team in Indy Lights, and we expect that we'll be just as competitive in the Infiniti Pro Series. I wouldn't want to be doing this with anyone other than Brian." Roth and the Brian Stewart Racing team already have started preparing for the July 7 debut of the Infiniti Pro Series. Although the Infiniti Pro Series car has not arrived, they have recorded over 400 miles of testing in an Indy Lights car at Nashville Superspeedway. The 1.33-mile concrete oval will play host to the series' second event on July 20.  "I'm extremely happy with the way Marty has been testing," said Stewart. "He listens to what we have to say, and he keeps the hammer down. Marty's a real racer. He reminds me of other guys we've run like Paul Tracy and Cristiano da Matta."  IRL

4/1/02

Brazil post-race press conference   Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Ralf Schumacher (Williams), David Coulthard (McLaren)  Transcript

4/1/02

Atlantics: Yasukawa completes first test   Roger Yasukawa, driver of the #9 Autobacs/us print/Toyota/Swift completed his first test with his new team Hylton Motorsports, Thursday at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona. The test was Yasukawa’s first with the new Swift 014.a chassis and his first time at the popular 1.25-mile test track. The Los Angeles native signed with the defending CART Toyota Atlantic Champions, Hylton Motorsports earlier this month. He will make his debut in Atlantic competition at what will be his home race, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Yasukawa gave the car a brief shakedown on Wednesday and completed 152 miles on Thursday, "I was out of the car for a nearly four months so it felt good to get a full day in at Firebird. My crew has worked very hard to get my car together in time to test before Long Beach and they have done a terrific job." A graduate of the CART Barber Dodge Pro Series, Yasukawa finished fourth in the 2001 championship and commented on the differences between the Barber Dodge and Atlantic car, "I really enjoyed my first test with the Swift 014.a chassis. The biggest difference I noticed immediately between the Atlantic car and the Barber Dodge was that the Atlantic car accelerates much faster and creates a lot more downforce in the faster corners. The brakes are also a big adjustment with the Atlantic car; they work very well particularly with the level of grip at high speed. The car feels incredible, very stable, it feels like you can push much harder with more comfort and the engine sounds great." Yasukawa and his team will test next week at Buttonwillow Raceway in California, before making their final preparations for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. "Firebird was a good opportunity for Roger to get comfortable with the car. It was his first time at Firebird and his first test with us, he is extremely focused and gives terrific feedback," commented Yasukawa’s Race Engineer, Bob Montgomery. He continued, "The seat we made for him was just a little off and it affected his ability to shift because he did not have quite enough arm room. We will make a new seat on Monday and head out to Buttonwillow next week, where we will complete one more test before Long Beach." "We accomplished everything we had hoped for at Firebird," said Yasukawa. I am not where I want to be in terms of speed, but I know that each time I am in the car I will be faster and faster. We have a few things we would like to try at Buttonwillow next week and the extra seat time will help me adapt to the driving style of the Atlantic car. After that were off to Long Beach, which of course is a very special race, I am really looking forward to it."  Hylton

4/1/02


G-Loads affecting NASCAR drivers at Texas Motor Speedway   TMS was recently repaved and now it is really fast.  NASCAR Winston Cup drivers were testing there recently and some complained of shortness of breath, a phenomenon not to unlike that experienced by CART drivers last April when the race had to be cancelled.  Of course the CART drivers were going over 40 mph faster, and it was thought that the g's were not high enough for the Cup cars to cause the blood to drain out of the drivers head.  But remember, it is a combination of high g's over a duration of time that seems to account for the problem.  Although the Cup drivers are feeling less g's, the duration is longer because they are in the turns longer.  Perhaps more research needs to be done.  It's now beginning to appear to us we have three factors involved 1) magnitude of vertical and horizontal G-loads, 2) short-term or instantaneous duration like a fighter pilot feels, i.e. how long is the driver at peak g's, and 3) the cumulative time duration, i.e. a driver may be fine for 1, 2 or 3 laps, but after awhile the cumulative effects can also deprive the brain of the necessary blood at a lower g-loading.  With the repaved TMS track, and more HP this year, the IRL had better watch out - the higher speeds this year may very well put the drivers over the edge.  Mark C.

4/1/02

Thomas Belli dominates kart race  UPDATE  Thomas Belli dominated the Junior SuperCan class at Track Attack, in his new Corsair Kart with Woltjer engines and won the 12 lap feature race by 18 seconds. Thomas started the 12 lap feature race from the pole and pulled away from the rest of the field at over 1.5 seconds a lap once again. Nothing could stop the victory this week. A hesitant start to the 10 lap qualifying race, had made that race a little more work, and although he was fighting for 3rd at the third corner of the first lap, he still had the lead by the end of the first lap, and went on to win by 12 seconds. "This was a very physical track and I was pretty tired after the feature race. It has a lot of very long fast corners and a lot of bumps which make it very demanding", said Thomas. "My Corsair kart just worked brilliantly, and we have not really made any adjustments on it yet, and my Woltjer engine was like a rocket down the straight."  3/31/02 -  Tino Belli is Technical Director for both Team Kool Green and Team Motorola.  His son is Thomas.  Thomas Belli completely dominated the Junior SuperCan class at Whiteland Raceway Park, in his new Corsair Kart with Woltjer engines. But unfortunate circumstances took away the victory. Thomas started the 8 lap qualifying race from the pole and pulled away from the rest of the field at over 1.5 seconds a lap. He had already started lapping the field, but he unfortunately stalled the engine 2 corners from the checkered flag, when lapped traffic and a local yellow flag situation made him get out of the throttle for longer then normal. So Thomas had to start the 12 lap feature race from 5th on the grid. Boxed in at the 1st corner he fell to 6th, but passed 3 karts on the remainder of the first lap. He moved into second on the second lap, but by now the leader had opened up a gap of 8 seconds. Thomas closed in on the leader at over 1.5 seconds a lap, and went for a pass on lap 7. Unfortunately although Thomas was along side, there was contact that sent Thomas into the air and out of the race. "We were by far the fastest kart on the track today" says Tino Belli, Thomas' dad and Team Green Technical Director. " We have only tested the Corsair Kart and Woltjer engine once before coming into this race, and we are more then pleased with both. If this combination can be so fast out of the box, who knows what the ultimate potential is?" "With hindsight I was so much faster then the leader, that I could have taken longer before I made the move to pass, but the Corsair Kart and Woltjer engine combination was so strong that I couldn't resist going for a dominant victory", said Thomas. "It didn't work out this time, but it doesn't matter. We are not concerned about winning at Whiteland, Our objective this season is to be competitive in the Mid West and Great Lakes Sprint Series, and to be a force to be reckoned with in the WKA Nationals." The BeST sponsors are Corsair Kart, Dallara, Cain Service Corp, ARC, Pi Research, The Wellington Group, SAP US GP, Ilmor, Alcon, Top Kart, Grand Products, GrandPrix.com, Elf Racing Fuels, Bridgestone, Sparco, & Bieffe. Woltjer build the BeST engines

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