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DATE

News (chronologically 4/8/02 to 4/12/02)

4/12/02

SPEED debuts new camera angle  This afternoon's SPEED Channel telecast of the opening round of qualifying for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach featured the debut of a unique and breathtaking new camera. The "Eye-View" Driver Cam mounted inside the helmet of driver Paul Tracy (#26 KOOL Honda/Reynard/Bridgestone) provided viewers with the same view Tracy saw through the visor of his helmet. It was the first opportunity for many viewers to really see the buffeting the driver's head takes on the circuit, and brings an entirely new dimension to the concept of the on-board camera. "When I saw Tracy close the visor and the camera was shooting through the visor, I just said, 'wow!'" said FOX Sports Coordinating Producer Doug Sellars. "This will bring our viewers as close as they possibly can get to being in the car."

4/12/02

Atlantics - Hunter-Reay wins provisional pole  Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver of the #1 Medlock Ames Winery/US Print/Toyota/Swift earned the provisional pole today in the first round of CART Toyota Atlantic Qualifying. In securing the provisional pole, Hunter-Reay secured a front row starting position, earned one championship point and jumped eight positions in the series points standings. This is Hunter-Reay's first visit to the streets of Long Beach, as he is a recent graduate of the CART Barber Dodge Pro Series and a rookie in the Atlantic series. "Traffic was our biggest concern going into qualifying. We knew if we worked around traffic we would be up front. I worked with Kyle (Brannan, Engineer) and Derek (Higgins, Driver Coach) to make sure we had five or six good laps with hot tires. I was pedaling it as hard as I could and my car was really good. Larry (Edscorn, Crew Chief), Stumpy (Mark Stump, Mechanic) and Vinnie (Baud, Tires) did a fantastic job preparing my car, the have been working unbelievable hours. I think there is more in the car for tomorrow. I didn't have one perfect lap, so if I can put that together in tomorrows session, I think we will be a bit faster."

4/12/02
Industry News

China to host three motorsports events   Three major agreements to take motor sports events to the People’s Republic of China, were announced today by Leo Chu, President of the Garden Grove-based Sino-American Entertainment (SAEI), formerly China Motor Sports. These contracts were finalized after ten months of study and negotiation with various entities in China. “The advent of motor sports will provide recreational activities for the people of China, who have recently been introduced to a five-day workweek and three ‘Golden Holidays’ for all workers and students,” said Chu. “These contracts represent the first tangible steps in our efforts to take sport and entertainment to China.” A Women’s International Rally running between Beijing and Shanghai is slated for April 26 to May 3, 2003. The Rally, sanctioned by the FIA, and open to women drivers from around the globe, will visit several major cities in China, impacting a population base of approximately 300 million people. (See attached map). The contract for the Rally is with the Federation of Automobile Sports of the People’s Republic of China (FASC) and appoints SAEI as the exclusive promoter of the Rally. A Chinese national television network will feature daily updates as well as two 30-minute programs on that network. “We are delighted to join with SAEI to organize the Women’ s Rally which will provide an opportunity for our local women drivers to compete in an international competition,” said Shi Tianshu, President of FASC, a department within the PRC Sports Ministry and the FIA affiliate for China. The FASC is responsible for the licensing and approval of all motor sport events in the PRC. The second contract has been finalized between the SAEI and the Zhuhai International Circuit (ZIC). The contract grants the SAEI the exclusive rights to bring North American sanctioning group races and the FIM Championship to race at ZIC in the 2003-2006 seasons. ZIC was constructed in 1996, has 20,000 permanent seats and is in good racing shape. (See attached). The track is located in the Pearl River Delta area of Southern China and is immediately adjacent to Macao. Hong Kong lies sixty minutes away by ferry and the major metropolis of Guangzhou (Canton) is approximately two hours away by highway. SAEI has also finalized an agreement with the Shanghai Stadium, an 85,000-seat structure located in downtown Shanghai. Stadium Moto-Cross racing will be presented this November when SAEI takes top U.S. and foreign riders to Shanghai for an event to be staged on a dirt course on the stadium infield Brian Turner, Managing Director Events and Operations for SAEI, said: “We are hopeful that the events we have announced will provide a marketing platform for the many companies that have an interest in penetrating the Chinese market. The primary task for many of these companies is to establish a brand identity in, what for many of them, is a new market. Event sponsorship is an excellent way for them to accomplish the objective.

4/12/02

Day 1 of Indy Rookie Orientation rained out  After only 15 minutes of green flag track conditions Friday morning, rain halted testing during Day 1 of the 2002 Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program. Indy Racing League Director of Operations Brian Barnhart cancelled Day 1 activities at 3 p.m. Friday as intermittent showers continued to hamper track-drying efforts. The program will continue on Saturday at 9 a.m. Before the rain began at 9:45 a.m., rookies John de Vries, Anthony Lazzaro, George Mack, Tomas Scheckter and Rick Treadway each completed a few laps around the 2.5-mile oval. Laurent Redon was the only driver not to turn any laps. Due to the limited track time, no driver completed any of the required phases of the rookie test. "Dream of a lifetime," said Mack, who took his first laps around the oval Friday morning. "The emotion is overwhelming when you're sitting there on pit lane strapped in and you look up and see the scoring pylon. A lot of things go through your head." If he passes the Rookie Orientation Program, Mack will attempt to become only the second African-American to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. One of the requirements during the rookie test is completion of the four new speed phases. Drivers must complete at least 10 consecutive laps at 200-205 mph, 205-210 mph, 210-215 mph and anything above 215 mph. The speed phases were increased 5 mph this year by Barnhart after consulting with veteran Indy Racing drivers and studying track conditions. IRL

4/12/02

CART Board signs Hispanic safety agreement with NHSTB  Building on their successful Safety - the Ultimate Rush campaign, Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (CART), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automobile Club of Southern California (ACSC) today launched a Spanish language campaign to promote highway and vehicle safety. The announcement was made in conjunction with this weekend's running of the 28th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The new campaign uses culturally relevant educational materials, such as autograph cards, posters and radio public service advertisements featuring Champ Car drivers Jimmy Vasser, Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy, Adrian Fernandez, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Mario Dominguez. The program also utilizes CART-sponsored community outreach activities such as child safety seats checkpoints to help improve safety among Hispanic Americans. "Safety is President Bush's and Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta's top transportation priority," said Dr. Jeffrey Runge, NHTSA Administrator. "That's why we've teamed up with CART to reach Hispanic race fans with lifesaving information about the importance of playing it safe on America's roadways. I commend CART for their commitment and leadership in promoting safety on the track and throughout America's communities." According to NHTSA, Hispanics are at higher risk than other populations of being affected by traffic crashes. Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for Hispanics ages 1-44 and the third leading cause of death for all Latinos, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.

4/12/02

CART Board approves new rule  As a continuation of an initiative to promote competitive racing at every CART FedEx Championship Series event, Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) announced today two rule enhancements that have been approved by the Franchise Owners Board and will take effect beginning with this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Both of the rule changes deal with road and street circuit qualifying, and are enhancements of the substantial rule changes made prior to the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season.  More...

4/12/02

Wall Street Journal article negative on NASCAR  The article in the Wall Street Journal by Aaron Elstein says that NASCAR's stock lacks the same Vroom as before.  The article says - As cost-conscious companies look to cut expenses such as sponsoring races or renting luxury boxes to entertain clients, analysts and investors says. While people still love to go to races and Nascar's $2.4 billion television contract alone is expected to boost the track-operators' revenue by about 15% annually through 2006, the go-go years for these stocks might be coming to an end, even if corporations open up their purses again. "Auto racing has matured very quickly," says David Carter, principal at the Sports Business Group, a Los Angeles consulting firm. "The easy growth has been done. The question now is how does the business capitalize on the gains it has made?"  Contrasting the interest of six global engine manufacturers in CART to this Wall Street Journal story about the slowing of NASCAR's domestic boom and one begins to see the turn around CART has already made.

4/12/02

Kendall, Patrick & Fisher top charts in Long Beach  We told you Danica Patrick was the real deal.  In Friday morning Toyota Celebrity series race practice, former driver Tommy Kendall was fastest with a lap of 1:46.576 followed by Danica Patrick at 1:46.734 and Sarah Fisher at 1:47.699 min.  Last years Celebrity winner Tom Rudnal was 4th at 1:47.841.  We guess if Sarah Fisher is good enough for the IRL, then Danica Patrick must be good enough for both the IRL and CART.

4/12/02


Miami approves new race agreement  This Miami Herald article says - "A month after a judge's ruling called into question the future of a planned street race in downtown Miami, the City Commission has approved a new agreement for the Grand Prix of the Americas in October. Raceworks, the company that plans to sponsor the race, originally scheduled it for April but postponed it to October because preparation time was running out and the partners wanted to make the race bigger. Ruling on a lawsuit filed by the Homestead-Miami Speedway to block the rival race, Circuit Judge Michael Genden said last month that the city must throw out its deal with Raceworks and allow competitive bids for the race. City officials made changes to the contract approved Thursday -- including making it a revocable license agreement -- which they said bring it into compliance with the judge's order."  The article also uses words like 'monopoly' and 'antitrust' with regard to ISC. ISC's monopolistic actions in Miami combined with the monopoly court case Johnny Cochran is leading against ISC and NASCAR, may eventually lead to the US government stepping in and breaking NASCAR and ISC up.

4/12/02

Rain in Imola  In cold and rainy conditions at Imola (9 degrees C), the Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello set the pace closely followed by the Jordan Honda of Giancarlo Fisichella. The McLarens of David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen set the fourth and fifth fastest times of the day with Heinz Harald Frentzen (Arrows Cosworth) completing the top six positions.  Story

1. M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari 1m36.898s
2. BARRICHELLO Ferrari 1m37.094s
3. FISICHELLA Jordan Honda 1m38.093s
4. COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes 1m38.747s
5. RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes 1m38.773s
6. FRENTZEN Arrows Cosworth 1m39.158s
7. TRULLI Renault 1m39.204s
8. MASSA Sauber Petronas 1m39.253s
9. MONTOYA Williams BMW 1m39.480s
10. R.SCHUMACHER Williams BMW 1m39.518s

4/12/02

Rhonda Trammell looking to revitalize her open-wheel career  In the CART FedEx Championship Series, Rhonda Trammell is a familiar face. To ChampCar drivers, teams and regular participants, she is both a member of the CART Pace Car Team and the wife of world famous orthopedic surgeon Dr. Terry Trammell (www.motorsportsmd.com) who also is a member of the Simple Green CART Safety Team.  More.... (PDF Format)

4/12/02

New feature added to AR1  AutoRacing1.com promised new features were coming.  We have implemented two simple ones today.  On our NASCAR page, and on our Formula One page, you will find Trivia game links.  Every day there will be new trivia questions and see how many you can answer corectly.  These features are available to everyone today, but come April 22nd when we start requiring a login, they will only be available to our customers who think AR1 is worthy of 3 cents per day.

4/12/02

More on Team Green aircraft  After we published a story recently on Team Green's plane, a reader sent these pictures he shot in Portland last year, one with Barry Green exiting the plane.

4/12/02

CART Teleconference  The three Mexican CART drivers, Mario Dominguez, Adrian Fernandez and Michel Jourdain Jr., were guests for the CART media teleconference on Thursday.  Transcript

4/12/02

History shows the creation of the IRL has plummeted Indy 500 TV ratings  The fallacy of the split in Indy car racing after 1995 is how it has severely hurt the very race it was supposed to save, the Indy 500.  There are those who would have you believe that things were so bad when CART controlled Indy Car racing.  Think again!   Indy 500 TV ratings in 1993, 1994 and 1995, the three years before the split, were 8.5, 8.3 and 8.4 respectively.  Then in the infinite wisdom of someone, the IRL was created and ever since, the Indy 500 TV ratings have been 6.5, 6.6, 5.5, 5.5, 5.5 and 5.8.  Now that's real progress, isn't it?  Meanwhile, NASCAR's Daytona 500 TV ratings were 7.8 in 1995 (below that of the Indy 500 in the last year of the CART-era at Indy) and have risen steadily to 10.9 in 2002.  In essence, the creation of the IRL played right into the France families hands - divide and conquer thy enemy.  It's time CART and the IRL come together again.  It's time to admit the split was a mistake, and to move forward as one.

4/12/02



Once again Andretti named greatest American driver ever  In the latest issue of Racer Magazine, Mario Andretti was once again voted the greatest American driver ever by over 200 drivers, team owners, series organizers, and crew chiefs.  This paragraph in the article pretty much sums it up - "As ever, we expect this list to be the subject of considerable debate.  However, one thing that didn't seem to be in any dispute from virtually all of the over 200 participants, was the identity of America's greatest driver ever, Mario Andretti."  The ranking was as follows:

1. Mario Andretti

2. AJ Foyt

3. Richard Petty

4. Dale Earnhardt

5. Dan Gurney

6. Rick Mears

7. Mark Donohue

8. Jeff Gordon

9. Phil Hill

10. David Pearson

4/12/02

Gordon Divorce - Jeff responds  This website has posted Jeff Gordon's divorce response, filed yesterday (4/10) in Florida Circuit Court, to his wife Brooke's divorce claim that he is guilty of "marital misconduct." Gordon also argues that he is entitled to more than half the couple's marital assets since he has made "extraordinary contributions to the acquisition of the funds as a result of his hazardous, life-threatening occupation."

4/11/02

Cadillac to sponsor Washington DC race   Cadillac announced today that it has agreed to sign on as the title sponsor of the July 2002 American Le Mans Series auto-racing event. As part of the sponsorship agreement, the race will be known as “The Cadillac Grand Prix of Washington, D.C.,” and Cadillac's name will be represented in a new logo for the event.  “We are especially pleased to be a part of bringing the most competitive in international endurance racing to the nation’s capital,” said Mark R. LaNeve, Cadillac general manager. “Exciting things are happening at Cadillac these days and our participation in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with our two Cadillac Northstar LMP cars is a means to connect with a new generation of luxury customers.”  “Cadillac is one of the most powerful automotive brands in the world,” said Chris Lencheski, co-founder and chairman of the board, National Grand Prix Holdings. “We are pleased to have such a prestigious name in front of our race. This is the first time Cadillac has been a title sponsor for a race. I think Cadillac’s involvement in the Washington Grand Prix speaks volumes for what people in the industry think we are trying to do for auto racing in Washington, D.C.” ALMS

4/11/02

Gordon Divorce - Jeff responds  This website has posted Jeff Gordon's divorce response, filed yesterday (4/10) in Florida Circuit Court, to his wife Brooke's divorce claim that he is guilty of "marital misconduct." Gordon also argues that he is entitled to more than half the couple's marital assets since he has made "extraordinary contributions to the acquisition of the funds as a result of his hazardous, life-threatening occupation."

4/11/02

IRL continues to report skewed website stats   Indyracing.com continues growth: Indy Racing Online, the official Web site of the Indy Racing League, continues to grow at a rapid pace. March 2002 was the second-best month in the history of the site. With three events in March at Homestead-Miami, Phoenix and Fontana, Calif., fans recorded 64 million hits and 19 million page views. By comparison, there were 21 million hits and 7 million page views in March 2001. Statistics also show the site is now drawing 10 percent of its audience from overseas, with the largest international following in Japan. Only one month in Indy Racing Online's history - May 2001 - has been busier than March 2002. That month, of course, is reserved on the Indy Racing League's annual calendar for the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. The entire motorsports world turns its attention to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May for three weeks of practice and qualifying leading to "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."  [Editor's Note: The only true measure of websites statistics is unique visitors, which you notice the IRL conveniently left out of the press release.  Hits and page views are reported so high because their live timing and scoring page constantly refreshes every few seconds and with so many links to the database, the hits go through the roof.  Here's the bottom line - if that many people were going to their website and the IRL was so popular, how come race attendance and TV ratings are so low?  We hope in the future they will report unique visitors].

4/11/02

Philip Morris sponsors lap leader award   Philip Morris U.S.A. announced it will sponsor the Marlboro Lap Leader Award in 2002 as part of the company's sponsorship commitment to the Indy Racing League. The Lap Leader Award began in 1997 and was designed to recognize the driver who leads the most laps during each of the 15 Indy Racing League events. The $100,000 program consists of a $5,000 award each race to the driver who leads the most laps, an additional $15,000 bonus for leading the most laps at the Indianapolis 500 and a $10,000 bonus for leading the most laps overall during the 2002 season. "We're very pleased to announce Philip Morris U.S.A.'s participation in the IRL Lap Leader Award program for the 2002 IRL season," said Ina Broeman, category director, Marlboro. "As part of our new sponsorship in the IRL series, we're glad that the opportunity was available to take ownership of this seasonwide program. When joining the IRL, one of our goals was to participate in a program that recognizes outstanding achievement on a race-by-race basis, and we feel this program meets with our objectives." The driver who leads the most laps in a race will receive a check for $5,000 that will be presented during the pre-race ceremonies at the following race. Since Sam Hornish Jr. led the most laps at the 20th Anniversary Grand Prix of Miami, the Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 and the Yamaha Indy 400, he will be the first recipient of the award. The $15,000 check will be presented at the Firestone Indy 225 on April 21 at Nazareth Speedway.

4/11/02

And the Winner is...  “NASCAR on FOX” has been nominated for six Sports Emmy Awards for its outstanding work in the 2001 season, the most among all of the television sports series from the past year. “NASCAR on FOX” has been nominated in the following categories: Outstanding Live Sports Special (Daytona 500); Outstanding Live Sports Series; Outstanding Technical Team Remote; Outstanding Live Event Audio/Sound; Outstanding Graphic Design; and Outstanding Innovative Technical Achievement (FoxTrax). NASCAR on NBC/TNT also was nominated for Outstanding Live Sports Series. The Sports Emmy Awards will be presented April 23 at the Marriott Marquis in New York City.  FOX

4/11/02

Revving the FX engine   [Editor's Note - we expect the same thing to happen to SPEED Channel for both CART and NASCAR]  When FX televised its first NASCAR event last season, the network was carried in 58.5 million homes. The network currently is in 76.6 million homes and FX President Peter Liguori credits NASCAR with the growth. Liguori also mentioned in a Wednesday teleconference that FX’s first three NASCAR Busch Series races in 2002 are up 13 percent in household ratings and, because of the increased distribution, FX is up 38 percent in household delivery versus 2001. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series makes its season debut on FX with Sunday’s Virginia 500, beginning at 1 p.m. ET.  FOX

4/11/02

Pook works cheaper than Heitzler  According to this Autoweek article, Chris Pook is getting paid significantly less to do the same job Joe Heitzler was doing.  And his results.....well they speak for themselves.

4/11/02

McLaren inks deal with Bloomberg  Bloomberg, founded by Micheal R. Bloomberg, the current New York mayor, will provide McLaren with integrated information systems for the new Paragon headquarters in Surrey and the new mobile McLaren communications centre that is making its debut at this weekend’s San Marino Grand Prix. Both facilities will have access to business information services, from analysis articles to live stock prices, around the clock. ‘As an international news and information organisation Bloomberg is an ideal Partner for the TAG McLaren Group,’ said TAG McLaren Chairman Ron Dennis. ‘Our commitment to excellence and a recognition of the requirements from the team, our Partners and the media for continuous and accurate information meant that we began developing the Communications Centre concept over two years ago. I'm delighted that West McLaren Mercedes and Bloomberg are able to introduce this new facility at the San Marino Grand Prix as well as announcing the Partnership with the TAG McLaren Technology Centre.’ McLaren

4/11/02

Da Matta agrees, ovals mostly car  AR1 has made the argument for years that a true test of a drivers skill is a street or road circuit.  Mark Cipolloni's latest article Is it true sport, or P.T. Barnum show-biz talks about how we must not lose sight of the fact being a great driver is important and racing should not just be a show.  In this LA Times article, CART driver Cristiano da Matta agrees with our claim that ovals are pretty much about the car, and not the most important element, the driver.  Although Da Matta has won three times on ovals, and on a superspeedway (California Speedway, 2001), he says it is much more demanding for a driver to win on a street or road circuit. "On a superspeedway, the car is 95% and the driver only 5%, on short ovals, the car is 85% and the driver 15%, but on street and road courses it's 50-50," he said. "It's never boring running on a big oval, not when you're going 250 mph, but you don't get the same challenges you get on a road or street course where you have to have more understanding of what your car is doing."

4/11/02

SPEED Channel to broadcast live from Racer Party  If your are not fortunate enough to be among the favored few invitees to the RACER 10th Anniversary Party in Long Beach, you can still take part in the celebration via your television. SPEED Channel will broadcast its "CART Friday Night" half-hour event preview show, hosted by Derek Daly, live from the RACER party at Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific from 10:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern. Plenty of drivers and other celebrities are expected to be attend, and you can count on the redoubtable Daly to track them them down for interviews. The party festivities will be mixed in with the program's regular regimen of news and highlights from CART practice and qualifying earlier in the day. SPEEDTV.com

4/11/02

Race team to help find missing LB girl   This weekend’s Long Beach Grand Prix will be full of the usual pomp and circumstance, but one team in the popular Trans-Am Series will be involved in a different race–- this one against unseen competitors. Revolution Motorsports, along with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) recently announced the continuation of their unique partnership designed to locate missing kids through exposure on the racecar and in the media. Last season, the team experienced unprecedented success when a 7-year old Michigan girl, featured on the hood of Driver Don Sak’s (now Revolution Motorsports) car at the Detroit Grand Prix, was returned to her father thanks to tips from a race fan that led authorities to Mexico where the child’s had been taken. “What an awesome feeling to see the smiles on their faces,” commented Sak. “I am so proud to have been associated with such a wonderful experience. The 2002 season will be great with the new program and the chance to help even more families.” The 19th edition of the popular California street race is the first of 12 scheduled events in the 2002 Trans-Am Season. Revolution Motorsports starts out the year by assisting the local authorities in looking to solve a frustrating missing persons case. In 1999, 17-year old Erika Limon (now 19) was last been outside of her home in Long Beach. The 5’-5”, 110 lb girl has not been seen since. Long Beach Police have not been able to turn up many leads in this case and hope to learn more after putting the word out this weekend. Erika was wearing a white T-shirt, blue jean shorts and blue tennis shoes. Anyone who might have information in this case is asked to call the NCMEC at 1-800 –THE-LOST or The Long Beach Police Juvenile Division at 1-562-570-1448. “This case has been a frustrating one for us,” said Long Beach Police Detective Tracy Pratt. “Frankly, we are elated to have the team coming through to assist us in turning up more leads in this case. I look forward to the race and working with Don Sak and the entire Revolution Motorsports team.” 
ERIKA LIMON
Age Now: 19 years
DOB: mar-25-1983 Eyes: Brown
Missing: jul-22-1999 Height: 5'5" - 165 cm
Sex: F / Hair: Brown Weight: 110 lbs - 50 kg
Erika was last seen at approximately 6:45 p.m. on July 22, 1999. She was in front of her residence on North Long Beach Boulevard in Long Beach, California. She was wearing a white T-shirt, blue jean shorts and blue tennis shoes.  Revolution

4/11/02

CART to follow the lights  UPDATE We failed to include the photo previously.  Here it is.  4/10/02 -  To the right is a NASA composite picture of the Earth at night, it shows basically where people who have electricity live. It occurred to us that as part of CART's global vision, you can pretty much look at this map and see that where there is light, there are lots of people who are (1) prosperous or getting prosperous, (2) able to watch TV (3) able to buy sponsors products. It would be interesting to see how this matches up with the worldwide vision of CART and if they are the moving to where the light is. Ed McFarlane

4/11/02

CART Ladder - Venezuelan Garcia awaits first LB outing    Transnet Racing Team and their driver, Venezuelan Alex Garcia, will compete in the second race of the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship on April 14. The race will take place on the streets of Long Beach, California. Transnet Racing debuted at the Toyota Atlantic Championship race in Monterrey, Mexico, and this will be the first time that the team, as well as the driver, has competed at Long Beach. "We've been working really hard, getting ready for this race", said Alex. "Over the last few weeks, we've been working on the 008 set-up we'll be using at Long Beach. Once we get to Long Beach, we'll have to get a feel for a track we've never raced before. Considering it is a street race, the track is really fast, the competition is tough and you have to maintain total concentration. There is no margin for error. I am looking forward to getting on the track for practice and getting ready to compete in the race." TransNet Racing

4/11/02

CART Ladder - Skip Barber trained drivers dominate Toyota field   Twenty-eight drivers are scheduled to take the green flag for the upcoming second round of the CART Toyota Atlantic Series at the Long Beach Grand Prix. Of them, a total of 14 are Skip Barber Trained and 12 are Barber Dodge Pro Series Alumni. Leading the charge is 2000 Barber Dodge runner-up Jon Fogarty who comes to Long Beach as the points leader having won the first race of the season in Mexico a month ago. Joey Hand who finished third and Michael Valiante fourth in Mexico are now in their sophomore season in Atlantics and among those to watch out for. Hand contested a Barber Dodge race in 2000 at Road America while Valiante, the 1999 Barber Dodge Co-Rookie of the Year, was the winner in that same year at Road Atlanta. 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series Champion Nicolas Rondet will make his first Atlantic appearance of the year with Condor Motorsports at Long Beach and joining him in his Series debut is 1999 Co-Rookie of the Year Roger Yasukawa at Hylton Motorsports. The 2000 Barber Dodge Rookie of the Year, Ryan
Hunter-Reay teams up with Yasukawa in the Hylton camp. Sepp Koster at Michael Shank Racing, a runner up to Rondet last season and the all time Barber Dodge points leader, will make his first start at Long Beach while David Wieringa rounds out the Barber Dodge trained rookies. Among the veterans are Alex Gurney, returning to the US after a season campaigning in the British Formula 3 series and two-time Barber Dodge race winner Rocky Moran, Jr. Victor Gonzales, Jr who scored 51 Barber Dodge points in 1997 will start the BBGP entry. Skip Barber trained drivers also include Skip Barber Race Series alumni Carl Russo and Grant Ryley. SB

4/10/02
Industry News

Pat Flaherty passes away  The United States Auto Club is indeed saddened to learn of the death of Pat Flaherty, 76, winner of the 1956 Indianapolis 500, the first under USAC sanction, who passed away last night in Oxnard, Calif. after battling emphysema for several years. We extend our sympathies to Pat's family, friends and associates. Visitation is planned Friday, April 12 at James A Reardon Mortuary, 511 N. A Street, Oxnard, Calif. Services are to be conducted at Santa Clara Catholic Church, 323 S. E Street, Oxnard on Saturday, April 13 with burial to follow at Santa Clara Catholic Cemetery, 2370 N. H Street, Oxnard. Times are still being finalized at the time of this release. Memorial donations may be made to Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association, 1996 Eastman Ave., Suite 101, Ventura, Calif. 93003. Phone: (805) 642-0239.  USAC

4/10/02

Denver street to be widened for CART race   This Denver Post article says The Grand Prix of Denver needs to have Auraria Parkway widened by 4 feet from Seventh Street to just east of the Pepsi Center for the race on Labor Day weekend. Organizers initially told the City Council they would pay about$1.3 million for overlay and other improvements on the street, part of the 1.65-mile, nine-turn circuit around the Pepsi Center. The contract was approved last year. But race officials recently notified the Public Works Department that the eastbound lanes must be widened so the entire street is 40 feet wide, as required by international race rules. The work will cost another $1 million and will be paid for by race organizers, officials said.

4/10/02

Team Motorola to go wireless   On Saturday in Long Beach, Motorola's Commercial, Government and Industrial Solutions Sector (CGISS) will demo wireless technology of the future. Motorola chose the rugged Champ Car environment as their trial grounds. The demonstration will feature track timing, video feeds (pit and broadcast) and audio feeds sent wirelessly from the Team Motorola pit that will be transmitted to special personal digital assistant units in real-time.

4/10/02

CART Ladder System mentor program announced   CART, in conjunction with its Driver Development Ladder System, announced today the creation of the “CART Mentor Program,” a Marketing and PR program that will place the rising stars of CART directly in front of key CART FedEx Championship Series and Toyota Atlantic team personnel as well as sponsor decision makers. When implemented, the top drivers in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship and Barber Dodge Pro Series will spend complete race weekends with teams in the series one step above their present location on the CART Ladder.  Story

4/10/02
Industry News

Bankruptcy court tells Penske to stay open 2nd UPDATE Kmart Corporation and Penske Corporation, Penske Auto Centers, Inc., and Penske Auto Centers, LLC (collectively ``Penske'') today announced that they have reached an agreement whereby Penske and Kmart will work together to achieve an orderly wind-down of operations at auto service centers at more than 550 Kmart stores across the Untied States.  4/9/02 - Even though attorneys for the Kart received a temporary restraining order late Saturday from the courts that was to keep Penske Auto Centers in business, the auto centers closed before the order was issued.  Kmart tried to stop Penske Auto Centers from bolting, but it was too late to force the chain of repair shops to remain open while Kmart tries to define its identity in the cut-throat discount retail market and come out of bankruptcy by July 2003. Kmart went to court a 2nd time in three days on Monday saying Penske defrauded it and violated a contract by closing down the stores, but to no avail.  In Penske's defense, we can see why they did what they did. Executives of one of Kmart Corp.'s business partners say the financially troubled retailer may close as many as 700 more stores nationwide on top of the nearly 300 closings announced last month, according to court papers made public yesterday.   4/7/02 -  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

4/10/02

Corvette to again pace Indy 500   A special 50th Anniversary Edition of Chevrolet's upcoming 2003 Corvette was unveiled April 10 as the Official Pace Car of the 86th Indianapolis 500, and motion picture star Jim Caviezel (pictured at right talking to Tony George at this years Fontana race, played before nearly empty grandstands.  The expression on their faces is rather somber) will lead the field to the green flag for the start as the Pace Car driver for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on May 26. The 2002 Indianapolis 500 will bring together three powerful symbols that stir the imaginations of enthusiasts around the world: Chevrolet, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hollywood. Corvette will serve as the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car for the fifth time. This also marks the 13th time a Chevrolet vehicle has been the Official Pace Car - the most appearances by any brand.

4/10/02

Penske team confirms they would like to build IRL car   This Autosport article reports that "Quite a few manufacturers have submitted letters of intent (to supply cars to the IRL), and we are one of them," confirmed Team Penske president, Tim Cindric. "That doesn't mean you are ready to commit to that. I would call it an initial straw poll to determine who might be interested. But we know the rules and we wouldn't have submitted a letter if we weren't to follow them."  We find it rather ironic that many of the IRL teams who said some negative things about CART and the mighty Team Penske in the past, might now have to dish out their money to them.  What will likely not go over to well is when the teams buying the cars can't beat the 'factory' team who is always one step ahead.  Our hats off to Team Penske, they have always been able to gain the "Unfair Advantage" (as the book title says).

4/10/02

Danica Patrick ready for LB street rumble   American road racer Danica Patrick, who opened many eyes on European road circuits as a teenager, will make her first U.S. start in nearly three years when she competes in the 26 th annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race on Saturday, April 13, as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Patrick, who turned 20 on March 25, will be one of the 18 participants in the 10-lap event on the 1.99-mile street circuit along the picturesque shoreline in Southern California. Patrick will compete in the pro category that starts the race behind the celebrity division in identical-prepared Toyota Celicas. Patrick has spent three years competing in the Formula Ford and Formula Vauxhall divisions in England and Europe and recorded one of the finest performances by an American in the world renowned “Formula Ford Festival” in England. In 2000, Patrick finished second in the championship race, the highest finish ever by a female and the best placing by an American driver. Former CART champion and Indy 500 winner Danny Sullivan also finished second in 1974. “I’m very excited to race at Long Beach and meet the celebrities as well as compete against several past winners and pro champions,” said Patrick, who is currently seeking a ride in the U.S. in 2002. “I’ve always wanted to race in Long Beach and this is a great opportunity. I want to thank Toyota for giving me this chance. I hope I can show my talents to many people who haven’t seen me race previously since I was in England.” The star-studded Celebrity field will include James Cameron (Producer, Director "Dark Angel," "Terminator" and "Titanic"), Angie Everhart (Supermodel), Patrick Stewart ("Star Trek's" ‘Captain Picard'), Goran Visnjic (‘Dr. Luka Kovac' in NBC's "ER"), Bill Goldberg (Actor, Former WCW Champion Wrestler), Dulé Hill (‘Charlie Young' in NBC's "West Wing"), Thomas Gibson (‘Greg' in ABC's "Dharma and Greg"), Christopher Kennedy Masterson (‘Francis,' FOX's "Malcolm in the Middle"), Christopher Titus (FOX's "Titus"), Jacob Young (‘Lucky Spencer,' ABC's "General Hospital"), Brian Cranston (‘Hal,' FOX's "Malcolm in the Middle"), and Dara Torres (Olympic Gold Medalist). Tom Rudnai, the VP and GM of Longo Toyota and Lexus in El Monte, Calif., won last year and will now compete in the professional category against Patrick, Sarah Fisher (IRL), Tommy Kendall (former Trans Am champion and Speed Channel announcer) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (ABC's "NYPD Blue" and a former race participant). The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is scheduled for 12 noon (PST) on April 13 and will be televised on ESPN. As part of the race event, Toyota will help raise more than $100,000 this year for "Racing for Kids," a non-profit program benefiting Southern California children's hospitals in Long Beach and Orange County. Toyota will be donating $5,000 in the name of each participant, and another $5,000 will be awarded to the race winner's charity of choice.

4/10/02

Herbert set to do Indy 500/ALMS doubleheader   American Le Mans Series driver Johnny Herbert has set himself up for a busy and stress-filled month of May as he attempts to compete in races in California and Indiana and prepares for a race in France. But the jovial Englishman says he is under no pressure at all. Herbert will co-drive the Champion Audi with Andy Wallace in the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Fosters at California's Sears Point Raceway on May 19. The former Formula One star made his ALMS debut in last year's event at Sears Point. But competing at Sears Point will only be part of Herbert's transcontinental schedule in May. He will also fulfill a lifelong dream by attempting to compete in the Indianapolis 500, an event which is spread over most of the month, and he will prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans with an important practice session in France. "It will be very busy, but fortunately my lifestyle is accustomed to that," said Herbert, who scored three wins before retiring from the Formula One circuit in 2000. He will start the month in France, participating in pre-practice for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on May 5 at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Herbert will co-drive in the June 15-16 running of the famed endurance racing classic with Rinaldo Capello and Christian Pescatori in an Audi R8 fielded by Audi Sport North America. The trio won at Sebring last month to start the 2002 ALMS season, Herbert's first win on the series. After a day of testing at Le Mans, Herbert will fly to Indianapolis to begin practice for the Indianapolis 500. He will stay at the famed Brickyard for the opening weekend of qualifying May 11-12, hoping to lock in a slot in the field of 33 for the event in the Duesenberg Brothers Racing entry and make his first oval track racing start ever. Because of his commitment to Champion Racing and the ALMS, he must make the field on the first weekend of qualifying because he will not be able to participate in any more qualifying. Bubble Day at Indy, the final day, is on the same day as the ALMS event at Sears Point. "I don't really look at it as being under pressure (to qualify the first weekend)," said Herbert, who tested Indy Racing League cars last year. "I want to do well on that first day of qualifying and I'm taking that approach. Strangely enough, I'm not bothered by it at all. Instead, I consider it a challenge and it's one that I'm looking forward to. I'm confident we can do well that first day." After the first weekend of qualifying, Herbert will practice at Indy on May 15-16 and then fly to California for the opening of practice at Sears Point on May 17. ALMS qualifying will be on Saturday, May 18, with the two-hour, 45-minute race to be run on Sunday afternoon. "I'm really looking forward to getting back to Sears," said Herbert. "The championship of the American Le Mans Series is very important to me, and we have a very good chance of getting Champion Racing's first win there." After the race, he will return to Indianapolis to begin final preparations for the May 26 running of the 500. ALMS

4/10/02

Johnson Controls Trans-Am sponsor at LB again   For the fifth consecutive year, Johnson Controls, Inc. is returning as title sponsor of the annual Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup event on the streets of Long Beach, Calif. This year’s event, scheduled for Sunday, April 14, will launch the Trans-Am’s 12-race 2002 schedule. “Johnson Controls is proud to be the lead sponsor of the first Trans-Am race of the season,” said Bill Fluharty, vice president of industrial design and new product strategy, North America for Johnson Controls. “This race provides Johnson Controls, our automaker customers and the automotive design community an excellent platform for innovation in automotive interior design.”

4/10/02

Andretti hopes testing will help at LB   Team Motorola and driver, Michael Andretti, are ready to re-write the results book at the Long Beach Grand Prix this year after a mechanical failure in 2001 put them on the sidelines after only three laps. "Last year was truly a disappointment," said Andretti. "We had really high expectations and it was disappointing to only complete three laps because Long Beach is a great race and I felt we had a good race car." Team Motorola has spent the days after the season opener in Monterrey, Mexico testing on the road course at California Speedway and the engineers configured the course to replicate what they likely will see in Long Beach. "All the testing we've done with our Honda-Reynard-Bridgestone cars has been very positive," said Kim Green, general manager. "We felt we got some good data during our test in March, and we're looking forward to getting to Long Beach and putting it to good use and hopefully it will lead to a podium finish in this weekend's race."  "I'm really looking forward to Long Beach," said Andretti. "This race will always hold a special place in my heart because it's where I scored the first Champ Car victory of my career and the whole race weekend is such an event. The fans and the city are so behind this race that it really makes the weekend exciting for everyone."

4/10/02

Andy Petree Racing picks up some money  Sponsorless Andy Petree Racing has picked up some "green" for the next two weeks - Preen ‘N Green, to be exact. Preen, America’s leading weed preventer for lawns and gardens, will sponsor the organization over the next two weeks. A product of Greenview, the consumer products division of Lebanon Seaboard Corporation, Preen will be on the NASCAR Truck Series Chevrolet driven by Petree at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway this weekend, and will be on the #33 NASCAR Winston Cup Chevrolet driven by Mike Wallace at Talladega (Ala.) SuperSpeedway next week.

4/10/02

Catch LB Toyota Atlantic race live on SPEED  

Event: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Where: Streets of Downtown Long Beach
1.968-Mile Temporary Street Circuit
32 Laps
Date: April 14, 2002
TV: Speed Channel, Sunday, April 14, 2002; 2:30 pm (ET)
Series: CART Toyota Atlantic Series, Round 2

4/10/02

Revolution Motorsports ready for 2002   Revolution Motorsports worked through finishing preparations on their new two-car effort in contention for the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Cup. The series gets underway April 14 at The Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. The Grand Prix of the Americas, originally scheduled for April 6 in Miami, will run October 5. At a test session in Michigan today, the crew at Revolution Motorsports received one last blast from Mother Nature with temperatures below the freezing mark and snow flurries often filling the air. Regardless, driver Stu Hayner, along with Don and Bobby Sak, gave the crew exactly what it had anticipated, a perfect day on the track. "We learned a great deal out there today," commented team owner Don Sak. "There is so much to think about before getting the cars on the track and working on the set-ups. Our guys really got past the cold temperatures and were flawless at coaching me (and the other drivers) to warm up the cars correctly. All of us learned much more than we had anticipated. I am elated." For Revolution Motorsports, the off-season was an exciting challenge. They are a new team with new drivers and two new cars. Revolution Motorsports will compete as part of the Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Cup. All events are to be nationally televised on CBS and The Speed Channel (formerly Speedvision).

4/9/02

Juan Montoya's driver Jorge to debut in next CART ladder rung  A recent press release announced that Brazilian driver Jonatan Jorge (PITBULL Energy Drink/Montoya Racing) will be competing in the Formula Dodge National Series. The driver's debut will take place in April 11th, at California Speedway, in Fontana, CA. Based on his performance in the Regional Series, Jorge was selected by Formula Dodge to become a part of the elite group of twenty-five drivers to compete in the National Series. The financial backing was possible due to the support that Jorge receives from Juan Pablo Montoya (from his company Montoya Racing) and from PITBULL Energy Drink. "While Montoya Racing endorses and grants huge credibility to Jorge's talent and technical ability, PITBULL Energy Drink invests on his youth and future success in years to come," said Robert Beck, Jr., from the Jorge's press release group. Also in April, Jonatan Jorge will take part in the final event of the Formula Dodge Southern Series Championship, in Daytona, FL. Jorge, who leads the fight for the "Rookie of the Year" title, spearheads the overall Championship's point standings, followed by Matt Franc, from the USA, and Cristiano Piquet, also from Brazil. The Formula Dodge National Series awards the Championship winner, the Rookie of the Year, and the Shoot-out (selective race) winner, with a fully paid season in the Formula Barber Dodge Pro-Series. In the same way that the Formula 3000 events precede the Formula-1 races, the Formula Barber Dodge Pro-Series precedes CART-FedEx, sharing racing days and facilities alike.

4/9/02

Barber Dodge champ lands Toyota Atlantics ride  CART's ladder system continues to pay big dividends.  Barber Dodge Pro Series Champion Nicolas Rondet has signed with Condor Motorsports to contest the balance of the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Series. The Frenchman begins his assault this coming weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, site of the second round of the Atlantic Series. The late signing has meant little testing opportunity for Rondet to prepare for the race that he contested once before in 1999. There was an opportunity to complete a short test at Buttonwillow Raceway in California earlier this week that yielded encouraging results. "I wouldn't be in this position without winning the Barber Dodge Pro Series title, so choosing to run that series last year has paid off," said Rondet. "Relative to the other teams, we don't have a big budget, but that has been the case my whole career. Coming into this situation though from Barber Dodge where the driver is the only advantage, I feel like my experience and background will allow me to be competitive. Having said that I will be up against a lot of former Barber Dodge drivers that have the same background. Nevertheless I think that we will surprise some people and be very competitive." Winning the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series proved that Rondet has the talent and he brings the added value of $250,000 as a result of winning the Career Enhancement Award. "I have no doubt that Nicolas has the ability and determination to be a force in the Toyota-Atlantic Championship in 2002 and we are proud to be able assist him with our Career Enhancement Award. The main goal of Barber-Dodge is to give our drivers a platform from which they can build a professional racing career. Nicolas is another example of how a driver who works hard and stays focused can succeed in this most demanding of sports," said Jeremy Dale, Managing Director of the Barber Dodge Pro Series. CART President and CEO, Christopher Pook: "Nicolas Rondet and his peers in both Barber Dodge and Toyota Atlantic are the future of CART. It pleases me to see that the combination of the Barber-CART Scholarships and the combined efforts of the Skip Barber and Toyota Atlantic organizations have seen to it that talent doesn't die on the vine." Toyota Atlantic President and CEO, Vicki O' Connor: "I am very pleased that Nicolas Rondet, the 2001 Barber/Dodge Champion, is joining the Toyota Atlantic series at Long Beach. Nicolas is a very talented driver with a lot of experience and he should do very well in the series. It is also gratifying to see the CART Ladder System working as we designed it."

4/9/02

Cheever tops practice at Indy  1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr. posted a lap of 225.386 mph in his No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone on April 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the fastest of the teams that released speeds during the private test session.  "This is the first time we have come to Indy since our simulation last fall, and the Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti is much quicker," Cheever said. "We are running some engines today that are the same configuration as the engine we had at the California Speedway because the updates are not available yet. We will be validating those updates pretty soon. Team Rahal returned to the Speedway for the first time since 1995 with Jimmy Vasser posting the second-fastest speed of 224.664 in the No. 19 Miller Lite/Rahal Letterman Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. "We're just getting started," Vasser said. "The conditions are really good. The car feels great. When it's cold like this, it's pretty easy to have the car working pretty good. We're working on stuff that is real back-to-back oriented, straight-line speeds and different wheels and things that we need to get answers for." Indianapolis 500 rookies Alex Barron and Tomas Scheckter both took their first laps around the Speedway with Barron posting a speed of 223.167 in the No. 44 Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone while Scheckter, Cheever's teammate, reached 222.325 in the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone.  "We showed up here, and I didn't really know what to expect," Barron said. "I'd never been around the track before, but it's a lot more than what I was expecting. There's no other track that's anything like it."  Shigeaki Hattori reached 221.802 in his No. 12 EPSON Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. Jaques Lazier and Robby Gordon each tested for Team Menard, but the team did not release speeds. Gordon competes full time in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and is entered in the No. 31 Menards/Childress/Cingular Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone as a teammate to Lazier. "It went pretty well," Gordon said. "Jaques was out here testing with Team Menard, and we thought we'd come out and get integrated with Indy cars again. It's been a year." Said Lazier: "We're pretty happy with where we stand right now. It's a little cold and a little windy, but I'll tell you what, in the off-season when they diamond-cut this track, I cannot believe how smooth this track is. There used to be a bump over in Turn 1 and over in (Turn) 3, but right now it's as clean or as smooth as a lake up in Colorado in the morning."

4/9/02
Industry News

Another concrete wall victim - Sprint car driver killed at Eldora  UPDATE A reader writes to say, Jimmy Johnston was a sprint-car driver, but was racing a UMP Modified at the time of the wreck.  4/8/02 - Sprint-car driver Jimmy Johnston, 48, died of a head injury after his car crashed into a wall on the first lap of a race at Eldora Speedway at more than 80 mph and rolled more than 10 times. He died of head trauma, Darke County coroner's investigator Bill Bohler said Monday. Johnston's car broke a large chunk of concrete off the wall. ``It was just a violent, violent wreck,'' said Ronnie Perrine Jr., who was driving farther back in the pack. ``The car was completely mangled. It was unbelievable.'' AP

4/9/02

Simple Green becomes another Long Beach sponsor  Simple Green - whose quick-response Simple Green Safety Team is credited with saving CART FedEx Championship Series driver Alex Zanardi's life in Germany last year - has been designated as an Official Sponsor of the April 12-14 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. As part of the sponsorship package, Simple Green products will be designated as the "Official Cleaning Products" of the Toyota Grand Prix. In addition, Simple Green and Ace Hardware are conducting a "free Friday Grand Prix" ticket promotion at all Ace Hardware locations in Southern California and will have extensive on-track signage benefits, The family of Simple Green products - non-toxic cleaning solutions used in home and industry - features the Pro Series automotive cleaners and professional strength products especially formulated for the removal of carbon-based grease, oil, lubricants, fluids and road dirt from engines, undercarriages and wheels. "Safety is a priority with CART and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach," said Kevin O'Brien, director of sales and marketing of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. "Thus, it is doubly gratifying to have Simple Green not only as a sponsor of the CART Safety Team, but as a member of our Grand Prix event sponsor family as well."   GPALB

4/9/02

Pruett glad to be part of CART's resurrection  As race teams roll into Long Beach, Calif., for the CART FedEx Championship Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend, SPEED Channel broadcaster Scott Pruett is preparing for his job as a pit reporter with the same passion he demonstrated behind the wheel of a race car. "As a driver on the CART circuit for more than a decade, it was a travesty to see the lack of coverage the sport got on network television," said Pruett, who drove for the team of Arciero-Wells as recently as 1999. "To be a driver up on the podium after a great race and to know that it wasn't being shown on television really hurt the sport. They gave us what I call 'just enough' coverage. You turned on the TV, you saw the race and a couple of vignettes, they waved the checkered flag and it was over. "For SPEED Channel to step up and partner with CART to open up the opportunities for race fans to get more access to all that goes on in this series is extremely important to its future success," Pruett added. "More importantly, it gives fans the opportunity to get to know some of the personalities that make up the sport. Fans want people they can either love or hate." SPEED Channel's coverage from Long Beach begins Friday, April 12 at 4:30 p.m. (ET) with live qualifying. CART Friday Night airs at 10:30 p.m. (ET) and live qualifying resumes on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (ET). Live race coverage, in stereo surround sound, will begin Sunday at 3:30 p.m. (ET) on FOX with the SPEED Channel broadcast team with a re-broadcast on SPEED on Monday at 8 p.m. (ET). Pruett, a multi-talented driver with experience in everything from NASCAR to IMSA to SCCA Trans Am, spent time after SPEED Channel's CART debut last month in Monterrey, Mexico, preparing for his work on camera much as he did as a racer. "I'm the rookie to this broadcast team," Pruett said. "And as in racing, preparation is key, so I have been through the tapes several times, looking at things that worked and didn't work and honing my personal skills, trying to get into a groove. "This broadcast team of Bob Varsha, Derek Daly, Tommy Kendall and Calvin Fish is a great blend of knowledge and experience," Pruett added. "It's a lot like a new race team that was good out of the box, but the potential is there to be even better." "Scott was a great find for SPEED Channel," said Doug Sellars, executive producer of SPEED Channel's CART broadcasts. "To find someone so fresh out of the seat that has television experience is a bonus. Scott knows these cars, he knows the drivers and he knows every circuit that we will go to this year. Better yet, the teams and drivers know him, giving him that much more credibility and access in the pit area. Scott was the perfect candidate for this position." As a former competitor, Pruett feels added responsibility being on the team delivering CART's message at a pivotal time in open-wheel racing's history. Said Pruett: "I'm here because of my love for CART racing and because I want to do my part in what I believe will be its resurrection. I want to be a part of that."   SC

4/9/02

Trans-Am TV ScheduleFive live telecasts highlight the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup television schedule released today.  SPEED Channel (formerly Speedvision) and CBS Sports will once again join the Trans-Am Series as broadcast partners for the 2002 season. SPEED Channel will carry four of the series' five live broadcasts, while CBS Sports will air live coverage of the inaugural National Grand Prix of Washington, D.C. on Saturday, July 20.  More

4/9/02

Open-Wheel Racing Summit announced  UPDATE Here is a link to the Street & Smith's Racing Summit to be held in Indianapolis that we had mentioned reported  3/28/02 - Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal is pleased to announce the forthcoming Open-Wheel Racing Summit, May 21-22, 2002 at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and The Westin Indianapolis. Presented by SportsBusiness Journal, the Open-Wheel Racing Summit has been designed to provide a behind the scenes examination of the marketing, sponsorship, television and challenges & vision for open-wheel racing in the U.S. The event's distinguished speaker faculty has been instrumental in helping craft a program that addresses the industry's most pressing issues, and meets the true needs of senior-level sports executives. The Summit will delve into areas that are critical to the future of open-wheel racing including leadership, television rights, sponsorship, new media and support series. This exciting two-day program will analyze the significant opportunities and challenges ahead through a series of featured keynote presentations, lively panel discussions, guest appearances, and roundtable discussions from IRL and CART that no industry executive would want to miss. Issues to be examined include: What can be done to enhance open-wheel racing as a brand? What is the role of sponsors in the future of open-wheel racing? How can open-wheel position itself, and compete in a fragmented racing market and over-saturated sports market? What is the future mission for the sport? Is there money still out there for sponsorships in a slowing economy? What do the fans want? What are top brands focusing on? Behind-the-scenes opportunities include pace car rides, exclusive tours and credentials for Carb Day. Attendees will also have the chance to network informally with their peers the week of the world famous Indianapolis 500. This is the event where top brand managers, owners, the leagues, manufacturers and broadcasters will have the exclusive opportunity to network and mingle at the Brickyard. For program details or registration information, please visit www.SportsConferences.org or call 212-869-7231 ext. 18.  Street & Smith's

4/9/02

CART to be featured on Discover Channel  The CART FedEx Championship Series and series title sponsor, FedEx, will be highlighted on Discovery Channel's popular series "On The Inside" with the premier of "The Secret World of Air Freight" on Friday, April 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Details

4/9/02

CART & Bear Stearns to hold racing summit Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. and Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. announced today that they will be holding a Business-to-Business Summit at this week's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Summit, scheduled for Thursday April 11th, is designed to provide investors and businesses with a thorough understanding of the opportunities that exist in CART. In addition to the Summit, attendees will have a chance to visit the CART paddock garage area, examine the cars and meet with the drivers at the race course. Featured speakers at the event include Christopher R. Pook, CART president and CEO, Marc Falcone, Bear Stearns motorsports analyst, and Larry Kasanoff, CEO of Threshold Entertainment. "The motorsports industry creates an impressive blend of entertainment, business-to-business and investment opportunities," said David L. Rosenberg, Bear Stearns managing director and one of the organizers of the event. "We believe this Summit will offer a rare opportunity for those outside the industry to gain a greater understanding of the business." "CART is taking a leadership position as it pertains to providing a sports marketing environment that is conducive to the creation of new business opportunities," added Pook. "This B2B Summit, held in conjunction with one of the most successful sporting events in Southern California, is an excellent opportunity for those companies not currently using our sports marketing platform to come and check us out." In addition to the one-day Summit, participants will be invited to attend a complete weekend of events, including the FedEx Championship Series race event on Sunday, April 14.

4/9/02

7-Eleven to sponsor Franchitti and Tracy in Indy 500 We rumored this a month or so ago and now this rumor becomes a fact.  Team Green announced today that world-renowned convenience store leader 7-Eleven, Inc. will be the primary sponsor for the entries of Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy in the 86th Indianapolis 500 on May 26. Both Franchitti's and Tracy's cars will display the 7-Eleven* logo and Big Gulp* brand. The Dallara-Chevrolets will be formally known as the Team Green 7-Eleven entries. "We're thrilled to partner with Team Green, Dario and Paul for The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," said Mike Gade, senior vice president, merchandising for 7-Eleven, Inc. "As one of the world's most prestigious, well-attended and widely watched television sports events, the Indianapolis 500 provides a perfect platform to showcase one of our most prominent brands, Big Gulp, to our customers." 7-Eleven selected Big Gulp to be the featured brand because Memorial Day marks the start of the summer selling season, with warmer weather contributing to fountain sales. The 32-oz. Big Gulp, one of 7-Eleven's most well established brands, was launched in 1976 and began the introduction of 7-Eleven's family of proprietary Gulp cups. As the first retailer to offer self-serve fountain drinks, 7-Eleven has long been considered America's favorite beverage destination, offering one of the largest selections of cold beverages with freedom of choice at the fountain machine. 7-Eleven will launch two new TV commercials during the Indianapolis 500 to promote its growing fresh food business. The ads will feature Big Bite* hot dogs and new Go-Go Taquitos(tm).

4/9/02

IRL may limit manufacturers to just two  In this ESPN.com article, the IRL's Brian Barnhardt says, the IRL does intend to control the number of approved chassis manufacturers. Three is the conventional number most assume will get the nod, but Barnhart would not oppose a smaller number. "I'm not so sure that having only two manufacturers isn't the best option for the IRL," remarked Barnhart.  "There is a very narrow profit margin to the way we do our chassis program."

4/9/02

Pook - Tony George wants to take Indy Racing back to 70's   In an interview with Chris Pook in today's LA Times, Chris Pook says "Frankly, what the IRL wants is for Indy cars to go back to the 1970s when all it had was the Indy 500 and a bunch of other races not worth a hill of beans that drew between 10,000 and 15,000 fans. That is apparently what Tony George wants. That's the way it's looked so far this year."  AR1 does not expect more than that many fans at the April 21st IRL race at Nazareth, so the trend will apparently continue.  Photo from Fontana by Ron McQueeney/IMS

4/9/02

Pook underscores CART's popularity vs. the IRL   In an interview with Chris Pook in today's LA Times, Chris Pook says "Why have so many writers chosen to focus not on what happened at CART in the last few months but on the shortcomings from last season, including a race that was canceled 11 months ago?" he asked. "It seems some of them want to keep CART on the same directionless course it was last year. I can assure you that will not be the case. "In most cases they champion the greatness of the IRL and the demise of CART, but it should be embarrassing to them when the three opening rounds of the IRL series had attendance in the 10,000 to 15,000 range while our first three races will attract combined three-day crowds of over half a million people."

4/9/02

Tony Stewart - If you rock the boat, you're going to pay  We spotted in the latest copy of FHM magazine some interesting observations by Tony Stewart regarding NASCAR.  Stewart said Alabama race fans are obnoxious and took yet another shot at NASCAR officials. Asked which race track has the most obnoxious fans in racing, Stewart replied "Talladega". When urged to say more, Stewart responded, "It's in Alabama - enough said." Stewart also agreed with recent comments made by snowboarder Shaun Palmer, who called NASCAR a "Redneck Mafia". "The guy's got a good perspective on the sport," said Stewart. "He knows what he's talking about." "If you rock the boat, you're going to pay," explained Stewart. "NASCAR wants you to smile, thank the sponsors and say, we had a good car today."  Stewart thinks NASCAR is hard on him when it comes to penalties because he's not afraid to speak out and say how he really feels.

4/9/02

Raikkonen to marry  Kimi Raikkonen has become engaged to girlfriend Jenni Dahlman. The 22-year-old Finn has been dating Dahlman, a Finnish model and winner of the Miss Scandinavia contest, since the autumn of last year. Previously he had been living with former girlfriend, Hanna. Raikkonen's 20-year-old fiancée was reported as telling Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat: "I´m very happy!"

4/9/02

Lauda not too optimistic about Jaguar's chances in Italy After an encouraging outing at the Brazilian Grand Prix and a productive three-day test at Valencia, Niki Lauda heads for Imola in a confident frame of mind.  "I was very encouraged by our improved form over the whole of the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend," said the Jaguar Racing boss. "We understood the R3 better than we have done so far this season and our progress was rewarded with a good set-up that worked well at Interlagos. Combine this with a very good Michelin compound and it isn't hard to see why we climbed up the order relative to the opening two races of the season."  Story

4/9/02

Da Matta looks to make history at Toyota GO of Long Beach Cristiano da Matta can tie the all-time CART record for consecutive victories (four) this weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Chevron Toyota driver arrives in Southern California with victories in the final two races of the 2001 season at Australia and Fontana along with the season-opening race at Monterrey. The feat places him just one win shy of tying the record held by Alex Zanardi (1998) and Al Unser Jr. (1990).  Story (PDF Format)

4/9/02

Newman Haas set for Long Beach Newman/Haas Racing drivers Cristiano da Matta and Christian Fittipaldi are hitting the track this weekend at the popular Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, each with hopes of securing a victory and bringing the team its fourth consecutive win in the series - a first for Newman/Haas Racing. A win by either driver would break or match records for the team or CART  Story (PDF Format)

4/9/02

Trans-Am season opens in Long Beach – Thanks to an established group of returnees and a number of talented newcomers, the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup is shaping up as one of the most competitive in series history. The Trans-Am Series, the longest-running road racing series in North America, launches its 37th campaign this weekend with the Johnson Controls 100 on the streets of Long Beach, Calif. Defending race champion Lou Gigliotti and defending series champion Paul Gentilozzi are among those expected to take the green flag at 3:45 p.m. Sunday for the first of 12 rounds in the 2002 Trans-Am championship. This will mark the Trans-Am Series’ 11th appearance on the streets of Long Beach, dating to 1987. Story (PDF Format)

4/9/02




Get SPEED Channel on DirecTV right here UPDATE A reader reminds us that if you order the DIRECTV Receiver with TiVo or UltimateTV, you get up to 35 hours of digital recording without videotape, allowing you to automatically record every episode of your favorite shows every time they're on! You can record two shows at once and even pause live TV, rewind, watch in slow motion, and create instant replays.  4/7/02   We have had a lot of e-mail (especially from CART fans who are going through withdrawal pains) about how to get SPEED Channel in the USA, the best motorsports channel in the world!  If your Cable TV company does not offer it, we have made it easy for you.  You can order a DirecTV satellite system online from Amazon.com and get the entire system for just $29.99 with free professional installation.  They offer SPEED Channel and 110 digital channels in their basic $31.99/month package.  And this is a dual-head system, meaning you can buy a 2nd receiver at a later time for another room.  The system will be shipped to your house and then you can call for the free installation and to have DirecTV activated.  We here at AutoRacing1.com have done it ourselves and it's quite easy. Order Now

4/8/02

Successful first test for Infiniti Pro car  Indy Racing League driver Robby McGehee completed more than 100 miles in sunny, windy conditions during the successful first test of the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series car April 8 at Walt Disney World Speedway near Orlando, Fla. McGehee was pleased with the performance of the new Infiniti-powered Dallara on Firestone tires on the tricky 1-mile oval at the gates of the Magic Kingdom. "It's a great car," said McGehee, the 1999 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year. "After only the second run, it felt good. I was working with the engineers from Dallara, Infiniti and Firestone to figure out how the car would perform on long runs. It generates a lot of downforce, and it's really fun to drive. I really think it's the car guys should be in to take them into the Indy Racing League." The one-day session generated initial on-track data regarding the Infiniti Pro Series car, which incorporates several unique elements, including a longitudinally mounted monoshock front suspension unit, a front-loading, six-speed sequential Ricardo gearbox and a stepped underbody. "We were very pleased with the first laps in earnest with the new car," said Roger Bailey (pictured), executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series. "We had a couple of minor issues, but right off the bat, it felt like a real race car. The test was really about longevity and ensuring that all the components were sound and secure. We will now return to Indy, make the necessary adjustments and decide which venues will best suit further development of the car." IRL

4/8/02

Laguna Seca gala to honor Lynx The Grand Prix of Monterey weekend, June 7, 8, 9, kicks off with the La Gala Seca charity dinner and auction Friday evening, June 7, at the Embassy Suites on Monterey Bay. Lynx Racing is this year's honoree. Lynx Racing, of the CART Toyota Atlantics Championship Series, is a unique and successful combination of a championship-winning race team and driver development program.  Story

4/8/02

Vasser keeps busy schedule  Team Rahal driver Jimmy Vasser likes to keep busy but this week is a little ridiculous. The 36-year-old Las Vegas veteran driver will be at the wheel of his racing machines on two of the most famous racing venues in the world. On Tuesday (April 9) weather permitting, Vasser will make his first appearance with the Rahal/Letterman effort at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a testing session with the Miller Lite Chevrolet Dallara. Vasser was scheduled to test the Miller Lite machine last week but rain and snow flurries kept the team from its planned runs. With the limited schedule of testing days prior to the month of May at Indy, the team had to squeeze the Indy 500 testing before this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Vasser, the 1996 Long Beach winner, brings the Shell Ford Lola into the “Roar By The Shore,” in an effort to return to the winner’s podium. Vasser has six consecutive Top 10 finishes at Long Beach. “Ya, it’s a pretty busy week for myself and our team,” said Vasser, the 1996 CART series champion. “But we needed to test for Indy and Long Beach is one of the biggest races of the year for us. So I’m excited about both programs this week. I just hope the weather works out.”  More (PDF format)

4/8/02

Stefanucci and Turner named Rockingham agent  Rockingham, Britain's first banked high-speed oval racing circuit has appointed Stefanucci and Turner as its American agent. The agency headed by Mr. Brian Turner will primarily assist Rockingham in contact with teams, sponsors and marketers involved with the Fed Ex CART racing series. The track, near Northampton, England, last year hosted the first-ever British round of the series and the championship is set to return again in 2002. The company's connections with the Long Beach Grand Prix, then led by current CART CEO, Chris Pook, formed the start of a long relationship with CART. S&T were instrumental in attracting the CART series to Long Beach and were also associated with the promotion of CART events in Milwaukee and the Meadowlands for several years. Their qualifications for this assignment were further enhanced when between 1995 and 1998, S&T were appointed to manage the development of the Pikes Peak International Raceway, which opened in Colorado Springs in June 1997. The assignment included all aspects of project development, construction, financing, race schedule development, staffing, sponsorship and ticket sales as well as overall event operations. "We're absolutely delighted to be able to work with someone with the connections and expertise offered by Brian Turner" said Eve Hewitt, Marketing Director of Rockingham. "Brian has shared many experiences similar to those which as Britain's newest motor sports venue, we are facing. We look forward to a great working relationship."

4/8/02

Cristiano Piquet (Nelson's cousin) news  You might be interested in seeing Cristiano Piquet´s new website. He is the Brazilian cousin of Nelson Piquet, three-time F1 world champion. The address: www.cristianopiquet.com  He is currently driving in the CART ladder system - Formula Dodge North American Championship and doing quite well.

4/8/02

CART to be featured on two Tech TV shows April 10th  CART will be featured on two TechTV shows this Wednesday.  The first show called Fresh Gear, at 9:00 PM EST, will talk about the Blue Box used in CART to measure crash data.  Shell Team Rahal driver Jimmy Vasser will explain. The 2nd show called The Tech of a Race Car, at 9:30 PM EST, will take you into the Forsythe Racing shops and explain just about everything you want to know about a Champ Car.  If you have DirecTV, it's probably channel 354 - TechTV

4/8/02

More Kirch collapse fallout  In a press release today, EM.TV stated they may have to write off the value of its stake in Formula 1.   EM.TV said a worst-case scenario would see them having to completely write off its 16.7% stake in KirchMedia which is currently valued at 256 million euros.  This Washington Post article goes into a lot of detail into just how far in debt Kirch is.  We're glad we're not in his shoes.

4/8/02

Trans-Am debuts new-look website  In an effort to enhance its ability provide up-to-the-minute information to fans of North America’s longest-running road racing series, the Trans-Am Series launches its new-look website today at www.trans-amseries.com . Developed by VirtualFocus, a state-of-the-art web developer located in Wichita, Kansas, www.trans-amseries.com will feature the most current and accurate information concerning the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup, which enters its 37th season of competition with next weekend’s Johnson Controls 100 on the streets of Long Beach, Calif. “Effective today, we are pleased to be able to provide our many loyal fans with a dynamic new means of keeping current on all the goings-on in Trans-Am Series,” said Trans-Am president Dennis Huth. “I’m sure they will be impressed with the state-of-the-art technology that Virtual Focus has utilized to make our website as exciting and stimulating as Trans-Am racing itself.  Trans-Am

4/8/02

Walker releases Sarah Fisher  Walker Racing announced today that Sarah Fisher has been released from her drivers contract with Walker Racing to pursue other opportunities in racing. Fisher became the youngest person to compete in the Indy Racing League when she raced in the 1999 season finale at Texas Motor Speedway at the age of just 19. "Sarah wishes to drive in the Indy Racing League, and currently, we have not raised the full season sponsorship for the Indy Racing League. Sarah had requested to be allowed to pursue other opportunities, and we have agreed to release her from her obligations to the team to allow her to do that," said team owner Derrick Walker. "I think she has a great future ahead of her in the Indy Racing League, and we wish her the best of luck." Walker Racing

4/8/02

NASCAR Wheel of Fortune week announced   The number one game show in the world and the fastest growing sport on television have partnered for Wheel of Fortune “NASCAR Week”, airing nationwide April 22-26, 2002. All week, the die-hard NASCAR fans that were chosen as contestants will compete on a NASCAR-outfitted Wheel of Fortune set featuring everything from stock cars to checkered flags for great NASCAR-themed prizes, such as Gasoline for Life from TOSCO/76, a Ford F 150 Truck, and VIP fantasy trips to some of NASCAR’s premiere events. The April theme week marks the first partnering of Wheel of Fortune and NASCAR. NASCAR drivers Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Ward Burton, Jeff Burton, John Andretti, Buckshot Jones and 7-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion, Richard Petty, will be featured in show segments shot with Vanna White will be featured in show segments shot with Vanna White on location at the Las Vegas Speedway in March. NASCAR favorites Kyle Petty, Jeff Green, Stacy Compton, Ricky Craven and Jimmie Johnson also make appearances during Wheel of Fortune “NASCAR Week” to introduce the great NASCAR-themed prizes from sponsors Lowe’s Home Improvement, Tide, Conseco, Daytona USA, NASCAR Speed Park, America Online (AOL) and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. “Wheel of Fortune ‘NASCAR Week’ combines two high-powered American favorites, says Harry Friedman, executive producer, Wheel of Fortune. “This is a winning partnership.” Hosted by Pat Sajak and featuring Vanna White, Wheel of Fortune is televised in 40 territories worldwide, reaching more than 100 million weekly viewers, making it the most popular television show on earth. Since its 1983 syndication launch, the game show has awarded more than $125 million in cash and prizes to contestants.


Vanna White with Ward Burton and Jeff Gordon

4/8/02

CART not on TV in China   A reader writes - Dear AutoRacing1.com, CART used to be on TV in China on ESPN, but not anymore, just Formula and some IRL highlights.  CART can forget about racing in Shanghai if they are not on TV, every race live, now.  The Chinese fans won't even know what CART is if it's not on TV, so how can they expect to have a successful race there. [Editors' Note - this reader is absolutely correct.  If CART is not on TV in China, then perhaps the Shanghai rumors are false, and CART has decided to forgo the soon-to-be largest consumer market in the world]. 

4/8/02

Earnhardt Jr. holds early lead for most popular driver   Dale Earnhardt, Jr. leads, and more than 130,000 votes have been cast for the Grands! NMPA NASCAR Winston Cup Most Popular Driver Award. Voting began in early March at www.nascarpopulardriver.com, and NASCAR fans have responded in amazing numbers. Approximately 400,000 voted all of last year. Voting continues through November 10. Voting breakdowns were unavailable but, especially since it is early in the process, differences were relatively close down the list. Behind Earnhardt, Jr., in order, were Tony Stewart, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd, Kyle Petty, Rusty Wallace, Kevin Harvick and Dale Jarrett. Fans are allowed one vote per day but may vote as many days as they wish.

4/8/02

Kirch close to filing for bankruptcy  3rd UPDATE It's official, KirchMedia filed for insolvency this morning. TV rights to the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups have been moved to KirchSport after KirchMedia filed.  How F1 may be affected is not totally clear yet, but KirchMedia owned the F1 TV rights as well.  4/7/02 - According to this article in the Financial Times, the largest creditor banks to KirchMedia, the TV broadcasting and film rights arm of the near-bankrupt German media group, yesterday began drawing up plans for an insolvency filing expected next week. Last-minute talks between the banks and minority shareholders in KirchMedia in Munich yesterday morning failed to produce an agreement. Separate rescue talks in Los Angeles involving media mogul Rupert Murdoch and representatives of Italian media baron and prime minister Silvio Berlusconi have also produced nothing. The collapse of efforts to inject new capital and provide short-term financing yesterday prompted Kirch advisers to say that insolvency proceedings are now inevitable. "Plan A has failed, now the banks are moving over to plan B," one person close to Kirch said. 4/5/02 - Expect Kirch to file their bankruptcy papers today according to both German amd England media sources.  4/4/02 -  According to this Financial Times article, two of Kirch Gruppe's largest creditor banks have pulled out of talks with minority shareholders in KirchMedia, the debt-laden German group's core rights and free-TV business, increasing the likelihood that the unit will file for insolvency this week. Looks to us like Bernie Ecclestone may get back the F1 rights that he sold to Kirch at a big discount.

4/8/02

Minardi team debuts fleet of 2-seater cars   We hear CART is going to do this again, but details are sketchy at best.  Minardi launched a fleet of two-seater cars yesterday at the A1-Ring in Austria, which will play host to the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix on May 12th. Driver Alex Yoong, team owner Paul Stoddart and European Minardi F3000 drivers Alex Sperafico and David Saelens provided high-speed rides to 50 passengers around the undulating, 4.32-km circuit.  According to the team's press release, an enthusiastic crowd, estimated by track officials at 5,000, braved the cold but sunny conditions to see four of Minardi's eight-strong fleet of two-seater Formula One™ type cars in action. In line with Stoddart's stated aim of making Formula One more accessible to the public, the team boss and his three drivers also signed autographs for the assembled fans and fielded questions from the media. What a great track the A1-Ring is, particularly for the F1™ two-seaters!" the Australian exclaimed. "The passengers get an excellent view here and I know the drivers loved it. In fact, some of them liked it so much they were starting to look at their lap times, which meant one or two of our guests got slightly more exciting rides than they might have bargained for! "It's been another hugely successful day for European Minardi F1x2, and I particularly want to thank the large number of fans who, despite the chilly weather, turned out in force to support us."

4/8/02

Orange-Arrows team comments on Imola  Heinz-Harald Frentzen is pleased to be returning to Europe and enjoys the circuit and its atmosphere... "I'm looking forward to the start of the European season and Imola is a great place for it to start. The track is pretty special with some big braking areas and that gives us a new set of challenges. It is a strategic track and it should suit us well. I enjoy racing there, especially as the tremendous enthusiasm of the Italian fans makes for a great atmosphere." A race winner at Imola in his European Formula Renault days, the track holds fond memories for Enrique Bernoldi ... "I really like Imola - It's a circuit that is very challenging and enjoyable to drive. The track has some nice turns and some pretty quick chicanes, so it will be important to find the right balance for the car so we can get a good lap time. I haven't been able to finish a race yet, so getting the car home really has to be my aim, but I'm confident that the car has good speed and hopefully we can mix it with the big boys here."  Mike Coughlan, Technical Director "Imola is a circuit that should suit our car quite well. It has a relatively smooth surface and has more tight to medium speed turns, which our car should handle better on, compared to circuits such as Interlagos. Brakes and tires could be the main problems over the weekend, but we'll do our best to avoid those. It would be fair to say we were disappointed with Brazil - we had a quick car, which again showed great potential in the race so we're hoping to turn potential into positions here and we'll be working hard to get the right set up for the car from the word go." Orange-Arrows

4/8/02

Johnny Herbert Indy 500 plans confirmed  One of the most illustrious names in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history returns to competition as Duesenberg Brothers Racing will field a car for next month's running of the 86th Indianapolis 500. Duesenberg Brothers Racing has named three-time Formula One and Le Mans winner Johnny Herbert as driver and announced primary sponsorship by Western Union. Though technically a rookie on the Speedway's oval, the much sought-after Herbert brings a wealth of experience from his 12 seasons in F1where he amassed 161 starts, including Stewart's first F1 victory. He also claimed victory at the recent Sebring 12 Hours as part of the factory Audi squad. "This is a dream I've been pursuing since my family introduced me to my first Indy 500 when I was seven," said team owner Keith Duesenberg. "To be able to return to the Speedway with Johnny Herbert as our driver and with our partner Western Union supporting us is really a dream come true," he added. Herbert too, has dreamed of the Indianapolis 500. "Since I was 10 years old I wanted to win Formula 1 - which I've done, Le Mans - which I've done, and the Indy 500 - it was those three that I wanted to win," said Herbert. "I am very pleased to be given this wonderful opportunity by Western Union and Duesenberg Brothers Racing to complete my dream and race in this year's Indy 500 - especially with an experienced team and a strong Chevy/Dallara/Firestone equipment package," he added. Western Union President Mike Yerington, stated "We are looking forward to participating in this year's Indy 500, and realize it will be very competitive. With Johnny Herbert driving the Western Union car and the team of Duesenberg Brothers Racing, we have a good chance in fielding a front-running car." Known as the Western Union Speed Team, sponsor Western Union is the worldwide leader in money transfers services and has been a supporter of Duesenberg Brothers Racing in past years. Duesenberg has also joined forces with long-time Indy 500 team owner Greg Beck and Beck Motorsports who will provide engineering and mechanical expertise. Beck-prepared machines have posted four top-10 finishes at Indy since 1996. Duesenberg Brothers

4/8/02
Industry News

Adrian Reynard talks about Bankruptcy  In this Story we explained that Reynard Motorsports had gone into receivership.  Today, in this Autosport article,  Reynard explains how it all went wrong.  We can tell you what happened - they plowed all their money into other race series and neglected their bread and butter, namely CART.  Their car hardly changed over the last 4 years compared to the competition.  They left the door open for Lola, and Lola pounced. MC

4/8/02

Not the best of days for Thomas Belli  All the odds seemed to be stacked against Thomas Belli (Son of CART Team Green's Tino Belli) in the BeST kart at Whiteland on Saturday. A poor draw for the 8 lap qualifying race saw him start 6th right behind the same rookie who caused us to stall in the qualifying race 2 weeks ago. Our worst fears were bore out at the start of the race, when Thomas got boxed in at the start and dropped back to 7th place. 2 places were made up in 2 laps. 4th took 3 laps more, and after moving into 4th spot, Thomas went 1.5 seconds a lap quicker, and clocked his best ever lap time around Whiteland. He closed in on third position but 3 laps was not enough laps left to catch the leaders. So Thomas started the 12 lap feature race from 4th. Going into the first turn he moved to pass down the middle of the 2 karts that started on the front row. The kart in front slowed more then expected and the resulting collision removed both of the karts from the competition. "I always take the first turn flat on a race start with cold tires, and it never occurred to me that other people could not do the same, so I was taken by surprise when the kart that had started on the front row braked in the middle of the corner", said Thomas. "Unfortunately we both ended up going off. I really must take the blame, as I was behind trying to make the pass. My Corsair kart was very fast and easy to drive, so a victory was on the cards." The BeST kart will race next at the WKA Great Lakes Sprint Series event at Norway, IL on April 20/21. Thomas will race in the SuperCan class on Saturday, and run the Formula Yamaha Junior class for the first time ever on Sunday.

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