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DATE

News (chronologically 4/20/02 to 4/26/02)

4/26/02

 

Kanaan tops pre-race warm-up in Motegi  Tony Kanaan was quickest in the pre-race warm-up session for the upcoming Bridgestone Potenza 500, Round 3 of the 2002 FedEx Championship Series. Kanaan, who will start second in the race, had a top lap average of 211.918 miles per hour (26.297 seconds) in the Pioneer/WorldCom Honda/Reynard. Points leader Cristiano da Matta was second fastest at 211.355 mph (26.367 seconds) in the Havoline Toyota/Lola and Patrick Carpentier was third at 209.646 mph (26.582 seconds) in the Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard.

4/26/02


 

Watch to see if CART newcomer can beat IRL star  Can CART newcomer Danica Patrick beat IRL star Sarah Fisher?  The popular Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, which was won for the first time by female drivers in both the Pro and Celebrity divisions, will be broadcast for the first time this Sunday, April 28, on ESPN from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. PDT. The 26th Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, which featured professional drivers and celebrities battling in identically prepared Toyota Celica GTs on the famed 1.97-mile Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race circuit, was won by Olympic Gold Medal swimmer Dara Torres in the Celebrity Division and open-wheel racecar driver Danica Patrick in the Pro Division. Other celebrities who drove in the 10-lap event included 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"), Patrick Warburton (FOX's "The Tick"), Jacob Young ('Lucky Spencer,' ABC's "General Hospital") and Brian Cranston ('Hal,' FOX's "Malcolm in the Middle"). Also in the field were Keith Crain (Publisher Automotive News, AutoWeek), and Dave Pasant, who earned a spot by making a bid of $65,000 for the 2002 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race seat at the 2001 Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball auction. Driving in the Pro Division were 2001 race champion Tom Rudnai, the first Toyota dealer to win the race; Sarah Fisher (rising Indy Racing League star); Tommy Kendall (Trans Am Champion), and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (ABC's "NYPD Blue" and a former race participant). The half-hour Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race program was produced by the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach's in-house television production group, Grand Prix Teleproductions. The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race will also be broadcast on ESPN2 Sunday, May 12, from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. PDT. GPALB

4/26/02

ALMS cancels Malaysia event The American Le Mans Series has canceled the event it had planned to run on Nov. 3 at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. The event will not be rescheduled. “After numerous inquiries concerning the promotion and staging of the race went substantially unanswered, the difficult decision was made to cancel the event,” said Scott Atherton, President and COO of the Panoz Motor Sports Group. “While we regret having to make this decision, we felt it prudent not to commit the resources of our commercial partners and teams without receiving reasonable confirmation from our promoter of its ability to successfully stage the event,” he said. ALMS

4/26/02

Infiniti Pro Series car at TMS  Robby McGehee crosses the start-finish line at Texas Motor Speedway during the inaugural superspeedway test of the new Infiniti Pro Series car. The Infiniti-powered Dallara chassis ran flawlessly during the 151 laps of testing, including a 100-mile run at the end of the day to simulate the race distance for the new series. (Texas Motor Speedway image).

4/26/02

Management changes at MG Rover MG Rover has appointed John Parkinson, Sales and Marketing Director, MG Rover Group, to the position of Managing Director for its parts business. The appointment recognizes the opportunity and importance of fully developing the commercial benefits of the parts business, which has an expected turnover in the region of £250 million. A new identity has also been created for the business, to better reflect its independence and focus on developing additional 'third party' business. XPART Limited replaces the name MG Rover Parts Limited. John Parkinson will report directly to Kevin Howe, Group Chief Executive. He said: "I am delighted that John will head-up XPART. Taking full control of the parts operation and opening up new marketing opportunities is strategically very important. John's sales and marketing experience will be a powerful asset. He has been instrumental in our marketing progress with Rover and the launch of the MG brand." John Sanders is promoted to the position of Sales and Marketing Director, on the Board of MG Rover Group. Powertrain confirmed the appointment of Fraser Winton as Managing Director. Mr Winton, 40, has extensive powertrain experience and will head up a business with 1300 employees and a turnover in excess of £250 million. He joins from Delphi Automotive. Mr Winton said: "I am delighted to be joining Powertrain at such an exciting time in its development as a strategic business unit within the Group."

4/26/02

Ford Delphi Blue Box UPDATE The NASCAR unit, the witness, is very limited to the information it provides.  We believe, G-forces and calculated speeds, and some other calculated information are provided. However, the witness does not connect to ANYTHING on the car. So, when there is an accident, they can see what happened, but are limited to guessing WHY it happened. The Delphi box connects to the cars electrical data systems, gaining info from the engine, chassis and driver. The current witness would not have shed any light on the situation with Kenny Irwin and Adam Petty, in which it was believed their throttles had stuck open. This would have been easy to see with a proper crash box unit like that from Ford, as the witness has never been used in a racing application, until now. NASCAR took the short route, and unfortunately, another driver may be injured or killed without knowing exactly what happened.   4/26/02 -  The Blue Box impact sensor is installed in every Champ Car, has been for years. The information gained from this project helps Ford engineers understand the affects of high g-loads on the human body. Ultimately, the information gained from this project will help engineers not only design safer Champ Cars, but production vehicles as well.  And to think, NASCAR refused to use this proven technology in their stock cars.

4/26/02

Jack Roush improves  2nd UPDATE Doctors at the UAB Medical Center reported Friday morning that Jack Roush has been updated to "satisfactory" condition. Roush, who was injured in a plane crash last Friday afternoon near Troy, Ala., is now in a private room and doctors expect him to be able to return to Michigan sometime next week.  4/24/02 - Doctors at the UAB Medical Center reported this morning that Jack Roush has been upgraded from serious to fair condition.  Roush, who was injured in a plane crash last Friday afternoon near Troy, Ala., has been completely removed from the ventilator and is verbally communicating with those around him. Doctors also say he will be moved out of intensive care tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Jack wishes to express his appreciation and thanks to all of the NASCAR family and friends for all their thoughts, prayers and well wishes throughout the week.   4/23/02 -  Jack Roush underwent surgery today at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center to close wounds around his left knee and ankle. Doctors reported that the tissue looked good and there is no more surgery scheduled at this time. Doctors plan to put a splint on Roush's leg in the near future. Roush is still listed in serious condition after being injured in a plane crash Friday afternoon, but doctors say they will start the process of weaning him off of the ventilator tonight.

4/26/02

Cheever hires Papis for Indy 500  We reported this on our rumors page yesterday, here is the official press release - CART driver Max Papis will drive the No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti in the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26, team officials announced today. Papis will join Indy Racing League regulars Eddie Cheever Jr. and Tomas Scheckter at Red Bull Cheever Racing. More....

4/26/02

Tom Knapp leaves Kelley Racing  UPDATE Here is the official IRL announcement on Knapp's departure - Engineer Thomas Knapp left the Kelley Racing team after the Firestone Indy 225 on April 21. Knapp was the engineer for the No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone driven by two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. But he and team owner Tom Kelley agreed to part company. “I wish every future success to Kelley Racing and Al Unser Jr.,” Knapp said. “The results we have posted in the first three events of the season may have been modest in comparison to our hopes, but this was not the issue on either side of the equation. I believe Tom Kelley, and I agree that neither the best interests of the team nor of TKM (Thomas Knapp Motorsports) would be served by continuing this relationship at this time.” Knapp has a long history of working with 1999 Indy Racing League champion Greg Ray, as the two entered the Indy Racing League together in 1997. Ray made 12 of his first 14 IRL starts for TKM, as they stunned the motorsports world by qualifying second for the 1998 Indianapolis 500 despite a very limited budget. Ray recently signed with A.J. Foyt Racing through the 2003 season, starting with the Indianapolis 500. But Knapp indicated he now will work on other projects and with clients of TKM. “Part of the rationale for making the separation now was to allow everyone adequate time to properly prepare for our biggest race of the year, the Indianapolis 500,” Knapp said.  4/24/02 - AR1 has learned that Thomas Knapp gave his notice at Kelley Racing yesterday.  We assume he is on his way to Foyt to team back up with Greg Ray.  Stay tuned....

4/26/02
Industry News

Honda profits hit record  According to this Reuters article, Honda Motor Co, Japan's second-largest automaker, revved to record profit in the year that ended on March 31 and aggressively forecast even higher income for this business year. Driven by a weaker yen and healthy sales, consolidated operating profit for the maker of Odyssey minivans and Accord sedans soared to 639.3 billion yen ($4.97 billion), a 57 percent jump over the previous year.

4/26/02

Sponsors coming and going  According to this PE.com article, the flux of sponsors is leaving a number of NASCAR teams uncertain of the future.

4/26/02

Website operator wants Theresa Earnhardt to testify  According to this Daytona Beach News Journal article, a Web site owner who fought to obtain Dale Earnhardt's autopsy photos is targeting the NASCAR legend's widow again.

4/26/02

Ecclestone offers F1 rescue plan  According to this Financial Times article, Bernie Ecclestone is understood to have stepped in with an offer to retake control of F1 motor racing from the collapsing Kirch media empire. Under the terms of a proposed rescue plan, F1's creditor banks would hand a 30 per cent stake in the business to the car manufacturers. In return, the manufacturers would guarantee not to establish a rival motor racing competition, people close to the F1 trustees said.  We suggest you read the entire Financial Times article for more details.

4/26/02

Schumacher stays on top in Barcelona  Michael Schumacher remained the fastest man on track at Barcelona today with a 1:20.380 min. lap. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was second quickest with a 1:20.450. Jenson Button third quickest in the R202, ahead of Barrichello and Olivier Panis. Enrique Bernoldi was sixth quickest in the A21 followed by McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, and Jordan’s Jarno Trulli. The BMW Williams team is not performing well in Spain as can be seen by the Story & Results

4/26/02

Sam Schmidt in hospital  The Indy Star News reports that Sam Schmidt is in a Las Vegas hospital with fluid on his lungs for the 2nd time in two weeks. 

4/26/02

F1 radio now in Canada  Canadian Formula One fans can now listen to all the action from each race in the FIA Formula One World Championship. Starting with the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, April 28, Canada’s Team Radio Network will air complete play-by-play coverage of every race including the Canadian Grand Prix on June 9. The two-hour live show will be produced by the U.S. Formula One Radio Network which already provides coverage of every Grand Prix for the U.S. market. Play-by-play commentary will be provided by Justin Hynes. Irishman Hynes has been covering F1 for a number of years and brings a wealth of knowledge to the broadcasts. All the action from the pits will be covered by Inga Stracke. Inga is among the most experienced F1 radio presenters within the sport and will take listeners behind the scenes with exclusive interviews with drivers and other personalities from the world of F1. Commenting on the announcement, Gerald McGroarty, Vice President of Team Radio Network said, “This is a significant breakthrough for many enthusiasts across Canada. F1 fans from Halifax to Victoria can now capture all the excitement of the world’s number one race series on the Team Radio Network.” The rights holder for Formula One Radio in Canada and the USA is The Craig Company LLC. “It is great news that Team Radio Network will broadcast every F1 race live,” said Andrew Craig, President of The Craig Company. “Canadian race fans are exceptionally knowledgeable and interested in Formula One and I am sure that the in-depth coverage that we provide from every Grand Prix, will be popular.”

4/26/02

Ferrari leads opening practice in Spain  Michael Schumacher and Ferrari beat teammate Rubens Barrichello by a tenth of a second as the Ferraris topped opening practice in Spain. The man in third place was Felipe Massa making it a 1-2-3 for Ferrari-engined cars.

1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari 1m20.681s
2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari 1m20.742s
3 MASSASauber Petronas1m21.364s
4 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes 1m21.472s
5 TRULLI Renault 1m21.631s
6 FRENTZENA rrows Cosworth1m21.640s
7 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes 1m21.861s
8 HEIDFELD Sauber Petronas1m21.950s
9 FISICHELLA Jordan Honda1m21.981s
10 BERNOLDI Arrows Cosworth1m22.126s
11 BUTTONRenault 1m22.180s
12 R.SCHUMACHER Williams BMW1m22.223s
13 PANIS BAR Honda1m22.277s
14 SALOToyota 1m22.289s
15 MONTOYA Williams BMW1m22.370s

4/26/02

Derrick Walker buys Reynard North America  This Autosport.com article talks about CART team owner Derrick Walker buying the primary elements of Reynard's North American operation. "We have successfully worked out an agreement with Adrian Reynard to buy the inventory, intellectual rights and assets of Reynard North America,"

4/26/02

CART draws more fans to work day qualifying than IRL has had at first four races  Attendance at Twin Ring Motegi saw an increase for the second straight day as 21,200 fans visited the facility Friday, up from 21,000 last year. A total of 29,400 fans have passed through the turnstiles over the past two days.  The IRL has yet to draw a race day crowd as high as 21,200 this year.  Motegi organizers are expecting race attendance to be 80,000 or more.

4/26/02

Did Andretti flip Brack the bird?  Perhaps, but by the looks of this picture, Michael Andretti certainly was making some gesture to Kenny Brack on Friday in Japan.  Look for more action from these two this weekend.  Andretti says his car should be great in the race. "The car was absolutely perfect in qualifying. On my fastest lap, it felt like the pop-off valve opened slightly in turns three and four and that hurt us a little bit. But I'm happy because the car feels good. In fact, the car has felt good all weekend, so although we didn't get the most out of the car on qualifying, I'll take it. It's a long race and I think we have a very good race car and that is what is really important. I feel good about tomorrow's race and I certainly hope that we're the team to bring Honda their first win at Motegi."  We have learned from years following this sport, when Andretti says his car is good in race trim, especially on an oval, look out, he's coming to the front.  The classic example was Gateway in 2000.  After qualifying around 15th or so, when the flag dropped, he passed everyone within 30 or 40 laps, including Juan Montoya, and drove off into the distance. Photo: Motorola/Getty Images

4/26/02

Tracy tops final practice for Champ cars in Japan  Paul Tracy likes his new Lola, so much so that he was fastest in final CART practice leading up to pole qualifying in a few hours.  Tracy's lap of 25.822 sec (215.816 MPH) did have the benefit of some tow, but then so did everyone else.  Tracy along with yesterday's fast man Bruno Junqueira, are the favorites to win the pole (which starts at 12:45 AM EST).  Junqueira was 2nd in this practice at 25.830 sec. All cars were within 0.885 sec., such is the competitiveness of CART. Results

4/25/02

Robby Gordon is Spiderman  Robby Gordon and Richard Childress Racing's No. 31 Cingular Wireless team are joining forces with superhero Spider-Man for the NASCAR Winston Cup events at California Speedway and Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. The comic book hero will ride along with Gordon and the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet Monte Carlo at Fontana and Richmond in a special paint scheme celebrating his jump to the big screen. Spider-Man, Columbia Pictures' highly anticipated action adventure film, is scheduled for release worldwide on May 3. "It's so cool that Cingular has put one of my favorite superheroes on our race car," Gordon said. "I grew up reading and watching Spider-Man and am really excited about being able to show him off on the Cingular Wireless Chevy. Hopefully, Spider-Man can give us some extra powers on race day and we can take him to Victory Lane." Cingular Wireless has launched a special promotional campaign in conjunction with its partnership with the movie. The campaign - supported by TV, print and radio advertising, direct mail, and in-store placement -- is the most ambitious ever for a wireless carrier in conjunction with a Hollywood movie. Cingular, the nation's second largest wireless carrier, developed the campaign with Sony Entertainment.

4/25/02

Jimmie Johnson scorches Sears Point Rookie Jimmie Johnson, who had never raced a NASCAR Winston Cup car at Sears Point Raceway, recorded the fastest time during a two-day test session on the 12-turn road course. Johnson turned a time of 1 minute, 17.2 seconds over the 2-mile course to lead a group of six NASCAR drivers who spent Tuesday and Wednesday shaking down the course for the upcoming Dodge/Save Mart 350, June 20-23. "I enjoy road-course racing and I'm looking forward to coming back out here in June," Johnson said. "I took the racing school here at Sears Point a long time ago but this was the first time in a Cup car. It was good to come out here for the test." Fellow rookie Ryan Newman was right behind Johnson at 1:17.22, thanks to some coaching from road-race specialist Scott Pruett over the two days. Newman, like Johnson, was getting his first taste of Sears Point Raceway in a Cup car. Other times were recorded by Ron Fellows (1:17.30), Ricky Rudd (1:17.50), Kurt Busch (1:17.50) and Matt Kenseth (1:17.82). Kenseth had posted the quick time during the first day of testing on Tuesday. One change drivers encountered at the test was a tighter transition between Turns 12-1 because of the permanent separation of the road course from the drag strip, which has been a long-time criticism of Sears Point Raceway. Portions of the track have also been repaved. The facility is in the final stages of $50 million Modernization Plan.

4/25/02

Chris Pook cracks the whip   This Autoweek article talks about Chris Pook cracking the whip when it comes to drivers being timely for autograph sessions, drivers meetings, and the like.  It also talks about the grunge look some of the drivers like to portray.  Chris Pook is finally steering the ship like a true leader should, making sure the companies image and performance are first class.

4/25/02
Industry News

DaimlerChrysler turns healthy profit   German-U.S. automaker DaimlerChrysler said today it earned 2.6 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in the first quarter, with struggling U.S. unit Chrysler posting its first operating profit after six quarterly losses. The world's fifth-largest automaker raised its forecast for Chrysler, saying the division could turn a full-year operating profit instead of just breaking even.

4/25/02
Industry News
Philip Morris proposes name change to Altria  UPDATE We reported this was going to happen back in November. Shareholders of Philip Morris Cos. today approved changing the company's name to Altria Group and rejected three proposals for more stringent anti-smoking policies.  11/23/01 - Philip Morris sponsors race teams with its Marlboro and Miller brands.  Philip Morris Companies Inc., parent to tobacco, food and beer producing companies, announced it will ask shareholders to approve changing its name to Altria Group, Inc. (Logo to right is proposed also). The corporation stressed that its operating companies; Philip Morris USA, Philip Morris International, Miller Brewing and Kraft Foods will retain their current names. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey C. Bible told employees the change is being proposed for two reasons: The first is a need for clarity, he said. The parent company currently shares the name Philip Morris with its two tobacco companies. “Our parent company’s new name, which we propose to be 'Altria Group, Inc.' should help clarify our corporate identity, making it clear to people how to refer to our tobacco companies and how to refer to the parent company,” he said. The second is the evolution of Philip Morris Companies Inc. “We are not the same family of companies we were just a few years ago. The Nabisco acquisition and the Kraft initial public offering are the most recent evidence of our growth and evolution,” said Bible.  The significance of the name, “Altria,” Bible said, is derived from the Latin word “altus,” which reflects the corporation’s desire for its family of companies to always “reach higher” in striving to achieve greater financial strength and growth through operational excellence, consumer brand expertise and a growing understanding of corporate responsibility.  The next step will be to ask shareholders for their approval of the proposed new name at the annual meeting in April 2002. Shareholders will be notified through the company’s proxy statement of the proposed change.

4/25/02
Industry News

Chevron/Texaco profits fall 70%   Well at least they made a profit, which is more than can be said for some companies.  This AP article reports that CART and NASCAR sponsor ChevronTexaco Corp. said its first-quarter profit plunged more dramatically than gasoline and oil prices, but the earnings erosion wasn't as severe as investors had feared.

4/25/02

Lazier in good condition after surgery  Jaques Lazier could be out of competition for up to six months after surgery April 24 to repair a spinal fracture, said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Terry Trammell, who performed the surgery at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.  Team Menard driver Lazier, from Alta Loma, Calif., suffered an acute fracture of the T12 vertebra in a two-car accident during the Firestone Indy 225 on April 21 at Nazareth Speedway. That injury, combined with a compression fracture of the L1 vertebra suffered in an accident in 2000, made surgery necessary, Trammell said. “Either injury alone would require little more than a brace,” Trammell said. “He had a forward bend, or a kink, in his spine as a result of the two injuries.” Trammell used eight screws and two rods to repair Lazier’s back. “It went real, real well,” Trammell said of the surgery. “I just visited him, and he’s the Jaques we know with his great attitude. He’s a little sore, but he’s doing fine.” Lazier will wear a brace for eight to 12 weeks, Trammell said. Lazier is in good condition and will remain at Methodist Hospital for four to five days, Trammell said.  IRL

4/25/02
Industry News

Soft Wall costs reasonable   This Indy Star News article talks about the $160 to $175 per linear foot cost of the new Nebraska University developed Soft Walls. A reasonable cost indeed!

4/25/02

Dan Gurney launches new motorcycle   This Autoweek article talks about former CART team owner Dan Gurney's new business venture, selling Alligator motorcycles.  If you recall, Gurney was the author of the famous CART White Paper

4/25/02

MG Rover forges China deal, waits for CART move   This Sports Argus article from the UK provides more insight into MG Rovers new partnership in China.  Essentially MG Rover will design the cars/trucks and their Chinese partner will build them locally.  Given the low labor costs in mainland China, this scenario makes sense.  The articles states that "the Rover 75 will appear in China bearing a Brilliance badge and will go into a market where only about ten per cent of the Chinese population can afford to buy a car of that quality. But the market totals about 130 million people."  Honda, Ford and Toyota are other CART constituents that sells cars in China. CART sponsors Shell, Chevron, Motorola and others are in China too.  CART's inevitable move to China will strengthen its position with these sponsors and manufacturers.  As we said, The Inevitable Globalization of CART.

4/25/02

Intersport enters two cars for Sears Point  Intersport, which gained its first-ever American Le Mans Series win last month at Sebring, has entered two Prototypes in Round Two of the 2002 ALMS season, the May 19 Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Fosters at California’s Sears Point Raceway. Intersport will run its victorious Lola EX257-MG in the LMP 675 class, hoping to make it two wins in two starts on the ALMS this season. In addition, the team will run a Lola B2K10-Judd in the LMP 900 class. Sponsored by Banana Joe’s, the Intersport cars are among the top privateer teams in sports car racing. Based in Dublin, Ohio, Intersport joined the Competition Incentive Plan (CIP) in the American Le Mans Series for the 2002 season and will run a car in every race. With its win at Sebring, Intersport is leading the IMSA Cup standings for privateer teams in the LMP 675 class. Jon Field of Dublin, Ohio, and Rick Sutherland of Los Gatos, Calif., will co-drive the MG Lola in the Sears Point event. Clint Field, the son of Jon
Field, will co-drive with Mark Neuhaus of Sun Valley, Id., in the LMP 900 car. The two-hour, 45-minute Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Fosters will be televised live by the SPEED Channel beginning at 4 p.m. (EDT). Live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be heard online at www.imsaracing.netALMS

4/25/02

Panoz team prepares for Le Mans pre-qualifying  Panoz Motor Sports assault on the 2002 Le Mans 24 Hour officially kicks off tomorrow with the two "Spirit of America" Panoz LMP-1 Evo machine departing the team's Braselton, Georgia headquarters, bound for France. The team will contest the all-important Le Mans pre-qualifying day on Sunday, May 5, a vital shakedown in preparation for the 24 Hour event which is staged on July 15 and 16. More than 10 tons of equipment including the two racecars will be transported by truck to Orlando tomorrow, before being air-freighted to France. The Panoz team will arrive in Le Mans this Sunday, March 28, to oversee the final preparations of the cars. After a successful test last week at Virginia International Raceway, both Panoz cars were shaken down at Road Atlanta yesterday before being packed away for the trip for France.

4/25/02

Herbert making progress at Indy  Having set the goal of winning the Indianapolis 500 when just a young boy, three-time Formula One grand prix winner Johnny Herbert came one step closer to realizing that dream by successfully testing at the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. A veteran of several racing disciplines, Herbert completed 71 laps in the No. 32 Western Union Speed Team/Duesenberg Brothers Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Fire-stone entry with a top single lap speed of 221.300 miles-per-hour. Having also claimed victory at Le Mans and Sebring, Herbert was quite pleased with the teams progress toward qualifying for the 86th Indy 500. The whole purpose of this test was to just get into a comfortable mode where were very consistent on times, and we achieved that this afternoon, Herbert said. I could do 220s and 221s all day long, which is nice to be able to do on a 40-lap set of tires. We worked in a very nice steady way including a few mechanical changes to learn a little bit about the car for one, but also to see how I would react to certain changes.? As the day progressed, Herbert and chief engineer Greg Beck focused on changes to the cars aerodynamic set-up. We did a bit of aero work to try and get better balance as we had a lot of push, recalled Herbert. We still do have some more work but we cut the push down a lot and the car feels very stable in the corners, which is quite good. So now were in the stage where we can go away and think about it and know we have a good baseline from which to start when we come back in May. Technically a rookie at the Brickyard, Herbert finds the steady conservative approach, as well as the team, very much to his liking. Overall, I am quite happy with how things have gone, he emphasized. It was very nice how we progressed and how we got consistent toward the end of the test. This is a great little team to work with and theres a good rapport with everybody involved. 

4/25/02

Michael Andretti audio from Japan   CART driver Michael Andretti, winner of the last race at Long Beach, on going to the race in Motegi, Japan, with some momentum....Andretti is driving a Honda on Honda's home track where they have never won....Also, despite the win in Long Beach, Andretti is switching from the Reynard chassis to the Lola....Andretti won the Japan race in 2000....Listen

4/24/02

Jarrett to throw out first pitch Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) will throw out the first pitch to Anaheim Angels manager Mike Scioscia at Friday's game between the Angels and Toronto Blue Jays at Edison Field. Jarrett also will exchange a UPS Racing jacket with Angels pitcher Jarrod Washburn for an authentic Angels jersey with his name on the back and his signature No. 88. The UPS crew will join Jarrett in a luxury suite, compliments of the Angels, to enjoy the game. "Since I am such a big sports fan, I always enjoy being able to watch other athletes perform," Jarrett said. "It is a great honor to be asked by the Angels to throw out the first pitch at one of their games. Hopefully, it will be the start of a good weekend for us."

4/24/02

Runaway costs may doom Formula One, is CART ready to capitalize?  As this F1Live article points out, Formula One teams are in serious financial shape.  Their cherished high-tech rules are driving each team, one-by-one into eventually bankruptcy.  These sponsors and teams can run CART, also an international series, for far less money and with better odds of winning because of the less lenient rules.  One has to wonder if CART is courting these manufacturers,  teams and sponsors, offering them the ability to compete at no more than $20 million per year for a 2-car team?  This compares to the average F1 annual; budget of over $175 million.

4/24/02

Infiniti Pro car tests well at TMS   Indy Racing League driver Robby McGehee completed more than 300 miles in challenging, changing conditions during the first superspeedway test of the new Infiniti Pro Series car April 24 at Texas Motor Speedway. McGehee was pleased with the performance of the Infiniti-powered Dallara on Firestone tires on the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas oval.  “I think we have a great race car here,” said McGehee, the 1999 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year. “It was real consistent. This is going to be a car that feels the same after 100 miles of racing. It says a lot for the Dallara chassis, the Firestone tires and the Infiniti motor. It pushed along very well.” McGehee recorded 151 laps during the one-day test, including a 66-lap, 100-mile nonstop run to close the day. The final session simulated the race distance for Infiniti Pro Series events and included a five-degree temperature drop in the weather and a significant wind shift midway through the run. “We had a changing wind condition during the last session, and it still felt very solid,” said McGehee, who performed the initial shakedown of the Infiniti Pro Series car April 8 at Walt Disney World Speedway. “It takes a fast race car to be challenged at this track. The IRL cars are almost flat out here. I think these Infiniti Pro Series cars will put on a great race like the Indy Racing League does.” Roger Bailey, executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series, was equally optimistic following the day’s activities. “We are extremely pleased with the test, especially the last run when we did 66 laps nonstop,” Bailey said. “Many times in tests like this, you get 10-lap runs, and everything is fine. Then you put it all together in a long run with the gradual heat buildup, the wheel bearings start to get hot, and the gearbox starts to malfunction. To get a 100-mile race distance out of the way was well worth the test. “It was almost the most extreme conditions we could find with the temperature and the wind change, but we are very happy with it. We have some fine tuning to do, some bits and pieces that we think we can improve on, but the basic car – the uprights, drive shafts and everything – ran flawlessly. I don’t think we can ask any more of it.” Eddie Gossage, executive vice president and general manager of Texas Motor Speedway, was trackside at the test and liked what he saw. “The Infiniti Pro Series car is impressive, both to look at and hear,” Gossage said. “The series will give a wide variety of drivers the opportunity to display their skills. The Dallas Morning News Pole Day will be even better for the fans with the addition of the Infiniti Pro Series championship race.” The inaugural season of the Infiniti Pro Series will begin July 7 at Kansas Speedway and culminate with the Sept. 14 season finale at Texas Motor Speedway. Nashville Superspeedway, Michigan International Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Gateway International Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway also will play host to Infiniti Pro Series events in 2002. The 100-mile Infiniti Pro Series “sprints” will take place at the same track and on the same day as Indy Racing League events except for the Texas race, which will take place the day before the IRL’s season-ending Chevy 500. Infiniti Q45 engines will power new Dallara Automobili chassis built for the series, with Firestone Firehawk tires used exclusively on all cars. The V8 engines will produce approximately 450 horsepower for the single-seat winged chassis, providing an ideal training ground for the 650-horsepower, single-seat winged cars of the Indy Racing League.  IRL

4/24/02

Luyendyk again at 226 MPH   [Editors Note: Well folks, it looks like HP is going to win the day.  The drivers are wide open and the cars won't go much above 226 MPH at Indy. We have seen that top speed by a number of drivers. That's all she wrote.  Now it's going to come down to whose engine makes the most HP.  We expect to see some special qualifying motors push speeds as high as 230 MPH for the pole.]   Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk was the fastest driver during testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the second consecutive day, turning a top lap of 226.675 mph April 24. Luyendyk, who won the race in 1990 and 1997, led Tuesday at 226.985 in his No. 5 Meijer G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone. Indy Racing League rookie Laurent Redon was second fastest among the three drivers reporting speeds with a top lap of 224.206 in the No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. Redon also turned 64 laps, his first private test since the Rookie Orientation Program on April 13. During the rookie program, the team experienced engine problems, and Redon completed only three of the four speed phases of the test. He will finish the test when practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500 opens May 5. “We tried to know exactly what the Speedway is and tried to have some data about it,” said Redon, a native of Chamond, France. “Right now, everything is going well. We know we have to work hard. For qualifying, we know we will have a lot of competitive cars, and it will be very difficult to qualify.” Three-time Formula One grand prix winner Johnny Herbert also tested for the second consecutive day on the 2.5-mile oval. Herbert topped out at 221.300 in the No. 32 Western Union/Duesenberg Brothers Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. He completed 46 laps. 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier tested Wednesday, with no speeds available from the team. “The racetrack’s in beautiful shape,” Lazier said. “I was just commenting to the guys that every time we come back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – there’s just nothing like it in the existence of motor racing. It’s just the most awesome, awesome racing facility and awesome racetrack the world’s ever known. Lazier turned 64 laps in his No. 91 Coors Light/Life Fitness/Tae-Bo/Delta Faucet Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. The 160 miles were his first on the Speedway’s new “diamond-ground” surface designed to smooth the racetrack. “The new surface is a wonderful improvement in that it’s smooth and it has a lot of grip,” Lazier said. “It should allow us to race even harder, and I think it’s just all pluses.”  The four drivers combined for 204 laps and 510 miles on the day.  IRL

4/24/02

Will TRAC take away IRL's target market?  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, now that Team Racing Auto Circuit (TRAC) will be getting off the ground next year, should Tony George be worried over the possibility that this series may take away his fan base, since the series will be racing at oval tracks like Charlotte, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, and Nashville?  Answer: Absolutely he should be worried.  For the most part CART is a road and street circuit series drawing huge crowds at those venues, so they won't be affected very much.  We have long maintained that the oval racing market in the USA is oversaturated, hence why CART and the IRL have struggled to draw big crowds on the ovals.  Enter TRAC, who will add to the already over saturation, and very likely will take fans and sponsors away from the IRL.  A family of four oval racing fans only has so much disposable money to spend.  They have already voted.  The first place they will spend it is on Winston Cup tickets (many times two races at each track averaging $100 or more per ticket).  Then the Busch tickets get sold next.  What's left is up for grabs between the NASCAR truck series, the IRL and now TRAC.. 

4/24/02

Lazier may have burst same vertebra 2nd UPDATE CART doctor Terry Trammel who operated on Lazier today said Lazier's vertebra shattered like dropping an egg on the floor.  The unfortunate hidden cost of oval track racing is high, and something must be done.   4/24/02 - Dr. Henry Bock has informed Jaques Lazier that he'll be out at least 6 months, which means he will miss almost the entire remaining IRL schedule.  4/23/02 -  Dr. Jerry Punch reported on RPM2Night that as a result of his accident with Tomas Scheckter in Nazareth on Sunday, Jaques Lazier may have burst the same 12th vertebrae that he burst in Orlando a couple of years ago.  He is undergoing the more tests in Indy under the direction of CART Medical Physician Dr. Terry Trammell to see if indeed that is what happened.  If so, Lazier will definitely miss the Indy 500, victim of yet another oval track wall.

4/24/02
Industry News

The fallacy of switching from a turbo to N/A  This Autoweek article talks about BMW's new turbo engine for their 5-Series.  They join quite a number of other manufacturers who now offer turbos for the street. The argument for going to a N/A engine formula in CART was because no one builds turbo engines for passenger cars, which of course is only partially true.  Turbocharged racing engines are inherently more durable and therefore potentially cheaper than N/A ones. This is a fact that many of those who have developed both types of engines (F1, Le Mans) AND paid the bills know but few others believe. There is a perfectly logical explanation for the conclusion and it will be spelled out by calculating reciprocating loads for all the engine types competing at Le Mans this year to quantify how much lower the reciprocating loads are for a small piston at low RPM (turbo) vs. a larger piston at higher RPM (N/A) in an upcoming paper later this year.  Loading varies as the square of RPM, right? RPM is the enemy of durability/cost. Brake Mean Effective Pressure (BMEP) is the secret to power with durability. Without BMEP (turbos) or RPM, you don't have much of a race motor. CART and IRL N/A engines can achieve the durability and cost control of a turbo motor with governors, but then you have basically several flavors of a spec motor with a governor, not exactly a technically interesting engineering competition between brands for supremacy.  BTW, here are some interesting engine building formulasMC

4/24/02

Celebration of The Intimidator's Birthday  Dale Earnhardt Inc. will celebrate the life of its founder, Dale Earnhardt, on Monday, April 29, at its Mooresville, N.C. facility. The April 29 event is slated to become an annual tradition as it marks Earnhardt's birthday. For the first time, fans will be allowed to enter DEI's show room to view several historic No. 3 Chevrolets driven by the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion. A special exhibit of Earnhardt's personal collection will be displayed, which will be highlighted by never-before-seen memorabilia that he and his wife, Teresa, acquired over the years. Olympic skiing gold medalist Picabo Street, an Earnhardt fan for years, will make an appearance at the celebration. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. For more information, call 1-877-DEI-ZONE.

4/24/02

Kenseth fast at Sears Point  Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DEWALT Ford, turned in the fastest lap time during the first day of testing at Sears Point Raceway. Kenseth is one of six drivers that traveled to Sonoma, CA for the two-day test session in order to prepare for the upcoming Dodge/Save Mart 350 in June. Kenseth's inexperience on road courses led to the team's decision to test at Sears Point. This being his third full season in Winston Cup, Kenseth has visited Sears Point just twice and NASCAR's only other road course, Watkins Glen, twice as well. Last year, Kenseth finished 21st and 23rd at Sears Point and Watkins Glen, respectively. In 2000, Sears Point allowed only a 32nd place finish, but Kenseth collected his best road course finish at Watkins Glen with a 10th place finish. "We knew Matt needed to get some time in on a road course," said crew chief Robbie Reiser. "Going into the season we determined where our weaknesses were and which tracks would require more attention and preparation on our part. "Our performance at Sears Point, or just road courses in general, was something we decided needed improvement because it could be a weak point in our season." Kenseth and the DEWALT team are testing car 11 and car 12, which are both road course cars the team has run during the past two years. "Car 11 is more of a backup car we've used for a couple years," said Reiser. "But car 12 is what we ran during both road course races last year. We rebuilt car 12 over the winter, but made no changes to car 11. So far, we like what we've seen. Matt was pretty fast yesterday and it seems like he's getting used to these road courses." "Road course tracks are definitely an area we have to work harder on," said Kenseth. "I just don't have the experience yet. That makes a big difference at a place like Sears Point. We ran well yesterday and now we're looking forward to coming here in June for the race to see what we can do up against the other guys."

4/24/02

Tom Knapp leaves Kelley Racing  AR1 has learned that Thomas Knapp gave his notice at Kelley Racing yesterday.  We assume he is on his way to Foyt to team back up with Greg Ray.  Stay tuned....

4/24/02

Dismore signs with Schmidt   Indy Racing League veteran Mark Dismore will drive a Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry with primary sponsorship from Char-Broil’s Thermos Grill2Go brand at the 86th Indianapolis 500, team officials announced April 24. “We are thrilled to have Grill2Go on board for this year’s 500,” team owner Sam Schmidt said. “And I think a veteran like Mark Dismore will represent the Grill2Go team well and put us in a great position to compete for the win.” Dismore, 45, from Greenfield, Ind., has made 52 Indy Racing League starts since the league’s inaugural season in 1996, with a victory in October 1999 at Texas Motor Speedway and seven overall top-five finishes. He also has won four MBNA Poles during his career. Dismore qualified fourth for the 2001 Indianapolis 500 and led for 29 laps before being forced to make a pit stop due to mechanical problems.  “I am excited to be coming back to the Indy 500 this year,” Dismore said. “There is nothing like it. I am thrilled to be driving for Sam here at home and to have a great new sponsor like Grill2Go.” The Grill2Go entry for Sam Schmidt Motorsports will be fielded in cooperation with Treadway-Hubbard Racing. The car number will be announced at a later date. Firestone Langhorne Sports Marketing manages sponsorship and marketing for the Grill2Go car. Thermos® grills, including theGrill2Goä, are manufactured by Char-Broil®. Char-Broil®, part of the W.C. Bradley Home Leisure Group, is the worldwide leader in the manufacturing of gas and electric outdoor grills and other barbecue equipment. IRL

4/24/02

Ray signs with Foyt  1999 Indy Racing League champion Greg Ray will drive for A.J. Foyt Racing through the 2003 IRL season starting with the Indianapolis 500 next month, Foyt announced April 24. Ray, 35, will step into the team’s No. 11 Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone that was driven by Eliseo Salazar in the first three races of the season. Salazar is out indefinitely after suffering a torn artery in a testing crash April 16 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The announcement reunites Ray, from Plano, Texas, with Houston native Foyt. Ray has made three of his 44 career IRL starts with Foyt, two in 1998 and one last season.  “When I drove for A.J. before, I really enjoyed working with him and the team,” Ray said. “Over the last 10 years, I’ve spent a lot of time hanging out with the guys on Foyt’s team – with the Texas connection they really feel like my extended family. I always raced against him at Indy, so teaming up with A.J. there will be a special experience for me. “Our personalities match extremely well, so I’m sure that’s worth a couple tenths.” Ray has five career victories, tied for third on the all-time IRL list. He also has won a league-record 13 MBNA Poles during his five-season Indy Racing career. Ray also has led 1,149 laps, second on the all-time IRL list. “I’m looking forward to working with Greg again,” said four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Foyt. “Greg is a talented driver, he’s a great spokesperson, but what I like about him most is that he knows how to get a car to the front. That’s what I’m looking for.” Ray will join 2000 Indy Racing League Rookie of the Year Airton Dare in the Foyt lineup at the Indianapolis 500, which opens May 5. Race Day is May 26. Salazar continues to recover from surgery to repair his damaged artery. “It was terrible that Eliseo got hurt,” Foyt said. “I know Eliseo is upset that he’s missing out on Indy and a good part of the year, but at least he came through the surgery well. “The doctors don’t think he’ll be back before next year, but Eliseo is determined to get back ahead of schedule, so we’ll just have to wait and see. I promised I’d have a car for him if he does.”  IRL

4/24/02

Miami TV for CART & ALMS  AutoRacing1.com has learned that SPEED Channel will broadcast both the CART and ALMS races in Miami on October 5th & 6th.  CBS can't do the CART race on Sunday because they are broadcasting the NFL game of the week that day between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots, in Miami at the same time as the CART race.  FOX can't do the CART race either because they are broadcasting a NFL football doubleheader that day.

4/24/02

Jack Roush improves  UPDATE Doctors at the UAB Medical Center reported this morning that Jack Roush has been upgraded from serious to fair condition.  Roush, who was injured in a plane crash last Friday afternoon near Troy, Ala., has been completely removed from the ventilator and is verbally communicating with those around him. Doctors also say he will be moved out of intensive care tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Jack wishes to express his appreciation and thanks to all of the NASCAR family and friends for all their thoughts, prayers and well wishes throughout the week.   4/23/02 -  Jack Roush underwent surgery today at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center to close wounds around his left knee and ankle. Doctors reported that the tissue looked good and there is no more surgery scheduled at this time. Doctors plan to put a splint on Roush's leg in the near future. Roush is still listed in serious condition after being injured in a plane crash Friday afternoon, but doctors say they will start the process of weaning him off of the ventilator tonight.

4/24/02

Hamidy gets the axe at Jordan  We reported earlier that Jordan was cutting staff to cut costs with the pending loss of Honda support.  Former technical director Eghbal Hamidy has left the team Jordan announced today.  Heads are rolling as Honda applies the pressure.

4/24/02
Industry News

Goodyear Tire loss widens, Penske contributes to woes  This Reuters article says that Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has larger losses due to production cutbacks, Argentina's currency woes and the return of inventory following the closure of Penske Automotive Centers in the United States. The Akron, Ohio-based company reported a loss of $63.2 million, or 39 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $46.7 million, or 30 cents a share a year ago. The production cuts plus the Penske charge and product mix changes led to an operating loss at Goodyear's North American tire unit of $51.3 million. It had reported operating income of $15.4 million a year ago. The company said results in the most recent quarter were hurt by changes in foreign exchange rates, which reduced sales by about $95 million and operating income by $15 million. It also was hit by Argentina's currency devaluation.

4/24/02

Herta talking to Purex Team  Former CART driver Bryan Herta is definitely trying to land a ride for the Indy 500 with the Purex team.  Herta does have some sponsorship to bring to the table, and we are told that if the deal is to happen, it likely will be this week as practice for the Indy 500 begins next weekend.  Sarah Fisher is also in the running for this ride.  The team has to decide who is most qualified to win the race for them.  See rumors page for others we hear Herta is talking to.

4/24/02

Ford offers contingency prizes  Ford Motor Company and the Trans-Am Series have entered into an agreement making Ford Racing Technology a contingency sponsor of all 12 events during the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup season. The agreement calls for Ford Racing Technology to pay a contingency award of $5,000 to any driver who wins an event while driving a Ford Mustang Cobra powered by a Ford engine during the 2002 Trans-Am Series campaign. Qualifying drivers must carry appropriate Ford signage and graphics on both their cars and uniforms, and must mention Ford or Ford Mustang Cobra during any post-race interview. “Ford’s 99 Trans-Am race victories and eight Manufacturers’ Championships make them a cornerstone of the success that the Trans-Am Series has enjoyed since its inception,” said Dennis Huth, Trans-Am president. “We appreciate their participation as a contingency sponsor during the 2002 Trans-Am Series season.” Ford holds Trans-Am Series records for consecutive race victories (15, 1998-99) and consecutive victories in a single season (13 in 1997 and ’99). A Ford-powered driver has won at least one event in every Trans-Am season since 1992.  Trans-Am

4/24/02

A lap of Le Mans with Jan Magnussen  Panoz Motor Sports is set to depart the USA today for the Le Mans 24 Hour Pre-qualifying day on Sunday, May 5. The race itself is scheduled for June 15-16 "Your in fifth gear when you head past the pits on a lap of Le Mans, hitting 175 mph before you hit turn one. You change down to second at the chicane at the Dunlop bridge. This is quite tricky under braking and pretty slippery as the race progresses because a lot of people pull gravel onto the circuit. After the bridge the track is all new for 2002. Previously you had a straight run down to esses before Tertre Rouge, but now the road will move to the left and then back to the right. You will still eventually arrive at Tertre Rouge at about the same speed and this corner is vital because it leads onto the straight - it is really important to get this bit right. Down the straight you arrive at the first chicane which is taken in either 2nd or 3rd gear, depending on the traffic. There is good traction in the middle of the corner and you can get on the power early. The next chicane is the opposite to the first one. The first is slow in, then fast out, the second is fast in and then slow on the exit. The right hander at the end of the Mulsanne is quite bumpy and the track changes a lot during the race. The tracks picks up grip during the race, then starts to go the other way as the marbles start to build up. This is taken in third gear and exits into a really fast section of the track. I really enjoy this part of the course - it is very fast - up to 210 mph. The corner before Indianapolis is a lot of fun, then it is very hard on the brakes for the left hander. There is a bit of banking on the road, but the rear end can still get very loose here. There is a short squirt up to Arnage which is taken in 2nd gear. It is a real struggle to put the power down here. The is a short run up to the Porsche curves which is very fast and requires a good balance in the car. There is a lot of time to be gained or lost here and it really is one of my favorite sets of corners. You then arrive at the Ford Chicanes which is part of the slowest parts of the track. If you catch traffic through here, it can cost you an enormous amount of time, because there is nowhere to get through. Then it is hard on the power, back onto the pit straight and ready for another 8.4 miles of French countryside."

4/24/02

CART 1st Quarter Financial Results  CART today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2002, in line with management expectations, as adjusted.   Total revenues for the first quarter of 2002 were $5.6 million, a decrease of $836,000, or 13%, from the comparable quarter of 2001.   More

4/24/02

More Kirch woes, what does it mean for F1?  According to this Financial Times article, Leo Kirch's crumbling media empire is expected to suffer a further blow as early as today when Taurus, the Kirch group holding company, files for insolvency. Bankers said the cash crisis that forced Kirch Media, the group's core film rights and TV unit, to file for insolvency this month had spread to other parts of the group. They said the collapse of the holding company was likely to trigger insolvency filings by the rest of the group; the heavily indebted pay TV arm and Kirch Beteiligung, which controls an assortment of media shareholdings.  One would have to think that should the manufacturers want to buy into Kirch, it can be had for mere pennies on the dollar.  But why would they pay anything?  The way they are talking, their plan for a breakaway series seems more likely by the day.

4/24/02

Rockingham expects a sellout   Proving CART can draw big crowds on ovals outside the USA where NASCAR has a monopoly, comes this news.  The Rockingham 500, Britain’s round of the CART FedEx Championship Series, is back. The 2002 event features an exciting new two-day format and ticket prices designed to make the race on Saturday September 14th, more fan-friendly than ever. Rockingham’s aim for the 2002 event is to set ticket prices at a level that will allow fans of high speed racing to get closer to the action at a more reasonable cost than many other forms of international motor sport. Taking advantage of Rockingham’s all-seater stadium and range of different grandstands, all tickets are allocated a reserved seat and Saturday raceday tickets will now start at £40 for the lower levels in the North and South grandstands, rising to £150 for a prime place in the Rockingham Building, with seating directly opposite the pitlane and great views of the start/finish line. The most popular seats last year, the 20,000 places at Turns 1 and 4, in the upper and lower grandstands, will be priced at £95 and £65 respectively. Children 16 and under will be charged half price. Every one of Rockingham’s 52,000 seats comes with a minimum view of 95% of the entire lap. During Friday’s practice and qualifying, there will be a flat rate of just £30 for general access and a free run of every grandstand seat, with children admitted free. The Friday schedule, which combines the track running that was scheduled for both Thursday and Friday last year, will mean that there is even more action to see as well as free access to the paddock, which will cost £20 and be restricted to 10,000 tickets on Raceday. “Last year people were amazed at the access they were allowed to have. CART, its teams and the drivers are very proud of being accessible to the fans” said David Grace, Rockingham’s Chief Executive. “CART and Rockingham are all about providing great value for money. From every seat you get a fantastic view of the entire track. The people in the lower part of the grandstands are just meters away from race cars thundering past at over 200 mph and those with seats on the upper tiers have a birds eye view of the entire race. There has been a great deal of interest in the 2002 Rockingham 500 and at these prices we are very confident of selling the 52,000 available seats very quickly indeed.” The ticket hotline number is 0870 013 4044 and opens now (Wednesday 24th March). Information on how to book tickets for the 2002 Rockingham 500 is also available on line at www.rockingham.co.uk.

4/24/02

Senna's Williams not destroyed  UPDATE Williams has now stated that this initial report was incorrect, the car has been destroyed.  4/19/02 - Contrary to reports in the European press this week, a Williams spokesperson has told Reuters that the Williams F1 car that Ayrton Senna was killed in has not been destroyed.

4/23/02

Interview with Cosworth's Bruce Wood  Ford and Cosworth Racing have enjoyed an unsurpassed amount of success at the Twin Ring Motegi in the four years that the facility has hosted a CART race. Since the Champ Cars first appeared at the state-of-the-art track in 1998, Ford-Cosworth has won all four CART races contested there, including two with the Cosworth XD engine in '98 and '99, and two in '00 and '01 with its replacement, the Cosworth XF. In the 17 CART races contested on oval tracks since the XF made its debut in 2000, Ford-Cosworth has scored 40 top-five finishes, nine victories and made 27 podium appearances.   More

4/23/02

Jordan restructures  Jordan Grand Prix has finalized details of a restructuring program which commenced last November. The management group has spent the last six months putting together a revised structure aimed at returning Jordan to the more flexible, open style of organization which existed during the team's most successful seasons, as well as reducing costs which have escalated following a period of unprecedented growth. This will lead to a reduction in staff numbers by around 15%, including some senior managers, whilst maintaining a workforce of just over 200. Personnel were informed last November that costs would be examined in all areas, and that the restructuring would concentrate on maximizing the technical capability of the team. "Jordan has always been at its best when lean and efficient," said Chief Executive Eddie Jordan. "Once you sense complacency creeping in, or costs becoming exorbitant, a prudent business needs to take action. We have an incredible group of people at Jordan who work tirelessly to achieve on track success. These changes will generate a more efficient structure at a time when our focus is on the performance and reliability of our cars." Eddie Jordan will personally oversee sporting and commercial issues while the technical side of the team will be run by Director of Design and Development Henri Durand and Director of Race and Test Engineering Gary Anderson. Joint Managing Director Trevor Foster and Head of Engineering Tim Holloway are leaving the team with immediate effect, while Chief Operating Officer John Putt will depart after managing the transition phase to the new management structure. "I would like to thank John, Trevor and Tim for everything they achieved with us," said Eddie Jordan. "It has been a difficult start to the season for us but we are now regrouping for an even more vigorous assault on the remaining 13 Grands Prix, and I would like to thank all our personnel for their hard work and continued commitment."  Jordan

4/23/02

Luyendyk hits 226 MPH, Herbert turns first laps at Indy  Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk turned a lap of 226.873 mph in his No. 5 Meijer G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone during private testing April 23 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Luyendyk, who won in 1990 and 1997 at Indianapolis, completed 61 laps as he continued to prepare for the 86th Indianapolis 500 on May 26. The test took place in nearly ideal conditions with air temperatures in the mid-to-upper 50’s, sunny skies and little wind. “I felt we were going to be quick just because we had such a good test at (Las) Vegas,” Luyendyk said. “With the speeds we ran there, I knew we were going to have a good car here. It took awhile to get quite a big push out of the car in the beginning, but once we got it out, we could to 226’s (mph) all the time.” Luyendyk tested in early February at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and will be test again Wednesday at Indianapolis. Luyendyk looks to not only win his third Indianapolis 500 but also his fourth MBNA Pole at the Brickyard. He won the pole in 1993, ’97 and ’99. “I think if you do a 226.1 (mph) or you do a 226.9 (mph) it could be a difference of like 10-12 spots on the gird within that 1 mph,” Luyendyk said. “And that is if you want to. You can also go that route and say, ‘OK, I’m going concentrate on race setup and do that most of the time and see where I qualify.’ I don’t think qualifying is key to success in the race, but it’s always nice to start way up front, because it’s just a better place to be.” Three-time Formula One grand prix winner Johnny Herbert also turned laps, the first test with his new No. 32 Western Union/Duesenberg Brothers Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone entered by Beck Motorsports. No speeds were available. “The main thing was just having a good shakedown with the car,” Herbert said. “We went through the normal stuff, and that’s working OK at the moment. It’s good for the team. It’s a great little team to work with. It’s got a good little rapport with everybody.” Herbert raced in the inaugural SAP United States Grand Prix on the 2.606-mile road circuit in 2000 and also tested an Indy Racing League car last fall on the 2.5-mile oval. “The only thing that you normally feel as a similarity (in the F1 car) I suppose was coming off the last two turns, which was really Turn 1 backward,” Herbert said. “That was really they only time we felt any high speed here. Obviously, we’re not traveling near as quick as when you do in an IRL car. It’s just very difficult because it’s a completely different kind of driving here.”  Herbert turned 28 laps Tuesday and will resume testing again Wednesday.

4/23/02

F1 makes hefty profit  FOA, the company that controls the commercial rights to F1 have reported a record profit for 2001 of £128 million, a £14 million increase over 2000 sporting year when FOA recorded profits of £114 million.

4/23/02

He can't drive boats, but can he drive cars? Soon to be Infiniti Pro Series driver, Jason Priestley was involved in a two-boat collision at the Fountain Miami Super Boat Grand Prix Sunday. The actor escaped injury, but his throttle man suffered several cracked ribs.  All kidding aside, we don't know whose fault the accident was.

4/23/02

IRL turns down Penske cars  Indy Racing League officials informed Penske Cars on April 23 that the chassis manufacturer will not be selected to produce Indy Racing League chassis in 2003, said Brian Barnhart, IRL vice president of operations. “The Indy Racing League is moving forward in its selection of approved chassis suppliers based upon what it believes is in the best interests of the league and its participants,” Barnhart said. “The league acknowledges the high level of product and excellent customer service that Penske Cars has provided in other series, but we have decided we will not consider its application further.” Several applications by potential chassis manufacturers met the required April 1, 2002, deadline. A letter notified applicants April 3 that an extensive review and interview process would be used to narrow the chassis manufacturers allowed to supply cars in 2003. Indy Racing League officials intend to finish the review of the proposals by the end of April. Factors the league is considering in applicants include experience with the Indy Racing League, financial stability, production capacity, technical support ability and plans for use of the chassis in other racing formats. “The league appreciates the valuable contribution that Team Penske has made to the IRL during its first season as a full-time participant,” Barnhart said. “And we look forward to them continuing with us at such a high level of competition.” Penske Cars and other chassis manufacturers who are not selected to supply chassis in 2003 will be allowed to resubmit applications for the 2004 season by April 1, 2003, Barnhart said.

4/23/02

Scheckter released from hospital, now Lazier too  UPDATE  Jaques Lazier and rookie Tomas Scheckter were released April 23 from Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., said Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services. Both drivers were injured in an accident during the Firestone Indy 225 on April 21 at Nazareth Speedway. Lazier, from Alta Loma, Calif., suffered a lower spinal fracture and a concussion, Bock said. Lazier has full movement of his extremities, Bock said. Lazier is in Indianapolis for further evaluation at Methodist Hospital but has not been admitted to the hospital. “It would have been nice to roll into Indy with another good result under our belt,” Lazier said. “As it is, we’ll find out here soon about the 500, but I’m hoping there’s a chance I can still be there for it depending on what all the tests show.” Scheckter, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, returned home to Indianapolis on a private plane owned by the Lazier family. He suffered a lung contusion and a concussion. “First of all, I want to thank the Lazier family for giving me a ride back to Indianapolis in their plane,” Scheckter said. “It’s unfortunate that we both ended up in the hospital. I hope Jaques has a quick recovery and is back in the car as soon as possible. “This was a shock for me, but I am going to concentrate on getting better now. Once again, the crew gave me an unbelievable car in the race. I look forward to getting back in shape and back in the racecar.”  4/23/02 -  Tomas Scheckter was released today from Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa. in good condition. He returned to Indianapolis to recover from injuries sustained in an accident in the Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway on Sunday. “First of all I want to thank the Lazier Family for giving me a ride back to Indianapolis in their plane. It’s unfortunate that we both ended up in the hospital. I hope Jaques has a quick recovery and is back in the car as soon as possible. This was a shock for me, but I am going to concentrate on getting better now. Once again the crew gave me an unbelievable car in the race. I look forward to getting back in shape and back in the racecar.”

4/23/02

Team Penske to test at Pike Peak  Helio Castroneves will be testing at Pikes Peak International Raceway (PPIR) today and Marlboro Team Penske teammate Gil de Ferran will be testing at PPIR on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Neither driver has ever tested there, so it will definitely provide the Team with some important information as they prepare for their inaugural event at the Raceway in the Radisson Indy 225 on June 16th.

4/23/02

Jordan signs new sponsor  According to this Financial Times article, fast growing Virgin Mobile has leapt onto the Formula One bandwagon with a new deal to sponsor the Jordan Grand Prix Formula One team. Virgin, the UK's fifth mobile network with a number of outlets in the West Midlands, has also become the official mobile telecommunications supplier to the Jordan team

4/23/02

Do Lukoil woes spell doom for Russian GP?  According to this Financial Times article, the financially struggling Lukoil, Russia's largest oil company, yesterday unveiled an ambitious restructuring plan that includes cutting 20,000 jobs and a lot of wasted cost.  Lukoil has sponsored a F3000 team the last several years, and were thought they would be involved in the Russian GP in some form or another.  The overall health of the Russian economy does not bode well for this race ever happening given F1's huge sanctioning fees.

4/23/02

Nazareth crash might keep Lazier & Scheckter out of 500   According to this Indy Star article, their crash at Nazareth might keep both Jaques Lazier and Tomas Scheckter out of the Indy 500.  We expect Scheckter to be ready in plenty of time.  Scheckter said his engine's rev limiter (lame) seized and cost him momentum in passing Lazier. "I got a massive (aerodynamic) tow off Jaques (on the backstretch) and made the move on the inside," he said. "I hit the rev limiter and that kept me from being side-by-side with him. "I bogged down and ran over the curb trying to avoid him, but he kept turning. There was no room for two cars."

4/23/02

CART President visits Surfers  CART President and Chief Executive Officer, Chris Pook, made a flying visit to Queensland Monday to meet with event officials of the Honda Indy 300 and discuss future Champ Car events on the Gold Coast. A current contract between CART and Gold Coast Motor Events (a 50% joint venture between IMG and the Queensland Government) will see the Honda Indy 300 held on the streets of Surfers Paradise through 2003.   More

4/23/02

China to surpass USA in four years  The number of people in China with home Internet access is now second only to the United States and the mainland audience will become the largest in the world within four years, according to analysts with ACNielsen.  One has to wonder how long after that China will surpass the USA in GNP.  Meanwhile, auto racing sponsors clamor to do more and more business in China.

4/23/02

Motegi web cam  For those of you who may want to keep tabs on the CART series as the event unfolds in Motegi, Japan, here is a link to a web camera that updates periodically.  For those of you in the USA, it may very well be dark in Japan when you view, depending on the time of day.

4/22/02

From the major ouch department - Voodoo economics at BAR  Since 1999, British American Tobacco has pumped over $435 million into the BAR team with little result.  Can you image how many races they could have won with that much money in a CART program?  The more we dig into the cost of F1, the more we realize just how far out of line the expenses vs. the return have become.  Just another case of voodoo economics.

4/22/02

NASCAR on XM Satellite radio details   These two PDF files provide you with details of NASCAR on XM Satellite Radio and what cars will offer XM Radio as an option.
NASCAR XM Radio Fact Sheet | General XM Radio Fact Sheet

4/22/02

Team Green using Lolas and Reynards in Japan  Team Kool Green and Team Motorola are using the following combinations in Japan.  It appears they have all their bases covered.

Michael Andretti - Lola with a Lola as backup

Paul Tracy - Reynard with Lola as a backup

Dario Franchitti - Reynard with Reynard as a backup

4/22/02

Post-race facts from Nazareth   ·Scott Sharp’s victory was the seventh of his career, moving him into second place on the all-time IRL win list behind Buddy Lazier, who has eight. Sharp’s last victory came in the Casino Magic 500 in June 2001 at Texas Motor Speedway. ·Scott Sharp has now won at least one race in a record six consecutive Indy Racing seasons.  ·Felipe Giaffone finished second today, tying his career best. He finished second in the Casino Magic 500 in June 2001 at Texas Motor Speedway. Scott Sharp also won that race.  ·Alex Barron’s sixth-place finish was a career-best. His previous best was an eighth-place finish at his Indy Racing debut in March at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  ·Gil de Ferran earned the 137th career Indy-style pole for Marlboro Team Penske.  ·Teammates Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves swept the front-row starting positions for this race. Marlboro Team Penske became the first team to capture the entire front row for an IRL race since August 2001, when Scott Sharp won the MBNA Pole and Mark Dismore started second for Kelley Racing in the Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.  IRL

4/22/02

CARA donates to NY City   The Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary (CARA Charities) today donated $50,000 to the New York Police and Fire Widow’s and Children Benefit Fund as part of the Charities’ annual CART FedEx Championship Series “Runway Madness” season-end party held last November. “Runway Madness,” an annual benefit party held prior to the CART final race in Ontario, Calif., is a primary fundraiser for CARA Charities to assist worthwhile causes on a national and international scope. Since its inception in 1981, CARA Charities has raised and donated more $3.5 million to a variety of charitable organizations including children’s hospitals, scholarship funds, ministries and research groups and continues to provide assistance to other charitable activities. On September 11, 2001, over 1,500 members of the CART auto racing community were in Lausitz, Germany preparing for the first annual German 500 at the Eurospeedway. It marked the largest contingent of Americans outside of the United States at one location when the New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania disasters occurred. The inaugural event in Germany was renamed the American Memorial 500 in honor of the people lost in the 9/11 attack and was held four days later on Sept. 15 when Kenny Brack won the race. To honor the New York heroes, the CARA Charities “Runway Madness” party, with driver Dario Franchitti and his wife Ashley Judd serving as honorary chairpersons, recognized the needs of the families of the fallen New York policemen and firemen by making this significant donation from the 1000-person event on November 2, 2001. “The majority of our CART community was in Germany when the attack happened on September 11 and we could only watch on the television and hear by phone,” said Franchitti. “It was a truly shocking tragedy. As the largest community outside the U.S. at the time, we felt that one of biggest donations of the year by CARA should assist the families who lost loved ones that day. On behalf of the Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary (CARA Charities), we want to present this check to the New York Police and Fire Widow’s and Children’s Benefit Fund.” CARA

4/22/02

Scheckter and Lazier medical update   Indy Racing League veteran Jaques Lazier and rookie Tomas Scheckter both were upgraded Monday to good condition at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., recovering from injuries suffered April 21 in an accident during the Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway, said Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services. Both drivers will remain at the hospital through Monday, Bock said. Scheckter is expected to be released Tuesday, while Lazier should be released later this week, possibly as early as Tuesday, Bock said. Lazier, from Alta Loma, Calif., suffered a lower spinal fracture and a concussion, Bock said. Lazier has full movement of his extremities, Bock said. Scheckter, from Cape Town, South Africa, suffered a lung contusion and a concussion, Bock said. Lazier and Scheckter collided on Lap 123 of the 225-lap race, sending both into the outside retaining wall. An update of the drivers’ conditions will be provided when available.  IRL

4/22/02

TV Ratings   NASCAR continued to lead the parade this past weekend with an overnight TV rating of a stout 6.1 for the Talladega broadcast on FOX.  The IRL garnered an overnight of 1.3 with a 3 share.  Even if merged, CART and the IRL will have a hard time reaching the kind of numbers NASCAR is pulling down.  NASCAR has reached grassroots Americana, and is most ranks right up there with baseball, basketball and hockey as a sport everyone knows about.  That's called a well branded product, and NASCAR certainly is that.

4/22/02

Fernandez crew member has Japan ties  As the entire community flies to Motegi Japan, Steve Ragan can't wait.  Although he was born in Fort Monmouth, N.J., Nakano’s Chief Mechanic Steve Ragan spent the next 22 years growing up in Zama City – located 25 miles southwest of Tokyo. He became interested in motorsports through his father who raced touring cars. Prior to continuing his career stateside, Ragan was the chief mechanic for Japanese motorcycle F1 champion Satoshi Tsujimoto.  Fernandez Racing

4/22/02
Grand-Am

Dyson Racing wins first  Two-time Rolex Series champions Dyson Racing Team captured its first victory of the season in the UnitedAuto 200 presented by azcentral.com at Phoenix International Raceway tonight. James Weaver and Chris Dyson piloted the team's #16 Thetford/Norcold Ford-powered Riley & Scott to a one-lap lead over the #27 Doran Lista Racing Judd-engined Dallara, snapping the team's and driver Didier Theys' three-race winning streak. "It feels brilliant (to finally win). I hate being beaten; I don't like losing," Weaver said. "The car ran perfectly. It didn't miss a beat all weekend. The new motor setup was better, definitely easier to drive."

4/22/02

Trans-Am website popular  Since its launch two weeks ago, www.trans-am series.com , the new-look website of the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup, has received more than 500,000 “hits,” according to data compiled by Quantified Systems, Inc. Since the redesigned site went live on Monday, April 8, www.trans-amseries.com has totaled 551,938 hits through Sunday, April 21, an average of 39,424 per day. Predictably, the site received its heaviest traffic during last week’s season-opening Johnson Controls 100 at Long Beach, Calif., drawing 67,303 hits on race day, Sunday, April 14, and another 66,863 on Monday, April 15. Total page views over the same two-week period were 100,686, an average of 7,191 per day. Once again, more pages were viewed on race day, a total of 12,138 on Sunday, April 14, as well as another 11,565 on Monday the 15th.

4/22/02

Aero department shakeup at Jaguar  We are not certain where this leaves Dr. Mark Handford, but Jaguar has announced that Dr. Mark Gillan from McLaren and Peter Matchin from Arrows will join the team in 2 weeks.  Both men will work with former Renault aerodynamic expert Ben Agathangelou who joins on May 1.

4/22/02

Lazier suffers broken back, Scheckter damaged lung  2nd UPDATE Lazier was examined at the hospital by Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services, and was listed in stable condition after suffering a lower spinal fracture and a concussion. The extent of the injury and a determination on Lazier's return to action is not immediately known. Lazier was alert and in as good of spirits as could be expected considering the situation Sunday night. "I just want the guys on the crew to know I'm going to be okay," said Lazier from the hospital. "They've worked awfully hard the first part of this year and we had a great car today, it would have been nice to roll into Indy with another good result under our belt. As it is we'll find out here soon about the (Indy) 500, but I'm hoping there's a chance I can still be there for it, depending on what all the tests show." Lazier will undergo further testing Monday and updates will be made available as more is known.  4/21/02 - Jaques Lazier and rookie Tomas Scheckter each were admitted to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., in stable condition April 21 after suffering injuries in an accident during the Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway, said Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services. Lazier, from Alta Loma, Calif., suffered a lower spinal fracture and a concussion, Bock said. Lazier has full movement of his extremities, Bock said. Scheckter, from Cape Town, South Africa, suffered a lung contusion and a concussion, Bock said.  An update of the drivers’ conditions will be provided when available.  4/21/02 - Tomas Scheckter and Jaques Lazier made heavy contact with the wall at Nazareth today when both tried to claim the same piece of asphalt.  Although both were reported awake and alert, both were airlifted to a nearby hospital for x-rays.  This was a very expensive week for the IRL series.  This week Eliseo Salazar almost died and wrote-off an AJ Foyt car at Indy.  At Nazareth today, many cars were destroyed against the hard concrete walls and more drivers had to go to the hospital. The pace car once again led the most laps, 116 out of 225.   Robbie Buhl is out with a concussion, Donnie Beechler has decided to retire after another concussion.  Tyce Carlson finally realized he was in over his head and might hurt himself, so he retired in Phoenix.  The all-oval IRL series continues to be perhaps one of the most expensive forms of motorsports in all of racing, both in terms of driver injuries and car damage/repair.  As we understand it, both Penske drivers know the extreme risk they are taking with their careers/health in the IRL.  With their contracts up with Team Penske at the end of 2002, one has to think they will be looking at getting back to CART's safer road and street circuits, especially de Ferran who has a wife and kids to support.

4/21/02

I was disappointed  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I watched the IRL race from Nazareth expecting to see a lot of passes for the lead.  At least that is what I was led to believe before the race because the drivers said their IRL cars have a lot of downforce compared to CART.  As it turns out, there were zero passes for the lead on the track, and the few passes I saw back in the pack, resulted in crashes.  Nazareth is a poorly designed track, allowing for few passes.  Mr. Penske should be ashamed for putting his name on it, and even more ashamed for badmouthing CART when they dropped such a diabolical track from their schedule.   ISC should either scrap it, or tear it up and reconfigure it.  Mordichai Rosen, LA, CA.

4/21/02

Pook visits Portland, finds things very different  This recent article in The Oregonian, reports that CART President made a recent visit to Portland to inject some of his wisdom on the race organizers.  Pook contends the race -- the largest one-day sporting event in Oregon -- is an under-used vehicle to promote the city to potential investors and those with political muscle. He said that when CART rolls into Long Beach, Calif., this weekend (last weekend), the city will entertain 650 handpicked guests, each of them a "target" capable of helping the city. Then Ames asked Pook if he had ever taught anyone how to drive. "Our mayor's never even had a license," Ames said. "She's never learned to drive a car." Compared to car-crazy Southern California, things in Oregon are indeed different.

4/21/02

2002 CART/IRL Attendance Meter (Updated through IRL race in Nazareth)
IRL 1-Day 3-Day CART 1-Day 3-Day
Homestead 24,000 25,000 Monterrey, Mexico 95,000 236,000
Phoenix 16,000 20,000 Long Beach 90,000 210,000
Fontana 15,000 16,000 -    
Nazareth 10,000 13,000      

Average

16,250 18,500

Average

92,500 223,000

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

4/21/02

Earnhardt - I drink to get drunk UPDATE This article that appeared in the Alabama Mobile Register says that  "In an interview with the skin mag (hey, a man has to do research), Junior joked about his sexual prowess with graphic description, talking quantity like he was the reincarnation of Wilt Chamberlain. You know Budweiser -- for whom Junior is a leading pitchman -- had to be proud when he said about drinking suds in an interview with Newsweek: "I'm not a social drinker. If I'm gonna drink, I'm drinking to get drunk."   "Earnhardt Sr. was the Intimidator on the track. Still, he was a throwback to a simpler time and many considered him the ultimate blue-collar hero, the last of a dying breed. His son, from the MTV generation, is grunge and filth. Even a new multi-million-dollar fragrance deal with Drakkar Noir can't camouflage the stink. He's in your face. He talks trash and acts like trash."   4/19/02 - In an interview published in the latest edition of the Star Magazine (April 30th edition, page 35), Dale Earnhardt Jr. is quoted as saying, "I drink to get drunk, 12 to 15 beers a night,"....."but I don't drink on weekends when I'm driving a race car."  12-15 beers a night!  Sounds like a perfect spokesperson for his sponsor, Budweiser Beer.

4/21/02

Michelin to introduce new compounds for Spain  In an effort to keep pace with Bridgestone and Ferrari, Michelin will introduce two new compounds next weekend in Spain for the Williams and McLaren teams.  We noticed in Brazil that Ferrari’s new F2002 had great potential,’ said Michelin’s competitions chief Pierre Dupasquier, ‘but we didn’t believe the team’s technical director Ross Brawn when he predicted it would be one and a half seconds per lap faster than the previous car. But it turns out he was right.’  ‘Imola has a number of chicanes and a track surface that is moderately abrasive; Barcelona features high-speed corners that generate great downforce and an extremely abrasive surface that really takes its toll on tyres,’ Dupasquier said. ‘The two new compounds we are bringing to Spain have been evolved specifically for this track.’ ‘It remains to be seen whether the Ferraris are going to be as comfortable in the quick corners as they were in certain sections of the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, at Imola,’ he said. ‘This will be important because it will help increase our overall understanding of how Formula One cars perform. ‘In Barcelona, either the performance gap will be reduced and all the hard work we have done will help us take the battle to Ferrari or the margin of superiority will remain unchanged and we will have to take an even harder look at what we are doing.’

4/21/02

Reitzle's departure could mean Jaguar coming to CART  2nd UPDATE Ford has appointed British engineer Richard Parry-Jones to take the reigns of the Premier Performance Department (PPD), reporting directly to Fields.  Parry-Jones, has been working as Ford’s Chief Technical Officer.  Lauda will report to Parry-Jones. With Reitzle now out of the way, and Lauda's wings now clipped, it will be interesting to see which name Ford puts on the new Cosworth CART engine.  Neither Reitzle or Lauda were in favor of supporting the CART program.  4/19/02 - Reitzle will be replaced by Mark Fields, now president and chief executive of Mazda Motor Corp. and a Ford vice president.  Guess who is rumored to be putting their name on the CART Cosworth engine....you got it, Mazda....though we think Jaguar is a better fit for CART.  4/19/02 - Niki Lauda is about to lose his biggest supporter.  Ford Motor Company is preparing a management reshuffle and  Wolfgang Reitzle, current head of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, is expected to become chairman and chief executive of Linde, the German engineering and industrial equipment group.  His appointment is due to be ratified by Linde's supervisory board next week. Reportedly, Reitzle (Shown at right with Niki Lauda (R)) could not agree with the new reporting structure the USA bosses were imposing (read that they were proposing to clip his wings).  Reitzle was instrumental in firing Bobby Rahal and putting Niki Lauda in his place to run the Jaguar F1 program.  Although nothing official, we suspect this could mean that the Jaguar F1 effort will be put under a microscope since it is costing Ford a lot of money and its losing efforts are tarnishing the Jaguar name.  We also think it means that Ford USA may tell the Premier Automotive Group to put the Jaguar name on the CART Cosworth engine.  By doing that, Jaguar will once again start to win races and restore some of the luster the name has lost in F1.  It also means Jaguar will be racing in its biggest market, the USA.

4/21/02

Salazar does not remember crash, released from hospital UPDATE Salazar has been released from the hospital and is headed to is home in Miami.  4/20/02 -  In this Indy Star article, Eliseo Salazar says he doesn't remember anything about his crash on Wednesday at Indy, or why it happened.  "I had just ran a couple of 221 (mph) laps and I was coming in (to the pits)," Salazar said Friday during a phone interview from Methodist Hospital. "The (computer) shows I was 100 percent off the throttle. I really don't know what happened." ....the wall contact with the rear of the car was severe. "I bet it was 150 Gs because he just cremated the car and the engine," said Foyt, a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner. "It was the loudest crash I've ever heard there."

4/21/02

IRL to allow tire warmers, CART too stubborn  AR1 has suggested CART adopt tire warmers a long time ago (see this article).  That proposal fell on deaf ears with CART.  We are not surprised to hear that the IRL is now going to mandate tire warmers (see Star News article) as a way to reduce all the cold tire crashes they see.  The argument against tire warmers is threefold - 1) Cost, 2) getting AC power out on the grid, 3) Warm tires require less skill to drive.  Perhaps tire warmers would have helped all the IRL drivers who crashed in 2001 at Indy on a cold day on cold tires, while the CART drivers went on to sweep 1-6.

4/21/02

Nazareth to honor Saturday tickets on Sunday  USAC feature races and final IRL practice at Nazareth were delayed until Sunday due to weather.  With very few people in the grandstands to watch (see Anthony Lazzaro photo to right taken Saturday), it's probably better it was.  Sounds like the weather will be alright Sunday, the day's program begins at 7:45 AM with Silver Crown warm-up and the first race of the day is at 8:15.  Saturday tickets are being honored Sunday, and there will be 4 races and 400 miles of racing of 4 open wheel divisions. Great show if you live nearby, two bonus races if you buy a ticket for Sunday only. A great value, $35 for four races........voodoo economics is the only way you pay for race purses with tickets so low and so few in attendance.

4/21/02

Jack Roush plane info  If Jack Roush was indeed flying an Air Cam aircraft as has been stated, here is a website for that aircraft.  While it may be a good plane, we certainly wouldn't be caught dead in one.  If he indeed crashed in that plane, with almost no protection around him, he's a very lucky man to be alive.  Perhaps the fact he landed in a lake saved him.

4/20/02

Schumacher has an off at Mugello testing UPDATE According to a Ferrari press release, testing began at 09.00 in the morning, but ended ahead of schedule at 11.40 after a technical problem at the front end of the car caused Schumacher to go off the track. The world champion was uninjured, but the damage to the car could not be repaired in the pits, prompting the team to abandon the test. Up to that point, Schumacher had done 38 laps with a best time of 1.21.690. Conditions were sunny with track temperatures peaking at 26°C.  4/20/02  For reasons still unknown, Michael Schumacher went off course today in testing at Mugello.  He was unhurt, but damage to the Ferrari was too extensive to continue.

4/20/02

Imola to make changes, some conducive to CART  There is increasing pressure to drop Imola from the F1 calendar to make room for a new venue such as China or Russia.  Crowds for the San Marino GP F1 race have dwindled in recent years due to high ticket prices (to pay the high F1 sanctioning fees) and the official Italian GP being in Monza doesn't help.  Imola organizers have announced plans to lengthen the pit lane (CART would need that) by eliminating the chicane right before the pit entrance, and to build an entire new garage and pit suite complex.  If Maserati enters CART as is rumored, there will be significant interest in having CART race in Italy.  Maserati's sister company has a big following in the tifosi, and one has to wonder if those same fans will take a liking to Maserati's racing endeavors.

4/20/02

With the possible loss of Honda backing, Jordan must tighten purse strings   With reports that Honda will side more with BAR, and possibly drop Jordan altogether, Eddie Jordan is already going into survival mode.  He told the BBC Radio ‘I think we will have to get meaner in many aspects of how we go about (running the team)'. ‘Inevitably things will change; the entrepreneurial teams like myself can no longer go on spending money that isn't there. I will make sure that the team becomes much tighter, more committed - harder. ‘If it means having to make redundancies, I will make those redundancies because nobody can ever be as great as the team. ‘The sponsors, staff and fans deserve Jordan to make the decisions, maybe very hard, maybe very tough, right at this moment that will procure the long term survival and greatness of Jordan to come back and win races again.’

4/20/02

Jack Roush critical after plane crash  UPDATE Jack Roush remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition Saturday. He is being treated for a closed head injury and fractures to both legs. Jeff Smith, general manager of Roush Racing, said doctors told team and family members the head injury "is the most serious of the injuries he has. However, we are very encouraged by the fact that he is able to follow commands and respond to the commands that he is given. " "He also has two leg fractures, which we're expecting to be set this afternoon. We're told to be guarded about the head injury for 48 hours because circumstances can change in that regard." AP  4/20/02 - Winston Cup team owner Jack Roush was critically injured when his small plane crashed Friday, NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said. Roush was in critical condition at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Hunter said. The plane went down in a residential area about 6 p.m. CDT, a dispatcher for the Alabama state troopers said. A newspaper photographer at the scene said the plane crashed into a pond in a gated community.

4/20/02

Childress may bar Harvick from Truck series  According to this High Point Enterprises article, Kevin Harvick has received his punishment from NASCAR. Now car owner Richard Childress may pick up where NASCAR left off.  While cars were going through inspection Friday, Childress said that he might prohibit Harvick from driving in the truck series again. "I don't think I'll let him do that,'' Childress said. "We haven't discussed it, but I don't think so.''  But in this Orlando Sentinel article, Harvick remains as cocky as ever.

4/20/02

New Winston Cup Team announced  Carl Haas'  Winston Cup team may have folded, but another Haas, Haas automation is about to enter Winston Cup with driver Jack Sprague.  Haas Automation has been an associate sponsor on the Rick Hendricks team cars, and will now have their own team, starting in 2002 at select events and then fulltime in 2003.  Their first race, with help from Rick Hendrick, will be the World 600 this year.

4/20/02

Formula One team update   The Ferrari team was testing on two circuits this week. Luciano Burti ran three days with an F2002 at Monza on a circuit modified by extra chicanes, testing tires and completed 1400km over those three days. Meanwhile Luca Badoer was in Mugello with an F2002 also testing tires, managing the quickest time of 1m 22.390s on Thursday without any problems.  More...

4/20/02

News and history of Spanish GP   The Circuit de Catalunya will feature lavishly rebuilt grandstands with extra seating completed in time for the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.  Spain's Formula One World Championship qualifying race has led a somewhat nomadic and truncated existence since the first official Grand Prix was held on Barcelona's now-defunct Pedralbes circuit in 1951. The fixture was repeated in 1954, but the race then lapsed for 14 years before being revived on the Jarama track on the outskirts of Madrid.  The following year the Spanish Grand Prix moved to the spectacular Montjuich Park circuit, in the center of Barcelona, thereafter alternating with Jarama through to 1975. Jarama survived through to 1981 when the Spanish Grand Prix history suffered another interruption and the race was next held at the brand new Jerez de la Frontera circuit in 1986.  In 1991, the race finally arrived at its current home, the Circuit de Catalunya at Montmelo, on the northern fringes of Barcelona. It had originally been intended that the new circuit would be ready in 1992, the year in which Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games, but in the end the promoters had been persuaded to have the new track ready for action 12 months ahead of schedule.  This seemed a tall order when the Formula One teams arrived for the first race in late October, 1991. Sure enough, the 3.641-mile circuit was completed and the drivers' verdict was instantly favorable. The new circuit offered plenty of variation, with undulations and fast corners combined with that vital ingredient for overtaking, a sweeping downhill curve leading onto a long main straight which had a tight corner at the end of it. This is where much of the passing has always taken place. The track is hard on tires and generally requires a hard rubber compound while the long pit straight is very demanding on aerodynamic efficiency. FIA

4/20/02

Sirius Satellite radio to sponsor The Glen Cup race too  Sirius Satellite Radio, the satellite radio broadcaster, will host the inaugural Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen on August 11, 2002, at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, NY, track President Craig Rust announced today. "Sirius Satellite Radio will make an excellent partner at Watkins Glen," said Rust of the multi-year race entitlement. "Just as they offer the best in satellite radio, we offer the best in road course entertainment. Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen will be a staple on the Winston Cup circuit and a tradition in entertainment for years to come." "New York is filled with passionate music and sports fans and we are thrilled to host such an incredible event in our backyard. This race is an excellent opportunity to showcase our service among some of the best racing entertainment on the circuit today, " said Joseph P. Clayton, President and CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio. "Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen will provide Sirius the opportunity to introduce our service to listeners in the New York metropolitan area and drive subscriptions in the eastern portion of the country." Sirius, available nationwide beginning July 1, plans to make the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen loud and exciting. It will present a variety of entertainment programs throughout the weekend and provide opportunities for fans to tune in its service and even take it home with them.

4/20/02

Like F1, CART starting to attract the crème de la crème  We don't really have to say much here, the pictures speak for themselves....and there were many more.

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