Hot News

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DATE

News (chronologically)

5/3/02

IRL slaps Scheckter with suspension  Tomas Scheckter was suspended for the first three days of Indianapolis 500 practice because of unsportsmanlike conduct at the Firestone Indy 225. Scheckter was suspended from all on-track activity through Tuesday, fined an undisclosed amount and placed on probation for the rest of this season, the Indy Racing League said Friday. During the April 22 race in Nazareth, Pa., Scheckter tried to pass Jaques Lazier, and the wheels of their cars touched, sending both crashing into the outside wall. Scheckter, who was driving his fourth Indy car race, already was on probation and had been warned to temper his aggressive driving, IRL spokesman Ron Green said.  Sources say Scheckter may be looking to move to CART in 2003.

5/3/02

Two for one deal on opening day  The Indy Speedway has a full page ad in the Indy Star which includes a coupon for 2 for 1 admission to the Speedway this Sunday for opening day.

5/3/02
Industry News

Kansas City in no hurry to go soft  According to this Kansas City Star article, don't expect to see "soft walls" in place for racing anytime soon at Kansas Speedway. Jeff Boerger, president of Kansas Speedway, said he will wait and see how the walls perform at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before making any decisions on use at his track. "I guess just like everybody else, we're waiting to see what happens in Indy," Boerger said..

5/3/02

Da Matta comments on upcoming F1 test   "This is my fourth season of working with Toyota and we have a very good relationship. I am thankful that they are giving me the opportunity to test their F1 car and I am also thankful that Newman/Haas Racing is allowing me to accomplish one of my goals. I've driven almost every kind of open-wheel race car and testing an F1 car is a great opportunity for me. There is a break in the schedule this month and we are only running two tests so the timing is good. I'm looking forward to the experience." NHR

5/3/02

IRL and Milwaukee taking look at each other According to this Milwaukee Journal newspaper report, once seen as an improbability because of Milwaukee Mile promoter Carl Haas' ties to the CART series, the likelihood of the Indy Racing League coming to State Fair Park now stands stronger than ever. "Probably right now the biggest issue would be finding a date that would work for them and for us," Mile general manager Jim Melvin said Thursday. "I can't speak for Carl, but . . . he didn't want to be the first to break ranks, the first CART promoter and team owner to have an IRL race. I don't think that he's as adamant (any more)."

5/3/02

Rain washes Fittipaldi chances away  A large thunderstorn washed out NASCAR Busch Series qualifying for Friday's Hardee's 250 putting Christian Fittipaldi's #30 mike's hard lemonade Chevrolet Monte Carlo on the hauler and heading back home to Charlotte. This was to be Fittipaldi's 2002 Busch Series debut and so the car was without car owner points and thus left off the grid. One of five cars to not make the field, it would not have been so disappointing had practice not gone so well. The two hour pre-qualifying practice started in the sun and with warm temperatures. Fittipaldi and the mike's hard lemonade crew began with a baseline set-up that came out of the test session they conducted at Richmond International Speedway just three weeks ago. Fittipaldi ended up with the 23rd fastest time in the session traversing the .75-mile D-shaped oval in 21.707 seconds (124.384 mph) just .390 seconds off the fastest car driven by Winston Cup regular Johnny Benson. Certainly showing that Fittipaldi, a regular in the CART FedEx Championship series, would qualify solidly on time for the Friday night race. Just 30 minutes before qualifying was to begin, the heavens opened up and delayed the session. The track drying began as soon as the rain stopped but just as the crews reported to the cars to begin the final qualifying preparations, the rain began again. NASCAR waited as long as they could but seeing that the rain was not going to let up cancelled qualifying just after 7:00pm. The field was set by car owner points not by previous practice session times as they do in CART. "This was an up and down day for sure," said Fittipaldi. "We started with a set-up from our test and went from there. We worked well together and each time we made a change the car just kept getting better. We would have qualified in the top 25 and raced even higher. But now we have to look forward to Charlotte." "It is a major disappointment but we can't control the weather," said Fittipaldi. "I am very happy with the way we worked together and the way the car was working. I can't wait for Charlotte in three weeks. I am confident that if the weather cooperates this time we will get the job done." Fittipaldi will once again be behind the wheel of the #30 mike's hard lemonade Chevy for the Car Quest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 25.  NHR

5/3/02
AR1 News

Time-out changed to 10-minutes  Based on requests received from our users, we have changed the server timeout from 5 minutes to 10.  Now, if you have no activity in a window for a 10-minute period after you log onto AR1, the server will timeout your session and you will have to log back in.  As long as you are browsing around from page to page, you will not be logged out.  MC

5/3/02

Injury forces Kenseth pit crew change  Car chief and jackman for Matt Kenseth's No. 17 crew, Jeff Vandermoss, sustained a lower back injury that requires immediate surgery to repair. While recovering, Russ Strupp, crew chief of the Reiser Enterprises No. 17 Busch Series car, will fill in as jackman and assist crew member Dave Smith with car chief duties. Vandermoss is expected to resume his car chief duties approximately two weeks after his surgery, but will be unable to function as jackman for at least two months. Andy Ward, pit coach for all four Roush Cup teams, says that Strupp is definitely up to the task. "Russ has been at the shop all week working on the car," said Ward. "And he's been practicing with the guys. From my standpoint, everything seems to be working out well. Russ has plenty of experience jacking and did a great job at the California race when he stepped in as jackman.

5/3/02
Industry News

Class Action lawsuit against Ford and Firestone denied  This Detroit Free-Press article reports that a  federal appeals court decision Thursday was a victory for Ford Motor Co. and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. that may save both companies hundreds of millions in legal fees. The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago overturned a November ruling by a district court judge in Indianapolis that would have allowed millions of claims involving defective Firestone tires to form a class action. The decision means that more than 3 million owners of Ford Explorers and the buyers of 15 million Firestone tires will have to file individual lawsuits instead of joining a consolidated case. .

5/3/02
Industry News

Ford turns a profit  This Bloomberg News article says that Ford has once again turned profitable.

5/3/02

Reynard exec jumps to Lola   We reported about two weeks ago that Dan Partel had left Lola.  Lola Cars International announced today that Jeff Swartwout has joined the Lola Group as Vice President of Lola for North America. Jeff will be responsible for sales and customer relations in the United States, Canada and Mexico, based out of offices in Indianapolis and working closely with his new colleagues at Lola’s headquarters in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire UK. Jeff, aged 49, was previously President of Reynard North America, having worked in many series of open wheel racing in the United States, including a chief mechanic role in winning IndyCar teams in the 1980’s. After a spell away for the industry, he became a founder member of Reynard North America in 1993, and helped build that company’s US sales and distributors across North America. I have competed against Lola in the recent past and know them to be great competitors – now I look forward to working with everyone at Lola to build upon what has been achieved already".

5/2/02

Castroneves completes 2-day test at TMS Defending Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves is ready - ready for this month's 86th running of the "500" and for the June 8 Boomtown 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Marlboro Team Penske Indy Racing League driver Castroneves completed a successful two-day test of over 350 miles Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway in preparation for the Boomtown 500. Castroneves' test included laps under the lights Wednesday night to prepare for the Saturday night June 8 race. The test was conducted in a wide variety of conditions. Wednesday's afternoon session saw temperatures in the mid-90s while Thursday's laps were run in the 70-degree range. "We came here to try to run at night, like we did yesterday," said Castroneves. "It is the first time here with this equipment, the second time (for me) after last year when we came with CART. "It's always good to get ready, to have a good base setup to start the race weekend. Normally we don't have much time to practice, that's why we wanted to come over here and start out with something we know is going to work. "I enjoyed the experience of running at night," continued Castroneves who is third in the Indy Racing League point standings. "The weather seems to be very close to what we might have during the month of June. We accomplished our goals so far. Hopefully when we come back here we will have a good crowd and I'm sure it is going to be a good show." Indy Racing League point leader Sam Hornish Jr. and Castroneves' teammate, Gil de Ferran, will join the 2001 Indy 500 winner at the Boomtown 500. Tickets are available daily at the speedway, by calling (817) 215-8500, online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com and at Ticketmaster locations  TMS

5/2/02

Imperial Tobacco opening new headquarters  Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited (Players brand in CART) will open a new head quarters in Montreal this weekend.  There will be a media event (only) with CART drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani present.

5/2/02

Shell income falls, but stock price rises  This AP article says that Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Cos. (Team Rahal sponsor) on Thursday announced a 48 percent drop in first quarter net income, a better-than-expected result in difficult conditions. Earnings fell to $1.99 billion from $3.86 billion, reflecting lower oil and gas prices. The company's first-quarter profit decline was significantly less than that of its main rivals BP PLC and ExxonMobil Corp., both of which reported a 57 percent drop in comparable income. Shell's shares rose 9 cents to $7.27 after the results were published.

5/2/02

Dunlop to sponsor Team Ascari   Team Ascari has confirmed that Dunlop Tires has become an official partner for the teams 2002 race program. With the 24 Hours of Le Mans now the main focus of attention for the worlds leading sportscar manufacturers, the agreement, to provide a full test and development program for the British marque, is a major boost to the Le Mans aspirations of the Ascari KZR1 and is already making a significant impact. The team has recently undergone a series of test days in the UK and Europe, culminating in last week's sessions at Paul Ricard where, on a new Dunlop inspired compound, the Judd V10-powered Ascari KZR1 ran quicker with increased durability. Team Ascari

5/2/02

BAR to strengthen Honda ties   This Autosport article talks about the special test team BAR will setup with Honda to improve their performance.

5/2/02

DEI to run Nemechek in The Winston  Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) announced that it would team up with driver Joe Nemechek to field a fourth DEI race car in The Winston on Sat., May 18th at Lowe's (N.C.) Motor Speedway. DEI will enter the #81 race car - which will be driven by Nemechek - as well as supply the engines, race cars and technical support. In a co-operative effort, DEI and NEMCO Motorsports will share personnel duties. NEMCO Motorsports employee Brian Pattie will serve as crew chief. Pattie is also NEMCO's crew chief for the #87 race car in the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series. "I'm very excited about working with DEI," said Nemechek, who earned an entry to this year's all-star event with a win in the 2002 fall Rockingham Pop Secret 400 while driving an Andy Petree Racing #33 race car. "With DEI and NEMCO working together, we should be very competitive for this race. We expect to contend for the checkered flag." As of today, a sponsor for the race has not been secured. Nemechek and the #81 race team will test for The Winston at Lowe's Motor Speedway next week, May 6-7. DEI will also be represented in The Winston with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Michael Waltrip and Steve Park. All three DEI drivers became eligible by winning a Winston Cup race in 2001.  DEI

5/2/02

Craven wins first quarter voting  Since 1998, Ricky Craven has played host to hundreds of snowmobile riders that eagerly participate in the Ricky Craven Snowmobile Ride for Charity. It’s because of this annual event and his generous behavior in aiding charities that he has been named the First Quarter True Value Person of the Year. True Value, the Official Hardware Store of NASCAR, is in its third consecutive year of the NASCAR True Value Person of the Year program. The award is designed to honor drivers, not only for their accomplishments on the track, but for their community service contributions and charitable efforts. On January 21, 2002, Craven, driver of the No. 32 Tide Ford Taurus, made the trek to his home state of Maine to help raise $114,600. In the event’s five-year history, a total of $381,500 has been raised. The charitable organizations that have benefited from this include: The Marrow Foundation, The Travis Roy Foundation, Make-A-Wish, Children’s Miracle Network and Give Kids The World. “When I started this ride, I wanted to give back to my New England roots, while raising money and awareness for various charities,” said Craven. “This project is something I can do with my family and other families can take part in as a group. I’ve been pleased with the results we’ve gotten. “This year was the first time I was able to take my daughter Riley on the ride and will go down as one of my highlights for the year.”

5/2/02

Two new awards announced   Westward Tools, the Official Tools of the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup, will sponsor a pair of awards designed to recognize teams that face the most adversity during the 2002 Trans-Am season. The “Tough Tools/Tough Team Award” will recognize the four teams that show the most improvement from start to finish at each 2002 Trans-Am Series event. A total credit of $1,500 worth of Westward products will be divided among the four teams who advance the most combined places during each race. Each position gained, or point, will be worth a dollar amount to be determined by adding the total number of positions gained by the four teams who improve the most, then dividing that number by $1,500. At the conclusion of the season, Westward will award credits of $5,000 and $2,500, respectively, to the two teams who have scored the most points over the course of the campaign. Westward Tools will also sponsor the “Tough Tools/Tough Times Award,” which will award a $500 credit to the team that is deemed to have faced the most hard luck during a given Trans-Am event. Nominations for the “Tough Tools/Tough Times Award” will be posted on the Westward Tools website ( www.westwardtools.com ) through a link on the Trans-Am Series website, at www.trans-amseries.com . All fans that vote for the team that wins the “Tough Tools/Tough Times Award” will be entered into a drawing for a 14.4-volt cordless drill, as well as other Westward Trans-Am tools. The program also includes a season-ending “Tough Tools/Tough Times Award” which will reward a $2,500 credit to the Trans-Am team that is deemed to have had the most bad luck during the season, by vote of the fans.

5/2/02

Fittipaldi to get 2nd NASCAR start  Christian Fittipaldi of Sao Paulo, Brazil will attempt to make his second career NASCAR Busch Series start this coming weekend in the Hardee's 250 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Fittipaldi will be driving the #30 mike's hard lemonade, Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Innovative Motorsports who will also field cars for veteran Kenny Wallace and rookie Shane Hmiel. Fittipaldi is a two-time winner in the CART FedEx Championship driving for Newman/Haas Racing where he currently pilots the No. 11 Lilly Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone combination. He is taking advantage of gaps in this season's CART schedule to compete in a total of six NASCAR Busch Series events. He will also compete at Charlotte on May 25 before returning to the helm of his Lilly sponsored Lola chassis powered by Toyota that fans from all over the world have become accustomed to seeing him drive at speeds reaching 240 mph. This weekend, the pace on the track will be a bit slower but he expects the competition to be just as fierce. "I am really looking forward to my first Busch race of the season," said Fittipaldi. "I tested at Richmond earlier this year and I like the race track. It really requires a lot of driver skill for a fast lap. Lots of throttle and brakes makes it a driver's track and I like that kind of a challenge. And with it being a night race it will make it interesting because I have not raced at night in a stock car before."

5/2/02

Gatorade pulls NASCAR sponsorship  Gatorade will no longer be an 'official' sponsor of NASCAR.  "We are faced with a changing landscape in the sport of racing," said Tom Fox, vice president of sports marketing for Gatorade. "Rights we once enjoyed through our NASCAR sponsorship are now held by teams and drivers. Fans of the sport are passionate about the drivers, teams and races and that's where we're going to direct our resources." Gatorade will continue to sponsor the Gatorade 125s, the qualifying races for the Daytona 500. The company will also continue to sponsor drivers Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin.

5/2/02

Turkey GP getting closer?   This Planet F1 article says that since the Russians are hedging on signing a deal with Bernie Ecclestone that would give Moscow an F1 Grand Prix in 2004, Turkey is stepping up its efforts to host a race just a year later. 

5/2/02
Industry News

Volkswagen enters luxury car market  As this Detroit Free Press article states, Volkswagen has begun U.S. sales of its Passat W8 luxury sedan, which boasts a 270-horsepower, eight-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive and a $37,900 base price -- a package that would have been unimaginable for the producer of so-called people's cars a decade ago.  Perhaps a VW badged Ilmor engine for CART?

5/2/02
Industry News

Price war erupts in China car market  As this Reuters article states, a price war is raging in China's automobile market, one of the fastest growing in the world, as carmakers slash prices and launch new lines to challenge cheaper imports following Beijing's entry into the World Trade Organization. "The post-WTO membership auto market in China faces a great deal of consolidation and re-pricing," Morgan Stanley analysts Jerry Lou and Henry Ho said in a report seen on Thursday. Imported automobiles are expected to gain 20 percent of the market in China this year versus 13 percent in 2001, mainland-backed brokerage ICEA said in a recent report.

5/2/02

It's not really a soft wall  The new SAFER Wall installed at Indy is not a 'soft' wall like CART  installed in RIO.  The SAFER wall is a stiff wall (as it should be) that moves backward in one piece as the Styrofoam energy absorbent layers behind it crush.  The facing of the wall must be stiff so it does not create a 'pocket' when a race car hits it.  It was this pocket-effect that everyone was always concerned with a soft wall.  If a pocket were formed, it might catch a car and cause it to bounce back into other race cars.  This wall combines all the positive aspects of a concrete wall with the positive aspects of a soft wall.  MC

5/2/02

Indy's SAFER Wall System easy to manufacture  UPDATE The sections of SAFER wall installed at the Speedway are straight sections (chords) because the radius of the turns is large enough, and the sections of wall short enough, that there are no noticeable 'kinks' where the wall sections meet.  However, on smaller tracks where the radius is tighter, the steel tubing that makes up the face of the wall, will have to be rolled to form an arc and ensure a 'smooth' wall face. This will increase the cost only slightly.  On higher banked tracks, the installation will be slightly more complicated because it's harder to get equipment up on the banks to work.  This will also increase the cost slightly.  5/1/02 -  This Indy Star News article says, The energy-absorbing soft-wall system that will be unveiled today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway could revolutionize driver safety in high-speed racing accidents. But the actual manufacturing of the padding configuration that covers the concrete outside walls in the track's four corners is relatively easy, project director Brian Barnhart told The Star on Tuesday.  Barnhart also said the company that did the Speedway's work, the Jack K. Elrod Co., of Mooresville, Ind., does not have an exclusivity agreement with the soft-wall system.  Once again, here at AR1, we tip our hat to Tony George and his IRL staff for taking this major step forward in making soft walls a reality.

5/2/02

Indy Racing league owns rights to SAFER Wall System   The IRL owns all rights to the new SAFER Wall System developed by the University of Nebraska and installed at the Indy Motor Speedway.  The University holds all rights to the use of the barrier on real public roads.  The IRL will make the barrier available to any track owner that wants it, and they claim they are not looking to profit from the rights to use the barrier design.  MC

5/2/02

Barber Dodge drivers visits PWR Racing   By invitation of top CART FedEx Championship Series competitors PWR Championship Racing, the entire Formula Dodge National Championship field will tour the Champ Car team's shop complex on the Northwest side of Indianapolis Thursday, May 9. The tour coordinates with Rounds 5 & 6 of the FDNC at Putnam Park Motorsports Complex, about 25 miles west of Indianapolis. More Ladder series news...

5/2/02
Russell Racing

Carmody wins opener, Speed third  Chris Carmody won the first race of the 2002 Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro Series presented by Yokohama Tires in the 60 lap main event at the Irwindale half-mile oval beating Victor Hugo Queiroz by 1.918 seconds. Pole-sitter, Scott Speed was third.  Starting from the front row Carmody lost a position to Queiroz after the first lap. On lap six he was past the Brazilian driver and started pressuring Speed for the lead as they started to close on the back of the 12 car field. The top-three drivers circled the half- mile oval at times equivalent to the Super Late Modified cars. "I was fortunate - my car got better and better as the race went on," stated Carmody, the youngest driver in the field at just 17. Carmody's best lap in the Pitts Performance, Red Head Clothing, My-Chron, Momo sponsored car was a 18.569. On lap 13 Carmody made his move on Speed going down low entering Turn 1 and never looked back increasing his lead to just over a full second. The race ran uninterrupted until lap 53 when Speed touched wheels with Chris Nelson going into Turn 2. Nelson glanced the wall bringing out the yellow flag so they could clear his car from the front straight. With only two laps to go, the green flag waved and Carmody took off. "On the restart I focused on getting a good start to stay ahead of Scott." He didn't have to worry, as Speed's car was not up to the pace. "I wasn't sure what was up with the car, so I took the first two corners to see what the car felt like," said Speed who is racing in the series a part of his prize for winning the 2001 USAC Formula Russell Championship. "With only two laps to go, I knew I would have to go for it right away, but I wanted to be sure I still had a safe car to race." The pack came around for the white flag. Queiroz was right on Speed's gearbox looking for a way around. He took a shot as the two entered Turn 3 diving to the low side. His No. 2 Formula Russell stepped out and then turned up into Speed catapulting Speed up and over Queiroz and into the wall. The checkered flag came out as Carmody completed the lap with Queiroz limping his way across the Start/Finish in second. Speed was scored third having completed 59th lap ahead of Jason Bowles who finished fourth. John Knudsen was fifth.  Russell Racing

5/2/02

Mazda Raceway gets wired   Eight miles of electrical, phone, television and data conduit is currently being installed as part of Phase IA of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s $15 million improvement project. These lines will carry power and phone service to hospitality suites and garages being built in the Paddock along pit lane. The pre-cast concrete garages are currently being built in Antioch, California by Kie-Con, while Medford Construction is pre-fabricating the steel structures in their Bakersfield, California, yard for the new hospitality suites. The hospitality suites will sit atop ten, double car garages. Foundation work for the new garages and hospitality suites, which are part of Phase IA, is scheduled to begin next week. Progress also continues on the sewer line that will carry waste away from the Paddock hospitality areas and restrooms. Paving over of the sewer line trenches in the Paddock should be finished this week. Work will begin next week with the extension of the sewer line down "B" Road. Construction crews previously bored under the track near turn 3 and under the perimeter road in order to run the sewer line to a new holding tank. This is the latest in a continuing string of construction activity at Mazda Raceway since ground was broken on the project February 8. In its entirety, Phase I includes a new pit area, garages, hospitality suites, restrooms, and sewer system and is slated to cost $7.8 million. Mazda Raceway

5/2/02

Penske will automatically lose his CART numbers after 2002   All CART race car numbers are assigned by the Director of Technology and Competition or his designee. Race car number one (1) will be awarded to the CART Champ Car Series champion driver for use in all CART FedEx Championship Series races during the reigning champion driver's season. Numbers two (2) through ninety-nine (98) will be assigned on a permanent basis. Thirteen (13) will not be assigned. As a tribute to his participation and in recognition of his outstanding record of performance as an Indy car driver, number fourteen (14) will be reserved for CART Champ Cars driven by or entered by A. J. Foyt, Jr. so long as his personal involvement in racing continues, and will be permanently retired upon his retirement from this sport. In recognition of the lifetime achievements of race car driver Greg Moore, car number 99 is forever retired from Champ Car competition. Numbers may be voluntarily released at the end of a season by the holder, declaration of non-participation, or reassigned if not used for one complete season. Numbers released will be reassigned using the Championship positions earned by teams during the previous season with preference given to franchise entrants. Use of number one (1) is not cause to relinquish the competitor’s permanently assigned number. CART Rule Book 9.32.1

5/2/02

Japanese newspaper speaks out about CART race   The Asahi Shimbun is one of the top three newspapers in Japan.  In an April 29th editorial, they wrote - "F1 and other European type car racing so far has been the extent of racing in Japan. Oval racing, originated in the U.S., is new for Japan. Quite a lot of fans (over 100,000 this past weekend) visit Motegi to enjoy this friendly and open atmosphere and a fierce competition of CART racing at 350km/h or more. In Japan, we need a long term strategy and vision for American motorsports to become even more popular. So far HONDA has contributed much to the growth of the sport. Japanese fans wish for two things. One is continuation of CART racing in Japan and the other is for Honda to stop talking about withdrawing from CART racing."

5/1/02

Furr to Assist Ultra/Evernham Motorsports in Richmond  Ray Evernham, co-owner of Ultra/Evernham Motorsports, today announced that Tony Furr would be assisting the No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T during this weekend's race at Richmond International Raceway. Furr, former crew chief of the No. 25 Winston Cup team, will be consulting with the team, assuming the role of crew chief. "I've known Tony for a long time, and I have a lot of respect for him as a leader and a crew chief," Evernham said. "He's stepping in to help us out this weekend at Richmond. He will be a tremendous asset to the team." "Ray and I have the same winning vision for this team," said Jim Smith, co-owner Ultra/Evernham Motorsports. "We think Tony will make a strong contribution this weekend."

5/1/02
IROC

IROC testing rained out  Bad weather put a halt to IROC testing on Tuesday, but Wednesday, IROC began a four-day private test session to prepare for the IROC 100 that will take place before the NASCAR Busch Series Tropicana Twister 300 on Saturday, July 13 at Chicagoland Speedway. IROC reports lap times nearing 33.87 seconds, which calculates to approximately 160 mph. But according George Signore, director of public relations for IROC, speed isn't the issue at this test session. "We're not as much concerned with speed as we are with handling. It's more important for us, with this series, to get the cars comfortable for the drivers so they can put on a good show."  "I'm certainly working hard on these race cars. My goal is to get them as comfortable as possible for these (IROC) drivers", said Marcis. Despite weather slowing the start of the test session, Marcis is pleased with how the first day of testing went. "All-in-all I think it's going good. Lap times are going down and speeds are going up each time we make a change."

5/1/02

Ernie Cope Named Crew Chief for Donlavey Racing  Donlavey Racing has hired Ernie Cope to serve as crew chief on the No. 90 Donlavey Racing Ford and driver Rick Mast. "I'm real excited about the opportunity with Donlavey Racing and Rick Mast," Cope said. "I spoke with Junie and Rick before I decided to make the move. I felt this is an opportunity I could not pass up." Cope's first race will be this weekend at Richmond International Raceway.

5/1/02

Commemorative Pole Night ticket  Lowe's Motor Speedway has produced a limited-edition commemorative pole-night ticket featuring the return of the #3 car to Lowe's Motor Speedway. The ticket for CTC Pole Night on Thursday, May 23rd is the 20th in a series of commemorative CTC Pole Night tickets and will feature Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and the #3 Nilla Wafers/Nutter Butter Chevrolet Monte Carlo, scheduled to appear in the NASCAR Busch Grand National CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 on Saturday, May 25. This race marks the first time the #3 car was appeared at Lowe's Motor Speedway since the death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500. Pete McCole

5/1/02

Record purse at Lowe's  Lowe's Motor Speedway annouced a record purse of $10,961,324 in posted awards, plus a potential $1 million dollar bonus,for the five divisions competing during the Month of May activites at the facility. The events include the running of the Pennzoil World Of Outlaws series, Goody's DASH series, ARCA RE/MAX series, NASCAR Busch Grand National Series and NASCAR Winston Cup series. Pete McCole

5/1/02

Fans to vote on running of Winston Fans will vote on how to invert the field for the final segment of The Winston on Saturday, May 18 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. NASCAR fans can go to www.nascar.com and vote on how many cars to invert for the final 20-lap segment. Fans can vote on whether to invert four, six, eight or the entire 10 car field for the final segment. Voting begins May 3 and ends at the conclusion of the first 40-lap segment of The Winston. Kiosks will be available at Lowe's Motor Speedway for fans to vote on site at The Winston. Pete McCole

5/1/02

CART in Germany to oversee F3 test   UPDATE AR1 has learned more. The purpose of this test is to get a German driver into a ChampCar for the two European CART races with the goal of forming a German CART team for the 2003 season. Of course, a German driver in the "German 500" would dramatically increase ratings and attract sponsors. CART planned to bring a Champ Car to the test with the F3-guys so that these guys can get the feeling of driving an actual Champ Car. However, we don't know if they changed plans, but that was the original idea.  5/1/02 - The Eurospeedway will host the first ever F3 test on their oval this coming Monday and Tuesday. Three selected teams from the German F3 Championship have been selected. Five drivers will participate. CART will run this two days test/oval instruction session in cooperation with DMSB and Eurospeedway. From CART's side, in attendance will be Lee Dykstra, Gary Barnard, Chris Kneifel and Roberto Moreno. Mark C.

5/1/02

Toys "R" Us to sponsor Cup team NASCAR team owner Rick Goodwin announced Saturday a six race 2002 Winston Cup sponsorship agreement with his current BGN sponsor Toys "R" Us. The first of those six races will be next Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway, the hometown track of driver Kevin Grubb. The team will continue to compete in the remaining BGN races as well. The Toys "R" Us Chevrolet Monte Carlo will maintain the # 54 and continue with Grubb behind the wheel and veteran crew chief Tony Lambert calling the shots. Andy Petree Racing, a leading NASCAR Winston Cup team, will provide the Monte Carlos along with additional track support. .The Richmond race, the Pontiac Excitement 400, will be the first career Winston Cup start for the 24-year-old Grubb. Camp and Assoc PR

5/1/02

Eurospeedway puts together strong support race slate   Eurospeedway has put together a fantastic support race program for their CART weekend in September. There will be two German F3 Championship races, 2 Formula BMW ADAC Championship races, and 1 ASCAR race. Roland Rehfeld, a Berliin Germany citizen, has signed a year-long contract with an ASCAR team.  Mark C

5/1/02

Minardi wing failure cause identified   "This is the toughest decision a team owner has ever to make and we are withdrawing our cars from the race," stated Paul Stoddart in a statement on Sunday morning in Spain. "Technically we can race our cars, but it would be totally irresponsible of me to put those cars in the race. "Had it happened yesterday, we would have been able to do something about it, the only thing we don't have at the moment is time. What we are going to do now is take the parts back to the factory and totally analyse the parts." This analysis has taken place, and the team today released another statement reporting their conclusions. The outfit is satisfied that the rear wing failure was a one-off problem related to a specific component fitted to Webber's car alone. "We now know that the failure on Mark's car was a one-off problem with that component, but further strengthening will be incorporated in all of our rear wings, purely as an added precaution". "Wind tunnel testing has also verified that the modification will not result in any loss of vehicle performance. The work will be completed prior to the Austrian Grand Prix." On Monday Minardi conducted a series of structural checks on two identical rear wing structures. One of these wings was tested to in excess of 2.5 times the known maximum loading attained at any current Grand Prix circuit without any failure. Minardi

5/1/02

Atlantics: Hunter-Reay test  For the first time in his racing career, Ryan Hunter-Raey drove his #1 Medlock Ames Winery/u.s. print/Toyota/Swift at Portland International Raceway. Hunter-Reay ran 220 trouble-free miles on the scenic 1.969-mile road course and was up to speed immediately, setting the fastest times throughout the day. Breaking the 1:07 second barrier and solidly setting times in the mid-1:07's throughout the day, Hunter-Reay proved he had no problem learning the road course which consists of a series of fast turns and long straights, "Today was my first time running here at Portland, and I was up to speed very quickly, so that allowed us to get right to work on developing an ideal set-up." He continued, "I really like this track, especially the high-speed corners. There is a fifth gear corner that you take almost flat and it leads into a right-hander, it's insanely quick and lots of fun. The grip the Atlantic car gives makes this track a blast." New to the CART Toyota Atlantic schedule for 2002, Tuesday was the first time the Hylton Motorsports team had tested at Portland International Raceway. "My engineer and of course Derek Higgins and a few of the guys have run here before with an Indy Lights car, but this is the first time with the Atlantic car. We really worked hard to develop the set-up this morning, we experimented with a lot of different settings looking for a perfect set-up and I think we found it, or at least we came close because we were the quickest in the afternoon," said Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay and his crew will return to PIR Wednesday to wrap up their two-day test, before returning to their Irvine, California headquarters to prepare a test next month at the Milwaukee Mile. Round three of the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will take place at the historic Milwaukee Mile on June 2nd. Skip Barber

5/1/02

Denver GP gets sponsor  The Grand Prix of Denver announced that the Colorado Central Station Casino has signed a three-year agreement to be an Official Sponsor of the new auto racing event through 2004. With the agreement, Colorado Central Station Casino becomes the official casino of the Grand Prix of Denver event, and its sponsorship program encompasses several elements including a special ticket promotion. Colorado Central Station Casino, located 50 miles west of Denver in Black Hawk, Colo., is noted as "Where The Winners Play" and paid out over $1.2 billion to its clientele last year alone. The casino has over 750 slot, video poker, video reel and keno machines, six live poker tables, nine Blackjack and Poker tables and fine food and drink at four different dining locations and three pubs. The casino also boasts over 500 self- and valet parking spaces, and customers can also enjoy live entertainment every day, afternoons and evenings. "Colorado Central Station Casino is happy to be a part of the rebirth of the Grand Prix of Denver," said Bill Vincent, director of marketing. "We hope this will be a long relationship that will grow every year. We believe the Grand Prix of Denver will benefit the city and the Rocky Mountain region for years to come." The Grand Prix of Denver will take place August 30 - Sept. 1 on a 1.65-mile, nine-turn temporary race circuit on the streets around Pepsi Center adjacent to Denver's Lower Downtown. For tickets or race information, call (888) 82-SPEED, or visit the official race Web site at www.grandprixofdenver.comGP Denver

4/30/02
Industry News

Italian Fiat to become 100% America   Remember - Fiat owns Ferrari and Maserati.  According to this Reuters article,  analysts say the 103-year-old company is likely to sell its core car business to Americans, and sooner rather than later. General Motors Corp. took a 20 percent stake in loss-making Fiat Auto two years ago, giving Fiat the option to sell the rest of it from mid-2004. On Monday, Honorary Chairman Gianni Agnelli repeated that Fiat "believed in Fiat Auto's development," but others hear the bell tolling for a car business spluttering in a shrinking market and say Fiat will focus on making money elsewhere. "The generally accepted view is that Fiat will exercise its put option sooner rather than later," says Xavier Gunner, an industry analyst at UBS Warburg in London.  We here at AR1 suspect Ferrari and Maserati would be spun off as separate companies should GM buy Fiat.  BTW, GM has also bought all remaining shares of Daewoo too.

4/30/02
Industry News

Martha Stewart to help Chrysler  Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. unveiled a marketing deal on Tuesday in New York with Chrysler (Dodge - NASCAR) that will promote the entire range of Chrysler vehicles on a multi-media platform, including her daily television show, magazine, radio and on her website.  Chrysler is of course the US arm of the German car giant DaimlerChrysler (Mercedes - F1)

4/30/02
Industry News

DHL boosts Deutsche Post but profits fall 22%  Deutsche Post, the German postal and logistics group, reported a 22 per cent drop in net profit for the first quarter, but gathered global strength from last year's acquisition of express postal group, DHL International, the Jordan teams sponsor.

4/30/02

Two can play that game  Now we know why the IRL contingent was in Motegi last weekend, it's called 'two can play that game.'   Chris Economacki reports spotting John Lopes, Steve Fusek and Adam Saal trolling the IRL paddock and garage area at the Nazareth IRL race the previous weekend.  We wonder if they were handing out business cards to IRL sponsors like the IRL folks were doing to CART sponsors at Fontana last year?  Ya gotta love this war.

4/30/02

Pepsi stage set at Indy   Live music by talented local and national acts will mix with the roar of Chevrolet and Infiniti engines at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the month of May, as Pepsi has once again teamed up with the Speedway to bring live entertainment to the Pepsi Stage.  The Pepsi Stage is located in the Pagoda Plaza directly behind the Speedway's landmark Bombardier Pagoda control tower, offering fans an opportunity to enjoy live music while relaxing or ordering concessions or souvenirs in the Pagoda Plaza. All concerts are included in the price of admission to the Speedway grounds each day. Acts will perform on key event days from Indianapolis Star Opening Day on May 5 through Race Day on May 26. The highlight of Pepsi Stage activities for the month will be the Coors Carb Day concert at 3:30 p.m. (EST) May 23, featuring pop-rock recording artists Better Than Ezra, known for hit songs such as "Good," "Desperately Wanting" and "Extra Ordinary," and Nine Days, known for their recent breakout hit "Absolutely (Story of a Girl)."  IMS

4/30/02

Pook confirms China on radar screen for 2004   In an article by Steve Mayer in the April 24th edition of National Speed Sport News, CART President Chris Pook once again reiterates that CART will not be going to China in 2003, but it's definitely on his radar screen for 2004.  "We've got to get our house in order first, then we'll look forward.  So, China is probably on the 2004 radar screen, if we do it.  But we've got a lot of people to talk to.  We've got to talk to sponsors.  We've got to talk to our manufacturers.  We've got to talk to our teams.  The groups representing China are approaching us, are talking to us, and are asking us for a sanction, but there are many things to consider."   There are apparently three groups approaching CART - Auto Racing Legends who are pushing a Shanghai street race, Garden Grove, CA - based Sino-American Entertainment (SAEI), formerly China Motor Sports who are pushing the Zhuhai circuit, and the group building the natural terrain F1 road course outside of Shanghai.

4/30/02

Pepsi stage set at Indy   Live music by talented local and national acts will mix with the roar of Chevrolet and Infiniti engines at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the month of May, as Pepsi has once again teamed up with the Speedway to bring live entertainment to the Pepsi Stage.  The Pepsi Stage is located in the Pagoda Plaza directly behind the Speedway's landmark Bombardier Pagoda control tower, offering fans an opportunity to enjoy live music while relaxing or ordering concessions or souvenirs in the Pagoda Plaza. All concerts are included in the price of admission to the Speedway grounds each day. Acts will perform on key event days from Indianapolis Star Opening Day on May 5 through Race Day on May 26. The highlight of Pepsi Stage activities for the month will be the Coors Carb Day concert at 3:30 p.m. (EST) May 23, featuring pop-rock recording artists Better Than Ezra, known for hit songs such as "Good," "Desperately Wanting" and "Extra Ordinary," and Nine Days, known for their recent breakout hit "Absolutely (Story of a Girl)."  IMS

4/30/02

CART and F1 tire supplier Bridgestone on a roll   According to this USA Today article, Bridgestone/Firestone, left for dead a year ago after a massive Firestone tire recall, is coming back, mostly because of its Bridgestone brand. Bridgestone last year gained a full point of market share — to 5% — in the U.S. replacement tire market and a full point of share — to 3.4% — in sales to automakers. Some of the gain has come from picking up lost Firestone sales. In fact, Bridgestone/Firestone President Shu Ishibashi says Bridgestone will pass Firestone in the U.S. replacement market for the first time this year. That will take a big year for Bridgestone.

4/30/02
Industry News

BAT says earnings on track as volumes slip  CART and F1 sponsor British American Tobacco, the world's second-largest quoted tobacco company, said on Tuesday that volumes were running slightly below expectations, but that it saw no reason to change its earnings projections. See full story in this Financial Times article.

4/30/02

Lazier released from hospital  Jaques Lazier was released April 30 from 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. “I’m very anxious to start my rehab,” said Lazier. “At the same time, I’m very excited about the second chance I’ve been given with the incredible work done by all doctors involved, including Dr. Henry Bock and CART Dr. (Terry) Trammell.” Lazier could be out of competition for up to six months after surgery April 24 to repair a spinal fracture, said orthopedic surgeon Trammell, who performed the surgery at Methodist Hospital. “I appreciate all the fan support,” said Lazier. “I will always bleed Menard blue.” Lazier will wear a brace for eight to 12 weeks, Trammell said. Cards for Lazier and his family may be sent to:
Indy Racing League
Attention: Jaques Lazier
4565 W. 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222

4/30/02

Cialis still can't go on Fittipaldi's car   Eli Lilly, sponsor for Christian Fittipaldi said it had received an approvable letter for Cialis from the Food and Drug Administration, but the drug watchdog needed more clinical data on Cialis, which is now scheduled for launch in 2003. The news hit shares in Lilly and ICOS, the biotechnology company behind Cialis. Lilly was down 5.5 per cent at $64.55 in pre-market trading. ICOS fell 18 per cent to $31.70.  The delay of Cialis is good news for Pfizer, whose celebrated impotence drug Viagra (Mark Martin's sponsor) will remain lightly challenged by competitors for longer.

4/30/02
Industry News

ABC loses ESPN architect  First it was Ted Koppel and now Steve Bornstein. At least CART fans know that Rupert Murdoch will run Fox until he dies, that is if he dies. From the Wall Street Journal - ABC President Steven Bornstein, who was one of the chief architects of the ESPN cable networks, is leaving the network. His position will not be filled. The announcement was made by Robert Iger, president of Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC. Mr. Bornstein is leaving the network "to pursue other interests," according to Disney, Burbank, Calif. "I have had the good fortune of having some very challenging and rewarding positions with ESPN, ABC and the Walt Disney Company," Mr. Bornstein said in a prepared statement. "There are other interests I wish to pursue and now is an appropriate time to do this." ABC has been struggling in the ratings race and trails rivals CBS and NBC. WSJ

4/30/02

Atlantics: Team owner Bob Dorricott dies   UPDATE Remembering Bob Dorricott4/29/02 - Bob Dorricott, owner of Dorricott Racing which competes in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, died of a long bout with cancer Friday in California. A memorial service is planned for Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Los Altos, California, at a location to be announced later. The Dorricott Racing operation is fielding a three-car effort in the Toyota Atlantic series this season with Jon Fogarty, Alex Gurney and Luis Diaz. Fogarty won the season-opener at Monterrey, Mexico, and currently leads the point standings. The Dorricott team enjoyed considerable success in the now-defunct Dayton Indy Lights Series in recent years, winning the final title with Townsend Bell in 2001 and scoring an unprecedented 1-2-3 sweep of the standings in 1999 with Oriol Servia, Casey Mears and Phillip Peter.  CART

4/30/02

Marsh and IMS sign 3-year deal  Marsh Supermarkets and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have signed a three-year contract expanding their relationship, giving Marsh a greater presence at the two largest-attended sporting events in the world, the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series event. Under terms of the new contract, Marsh is designated the “Official Supermarket” of both motorsports events and is the provider of the “Official Box Lunch” for both events. Marsh also will be the presenting sponsor of the Plaza Chalets, an infield hospitality complex with a capacity of approximately 1,800 persons used for both events. It is the first time presentation-naming rights have been assigned to the Plaza Chalets. “We are excited about the new opportunities this partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway creates for both our customers and our store locations,” said Don E. Marsh, chairman and CEO, Marsh Supermarkets, Inc. “Marsh, being the hometown grocery retailer since 1931, feels honored to align with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Hulman-George family hosts three of the greatest auto racing events in the world, and we look forward to being their partner for exciting Indiana traditions: the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and the United States Grand Prix.” The growing relationship also calls for a major marketing presence associated with both the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400.

4/30/02
Industry News

WorldCom CEO resigns  Bernard J. Ebbers, who built WorldCom Inc. into a global telecommunications giant but then saw its fortunes and stock price crumble amid fierce industry competition and questions about the company's finances, has resigned as its chief executive and president.  WorldCom is a CART sponsor.  See full AP story.

4/30/02

The Glen opens up to fans The start to the 2002 season at Watkins Glen International is just around the corner and to kick things off, the track is once again opening its gates to allow fans to drive the historic road course on Opening Day, May 5. Fans wishing to get in the driver's seat and follow the tire marks of their favorite drivers around The Glen's NASCAR course can do so for just $15 per car on May 5. Gates open at 10:00 a.m., with the first group of cars going out on the track at 10:15 a.m. and the last group going at 4:30 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the March of Dimes, Genesee Valley/Finger Lakes Division. If fans don't feel like driving, rides in Official Pace Cars, including cars from the Pace Car Club of America, will also be offered for just $15 per person. Opening Day also marks the final day of advance sale prices for all 2002 racing events at The Glen, which includes tickets for the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen NASCAR Winston Cup Series race August 8-11. The Glen

4/30/02

As expected, Russian GP delayed yet again  We will be surprised if this race ever happens, the economy in Russia just can't support such an endeavor, and will always be wrought with financial problems.  The Russian news agency Interfax quoted a Moscow deputy mayor as saying the signing had been put off because the structure of the planned deal had changed. "We want to lift the burden from the city budget and put responsibility for financing the project completely on the investor," Interfax quoted Iosif Ordzhonikidze as saying. Ordzhonikidze said the construction project was valued at $1.5 billion, while the purchase of promotional and television rights for a seven-year period from 2004 to 2011 would call for another $250 million.  At those numbers, forget about it.

4/30/02

Dale Earnhardt Jr. appearance Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be making an appearance for the InterAct company at the Electronic Entertainment Expo on May 22, 2002 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Earnhardt Jr., who endorses InterAct's line of racing wheels, is a self-proclaimed gaming fanatic who has been known to use video games as a training mechanism to familiarize himself with certain race tracks. InterAct

4/30/02
Industry News

Bob Akin dies  Bob Akin died late Monday night of complications from injuries suffered last Thursday during a testing accident for a historic sports car race at Road Atlanta.  More

4/30/02

Burti escapes injury in Monza crash  Ferrari's test driver Luciano Burti crashed at Monza in Italy. He was driving an F2001 chassis when he ran wide and crashed into the barriers on his 19th lap. The team described the shunt as a "minor incident".

4/30/02
Industry News

Now in the WTO, here comes China  China is now been accepted into the World Trade Organization, and already things are happening toward it becoming a big world power.  China continues to be the driving force for the personal computer (PC) market in Asia and is poised to shift up a notch to become the world's second-largest market by 2003, research firm IDC said on Monday.  It's not a matter of if USA companies will do business in China, for those few who don't already, it's just a matter of when.

4/30/02

Team Ascari announces Le Mans drivers  Team Ascari has today announced that Britain's Ben Collins (27) will drive with South African Werner Lupberger (26) at this years 24 Hours of Le Mans as the British sportscar marque makes its final preparations for the weekends Preliminary Practice Sessions in France. The decision underlines the teams intention to present the best possible line-up for its one-car assault on the French Classic and ends weeks of speculation as to whom, from an original team of six drivers, would pilot the Ascari KZR1. The announcement of the third driver will be made shortly. Last week the car completed more than 1000km in testing at the Paul Ricard circuit, proving competitive against Bentley, Courage and Dallara and further demonstrating the potential of Team Ascari to take on the might of the establishment at Le Mans.  Team Ascari

4/30/02

And you wonder why F1 costs are so high?  While other series are limiting testing to reduce costs, F1 teams keep pounding away at the pavement, as if they didn't already do enough testing this year.  They have one week off between races, and where are the teams?  In Valencia, Spain, McLaren, Williams, Renault, Jaguar and Sauber will testing from Tuesday to Friday.  Toyota test driver Ryan Briscoe will test in Estoril, where he will be joined by BAR's Anthony Davidson this week.  Mika Salo, Allan McNish, Olivier Panis and Jacques Villeneuve are expected to join them from Wednesday. Ferrari will test at Mugello and Fiorano. Arrows will be at Silverstone, while Jordan will be testing at Elvington airfield in Yorkshire with Marcel Lasee driving.  Giancarlo Fisichella will join Arrows at Silverstone for one day on Wednesday.

4/30/02

Jack Roush rescue, the whole story  We encourage you to read this Montgomery Advertiser article for the whole story behind Jack Roush's rescue.  It just wasn't his time to go.  MC

4/30/02

2002 Indy 500 information  The month of May is upon us, and that means the 2002 Indy 500 is right around the corner.  Below are links to data you may find handy as you follow the happenings at the Brickyard throughout the month.  The TV schedule is extensive.

TV and Radio Schedule | On-Track Schedule | Fast Facts

4/29/02

Hollywood studios may put an end to F1 pay TV  According to this Financial Times article, executives from the main Hollywood studios are due in Munich Monday to discuss a debt-for-equity deal aimed at saving Premiere, the heavily lossmaking pay-TV arm of Germany's Kirch Gruppe, from imminent bankruptcy.  We doubt very much that the people in Hollywood have the time or desire to continue it as a pay-TV service.  Since when is Hollywood into pay-TV?  They're not.  If this were to happen, F1 would lose any revenue it now enjoys from the German market.  F1 TV ratings are very high in Germany because of the Schumacher brothers.

4/29/02

Boomtown 500 at TMS Casino Magic is about to go "Boom!" The Bossier City, Louisiana casino, which has sponsored the June Indy Racing League event at Texas Motor Speedway since 2000, will officially change its name to Boomtown Casino & Hotel on July 1, 2002. The June 8, 2002 IRL event will now officially be known as the Boomtown 500. "The Boomtown 500 has become one of the signature events of the Indy Racing League," said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage. "As 'America's Original Nighttime Indy Car Race,' the event is a highlight. It has prospered under the name Casino Magic 500 but will now boom as the Boomtown 500."  TMS

4/29/02

Jones to replace Lazier  Former CART driver and open-wheel veteran PJ Jones, son of 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones, joined Team Menard on April 29 as an interim replacement for injured driver Jaques Lazier in the Indy Racing League, starting with the Indianapolis 500. Jones, from Torrance, Calif., will attempt to make his first Indy 500 start in the No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone at Indy as a teammate to fellow California native Robby Gordon, who will drive the No. 31 Menards/Childress/Cingular Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Jones replaces Lazier, who suffered a fractured vertebra in an accident during the Firestone Indy 225 on April 21 at Nazareth Speedway. “To have the opportunity to jump into this seat for my first run at the Speedway is fantastic,” said Jones, 33. “But you do hate to take it at someone’s expense. I feel for Jaques; he’s one of the good guys, and he certainly deserved to be here in this car. Right now, I’m just going to keep the seat warm for him and hopefully carry the torch while he’s out.  Jones, a veteran of 59 CART starts, will not be required to take a rookie test to participate in the Indianapolis 500 due to his high-speed oval experience in CART. He also has the advantage of relying on his father for advice about the Speedway.  “The Indy 500 has always been a part of our family; I grew up here on 16th Street,” Jones said. “We’ve had the same room at the Speedway motel forever, and I honestly can’t remember a May where I haven’t been here. It’s going to be quite a rush to finally suit up for practice and show what I can do. I want to thank John Menard for giving me this opportunity. I plan on making the most of it.”  IMS

4/29/02

98,000 for Spanish GP  98,000 spectators attended the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya Sunday, a record-breaking figure for the Catalan venue. Over 85,000 spectators gathered on Saturday and 47,000 on Friday, totaling over 230,000 spectators throughout the whole Grand Prix, another attendance record.

4/29/02
Industry News

Rob Walker dies  It is with great sadness that we have to report that Rob Walker has died at the age of 84 from pneumonia.  He ran a privateer F1 team during the late 1950s and 1960s. Between '58 and '68, his team scored a total of nine F1 world championship GP victories. He was also one of the most engaging personalities we had the pleasure to meet.  Walker partnered Stirling Moss to score maiden victories for both Cooper and Lotus, beating the factory teams to do so.  Our sincere condolences to Rob's family and friends.

4/29/02

Jaguar illegal fuel  Jaguar Racing have launched an investigation into the fuel infraction in Spain that led FIA officials to bump Eddie Irvine to the back of the starting grid for the Spanish Grand Prix. "FIA has penalized Jaguar racing for a discrepancy between the two samples and not because of any perceived performance advantage gained," said Jaguar in a statement this weekend. “We have 46 50-litre drums here, so 2300 liters is the total amount,” said team boss Niki Lauda. “And out of this 46, three drums were found to be wrong. "The issue here is that we have to comply with the regulations that say the fingerprint that you send at the beginning of the season has to match. “It’s not that we have an illegal fuel, it’s just that we couldn’t match the fingerprint of three barrels out of 46. We don’t know why, or what Castrol did for this to happen, but really it’s a quality control problem on their side. "We’re going to find out this week.”

4/29/02

Bob Akin seriously injured  2nd UPDATE Bob Akin remains in critical condition today. 4/27/02 - Bob Akin’s condition was upgraded to Critical Saturday as he remained in the neurological intensive care unit at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta recovering from injuries suffered Thursday during a testing accident at Road Atlanta. Akin, 66, had been listed as “critical and extremely unstable” Thursday following the accident at turn four. His condition stabilized somewhat overnight Friday. Akin suffered a “complete disruption” of the C5/C6 vertebrae, but doctors do not expect to be able to conduct any further tests until the swelling subsides, hopefully by Monday. Akin also suffered third-degree burns on 15% of his body (hands, face and left shoulder), has a broken left leg, broken right arm, broken left shoulder and multiple lacerations.   4/26/02 - Bob Akin was listed in “critical and extremely unstable” condition Friday after suffering serious injuries in a historic sports car testing session at Road Atlanta Thursday. Akin, 66, suffered a “complete disruption” of the C5/C6 vertebrae. Doctors at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta said it would be at least Monday before any additional tests could be done, due to the swelling. Akin also suffered third-degree burns on 15% of his body (hands, face and left shoulder), has a broken left leg, broken right arm, broken left shoulder and multiple lacerations. Akin was driving a 1988 Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo during testing for this weekend’s Walter Mitty Challenge at Road Atlanta. The Mitty is sanctioned by the Historic Sportscar Racing association and features vintage and historic cars from a wide variety of racing series. Akin, who won the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring in 1979 and 1986, was a standout in sports car racing in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) during his professional driving career. He also made six starts in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a best finish of fourth in 1984.  Akin started racing in 1957 in dragsters, then switched to road racing in 1959. He retired from driving in 1961 to concentrate on his business, Hudson Wiring, but returned to racing in 1973. Akin retired from professional racing in 1991. Since then, he has remained active in vintage and historic car racing and runs a racing company in Ossining, N.Y. ALMS

4/29/02
Industry News

Soft wall installation starts at IMS  UPDATE Representatives from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy Racing League, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will make a major announcement on the use of these soft walls on Wednesday, May 1  4/27/02 - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been approved and the installation is under way, The Star confirmed Friday. A tour of the track revealed the outside wall of turn four has been lined with the absorptive padding developed over the past three years by Indy Racing League officials and engineers at the University of Nebraska. The third turn was receiving the same treatment Friday.

4/29/02

Earnhardt banged up, but OK  "I hit hard as hell, and you know about as much as I do about the rest of it," Earnhardt said after Kevin Harvick blew a tire while running on the outside of him  in Turn 4. The blown tire caused Harvick's car to turn down into Earnhardt.  The contact spun Earnhardt in front of Harvick and both hit the outside retaining wall with the front of their cars. The left front of Earnhardt's car hit the wall. Luckily for him, he only had the wind knocked out of him and his right ankle was "swollen and bruised," he said. "It's as hard as I've ever hit the wall."

4/29/02

Spanish GP lap chart For those of you who care to download a high-resolution version of a lap chart from this past weekend's Spanish GP, click here to download a 1.5 MB PDF file. We have the lap chart for the  San Marino GP (click here) and Brazil GP (click here) as well.

4/29/02

Eddie Irving calls Schumacher a Racing Genius  “In every sport, someone suddenly comes along who is a genius and it just happens that Formula One is currently saddled with Schumacher,” Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine told The London Sun newspaper this weekend.  "I marvel at the power and the aggression" Tiger Woods puts into his tee shots, or "the delicate touch of his short game". "His (Wood's) art is there for all to see, but the trouble with most people watching Schumacher in action is they cannot fully appreciate his skills. “Michael's mastery behind the wheel can only be studied in detail when it is shown in slow motion. Only then can the untrained eye capture his extraordinary car control while driving on the limit or his precision during a qualifying lap."

4/29/02

Why doesn't CART freeze the engines too?  Dear AutoRacing1.com, It brought me great joy to hear that CART has decided to freeze the current chassis at the end of this year and carry it over for one or more years.  It's sure a heck of a lot more attractive  than those IRL cars.  But why did they stop there?  All three engines are about equal right now.  Why not freeze the engines at the end of 2002 and allow no further development, except perhaps software upgrades?  Only allow rebuilds.  This has several advantages and just two disadvantages.  First the advantages - 1) It allows CART to keep the wonderful turbo engines longer, 2) it allows Honda to stay in the game in 2003 rather than have to sit out a year because they can't be ready with a N/A engine that fast, and risk losing all their teams, 3) it corrects the injustice the Franchise Board created by changing it's rules earlier than everyone expected, catching most off-guard, 4) the current engines will fit in the current chassis better than the big IRL motors, 5) the cost to just rebuild the existing frozen motors will be no more than the $2.7 million each car will be charged in 2003 for the N/A motor, 6) Honda and Cosworth have already said they would supply half the CART field in 2003 with N/A engines.  The only disadvantages I see are: 1) Toyota has said it won't build both a turbo engine for CART and a N/A engine for the IRL.  However, Toyota still hasn't committed to CART for 2003 with N/A engine, and they have been clear on that - no decision has been made.  They may elect to opt out at the last minute leaving CART holding a wet bag full of nothing.  If they see value in CART, it's just as easy to rebuild the existing frozen engines as it is to rebuild the new 3.5 L N/A.  Won't take anymore staff.  2) As for MG and Judd and their 2003 commitment, well they are coming in the game awful late to be ready for their 2003 with a new N/A engine anyway. Ditto for the other manufacturers Chris Pook has promised in the next six weeks.  They will all have trouble being ready in time for 2003, and if they are, I see a lot of blown engines due to lack of test time and CART's new rules severely limit testing time next year, further complicating the matter.  CART will have egg on its face with all the blown engines, and fans will not be happy. Jason Blount, Portland, OR. Answer:  Dear Jason, You make some good suggestions in this well thought out letter. There is a real concern that there will be a lot of blown engines in 2003 because everyone, except Toyota, is scrambling to be ready in time. However, this proposal makes too much sense so CART won't do it.  Also, I would assume CART has signed a contract with MG-Rover for 2003, so I'm not sure they would be happy sitting out another year.  I definitely see this as CART's fallback position should Toyota leave CART holding a wet bag of nothing as you suggest.  Mark C.

4/29/02

Learning from the Japanese  Notice the sign behind Michael Andretti's pit box in Motegi, Japan.  It identifies for the fans the car number, drivers name and nationality.  A similar sign was behind each drivers pit box.  Where it's possible to erect a similar sign at other tracks, CART should ask that it be done. 
Photo credit: Motorola/Getty Images

4/29/02

Real racing  Notice the small rear wing on Michael Andretti's Lola at Motegi, Japan this past weekend.  Notice also how horizontal the wing is laying.  In a recent article titled 'Is it real racing, or just P.T. Barnum showbiz?' we criticized the IRL for making their cars so easy to drive, it wasn't a sport anymore, just a circus.  The wings on IRL cars are huge and create so much downforce it's "easy flat."   However, on a Champ Car, the driver usually has to lift (far less downforce) keeping driver skill part of the equation.   Another aspect of the current Champ Car is the sleek look, which will be destroyed when an airbox is added for the normally aspirated engine.  One has to think that CART's version of the airbox will be more streamlined like the F1 version, or low-level with air intakes on both sides of the drivers head ala the Lotus 78.  Photo credit: Motorola/Getty Images

4/28/02

Berger says World Championship is decided  BMW motorsports boss Gerhard Berger says that F1 should just end the chase for the world championship now after watching yet another Michael Schumacher romp in the park in Spain.  "Forget the drivers' championship. There's just no chance. "I think we have an outside chance in the constructors' championship, but not a real chance."  

4/28/02
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4/28/02
F-3000

Pantano wins in Spain   Giorgio Pantano became the third different winner in this season’s FIA International Formula 3000 Championship by taking this weekends round in Barcelona, Spain.  . Pole winner Sebastien Bourdais led nearly the entire race and fended off repeated attacks from Pantano, but with half a lap to go, Bourdais slid off the track. He recovered to finish third behind Pantano and Tomas Enge. Ricardo Mauricio, Mario Haberfeld and Enrico Toccacelo rounded out the top six.

4/28/02

MG Lola to test in preparation for LeMans  KnightHawk Racing, in preparation for the Le Mans Practice Session on May 5th, will be testing their MG Lola 675 LMP at Britain's Snetterton circuit on Monday and Tuesday, April 29 and 30. The two driver/owner's, Steve Knight and Mel Hawkins, will be testing in the new car over a two-day period, after which the car will be transported to Le Mans on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday's practice session. Located on a former WWII US air base, the Snetterton circuit has two of the longest straights in England and is an ideal venue for speed trials - and for simulating Le Man's famed Mulsanne Straight. The team has also secured the driving skills of Duncan Dayton for the Le Mans race in June. Dayton is no stranger to the MG Lola, having helped score a 1st in class and 7th overall in Intersport's MG Lola at this year's Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. Dayton is currently second in Drivence to spend more time in the car," says Knight. "It will also give the crew the chance to work on various set-ups - I know that we're all looking forward to it." "I very much look forward to this opportunity to drive KnightHawk's MG Lola at Le Mans," says Dayton. "I think they are a great team, and driving together with Steve and Mel, I think we have a very good chance for a strong finish." "This test will be great for KnightHawk as a team," remarked Team Manager Mike Johnson. "We had to put this effort together on such short notice to make it to Sebring, and subsequently we experienced a few teething problems. These test days will allow the team to come together without race pressure. I feel confident that after the two days at Snetterton both the team and drivers will be ready to press forward."  ALMS

4/28/02

Fontana a sellout  As it has every year, today's Winston Cup race at Fontana is a sellout again this year - all 92,000 seats have been sold.

4/28/02

Minardi withdraws from Spanish GP  Minardi has withdrawn both cars from the Spanish Grand Prix following Mark Webber's rear wing failure in the morning warm-up. Team owner Paul Stoddart said: "It's the hardest decision a team owner has to make but we feel that it is the only responsible thing that we can do in the circumstances. I really feel for the guys at the factory who put such an effort into remanufacturing the front wings and getting them here, but the safety of the drivers is paramount." "It was a stress failure along a line of rivets and while it is true that Barcelona subjects wings to greater loading than other places we have raced at so far, we have stress-tested our rear wings to twice the projected loads at this track. We calculated 450kgs and we have tested our wings to 900kgs. We will be launching a full investigation before the Austrian Grand Prix in a fortnight."  Mark Webber - "I was actually making a change to the engine mapping at the same time and I thought that a little jink might have been down to that, but as soon as I went on the brakes I knew exactly what the problem was. But this is F1, we are on the edge, the guys have worked fantastically hard this weekend and I'm still fully behind them."

4/28/02

IROC gives open wheelers another black eye  In the latest in a long line of IROC races dominated by NASCAR drivers, Saturday's round at Fontana was another clean sweep by NASCAR drivers, leaving all the IRL drivers at the back of the field.  IROC is so lop-sided in favor of the NASCAR drivers, the open wheel drivers may as well stay home.  IROC gives open wheel racing a black eye, because its drivers are made to look inferior race after race.  We find it amazing that the IRL allows its drivers to participate.  By participating and always loosing, they put themselves in a position to look inferior, hence building up NASCAR at the expense of open wheel racing.    Until such time as IROC is contested in equally prepared open wheel cars, and run on both ovals and road courses, CART and IRL drivers should boycott the series.  MC

4/27/02

Kyle Petty on MTV  A new MTV show, scheduled to debut in July, will feature the Sprint Dodge driver along with a variety of top musical talents. The show, "All Access," is a day-in-the-life type television show which follows each talent through a key time period. Petty is the only driver, in fact, the only person featured not because of his musical abilities. "I did offer to sing a little bit for them," laughed Petty, who is known for a singing voice which allowed him to open once for a Hank Williams Jr. concert. "We’re still negotiating that part." For Petty, that is this weekend at Fontana, Calif. An MTV crew began following him and the Sprint Dodge team this week, beginning Thursday with Petty’s appearances at a Sprint PCS store in the Los Angeles area and at the Georgia-Pacific Teen Safety program at Los Angeles-area high school. The crew stayed with Petty during practice and qualifying Friday at California Speedway, and will remain with him through Saturday’s practice and Sunday’s race. "It’s a little bit different deal because of who they are but it’s pretty much the kind of thing we’ve seen in this sport too," Petty said. "Getting our race team and Sprint in front of the MTV audience is a good deal and it’s important. This is something that is just good for the sport, just like it is good for Petty Enterprises."

4/27/02

What is Tony George thinking?  Dear AutoRacing1.com, I almost fell off my chair when I read the report on your rumors page that Tony George and his entourage visited Motegi, Japan during the CART weekend to see the track for his IRL series.  The IRL has failed miserably following CART into every USA market they have gone to.  Now he's actually thinking of flying his cash-starved teams all the way to Japan to race in front of Japanese fans who don't even know what an IRL is?  He underestimates the sophistication of the Japanese race fan.  NASCAR tried going to Japan, but they failed miserably and went back with their tail between their legs.  The Japanese don't buy tickets for dumbed down race cars, and the IRL is just a NASCAR version of open wheel racing that isn't catching on in America....let alone Japan.  I still can't stop laughing.  Todd Bunyan, St. Louis, MO

4/27/02

ALMS joins Toyota Atlantic at Trois-Rivières  UPDATE A Trans-Am race has also been added to the weekend schedule. 4/26/02 - With series founder Don Panoz, one of the most influential people in motor racing on hand, Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières president Léon Méthot officially announced at a news conference today that the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) will be on the program for the 33rd edition of the event, August 2-4. The North American series, which features the same cars that compete in the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, will be making its first appearance in Quebec. The series boasts a number of high-profile drivers, including Australian David Brabham (in attendance at the media briefing), Johnny Herbert of Great Britain, Denmark’s Jan Magnussen, Emanuele Pirro of Italy, American Bryan Herta and Canadian Ron Fellows. “Over the years, we’ve never been afraid to be innovative in an effort to stand out from our competitors,” explained Mr. Méthot. “The arrival of the American Le Mans Series will enable the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières to highlight the international nature of the event even more, not only because many European teams will be competing but also with the presence of several former Formula One and CART drivers who are very popular on both sides of the Atlantic.” Besides the debut of the American Le Mans series, this year’s event marks the return after a two-year absence of the Trans-Am series. The series has undergone significant changes (namely with the introduction of mandatory pit stops) and the level of competition will appeal to long-time racing fans, as well as newcomers to the sport. As the rights-holder of both ALMS and the Trans-Am championship, Don Panoz is delighted that these two major series will be running in Trois-Rivières.

4/27/02

No Indy 500, but busy May for Newman Haas  Although the CART race schedule shows no events for the month of May, Newman/Haas Racing has a busy agenda in order to challenge for their fourth CART FedEx Championship. On May 7-8 the team will test at the Milwaukee Mile oval with Havoline driver da Matta behind the wheel. On May 13-14 both da Matta and Lilly driver Fittipaldi will head to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car course for a test on the road course. Fittipaldi will travel from the Mid-Ohio test to Portland, Ore. for advance promotion of the G.I. Joe's 200 which will take place on June 16. He scored his top finish of 2001 in Portland with his dominating run to third place on a rain soaked track. Round 4 of 20 in the CART FedEx Championship Series will take place June 2 for the Miller Lite 250 at the Haas-promoted Milwaukee Mile. NHR has won six events at the historic track. NHR

4/27/02

2002 CART/IRL Attendance Meter (Updated through CART race in Japan)
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 Motegi, Japan 72,000 101,400
Nazareth 10,000 13,000      

Average

16,250 18,500

Average

85,667 182,466

Note: To date - IRL numbers are for oval races.  CART for 2 road course races and one oval.

4/27/02

Bell sustained no injuries  According to Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs, driver Townsend Bell (#20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota/Reynard/Bridgestone) sustained bruises and abrasions on both knees as a result of a single car incident in Turn 3 on Lap 140. The CART Medical Staff performed x-rays in the infield medical facility, which revealed that Bell did not sustain any fractures in the incident. Bell will return to the United States as scheduled.

4/27/02

CART board approves rules changes  The CART Franchise Board has unanimously approved a significant rule change aimed at reducing costs for the 2003 CART FedEx Championship Series season. The rule change allows each team a total of eight days of testing for 2003, per driver/car combination. Six of the test days must be used at CART-sanctioned open test sessions, and if a team chooses not to use the open test days, they will lose them. One open test will be Spring Training which is likely to be held at Sebring International Raceway in Florida, with the additional two-day open tests likely to be held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and a to-be-determined oval facility, possibly The Milwaukee Mile, in May of 2003. The other two test days allotted may be used for private testing at the team's discretion. Previously, teams were allowed 14 test days for a one car team, 20 days for a two-car team, and ten additional days for each additional team seasonal entry. The testing window for 2003 is open from January 3, 2003 until the first race of the season as well as the entire month of May. The franchise board also approved an immediate rule change limiting each entered race car with an assigned driver to a maximum of 24 rain tires per road or street course event weekend. The 24 tires will consist of 16 tires brought to the event by the tire manufacturer, and eight tires brought to the event by the entrant.

4/27/02
Industry News

Ford establishes holding company for Mazda  Ford Motor Company announced Friday that it will establish a holding company to own its 33.4 percent stake in Mazda Motor Corporation. The holding company, Ford Automotive International Holding, will be established by the end of May 2002. The holding company, owned 100 percent by Ford Motor Company, represents only a change in the ownership structure and will improve investment efficiency. There will be no effect on Ford's financial reporting or its relationship with Mazda, which began in 1979.  Mazda is still rumored to possibly be coming to CART in 2003.

4/27/02

Will Villeneuve retire or come back to CART? 2nd UPDATE Jacques Villeneuve says he is determined to stick with his struggling British American Racing team until the end of his contract in 2003. In an interview with Belgian daily Le Soir, the 31-year-old former world champion from Iberville, Que., denied rumors that he would dump BAR and move to another Formula One team. "I have a contract until the end of 2003.  I don't see myself leaving," Villeneuve said.   4/26/02 - Formula One newcomer, Toyota, has made it clear that Jacques Villeneuve is not on its shopping list for 2003 (see related article). Villeneuve is likely to re-enter the driver market later this year, but Toyota chief Ove Andersson has said that expensive drivers past their prime do not fall in line with the squad’s manifesto. The Toyota team is happy with its current driver lineup of Mika Salo and Allan McNish who will more than likely remain on the team for next year. Sauber Petronas has also expressed no interest in Villeneuve. With Renault, Toyota, Sauber Petronas, and Renault expressing no interest, Villeneuve's options to remain in F1 as a driver are indeed narrowing. Although the French-Canadian has enjoyed past successes, his high salary demands and lack of recent success may force him out of F1 and, hopefully, back into CART. 4/24/02 -  It appears very likely that Jacques Villeneuve will leave BAR at the end of the 2002 season.  But where will he go in F1?  Most top teams have slots filled for next year, or drivers they are already looking at.  In this ITV/TV article, Renault has already said no to Villeneuve, and there is no way Jacques will drive for another loser team.  One has to wonder if Villeneuve will take another look at CART now that CART is racing in Montreal, his former hometown.

4/27/02

CART leads the way in racing safety again  CART and its Medical Doctor Steve Olvey have come up with yet another industry leading safety device.  Well it's not exactly a device.  It's a computer program that measures how fast a driver can click a mouse button and answer questions on a computer screen.  It measures the drivers biometrics.  CART tests the drivers when they are well and saves reaction times and how correct a driver answers the questions.  Then if a driver gets banged up in a crash and loses consciousness, or sustains a concussion, CART can measure just how good the drivers biometrics are compared to when he was 100% well, and determine if they are ready to get back into a race car.  Whereas before, if a driver lost consciousness during a race weekend, they were not allowed to race, now CART has a scientific way of measuring whether they are well enough or not.  Given how often IRL drivers get banged up in their 100% oval track series, this is one medical advancement they probably need to implement....now. MC

4/27/02
Industry News
 

Another American automotive company signs China deal  Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation (NYSE:ETN) today announced that it has signed an exclusive distributorship agreement with Dandong Shuguang Axle Co. Ltd. (Shanghai Stock Exchange:600303). This partnership establishes a structure for Eaton mechanical locking differentials to be sold as part of Dandong Shuguang Axle assemblies within the Peoples Republic of China. The Eaton mechanical locking differential provides vehicles equipped with Shuguang axles ultimate traction and mobility. Unlike traditional open or limited slip differentials, Eaton's mechanical locking differential automatically senses wheel slip and completely locks the axle to transfer 100% of torque to the wheel with low traction, and then automatically unlocks the axle. This innovative Eaton technology has been successfully implemented on SUVs, pickup trucks, vans and station wagons in North America and Europe. Eaton is the global locking differential leader, producing over 1.2 million locking differentials annually. Jake Hooks, Eaton Torque Control Products Division's vice president and general manager, explained the importance of this partnership: "Eaton Torque Control Products is pleased to enter into the agreement with Shuguang Axle. We expect this business relationship to significantly expand the Chinese market for traction modifying differentials." Li Jin Dian, chairman of the board and president of Dandong Shuguang Axle commented, "The incorporation of Eaton's mechanical locking differentials into Shuguang's axles introduces a whole new line of axle products into China's rapidly growing SUV market. We are very excited about the cooperation between Shuguang Axle Company and Eaton Corporation, which we anticipate will expand into other areas in the future and prove to be mutually beneficial." Shuguang Axle Company is the largest independent axle manufacturer in China and one of the few publicly traded companies in the Chinese automotive sector. It designs, manufactures and markets axle assemblies and other driveline components. Its products are widely used in the fast growing SUV, van, and pickup truck markets. For more information about Dandong Shuguang Axle Co. Ltd, visit www.chinasgaxle.com.

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