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DATE

News (chronologically)

5/10/02

Letter: Karting & F1 driver search  UPDATE After posting the letter from Mr. Siller in response to the CART Stars of Tomorrow announcement, Glen Holland sent a response letter to Mr. Siller.  AR1's opinion is that we need some unified sanctioning body that controls karting in the USA.  Right now, as Mr. Holland points out, the fields are diluted and there is no clear defined paths through go-karting into real race cars.  Where is a youngster to start?  Right now, depending on who his family talks too, it might be 3 or 4 choices. CART should make every attempt to apply its influence and consolidate go-karting into a single strong governing body.  Certainly there will be gnashing of the teeth, kicking, screaming, and crying bloody murder, but at the end of the day, it will take go-karting to new heights. If CART can someday get go-karting to be a recognized collegiate sport, like the stick-and-ball variety, then and only then, will auto racing, and especially CART if it is part of the karting governing body, become something every kid dreams about.  IF CART wants to be grassroots, karting is going to be the fertilizer to do it.   5/10/02 - As we have said, there currently is no unified go-karting organization in the USA because a lot of people have a lot of ideas on the best form of karting.  Some think it should be shifter karts so the youngsters learn how to shift, while others think direct drive karts are the best training ground.  Yesterday Red Bull announced they were starting a driver search, and Stars of Tomorrow announced the day before announced that they were looking to possibly come together with SKUSA.  Now this reader responds to both of those announcements.

5/10/02

Brazilians dominate Indy  The irony of it all.  CART was badmouthed by the IRL camp for all the foreign drivers in their series, especially the large number of Brazilians.  "Our series was created to make room for American drivers" was the cry from the IRL.  Well here is an interesting little factoid for you - Brazilians posted six of the top 11 speeds in Friday's practice - easily the fastest session of the week. The fastest of the Brazilians was defending champ Helio Castroneves at 232.087. Bruno Junqueira was fourth at 231.526, Felipe Giaffone sixth at 230.865, Tony Kanaan ninth at 230.419, Raul Boesel 10th at 230.147 and Gil de Ferran 11th at 230.092.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

5/10/02

Herbert under the gun to make Indy field  American Le Mans Series driver Johnny Herbert, attempting to qualify for his first Indianapolis 500, faces a tough task when pole position qualifying gets underway on Saturday. Unlike the rest of the drivers entered in the 86th edition of the famous race, Herbert will have only this weekend to try and place his Western Union/Duesenberg Brothers Dallara-Chevrolet into the field of 33. Because of his commitment to the American Le Mans Series, he will not be able to be at the Speedway for the final day of qualifying, the notorious "Bump Day," on May 19. Instead, Herbert will be thousands of miles away, driving the Champion Audi R8 Prototype in the Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Fosters at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. The event will be Round Two of the 10-race American Le Mans Series championship for 2002. If Herbert posts a respectable speed this weekend, he still could be bumped next weekend under Indy's unique qualifying system. If so, unlike the other drivers, he wouldn't be able to put his car back into the qualifying line and try again because he will be at Sears Point. When the two-hour, 45-minute race at Sears Point ends at 3:45 p.m. in California, there will only be 15 minutes remaining in Indy qualifying, which ends at 6 p.m. Central time. Herbert turned a lap of 226.562 mph on "Fast Friday" today, the final day of practice before Pole Day at Indianapolis on Saturday. While fast by any measure, the lap around the 2.5-mile Brickyard was only fast enough to be 32nd among the 47 cars that posted speeds Friday. Penske driver and defending 500 champion Helio Castroneves set the standard with a lap of 232.087 mph. "I see the list of speeds that have been going on with other drivers this week," said Herbert, a former winner in Formula One competition and a veteran of more than 200 F1 races. "And I'm sure that they are partly due to drafting. Come Saturday, unfortunately for those guys, you don't actually get that." Adding another potential difficulty to Herbert's bid to race in the Indy 500 is the weekend weather forecast, which calls for rain both days. "I want to qualify Saturday and get it over with," he said. "I don't want to be involved in this Bump Day scenario anyway. I'll let everybody else bite their nails and have heart attacks."  ALMS

5/10/02

Joe Heitzler the 'TV man'  Joe Heitzler sold himself as this great TV guy who was going to land CART a big TV contract.  It's one of the reasons why the CART board thought he was the man for the job at the time.  Boy were they buffaloed.  Not only did Heitzler turn down an offer from ESPN that guaranteed CART about $3 million per year (not stellar, but certainly a small profit), he signed a deal with SPEED Channel whereby CART has to purchase air-time and produce its own shows at a fixed cost of $9.9 million in 2002.  Sure CART collects the revenue on commercials sold, but it remains to be seen how much revenue is generated.  Whether CART makes money or loses money  depends on what the value of the commercial time is.

5/10/02

New CART office lease through 2010  CART signed a lease for office space in Indianapolis through 2010.  They move in by next Friday and will be open for business the following Monday.  We wonder how Tony George feels about having the enemy in his backyard?

5/10/02

Forsythe races pay CART well  Gerald R. Forsythe, a race team owner and 5% stockholder, is a principal owner of the entities which entered into Promoter Agreements with respect to CART Championship races in Rockingham, England and in Mexico City, Mexico beginning in 2002. He is also a principal owner of Monterrey Grand Prix, S. de R.L. de C.V. which entered into a Promoter Agreement with respect to a CART Championship race in Monterrey, Mexico. A CART Championship race will be held in Rockingham through 2006, in Mexico City through 2006 and in Monterrey through 2005. These entities affiliated with Mr. Forsythe have paid or will pay sanction fees to CART in the aggregate amount of $10.9 million for 2002, $11.2 million for 2003, $11.5 million for 2004, $11.9 million for 2005 and $9.3 million for 2006.  Mr. Forsythe is also a principal owner of the entity that holds CART's Mexican television rights through 2004. In return for these rights, CART will receive a minimum guarantee of $300,000, $325,000 and $350,000 for each of the three years ending 2002, 2003 and 2004, respectively. In addition, CART will receive 70% of the net profits until they reach $500,000, $550,000 and $600,000 for each of the three years ending 2002, 2003 and 2004, respectively.

5/10/02

CART files new SEC 10Q  Here is the full SEC 10Q filing made by CART on May 7, 2002.  It contains a lot of interesting tidbits of info if you have the time to read it.  Note how little shares CART teams owners now possess.  Chris Pook's goal was to get the company out of the hands of the majority of the team owners and into the hands of a few key people who can make decisions and run the company like a company should be run.  Gerald Forsythe is the largest shareholder and also a Team Owner, with 5% of the shares.  Next highest is James Grosfeld, a non-team owner.  Other team owners and directors own only 3% of the shares now, down from some 20% a year ago.

5/10/02

Herdez teams also battles elements at Milwaukee Herdez Competition rookie driver Mario Domínguez battled the elements for two days in West Allis, Wisconsin, but came out the winner, posting an impressive time of 22.5 seconds around the 1.034-mile historic oval on Thursday. The test was initially scheduled for Wednesday but persistent rain forced the team to spend the night and try again on Thursday. The team waited until almost noon to begin their work while the track dried. But the wait was worthwhile; in just over 100 laps, Domínguez was able to post the fastest time of the day and what the team believes to be the second fastest time recorded there in off-season testing. High winds curtailed the program for the day as gusts of up to 25 mph battered the course and the drivers. "It was very, very windy," Domínguez reported. "I've never run on a track where there was so much wind - it was unbelievable! But it was a good challenge for me. We had a good setup to start with and a plan for the day so we focused on that as our main objective. Once we had worked through our program and we found we had gone quite fast, there seemed no point in risking it in the conditions."  Herdez Racing

5/10/02

Special ticket pricing for Milwaukee & Chicago  Race fans have an opportunity to see the best open-wheel racing action on two oval courses in June by taking advantage of a discounted ticket offer from the CART Grand Prix of Chicago and the Milwaukee Mile. The Miller Lite 250 at the Milwaukee Mile takes place May 31 through June 2, while the CART Grand Prix of Chicago at Chicago Motor Speedway is scheduled for June 29 and 30. Fans have two options for the discounted tickets. The first offer includes a free Saturday event and pit/paddock ticket for the Miller Lite 250 at the Milwaukee Mile with the purchase of a Sunday reserved seat for the CART Grand Prix of Chicago, or a free Saturday event and pit/paddock pass for the CART Grand Prix of Chicago when buying a reserved Sunday seat for the Miller Lite 250. The second offer is a 25 percent discount when purchasing a Sunday reserved ticket for both events. Tickets can be purchased at either facility by mail, fax or telephone. The number for the ticket office at the Milwaukee Mile is 414-453-8277 and at Chicago Motor Speedway, it is 708-656-6300. "Championship Auto Racing Teams has many thousands of loyal fans in these two markets and they should be given the opportunity to enjoy both of these races so close together in the area", said Charles M. Kosich, director of marketing for the Milwaukee Mile. "We are pleased to be able to work together with our partner CART, in delivering this great offering." CART and the Milwaukee Mile are committed to keeping the best racing in the world close to their fans. "The tremendous support we have from our Midwestern fan base made it easy to decide to stage the race in Chicago," said CART Vice President of Joint Venture Operations Rena Shanaman. "These offers are small gestures to acknowledge our fans, and we sincerely hope to see many of the same faces at both the Miller Lite 250 and the CART Grand Prix of Chicago. We believe that both events will be extremely exciting." The Miller Lite 250 is Round Four of the 20-race 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series, and the race is scheduled to air live on CBS Sports at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 2. The CART Grand Prix of Chicago FedEx Championship Series race is scheduled to take place at the Chicago Motor Speedway on June 30, 2002 (CBS, 3:30 p.m. ET).  CART

5/10/02

Weather can't stop Team Players in Milwaukee  With about half of the CART teams preparing for the Indianapolis 500, Team Player's joined the other half of the field in devoting its attention over the past few days to testing sessions on the Milwaukee Mile oval, the site of the next race in the CART series on June 2. "Our two-day session gave us a good simulation of what we can expect on the Milwaukee track - even down to the wind conditions, because the wind was a factor on both days," said Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier, who ran a combined 250 laps during the sessions. "The wind made things tricky at times, especially trying to find the right line through the corners, since wind amplifies aerodynamic changes made to the car. But that's the kind of thing you might expect when we're racing in Milwaukee and on the Chicago oval later on this season. Overall, we were pleased with what we were able to accomplish in testing" The two sessions provided Team Player's with the opportunity to work with the new aerodynamics package (wing configuration) that will be used for Milwaukee this year. It is the same package that was run on the oval tracks in England and Germany during the 2001 CART season, and while the new aerodynamics figure to give less drag, combined with less horsepower than last year, speeds on the Milwaukee oval should be about the same as they were in 2001. Team Player's was originally scheduled to begin its two-day testing session on Wednesday but rain washed out the session. The rain persisted into Thursday morning, but Carpentier was able to run laps in the afternoon before putting in a full day on Friday. As Carpentier put the Champ car through its paces, the Team Player's crew worked on aerodynamic balance, springs and dampers, gear-box adjustments and set-ups for both Milwaukee and Chicago. "I'm very happy with the progress in these sessions," said Team Player's technical director Bruce Ashmore. "Although the wind made it difficult for driving and finding the proper set-ups, it could prove to be advantageous for since we have now have a strong base line of data specifically for this track. Testing here is also helpful in getting rid of any electronic and mechanical gremlins now instead of on race weekends. Being able to test on a track you'll be racing on in less than a month is a plus. The team will be ready for Milwaukee and for Chicago." With testing for these ovals completed, Team Player's will now focus its attention on road-course testing, with sessions scheduled on the Mid-Ohio track on May 20-21. Carpentier will test on May 20 while his teammate Alex Tagliani will run laps on both days.  Players Racing

5/10/02

Castroneves tops last day before run for pole  2001 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves was the leader of stunning burst of speed during Fast Friday practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500, recording a top lap of 38.7785 seconds, 232.087 mph in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Castroneves was one of 13 drivers to exceed 230 mph today, the first laps above that barrier at the Speedway since 1996. Robbie Buhl was second at 38.8596, 231.603 in the No. 24 Team Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold G Force/Infiniti/Firestone. Rookie Tomas Scheckter was third at 38.8601, 231.600 in the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone.  More..

5/10/02

Indy musings  Must be something in the air, about this time every year, where rumors fly. Drivers looking for a chance to qualify for the 500 try forming alliances, some as sketchy as attendance at an IRL race. Many of these agreements contain minute circumstances that can assure or dash hopes of getting a competitive car. "If our two cars get in solid, we'll get you in the back up car.." said one owner to an aspiring entrant, hopeful at a chance at making the big show. But too many times, one's word is only as good as cash that can come along at almost any time. Follow to closely, and one could go crazy trying to keep up with the latest hot rumor from the speedway. A simple exchange of greetings from an owner to a driver, can send rumors up and down pit lane. Take the Walker Racing entry. In the span of about 48 hours, everyone from Toro Takagi, Memo Gidley, Stephan Gregoire and finally Oriel Servia would be in the car. Money appeared to be the factor in that arrangement. But what about Raul Boesel, as he was asked to come out to try one of the Mo Nunn back-ups, but now finds a place in the Team Menard car #2. With Roberto Moreno spending time with Morris Nunn, it appears he now will take one of the back-up cars, but he has also been seen talking quite a bit to the 310 racing group as well. Richie Hearn steps in for Injured Mark Dismore, walking away from another agreement, that now may be open to another. So it goes at the speedway where the casual observer may not notice Scott Dixon being introduced to a prominent owner by Stephan Johansson, or Michel Jourdain looking extremely comfortable in the Team Rahal garage. This is Indy, and at least for one month, anything is possible. JK

5/10/02

CART driver Junqueira first to crack 231 MPH, then Helio does 232  UPDATE Former CART road racer Helio Castroneves has turned an even faster lap - 232.087 MPH.  Looks like it might take a 231 4-lap average to win the pole on Saturday, weather permitting. 5/10/02 - All by himself on the track, CART road racer Bruno Junqueira has blasted through the 230 MPH barrier with a blistering lap of 231.526 MPH.  His teammate, another CART driver,  Kenny Brack is right behind him at 230.074 MPH.  Bruno is turning four or more laps in succession at over 230 MPH in the heat of the day.  He now is the favorite for the pole on Saturday.

5/10/02

Papis & Barron crash at Indy  2nd UPDATE Max Papis had an oil line come loose causing him to spin into the first turn wall.  He escaped injury but the team is scrambling to put the car back together for qualifying. He has no backup car.  Only his teammates Cheever and Scheckter have backup cars.  5/10/02 - Good news - Barron is OK, and is cleared to drive. 5/10/02 -  A crash by rookie Alex Barron has delayed Fast Friday practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500. Barron spun in early in Turn 1, and his No. 44 Rayovac Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone made contact with the SAFER barrier with rear of car. There was heavy damage to rear of car. Barron was removed from the car with assistance from the safety crew. An update on Barron's condition will be provided when available.

5/10/02

Schumacher and Barrichello lead opening practice in Austria  Michael Schumacher was fastest in Austria in Friday's opening practice and his teammate Barrichello was fastest overall in the afternoon session.  Results

5/10/02

CART calls in Dr. Olvey due to unsafe IRL cars  UPDATE We've just been informed that CART talked to Dr. Olvey and because of his commitment to his medical practice in Miami this weekend he will be on call and will be unable to make the trip to Indy until later sometime. CART is still keeping a close eye on things at the Speedway, and are obviously concerned for their drivers safety.  5/10/02 - AutoRacing1.com has learned that CART has decided to fly Dr. Steve Olvey up to Indy as soon as possible. He is on call today in Miami, but will be available to fly late tonight or first thing in the morning. Olvey has worked closely with CART teams in ensuring they have proper seats and so forth heading into Indy, but in light of the events of this week at the Speedway, we CART felt the need to get him to the track as soon as possible. If nothing else, he will bring a comfort level to them.

5/10/02

Ilmor news  This Autoweek article talks about Ilmor's IRL and CART endeavors.  It sounds like this announcement will be quite interesting indeed.

5/10/02

Pook brings in Ralph Sanchez to CART Board  AutoRacing1.com has learned that Chris Pook has asked, and Ralph Sanchez has accepted, a position on the CART Board of Directors. He will be formally elected at the next CART Board Meeting. This is a major coup for CART.  Sanchez is the guy who originally ran the successful downtown Miami races, but more importantly, is extremely well connected and respected in the all-important Hispanic/Latin American community.  Months ago we asked Ralph if he would be interested in such an appointment.  He told us absolutely and we transmitted his response to Chris.

5/10/02
Industry News

XM Radio to carry ESPNews  XM Satellite Radio, the nation's leading satellite radio service and the exclusive satellite radio service of NASCAR, will broadcast ESPNEWS on a dedicated channel (XM Channel 141) beginning May 15. ESPNEWS, carrying round the clock updates of the latest scores, stats and breaking news, replaces CNN/SI, which is being discontinued by TBS, Inc. Anchored by ESPN's award-winning sports news organization, ESPNEWS on XM Satellite Radio will carry up-to-the-minute coverage of everything sports -- baseball, football, hockey, basketball, boxing, college sports, golf, horse racing, motor sports, soccer and tennis. XM will air a digital-quality audio feed of the ESPNEWS broadcast. "We're thrilled to offer ESPNEWS, to keep XM listeners up to speed and up to date on the latest sports happenings," said Steve Gavenas, XM's Executive Vice President of Programming. "ESPNEWS will be a key component of our comprehensive sports menu."

5/10/02
Industry News

Intel expands business in China  And the USA march to China continues.  Will CART follow?  This Yahoo article states Intel Corp. will expand an existing plant in Shanghai in order to assemble and test Pentium 4 microprocessors which are in strong demand. The U.S. company said in a statement it expects to spend $100 million for the facility, out of a $500 million investment it already announced it will use to set up facilities in China . Intel said it expects the new facility to be finished by the end of this year, with the first commercially available products expected to be produced in the first half of next year.

5/10/02

Pook wants to bring excitement back to racing  This Portland, Oregon Columbian newspaper article features an article about CART President Chris Pook.  Pook sits down with The Columbian to answer questions about CART, its concerns and challenges.  Pook says - The challenge is getting rid of this perception that, I respectfully suggest you have, that we are on our death bed. We're not on our death bed by any means. We're alive and kicking. What happened to us is our last race last year was in November, then comes the Penske announcement, problems with the CEO, arguments with manufacturers. All this is sort of wrapped up in one Christmas present, and the present is gloom and doom. I think it's media driven, but you're our voice to the fans. If we allow you guys to sense doom and gloom; look, I'm not saying this isn't without cause. The company hasn't been run properly the last 2 1/2 years. So there was reason to write about concern. But it snowballed, and started getting exaggerated.

5/10/02
Industry News

Delphi signs big contract in China  And the USA march to China continues.  This Bloomberg News article states that Delphi Corp., the world's largest auto-parts maker, won a five-year contract valued at $60 million to provide engine parts to a Chinese motorcycle maker. The order from closely held Chongqing Zongsheng Motorcycle Group calls for Delphi to provide systems that control air and fuel flow in engines, improving mileage and lowering emissions, the company said in a statement

5/10/02

Adam Andretti to Toyota Atlantics or Infiniti Pro Series  According to this article, another Andretti may soon be making waves on the Indy  Car scene.  The article says - "Adam Andretti, brother of NASCAR'S John Andretti, may soon find himself on the open-wheel circuit. Adam, currently a driver for Countryman Motorsports, is in his rookie year competing in NASCAR'S Featherlight Southwest Series. Andretti has shown early promise and has drawn high praise for his talent. I have been able to confirm that team owner, Preston Countryman, has contacted both CART and the new IRL Infinity Pro Series about the possibility of fielding a team for Adam in one of those series next year. At least one of the series has offered to help find sponsorship."  With Michael's son Marco looking to move up to the CART Ladder system soon, one would think that CART is doing all it can to keep the Andretti name in their series, but we're sure the IRL will aggressively pursue both of them as well.  However, with all the driver injuries that come with an all-oval open-wheel series, we wonder if Grandfather Mario (for Marco) and father Aldo (for Adam) will step in and advise not to take that avenue?

5/9/02

NASCAR teams trying to lure Hornish away from the IRL  According to this Indy Star article, NASCAR teams are trying to lure IRL champ Sam Hornish Jr. away from the IRL.  Hornish said he likes the IRL and realizes Winston Cup's 36-race schedule can be brutal. But he acknowledges there is a lot of money to be made in NASCAR......"Don't get the wrong idea; I'm happy here," he said. "But if they're calling.

5/9/02

CART FedEx Series news  With the CART FedEx Championship Series on a brief hiatus to make it easier for teams and drivers to compete in the Indianapolis 500, some of the competitors not participating at Indy are using the time off to prepare for the remaining 17 rounds of the 20-race CART championship. More

5/9/02
Industry News

MIS unveils new online ticket system  One lucky race fan and 29 of his or her closest friends will win a luxury suite for Michigan International Speedway’s July event weekend as part of a special promotion to unveil MIS’ new online ticketing system. The new MIS ticketing software – available on www.MISpeedway.com – will help fans select their exact seats from currently available seating for the Speedway’s 2002 events, including seats for the two NASCAR Winston Cup Series races and the IRL event weekend. Web site visitors should access www.MISpeedway.com to complete an entry form and may do so each day up until Saturday, June 15. Daily winners will be selected during the next 40 days. “Forty” represents the special ticket price for all seats for the inaugural Michigan Indy 400 in July. The 40 winners selected between May 8 and June 16 will be entered into a drawing for the grand prize – a 30-person luxury hospitality suite to enjoy Saturday’s Michigan 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and Sunday’s Michigan Indy 400 IRL race. Each of the 40 finalists also will receive an official Indy Racing League hat. Daily winners’ names will be posted on the Web site, and the grand prize winner’s name will be announced during pre-race ceremonies for the Sirius Satellite Radio 400 on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16.

5/9/02

Schumacher calls IRL and Indy 500 step down  In this interview on CBS's 60-Minutes show, Michael Schumacher, arguably the best driver in racing now, perhaps of all time, had some interesting comments, one on the IRL and the Indy 500. " There are racing risks he is not willing to take. One is America’s premier auto race, the Indianapolis 500."  “It's a step down from Formula One,” he tells Charlie Rose. "And second, it's too dangerous.” Too dangerous? “The speed you do, that close to the walls, if you have an accident, there is no way a chassis can survive a certain way of having a crash,” he explains. “And that means your legs are gonna be heavily damaged [Editor's Note - or your back, head or aorta], or even further. And I don't see any point in that. I have nothing to prove there. I don't see a challenge in it.”

5/9/02

Da Matta completes full day of testing at Milwaukee  After rain postponed testing yesterday, Havoline driver Cristiano da Matta was behind the wheel of his rental car rather than his Havoline Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone for the hour commute to and from the Lincolnshire, Ill-based headquarters of Newman/Haas Racing to make the most of his downtime. Luckily Mother Nature was kind to the Milwaukee area today and da Matta was able to complete a full day of testing around the famed Milwaukee Mile track in preparation for the upcoming Miller Lite 250 on June 2. "The track didn't dry out until around 11:30 AM today and it was really windy," said da Matta who completed approx. 100 miles of testing today. "After the lunch break we spent some time waiting for the wind to die down some but it never really did. Finally we just went for it in the last hour and learned a couple of good, solid things that should help us in the race here. Hopefully the elements will work with us tomorrow and we can run a full day and build upon what we learned today. Unfortunately the wind didn't help us much today." The Havoline Toyota team will complete the second full day of testing tomorrow at the Milwaukee Mile which will be followed by a two-day test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course by both da Matta and Lilly driver Christian Fittipaldi beginning on Monday, May 13. NHR.

5/9/02

Another day, another IRL driver to the hospital  UPDATE Mark Dismore will be held overnight at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for observation after suffering a concussion in a crash during Indianapolis 500 practice May 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services. Dismore, from Greenfield, Ind., has not been cleared to drive, Bock said. A decision on Dismore’s participation status will not be made until an examination next week, Bock said.  5/9/02 -  In what is almost a daily routine now, another driver is headed to Methodist Hospital in Indy after crashing into the SAFER Wall.  Veteran Mark Dismore was transported via ground to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for further evaluation after suffering a concussion during a practice crash this afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Dismore is awake, alert and stable after the crash in Turn 1, though reports are he may have lose consciousness briefly.  We hope he has no further injuries.  The Hidden Costs of Indy Car Racing continue to mount.

5/9/02

CART road races dominate Indy   CART road racers Tony Kanaan and Kenny Brack topped the speed charts at Indy on Thursday, both breaking the 229 MPH barrier.  Former CART road racer Helio Castroneves was third and another CART road racer, Bruno Junqueira was 5th.  Bruno Junqueira predicts he will top 230 MPH on Friday and expects the pole speed to be over 230 MPH.  Bruno maintains his speeds are without a tow.  Story

5/9/02

Design flaw in IRL cars?  UPDATE By comparison of the safety of a Champ Car vs. IRL car, when Big Mo crashed at Texas last year, his first impact was 114 G's and his 2nd impact was 93 G's.  Big Mo had no injury.  Tell us why then that IRL cars are breaking backs at 70+ G's against the soft wall?  5/9/02 - What do Jaques Lazier, Robbie Buhl, PJ Jones, Robby McGehee, Donnie Beechler, Tomas Scheckter, Anthony Lazzaro, Buzz Calkins, Tyce Carlson, Eliseo Salazar all have in common?  They have all spent time in the hospital this year for a whole host of injuries from driving IRL cars.  Even with soft walls they are breaking backs, necks, arteries and legs.  Of course, who can forget Sam Schmidt, Davey Jones, Davey Hamilton, Scott Goodyear, and all the other drivers who have been injured or maimed over the six short years the IRL has been in existence.  So far no one has been killed this year, but using the old Ralph Nader Chevrolet Corvair cliché, Unsafe at Any Speed, drive at your own risk.  For the sake of saving a few dollars, the IRL has a battering ram (they call it a transmission) hanging out the back of their cars that transmit loads on rearward impact right through the engine and into the drivers backs.

5/9/02

Closest IRL finishes 
1. .0188 of a second Oct. 6, 2001 Texas (Sam Hornish Jr., Scott Sharp)
2. .0281 March 24, 2002 California (Sam Hornish Jr., Jaques Lazier)
3. .059 June 11, 2000 Texas (Scott Sharp, Robby McGehee)
4. .064 Aug. 17, 1997 New Hampshire (Robbie Buhl, Vincenzo Sospiri)
5. .120 June 27, 1999 Pikes Peak (Greg Ray, Sam Schmidt)
6. .140 Oct. 15, 2000 Texas (Scott Goodyear, Eddie Cheever Jr.)
7. .1976 July 8, 2001 Kansas (Eddie Cheever Jr., Sam Hornish Jr.)
8. .222 June 29, 1997 Pikes Peak (Tony Stewart, Stephan Gregoire)
9. .445 Aug. 29, 1999 Pikes Peak (Greg Ray, Davey Hamilton)
10. .4969 April 21, 2001 Nazareth (Scott Sharp, Felipe Giaffone)
11. .570 May 29, 1997 Indianapolis (Arie Luyendyk, Scott Goodyear)
12. .617 Sept. 26, 1999 Las Vegas (Sam Schmidt, Kenny Brack)
13. .689 July 19, 1998 Dover (Scott Sharp, Buddy Lazier)
14. .695 May 26, 1996 Indianapolis (Buddy Lazier, Davy Jones)
15. .731 Aug. 1, 1999 Dover (Greg Ray, Buddy Lazier)
16. .854 March 23, 1997 Phoenix (Jim Guthrie, Tony Stewart)
17. .866 Jan. 27, 1996 Walt Disney World (Buzz Calkins, Tony Stewart)
18. .888 June 12, 1999 Texas (Scott Goodyear, Greg Ray)
19. .926 Oct. 11, 1998 Las Vegas (Arie Luyendyk, Sam Schmidt)
20. .928 June 6, 1998 Texas (Billy Boat, Greg Ray)
21. .944 Aug. 29, 1998 Atlanta (Kenny Brack, Davey Hamilton)

5/9/02
Industry News

Mazda Raceway gets new partner  Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (MRLS) and Yahoo! have signed a new 2-year agreement that makes the Internet company the Official Internet Services Partner for the track. As part of the agreement, Yahoo! will receive prominent trackside signage and world-class hospitality in exchange for various forms of advertising, marketing and on-line sweep steaks throughout their network. With this partnership, MRLS will continue to hold a firm foothold in the ever-evolving world of e-commerce. "It is because of Yahoo!'s world-wide role as an Internet leader that we feel confident in once again having them as our partner," says Gill Campbell, General Manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "The agreement allows us to access their front-running position in e-commerce, while giving the company exposure to race fans and television viewers who attend and watch our world-class events." The partnership with Yahoo! was consummated by MGO Marketing Group of Lafayette, CA. MGO is Mazda Raceway’s exclusive sponsorship marketing agency.

5/9/02

Servia to drive for Walker at Indy  Team owner Derrick Walker announced today that Oriol Servia has been selected to drive Walker Racing’s number 15 entry for the 2002 Indianapolis 500. Walker, a long time competitor at Indy and a seasoned veteran of open-wheel racing, has been a part of this famous event’s illustrious history with second place finishes in 1992 and 1995. “Our program has come together very late this year, but we feel we can be competitive. Thankfully I can draw upon our organization’s resources of skilled and experienced personnel to put a program like this on the track with confidence in short notice. Oriol and I have talked in the past but things never materialized. ‘Glad we finally will have the chance to work together” said Walker. Servia, a native of the Catalonia region of Spain, brings a background of solid performance to the effort. He was the 1999 Dayton Indy Lights Champion, and since 2000 has been competing in the CART FedEx Championship series where he has started in over 40 events and captured 19 top-ten finishes. “The Indianapolis 500 is known to racing fans all over the world. I remember dreaming about what it might be like as a child. Now I’m going to find out!” said a very excited Oriol. Servia will be only the second driver from his country to ever compete in the Indy 500. He will begin practice with the team as soon as weather permits.

5/9/02

Expanded Web Radio for ALMS races  The American Le Mans Series Radio Web, internet voice of the sports car racing series, will have an expanded broadcast of qualifying as well as race coverage of the May 19 Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Fosters from California’s Sears Point Raceway. After a successful opening event at Sebring in March, the American Le Mans Series moves to Round Two of its 10-race championship with its fourth annual appearance at Sears Point in Sonoma, Calif. As always, the American Le Mans Series Radio Web will offer an in-depth radio broadcast of the race that can be heard free online at www.imsaracing.net. Listeners simply have to log on to the website and click the Radio Web icon to hear the broadcast over their computer. The race broadcast will be from 12 noon until 4 p.m. (U.S. Pacific time).  After a one-hour pre-race show, the race starts at 1 p.m. On Saturday, May 18, the ALMS Radio Web will have two hours of coverage of qualifying for the Sears Point race, with several series drivers as special guests. The broadcast will start at 2 p.m. (Pacific). Listeners will be able to email questions for the drivers to answer. The names of the drivers and the email address will be listed at www.imsaracing.net. John Hindhaugh, the voice of Radio Le Mans, will anchor the ALMS Radio Web broadcasts, joined by Jim Martyn and Joe Bradley.   ALMS

5/9/02
Industry News

Speed Channel households increase In February Speed Channel reported they were in 50 million households.  Now in May that number has increased to 53 million households.

5/9/02

Nissan may make 100,000 vehicles in China  Is CART going to race in China?  Are they wooing Nissan?  According to this Bloomberg News report, Nissan Motor Co. plans to make as many as 100,000 autos a year in China with local partner Dongfeng Motor Corp., as Japan's No. 3 carmaker tries to tap one of the fastest growing markets, Nikkei English News reported. The automakers will form a new holding company and plan to produce between 50,000 and 100,000 vehicles starting next year, the report said, without citing anyone. Annual output will increase to 150,000 units within three years. "We want to increase our presence in China significantly," said Nissan spokesman Gerry Spahn. He said the report was "speculative" as the carmakers are still in talks on an accord.   Nissan Motor Co Ltd said on Thursday it expected to report a record group operating profit of 490 billion yen ($3.80 billion) for the year ended March 31. Nissan, which also expects to have posted record group net and recurring profit figures for 2001/02, also forecast a record group operating profit of 553 billion yen for 2002/03.  ``We transformed from a struggling company into a viable, good company,'' said president and chief executive officer Carlos ``Le Cost-Killer'' Ghosn. ``By the end of (fiscal) 2004, we are going to go from a good company to a great company.''  Nissan said it aimed to boost its market share in the U.S., Japanese and European markets to 6.2 percent, 22.5 percent and 3.1 percent respectively by the 2004/05 business year. That compares with 4.2 percent, 17.9 percent and 2.5 percent now. It will launch 28 new vehicles in the next 3-year period, 12 in the current business year.  Nissan also reports they will increase their ownership of Renault from 13.5% to 15.0 %.

5/9/02

Team Menard hires Boesel full time  Raul Boesel was chosen Thursday to replace the injured PJ Jones in the Johns Manville/Team Menard Chevy Dallara for the Indianapolis 500. Jones incurred a fracture of the C6 vertebrae Tuesday in a crash during practice and will be out for four to six weeks. With pole qualifications only two days away, the selection of Boesel by team owner John Menard had an eye towards an experienced driver at the Speedway and someone who with limited practice time left will be able to jump in the car and get up to speed right away. "We're looking forward to working with Raul," said Menard. "He's a mature driver that knows the ropes here and a guy that can put the car in the show safely and get it home safely. We're a little bit behind the eight ball right now when it comes to time and weather here before Saturday. I think Raul will get the job done regardless of how much practice we get in." Boesel, 44, a native of Curitiba, Brazil is a veteran of 12 Indy 500 starts dating back to 1985. His best Indy 500 finish was a third-place effort in 1989. Raul has started on the front row twice (1993-94) and has two top-5 finishes in his Indy 500 career.

5/9/02

The challenges of selling auto racing in NY City  This NYAutoRacing.com article talks about the NY City sports fans and how they are out of touch with auto racing.  Even NASCAR is ignored when they go there for their annual banquet.  However, there is a way for a race in NY City to be a success, to be covered in future articles.

5/9/02

Panoz to run third car at Sears Point   Panoz Motor Sports has entered a third "Spirit of America" prototype machine in the forthcoming round of the American Le Mans Sears at Sears Point in California. All six members of the Panoz line-up for the Le Mans 24 Hour will get the chance to get additional track time prior to the classic French event. The decision to place the additional entry came after the team's second Le Mans entry struck trouble in last week's Le Mans preliminary practice session in France. Bill Auberlen, David Donohue and Gunnar Jeannette had their track time restricted by a prop-shaft failure which stranded the car out on the circuit in the early part of the opening four-hour practice session.  Panoz

5/9/02

ISC track seating capacity  Ever wonder how many seats all the ISC tracks combined hold?  This link not only gives you their total seating capacity, we also estimate ISC's total revenue just from race events each year.  The number will surprise you, and we were conservative!  MC

5/8/02

Ladder Series Update  CART team owner Bobby Rahal has invited some of the top drivers in the CART Driver Development Ladder System to join him for the annual Motorsports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Novi, Michigan. Rahal, the new President of the Road Racing Drivers Club, has invited Joey Hand, Buddy Rice, Alex Gurney and Danica Patrick for the June 12th dinner which will honor the late Dale Earnhardt, Gordon Johncock and Eddie Hill. Story CART

5/8/02

Team Rahal & Michel Jourdain Milwaukee test report  CART franchise member Team Rahal wrapped up a successful two-day test at the venerable Milwaukee Mile which saw Michel Jourdain Jr. and the Gigante team fine-tuning the team's short oval package. Jourdain, currently second in the CART championship with 32 points, ran 360 miles over two-days and logged a fast lap of 22.2 seconds in his Ford-Cosworth/Lola which features Bridgestone tires. "We had a couple of trouble free days of testing," said Ray Leto, Team Rahal Technical Director and the race engineer for Jourdain. "We were able to work through our entire test list and we learned some things that should benefit us at Milwaukee and Chicago." "The first day of the test was a little difficult since we were the only car on track and the rubber hadn't built up," said Jourdain. "Things really began to take shape on Tuesday and I think we made some great progress. This is a really busy time for the entire team with the tests and with Indy, but when you make the kind of progress we did over the last two-days it is all worth the extra effort." Team Rahal is scheduled to test next week at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, OH. The two-day test slated for Monday and Tuesday will utilize both Jimmy Vasser in the Shell car and Jourdain in the Gigante car. The test coincides with a two-day closure of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where Vasser is running the Miller Lite car in the Indy 500. "This is a tough stretch for the entire team with the multiple Champ Car tests that we have scheduled and with the Indy 500 program in full swing," said Scott Roembke, Team Rahal Chief Operating Officer. "This just demonstrates again the depth of talent and dedication of the people in our organization. While half of the team is focused on the Indy 500 the other half is making sure that we continue making progress with our testing program for CART." Team Rahal

5/8/02

Scott Sharp back to the top of the charts at Indy  Scott Sharp continued to show today the kind of consistent speed that helped him win the MBNA Pole for the 2001 Indianapolis 500, as he became the first driver to lead two days of practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500 with a fast lap of 39.4132 seconds, 228.350 mph.   Story

5/8/02
Industry News

More on Maserati's plans in the USA This Autoweek article talks about Maserati's long-term plans to sell cars in the USA market, and this article talks about an exciting new car they have planned.

5/8/02

Asiatech to do own F1 engine and car  Formula 1 engine supplier Asiatech is going ahead with plans to build a complete car for next year according to this week's AUTOSPORT magazine.

5/8/02

Georgia-Pacific woes  Petty sponsor Georgia-Pacific, the paper and forest products producer, had its credit ratings downgraded to junk due to concern over its large debt load despite a major restructuring. The weak near-term outlook for commodity products would impede the company's ability to cut back on some $12.4bn of debt, Moody's Investors Service said after downgrading Georgia-Pacific's senior unsecured debt rating one notch to Ba1.

5/8/02
Industry News

More Kirch woes  The holding company for Kirch Group's pay television operation filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, joining the crumbling media giant's main television and film-rights division in declaring it can't pay its debts. The filing by KirchPayTV, the parent of the money-losing subscription broadcaster Premiere, comes one month after a similar declaration by KirchMedia, the group's main business which holds its television stations and film-rights business. Leo Kirch, the group's 75-year-old founder, has seen some 6.5 billion euros ($5.7 billion) in debt cost him control of his key businesses to bankruptcy administrators and creditor banks. AP

5/8/02

President Bush to serve as Grand Marshall  When the 27 drivers competing in this year's The Winston fire up their race cars and roll off the grid to start the NASCAR Winston Cup Series' annual all-star race, they will be doing so at the command of the most powerful leader in the free world. George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, will appear via taped video as the Grand Marshal of The Winston and will deliver the command for drivers to start their engines. President Bush's video will run immediately prior to the start of the 90-lap finale of The Winston. During President Bush's address, he will also speak to the resolve of the American people in the aftermath of the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001

5/8/02

Sarah Fisher confirmed  Popular Indy Racing League veteran Sarah Fisher will join Robbie Buhl in a two-car effort by Dreyer & Reinbold Racing to qualify for the 86th Indianapolis 500, team officials announced May 8. Former short-track standout Fisher, an Ohio native who lives in Indianapolis, will drive the No. 23 Team Allegra Dreyer and Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone. “We’re pleased and excited to welcome Sarah to the team for the Indianapolis 500,” said team co-owner Dennis Reinbold. “We’ve developed a great chemistry as a team through our recent experience at Nazareth, and we’re looking for even better things to happen during the month of May.” Fisher, 21, voted the Indy Racing League’s Most Popular Driver in 2001, substituted for the injured Buhl on April 21 at the Firestone Indy 225 in Nazareth, Pa., and delivered a strong fourth-place finish. It was her first start of the season. “I think in my eyes Dreyer & Reinbold offers two things that are really important to me,” Fisher said. “First of all, they’ve got Robbie Buhl, who is a good teammate. Someone who will share everything with you, someone that will help you along. I’ll admit I’m young. I have a lot to learn and being a one-car team is very difficult for that to happen.

5/8/02

Hendrick terminates Nadeau  Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) and driver Jerry Nadeau have mutually agreed to part ways, effectively ending Nadeau's stint with the No. 25 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team it was announced today by company president John Hendrick. "Jerry has shown some flashes of brilliance while driving for us over the past two and a half years," said Hendrick. "As a team, we just have not been able to find the kind of consistency that it takes to be successful in this ever-increasingly competitive sport." Hendrick said that no one has been chosen to fill the vacancy, although a search is currently under way.  Hendrick Motorsports

5/8/02

IRL has crisis on their hands  Dear AutoRacing1.com, I can't believe that only AutoRacing1.com has picked up on all the drivers being injured in the IRL yet again this year. Are all the journalists afraid that the IRL won't grant them media passes if they speak out about this clear cover-up in the IRL? Head injuries, broken Aorta's, broken legs, broken backs. When is this travesty going to end? Tony George thinks he has created a low-cost solution to racing. Low-cost alright, I wonder what the injured drivers think? Will they have any drivers left by the end of the year? I just hope Gil and Helio can get out of there before they too meet their destiny. When is Tony George going to pull the plug on this farce he calls the IRL?  Mordichai Rosen. LA, California  Answer: Dear Mordichai - I think the IRL recognizes how unsafe their racing series is, and why they have invested in the SAFER Wall system, which is one of the better things they have done.  When you run all your testing, practice, qualifying and race laps on an oval track in cars with transmissions sticking out the back acting like a battering ram, the odds are against you that you will get hurt.  It's not a matter of if, but more a matter of when.  Racing has never been safe, and it's why today's IRL drivers are sometimes called gladiators, willing to put their life on the line for their sport. And if you protest and say you won't drive, there's always a driver out there who will step up and take your seat.  Thankfully the SAFER Wall was in place, or it's likely McGehee and Jones might be permanently paralyzed right now.  I understand that some team owners who were thinking about running in the IRL are now having second thoughts, questioning whether they want to risk injury to their drivers.  Sponsors are also beginning to question it as well.  When they put money up to sponsor a driver in a team, they don't want the drivers getting injured and then having to sit out.  The IRL has a major problem on their hand.  It will be interesting to see what they do to rectify it.  MC

5/8/02

Jones in good condition after breaking vertebrae  In what is coming routine in the IRL these days, add PJ Jones to the growing listed of IRL walking wounded.  PJ Jones was held overnight at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis with a fracture of the C-6 vertebrae, said Dr. Henry Bock, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League director of medical services. Jones is listed in good condition and is expected to be released today, Bock said. Recovery time is up to six weeks, Bock said. The team has not named a replacement driver.  PJ Jones statement - "Obviously the new walls really helped my impact and I probably wouldn't be in nearly as good of shape as I am right now without them. The Speedway really did something positive putting that system in place, I have to thank them for doing that. For all I went through, I'm not in any pain and I don't actually feel hurt, but I have some cracks in a vertebrae that are going to take a short time to heal up. It's such a shame for the team and John Menard to have to go through this again, they're a great group of people. I can't really believe it, it's my first 500 and we were running so well. To have this happen and sideline you for the month is definitely tough to take. I felt like we had a car to win the race."

5/8/02

Junqueira - my lap was real  Bruno Junqueira turned his fast lap Tuesday in the heat of the day with no tow. He says his lap is real.  Redon turned his lap in the cooler Happy Hour and he had a tow part of the lap.  While Redon's lap was certainly good for a rookie (remember that for a road racer, ovals are quite easy) it's doubtful he could repeat that lap by himself and in a warmer time of day.  Some people questioned why Chip Ganassi retained Junqueira after 2001.  It looks like Chip was right once again.  Bruno won one CART race in 2001, has already won this year (Motegi), and with his rookie year behind him, is gaining confidence by the day.  He was fast in F3000, and like Juan Montoya before him, is also fast in Champ Cars.

5/8/02

Tom Knapp leaves Kelley Racing, headed to Foyt.  2nd UPDATE As we speculated back on April 26th, Knapp has been hired by AJ Foyt to work with Greg Ray.  4/26/02 - 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....

5/7/02

Fernández Racing completes successful test at Road America  While some CART teams are at Indy testing, Fernández Racing concluded a one-day test session at the Road America circuit this afternoon in preparation for upcoming road course events on the CART FedEx Championship Series schedule. Adrián Fernández and Shinji Nakano logged over 600 miles on the scenic 4.048-mile, 14-turn permanent circuit. Fernández, who finished on the podium at Road America the past three years, notes the track among his favorites. Adrian Fernández, #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone: "I love this place. It is a pleasure to drive here. We had a good test and ran through a lot of things. Of course, since we were the only ones here, you don't have anyone to compare with. The conditions were very, very cold. It was in the low 50s (F). In all, it was a good test and the track was in good condition. We went through all of the things on our list, including pit stops and things like that. We feel more confident toward the next race. Both cars ran pretty much without problems. Times are irrelevant because it is hard to compare, but I have had very good results and very good cars here and this car feels pretty good. Hopefully we will have another productive two days in Milwaukee. These are basically our last tests of the year." Shinji Nakano, #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone: "The car was getting better toward the end of the day. It's still not perfect, but it was a good test and we learned a lot. I still have a lot of understeer in the car, but we found a way to go with the setup to be quicker for this track." Fernández Racing will move to West Allis, Wis., tomorrow for a two-day test at the historic Milwaukee Mile in preparation for the next race on June 2. Fernandez Racing

5/7/02

Australia ticket sales through the roof  CART's international and road racing appeal just gets better by the day.  Ticket sales for this year's Honda Indy 300 are up 70% on the same time last year and are continuing to sell at unprecedented levels. This year's event will be held on the streets of the Gold Coast from October 24-27 and will attract some of the fastest drivers on earth as the 19th and penultimate round of the 2002 FedEx Championship Series for Champ Cars. This year's event will also include the best Australia has to offer with competitors in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series racing for championship points for the first time on one of the world's most demanding streets circuits. Early indications are that last year's record four-day crowd of 286,000 fans will be smashed and that's before the marketing program for the event gets into full swing. Fans have been provided with an extra incentive to buy early for this year's spectacular. Anyone purchasing a ticket prior to June 30 through Ticketek will go into the draw for an authentic racing helmet signed by all the drivers in this year's FedEx Championship Series including Michael Andretti, Dario Franchitti, Paul Tracy and Brisbane-born Kiwi Scott Dixon. Honda Indy 300 Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Jones, says the early reaction to this year's event has been fantastic. "The reaction to this year's event up to date has been terrific," said Jones. "I guess you could say that ticket sales have been above our expectations, but not surprising considering the fantastic growth of this event in the last couple of years. "I am not saying that we can maintain 70% growth through to the event, but the early numbers suggest that people wanting grandstand seats will need to get in very early. "They will also need to get in before June 30 to have a chance of winning the autographed helmet which is creating enormous interest." Corporate sales for the event are also at record pre-race levels with about 85% of the corporate hospitality suites and packages already sold. "This is without doubt the best start to an event we have had," said Jones. "I think the corporate market realizes the value motorsport has to offer as a business tool and our early sales indicate that. "The Honda Indy 300 really has become a very important part of the year for so many companies who maximize the festival-type atmosphere which the event and the Gold Coast offers. "While everything is pointing towards a record year, our team is continuing to work around the clock to ensure this will be the best and most successful event yet." Honda Indy 300

5/7/02

A Spotter's work is never done  After graduating from UC-Santa Barbara with a mechanical engineering degree and holding sales representative jobs in the electronics industry, Jeff Kitchen soon found himself talking his way onto the career path to spotterdom. Story

5/7/02

Mack and 310 Racing to visit Flanner House  Rookie driver, George Mack, with IRL Team 310 Racing, will visit Flanner House, 2424 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street on Friday, May 11, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. This special event is planned to give the school children, senior citizens and others at Flanner House an opportunity to meet an African-American race car driver, sponsored by an African-American race team, and see an authentic race car. 310 Racing is the first full-time African American owned and driven Indy Race team in history to compete on the Indy circuit. Flanner House, located in United Northwest Area neighbor of Indianapolis is a 103-year-old educational and child development center originally established as a settlement house to serve African-American families migrating to Indiana from the South. Its largest current component is Flanner House Academy, a preschool through grade 3 school.

5/7/02

Da Matta gets in short test at Milwaukee  Havoline driver Cristiano da Matta resumed his quest to become the 2002 CART FedEx Champion today when he tested at the Milwaukee Mile in preparation for the upcoming Miller Lite 250 on June 2. Fresh from a quick trip home to Belo Horizonte, Brazil to recover from jetlag resulting from his return home from the Bridgestone Potenza 500 in Japan, da Matta returned to the United States for the two-day test that began today. After completing less than 50 miles, the team elected to end the test to concentrate on making changes to the race car in preparation for a full day of testing tomorrow, weather permitting. "We made some progress on our short oval set-up from our first 2002 oval test in Homestead in March but we found out in Japan that we had more work to do," said da Matta. "Being on the cutting edge of technology is what this series is about so you have to keep improving or be left behind. We started the season strong in Mexico but others began closing the gap (in the second race) in Long Beach although we still had a strong car. Of the four tracks CART competes on, our short oval setup is our weakest and we know we need to improve in this area in order to fight for the Championship. It is still very early in the season and anything can happen. We still plan on being the guys to beat for the Championship. Hopefully the weather will cooperate tomorrow and we can continue to make some improvements to the balance of our car."  NHR

5/7/02

Redon & Junqueira blister Indy  French road racer Laurent Redon and CART road racer Bruno Junqueira top the speed charts at Indy today.  Redon cranked off a 229.808 MPH during Happy Hour and Junqueira 228.566 MPH in the heat of the day.    Earlier in the day Paul Tracy has made contact with the turn 2 wall at Indy bringing out the caution flag.  He brushed the wall and returned to the pits under his own power.  Jones spun in Turn 1 and made contact with the rear of the car with the outside SAFER barrier.  The car then slid to the inside of the track, crossed the warm-up lane and hit the inside guardrail with the left side of the car. There was heavy damage to rear and left side of car. Jones stepped from the car with assistance from the fire and safety crew and was taken by ambulance to the Clarian Infield Medical Center. An update on his condition will be provided when available.  Story & Results

5/7/02

NASCAR hands down its weekly fines  NASCAR officials announced today that crew chiefs Todd Parrott of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and Marc Reno of the NASCAR Busch Series have been fined $2,500 each for rules infractions that occurred this past weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Parrott, crew chief for NASCAR Winston Cup driver Dale Jarrett, was issued the fine for having an improperly attached weight on the No. 88 car, which was found during qualifying inspection for the Pontiac Excitement 400. Reno, crew chief for the NASCAR Busch Series entry of Jimmy Spencer, was fined for having hollow rear axle “U” bolts on the No. 1 car during Friday’s Hardee’s 250. NASCAR

5/7/02
Industry News

Visteon loses contract for GM interiors  Bloomberg News reports Visteon Corp. lost a contract to manage design and production of interiors for General Motors Corp.'s future small cars, hurting the auto-parts maker's efforts to diversify from former parent Ford Motor Co. General Motors switched the contract to Magna International Inc.'s Intier Automotive unit because it "made sense for us to work with fewer integrators" for interiors, said Renee Rashid-Merem, a spokeswoman for the automaker. Visteon spokesman Greg Gardner declined to provide a value for the contract, which the world's No. 3 auto-parts maker had received in January.

5/7/02

Will Fiat and Vodafone woes affect Ferrari program? UPDATE Shares in Vodafone fell another 5 per cent today after Goldman Sachs cut the world's biggest mobile phone operator from its recommended list.   5/6/02 -  Struggling Italian carmaker Fiat saw its domestic market market shrink sharply in March and April just as the debt-heavy group tries to turn around its loss-making operations. Figures from the Transport Ministry on Monday showed Fiat group sales in April totaled 61,340, down 21.7 percent year-on-year, cutting its market share to 32.06 percent from 35.48 percent a year earlier.   Vodafone shares closed below 100p on Friday, their lowest since February 1988, on the surprise release of weak revenue figures for operations in Germany and Italy, two of its largest markets.

5/7/02

Arie Luyendyk Jr. to race in Infiniti Series  Second-generation open-wheel racer Arie Luyendyk Jr. will drive the No. 5 car for Luyendyk Racing in the 2002 Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series. “I’m definitely looking forward to running in the Infiniti Pro Series,” said Luyendyk, 20. “It’s the perfect opportunity to step up and do something new. I think we have a strong chance to win races and go for the championship.” Luyendyk’s Infiniti Pro Series entry will carry the famous No. 5 associated with his father, just one of many traditions the younger Luyendyk hopes to continue. “After the Infiniti Pro Series, I definitely would like to move up to the IRL,” said Luyendyk. “I want to be really prepared when I move up to the Indy Racing cars. I’m only 20. I’ll do at least one season or possibly two in the Infiniti Pro Series to get ready for the IRL. The Indy 500 is the best race in the world, and I’d like to be part of it.” Luyendyk began racing karts at age 10 and advanced to Formula Ford 1600 competition when he was 16. For the past two seasons, he has competed in the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 championship, earning five top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 26 starts. He also enjoyed success in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Series and the Dutch Formula Ford 1800 Series. “It’s a great plus to have the Luyendyk’s competing in the Infiniti Pro Series,” said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series. “Arie Luyendyk has been racing open-wheel cars in the United States for over 20 years now, and his involvement in the Infiniti Pro Series shows that he firmly believes it is the best direction for young drivers to take. Arie Jr. has shown great promise, and he’ll certainly benefit from his father’s vast experience on ovals. We’re very pleased to have two generations of outstanding open-wheel racers join us in the Infiniti Pro Series.”

5/7/02

Rain again delays practice at Indy  Morning rain has again delayed practice at the Indy Speedway, but the skies are clearing and the crews are drying the track.  Teams should get in a good number of laps today despite the delay.

5/7/02

Loudon to install SAFER Wall System  Pending approval from NASCAR, New Hampshire International Speedway is planning to install the SAFER soft wall system in time for the July Winston Cup race. At a cost of more than a quarter million dollars, track owner Bob Bahre has pledged his full support for the SAFER soft wall system. Bahre has been working with NASCAR to bring the soft walls to NHIS, and recently attended a crash test in Lincoln, Nebraska which demonstrated the SAFER system with a 140 mph vehicle impact. "There is no question in my mind that they are going to work", commented Bahre. "It's a lot of dough, but if its going to do the job, who cares". The SAFER soft wall system was recently unveiled at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will most likely become standard safety equipment for most tracks on the Winston Cup circuit.

5/7/02

McGehee crashed last car team had  Robby McGehee's crash on Sunday at Indy wiped out the only car the team had.  The car received extensive damage against the oval track wall, and adds credence to The Hidden Cost of Indy Car Racing.  Therefore, Robby has two hills to climb to make the Indy 500 - his broken back and leg and whether they will hell in time (imagine if he crashes again), and coming up with the money to buy an entire new car at around $300,000.

5/7/02
Industry News

Argentine pop-star's family sues Ford & Firestone  According to this AP article, The family of Argentine pop star Rodrigo Bueno sued Ford Motor Co. and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. Monday, blaming the companies for a rollover accident that killed the singer two years ago. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Miami even though the accident occurred in Buenos Aires and a court there ruled the pop star was at fault. Rodrigo was driving his 1998 Ford Explorer on June 24, 2000, when he swerved to avoid hitting another car. The vehicle rolled over, ejecting the singer and his actor-friend, Fernando Leon Olmedo, killing both.

5/7/02

USA sales fuel great 2001 for Toyota  Toyota Motor Corp is expecting a record profit for the past business year, fuelled by a weak Japanese currency and strong U.S. sales at its Lexus luxury vehicle division. Estimates ranged from 1.02 trillion yen to 1.16 trillion yen, with the average forecast for sales at 14.4 trillion yen. Analysts say it would likely be the first time that a non-financial Japanese company has reported operating profit of more than one trillion yen. "Toyota has had a stellar performance in the U.S. market and in the Japanese market, even without a lot of new models, they've done a pretty good job of holding their ground," said Christopher Richter, an auto analyst at HSBC Securities.

5/7/02

BMW has good 1st Qtr.  BMW AG beat market expectations with strong first-quarter profits on Tuesday and said it expected results in 2002 to be better than last year, identifying a luxury-only strategy as key to its success. First-quarter profit slipped 1.8 percent against a year ago to 1.011 billion euros ($927 million) but BMW said the comparison with 2001 included a one-off gain of 75 million euros from a land sale. Adjusted for that, it said, pre-tax profit jumped 5.9 percent. ``If the economic framework does not worsen unexpectedly, the company assumes it will increase further its unit sales, revenues, and earnings,'' BMW said in a statement.

5/7/02

Cleveland airport to go  UPDATE This Cleveland Plain Dealer article sheds more light on the situation. Our contacts in the private sector told us that the plans the city has for Burke and the area that surrounds it, are just wishful thinking. The city of Cleveland doesn't have the money to do this and it may never have it. Its pie in the sky right now.   5/4/02 -  This Cleveland Plain Dealer article says that it's likely Burke Lakefront airport will be torn down before long and converted into a permanent race track, but more probably a park. The airport has been home to one of the best CART races n the schedule for many years.  If it were to be torn down, it does not mean an end to CART racing in Cleveland.  Race tracks in parks can be great, especially if the design of the track is worked into the design of the park. The Australian GP in Melbourne is one example of a proper race course in a park.  It's wide, has room for passing and is quite picturesque. If CART (and IMG) is serious about staying in Cleveland, they would be well advised to start attending City Council meetings when Burke Lakefront airport is on the agenda.   Mark C.

5/7/02

Rudd considering retirement  According to this AP article, Rudd, in his 21st season of Winston Cup racing, said Monday he has not ruled out retiring at the end of this season -- partly because of the changing face of NASCAR and the way the sport is being marketed. Ricky Rudd is disenchanted with NASCAR and its focus on younger drivers. "I have a lot of options, one of them is retirement, and it's something I'll give a lot of thought too," Rudd said while testing his Robert Yates Ford at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "I'm 45 years old and I certainly don't see myself doing this when I'm 50, so it's something I'll be thinking about."

5/7/02
Industry News

TV racing's mantra: 'Show me the money!'  Last January, Steve Mayer surveyed some of our AR1 readers about the transition from Speedvision to Speed Channel. The article for which that information was sought has been published. Here is the link to the excellent Car & Driver article.  Steve wrote to say that while the original thrust of the article changed substantially (to focusing upon "Motorsports TV"), "the responses of your readers was very, very helpful in assisting my editors and myself."  He was impressed by the amount of responses received. We recommend you take the time to read this thoroughly researched article.

5/7/02
Industry News

Piguet's son to enter Brazil series  Nelson Ângelo Piquet, the sixteen-year-old son of three time F1 champion Nelson Piquet, is expected to announce Tuesday that he plans to compete in the new Brazilian Formula Renault series.

5/7/02

MG Lola raises eyebrows at Le Mans trial  Lola Cars International personnel had a busy weekend at a very cold and occasionally wet Le Mans 24 Hours track over the weekend, as four Lolas ran in the official test weekend of the ACO. The cars built by Lola for MG Sport & Racing, powered by the X-Power engine developed by AER for MG, and run by the CMS team, showed very well in the hands of Mark Blundell, Julian Bailey, Jonny Kane and Kevin McGarrity, and ended the day fifth and eighth on the time sheets overall, and easily first and second in the 675 LMP class - where the 'works' cars were joined by a privateer Lola MG, from the USA. The KnightHawk Racing Lola EX257 completed a Lola clean sweep of the LMP675 class when Duncan Dayton set third fastest time cond-placed Stephane Sarrazin in the ORECA-powered Dallara. Capello beat Herbert's fastest lap and last year's fastest trials time despite a revised section of track past the Dunlop bridge. Mark Blundell raised the most eyebrows when the Briton raced to fifth fastest time in the LMP675 MG Lola, beating the likes of the Bentley, Dome and Courage. The Briton went out in the dying minutes and beat the best time set by Jonny Kane in the second car that had suffered two oil leaks during the day. The Bentley came in sixth fastest, Eric van de Poele setting the best time of the three drivers, while Panoz was testing its new bodywork for the first time having shaken the car down at Road Atlanta. David Brabham set a time of 3m36.103s that was good enough for 12th.  Lola

5/7/02

Castroneves leads rain shortened Day 2 practice at Indy  UPDATE We have added Quotes from Day 2.  5/6/02 -  Defending Indianapolis 500 champion Castroneves led a rain-shortened practice session with a fast lap of 39.6972 seconds, 226.716 mph in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. There were just 77 minutes of practice today on the 2.5-mile oval, as showers delayed the start for nearly six hours. Rookie Laurent Redon was second fastest at 39.7972, 226.147 in the No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, with 2001 Indy Racing League Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone third at 39.8353, 225.930 in the No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone. Story & Results IRL

5/6/02

Prost team auction  The first of four auctions to sell off the assets of the bankrupt Prost Grand Prix team took place last night at the Paris ‘Palais des Congrès'. 12 Prost cars sold for €1,052,000 along with accessories. Five of the said items belonged to retired driver Jean Alesi, and sold for between €1,700 and €3,400. The highest bid was for € 240,000 for a Formula One Prost Peugeot AP03 from the 2000 season in which Jean Alesi contested three Grand Prix while a Prost Peugeot from the previous year went for €210,000. In all, 12 cars that Prost drove or owned throughout his career were sold to pay off the huge debt the team accumulated.

5/6/02

Letter to the Editor  Dear AutoRacing1.com, I respect your observations about the risk of open wheel racing on ovals. I do feel you need to factor in the IRL race car design and how it may be contributing to drivers injuries in IRL events. The most pointed aspects of an IRL cars design is the protruding transmission, the larger side pods that absorb more energy on impact, and the stiffer sides of the tub which ad to the shock loads during impact. The IRL per miles raced are racking up redundant injuries that are only synonymous to their series. Regards, David R. Smith, Louisville, KY  Answer: David, thanks for writing.  Oval racing, by its very nature, is very dangerous.  When all your testing, practice, qualifying and races are run on ovals, you increase the chances of hitting the wall hard and being seriously injured.  It's always been unsafe, but the transmission sticking out the back of the IRL cars appear to have caused numerous injuries from Day 1 that the IRL started using them.  They have a 'butt' pad on them for a reason, i.e. the IRL recognizes they are unsafe.  You don't see 'butt' pads on Champ Car transverse transmissions.  In the name of saving money, the IRL appears to have come up with an unsafe condition for the drivers, and what is saved in transmission costs is more than made up for in medical bills for back injuries.  However, with that said, I do feel the SAFER wall system saved Robby McGehee from a possible permanent paralysis injury at Indy yesterday.  The speed and angle at which he hit the 3rd turn wall was severe, and we have seen worse injuries at slower speeds without the SAFER Wall.  The IRL has made the right move with this wall, but Robby still has a broken back and broken leg, so that can't be good.  MC

5/6/02

Gordon prepares for double duty  After driving the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet in Sunday's Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Robby Gordon flew to Indianapolis to practice for the Indianapolis 500. Gordon was originally scheduled to practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway all day Sunday but wasn't able to due to the rain delay in the NASCAR Winston Cup event. He was able to drive a few laps in the No. 31 Menard/Childress/Cingular Wireless Chevrolet-powered Dallara during the last hour of practice Sunday. After rain washed out Monday's Indy 500 practice, Gordon flew back to Charlotte in the afternoon to test the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He was originally scheduled to miss the first couple of hours of practice at Charlotte in order to test at Indy. Gordon will also test at Charlotte Tuesday evening and then fly back to Indianapolis to continue practice for the Indy 500.

5/6/02

Longtime T&S member Challis dies  Jerry L. Challis, a longtime member of the Indy Racing League, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and United States Auto Club timing and scoring staffs, died May 4, one day before Opening Day for the 86th Indianapolis 500. Challis, 67, retired from the Indy Racing League in 2001 after a career that began at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and spanned nearly 40 years. In 1963, Challis was brought to the Speedway’s timing and scoring staff by its director, Dick Sauer, to write the first computer programs for the overnight scoring audits that comprised the official Indianapolis 500 timing and scoring report. Soon after, Challis was named the chief scorer for USAC’s Silver Crown division, a post he manned for almost 30 years. Challis’ dedication to the Speedway and USAC were rewarded in 1978 when the Speedway’s new timing and scoring director, Art Graham, named Challis chief scorer. The Indy Racing League became part of Challis’ daily work routine in 1996, the year the series was founded. He handled timing-and-scoring duties for the new series since USAC was the sanctioning body. The IRL assumed control of its race officiating duties during the 1996-97 season, and Challis continued with his chief scorer duties under the league’s Manager of Timing and Scoring, Chuck Whetsel. “Jerry was, for all those years, a person who liked to be in the background but wanted to be part of the auto racing community,” Whetsel said. “Jerry offered a real wealth of real scoring knowledge. I brought to the table the technology and my experience with computers, and Jerry was the real force behind me learning the timing business. He really showed us the way it got done. “Jerry was at home, and with his family, and so he was in the right place. In a lot of ways, I believe he chose this time. Here we are in the month of May, and we’re all here to pay tribute to Jerry. I am happy for that, but I will miss Jerry.” In May 2000, the Indianapolis 500 Oldtimers Club honored Challis with a meritorious service award. One month later, he suffered a debilitating stroke while working at the Indy Racing League event at Pikes Peak International Raceway, which eventually caused his retirement. Challis is survived by his children LeAnn Havener, Angie Ashman, Jerry, Mike and Joe Challis; his brother, Dan Challis; 20 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Calling hours for Challis are at Little & Sons Funeral Home in Beech Grove, Ind., from 4-8 p.m. (EST) Monday, May 6 and Tuesday, May 7. A funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 8 at Little & Sons, followed by burial at Washington Park East Cemetery.  IRL

5/6/02

Changes await ALMS at Sears Point  When racing teams from the American Le Mans Series begin arriving at Sears Point Raceway for the May 19 Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Fosters, they may not recognize the place. As part of a massive $50 million modernization program, the Northern California road racing circuit has changed a great deal since the sports cars of the American Le Mans Series last competed at the track in 2001. Changing the look of the facility in dramatic fashion is a new high-rise permanent grandstand, built on the paddock side of the race track along the start/finish line. Visible from some distance away from the track, the grandstand also contains suites and race control. The raceway has also constructed new terraced seating above turns 7-9, similar to the popular terraced seating that opened at turn 2 last year. In addition, the previous cross-over bridges at turn 10 and at start/finish have been demolished and replaced by walk-through tunnels. Of major interest to drivers and racing teams will be a change in the racing circuit itself, including a re-design of the frontstretch and a new shape to the first turn. Both resulted from the permanent separation of the facility’s drag strip from the road racing circuit. Some sections of the track have also been repaved. Also new is an enlarged and expanded pit road which now extends close to the entrance to the first turn, as well as increased runoff at turns 8, 8a, 9 and 10. Runoff was added at most of the rest of the turns last year. The paddock has also been expanded by nearly 80 percent, and more permanent garages have been built. Four classes of American Le Mans Series cars will compete in the two-hour, 45-minute Grand Prix of Sonoma. The race 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.net. Ticket information is available online at www.searspoint.com or by calling the Sears Point Raceway ticket office at 1-800-870-RACE.  ALMS

5/6/02

Rain in Indy  It's raining in Indy today. so practice has been delayed.  The forecast is for rain most of the week, which means teams may be sitting around with a lot of idle time on their hands.  It will save the teams quite a lot of money, however.  Less car and bodily injury (no running , no accidents) and less engine rebuilds.

5/6/02

Letter of thanks from Roush  Dear Friends, Fellow Competitors, Employees and Fans: This letter is to express my heart-felt thanks for all of the cards, flowers and especially the prayers I have received since my accident on April 19. Your generous outpouring of support has made a huge impact on the success and speed of my recovery. I wish there were a way to thank each of you personally. I have come to realize that I am not only blessed to have survived this accident, but I am equally blessed to have so many people who care so much about my family and me. You will never know how much that means to me. I am anxious to get back to work, and look forward to seeing each and everyone of you again as soon as possible. Thank you again for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers through my perilous time. Sincerely, Jack Roush

5/6/02

Robby McGehee slams Turn 3 wall, breaks back  UPDATE Another oval track victim, though it certainly would have been much worse w/o the SAFER Wall. Drivers and team owners are continuing to question the risk/cost vs. the reward of an all-oval series.  Robby McGehee has not been cleared to practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500 after suffering small fractures in his upper spine and lower left leg said Dr. Henry Bock, IRL director of medical services. McGehee, from St. Louis, was released early May 6 from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and will undergo further evaluation in the next few days, Bock said. McGehee is on crutches and is wearing a soft cast on his left leg. “It’s a shame,” McGehee said. “I’m sore as hell, but I’ll be fine. It hit backward and then flipped on its right side. They say I was in the air, but I can’t remember that because it all happened so fast. The fact that I hit the wall that hard, and I don’t have a head injury is a testament that the SAFER wall worked. “I think I would have had a head injury, for sure, without it. I didn’t want to be the test guinea pig for the new wall barrier; I was joking about that yesterday, but here we are.”  The team lost another car, a major cost. 5/5/02 - Robby McGehee has hit the turn 3 wall at Indy and has been taken the hospital for X-Rays.  The SAFER wall was damaged and will need overnight repairs/replacement.  The have made temporary repairs to the wall for now.  We hope Robby didn't injure his leg again, though he got out under his own power. The car had extensive damage.  Unfortunately the hidden costs of oval track racing keeps mounting.

5/6/02

ORANGE to expand to the USA  According to this Financial Times article, Arrows F1 team sponsor Orange, Europe's second-largest mobile phone company, is in talks with US operators about launching a branded mobile phone service there, says Les Echos, the French newspaper. Proposals are expected to be put to the board of Orange in June and are likely to be the subject of some debate.  If they are accepted, a US Orange service could be launched by the end of the year. Orange had sounded out Voice-Stream, the US mobile subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, about leasing network capacity. Talks collapsed and Orange, controlled by France Telecom, is now in talks with other operators, some of which share GSM, its second-generation technology.  One has to wonder if they will use motorsports in the USA to market their product as they do in Europe through F1.  With CART being a USA and global entity, it brings that much more value to an Orange.

5/6/02

Mixed fortunes for Panoz at Le Mans trials  Panoz Motor Sports battled tough competition and mixed fortunes during today's Le Mans 24 Hour Preliminary Practice at the famous French circuit. The #12 Panoz LM-01 Evo "Spirit of America" car of David Brabham, Jan Magnussen and Bryan Herta finished the day with the 12th fastest time, stopping the clocks at 3 minutes 36.103 seconds. However, the #11 car of David Donohue, Bill Auberlen and Gunnar Jeannette unfortunately lost a significant part of the opening 4 hour practice session when the car suffered a prop-shaft failure in the opening hour of practice. The car was only returned to the pits during the lunch-break, giving the Panoz crew a tough job to repair the car during the break. The Panoz team will now head back to the USA for the next round of the American Le Mans Series at Sears Point in California on May 19. The squad will also undertake an extensive endurance testing program immediately following the Sears Point event, before heading back to France for the Le Mans 24 Hours on the weekend of June 15-16.  Panoz

5/6/02

Another example of why engine manufacturers lose big time in F1 This F1Live.com article talks about Honda not scoring any points in F1, and worse yet, not coming anywhere near having a chance to win races.  This is ruining Honda's reputation, just as it has done to Jaguar and all the other losing F1 engine efforts.  Management at all these companies are questioning why they are wasting the vast amounts of money in F1 that hurts, and not helps, their reputation.  They come across as losers, which of course they are against Ferrari and BMW.  Now you understand why one by one these manufacturers are starting to look at CART.  CART delivers a worldwide audience, though not as large as F1, a global reach nonetheless.  For a fraction of the cost they can compete in CART and actually win races and use those wins to advertise the success of their company.  If CART would stop pretending to be an American series and market itself as a global series, it can easily pick up many F1 manufacturers and sponsors who are beginning to question the value of their F1 investment.  MC

5/6/02

Frank Williams talks about Schumacher dominance   In this The Guardian interview, "I have to admit it's harder work than usual this season because the boys in red have done a better than ever job," "that's not to eulogize them excessively but they are the team to beat and have the best car on the track."

5/6/02
Industry News

Leo Kirch sues  This Financial Times article says that Leo Kirch, the head of troubled German media giant Kirch Group, has filed a lawsuit alleging slander and breach of confidentiality against Rolf Breuer, the outgoing chairman of Deutsche Bank. The legal action, filed in a Frankfurt court, comes in response to a television interview Mr Breuer gave in February, in which he expressed doubts about the media group's financial health.

5/6/02
Industry News

Telefonica seeks merger  Telefonica of Spain is said to be lobbying the government to allow a merger between Via Digital, its lossmaking digital television platform, with rival Canal Satelite Digital, controlled by Vivendi Universal and Prisa, a Spanish media group. Telefonica executives say they are under pressure to stem losses at the media division, which bled Euros 347m (Dollars 318m) last year and Euros 627m in 2000. They believe the unification of both platforms would solve their problems. Financial Times

5/6/02

Sarah Fisher finds Indy 500 ride   At the Indy Speedway Sunday, Sarah Fisher said a sponsorship announcement is coming soon that will team her with Robbie Buhl at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Team owner Dennis Reinbold said he still has to "sort out a few things and see how they come together." But he said Fisher should be on the track by Tuesday, giving her four days of practice before pole qualifying on Saturday. "We'll make sure she gets plenty of time in the car and then go from there," Reinbold said. Reinbold said he has a primary and associate sponsor lined up but would not confirm their identity. The deal is for the Indy 500 only, but owner and driver are interested in continuing together.

5/6/02

Andretti sports Bud sponsorship  CART driver Michael Andretti picked up Budweiser as an associate sponsor on his Motorola Archipelago Dallara Chevy for the Indy 500.  Here he sports the new Bud decals.  One advantage of the big airbox for the normally aspirated engines is the extra space it affords for sponsor decals and/or larger car numbers. Photo courtesy Motorola

5/5/02

Audi's top LeMans warm-up  American Le Mans Series teams Audi Sport North America and The Racer's Group led their respective classes Sunday in the annual 24 Hours of Le Mans preliminary practice session at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Sixteen teams from the American Le Mans Series will be in the field of 48 that will contest the 70th running of the world's most famous endurance race June 15-16. Thirty-one of the selected 48 cars competed in the 2002 ALMS season opener, the 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Dodge on March 16. Audi Sport North America, which is seeking its third consecutive win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, had the fastest car of the day in eight hours of testing at the 8.625-mile circuit. Rinaldo Capello of Italy, the current LMP 900 points leader in the ALMS, turned a lap of 3:30.296 in the closing moments to lead all cars. He will co-drive with Johnny Herbert of England and Christian Pescatori of Italy in the race, the same trio that steered the Audi R8 to victory earlier this year at Sebring. The Racer's Group team, based at Sears Point Raceway in California, was the fastest car in the GT class during the day of testing. The Porsche 911 GT3 RS timed in at 4:10.081 in the team's first-ever appearance at Le Mans. Kevin Buckler of Novato, Calif., the owner of the team, is co-driving with Lucas Luhr and Timo Bernhard of Germany. In the LMP 900 class, Audi Sport's two other cars posted the third and fourth-fastest times of the day. The team of Tom Kristensen, Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela, which has won Le Mans the past two years, was third, with the entry driven by Michael Krumm, Philipp Peter and Marco Werner fourth. Other ALMS LMP 900 teams had disappointing days on the speed chart, including Panoz Motor Sports (12th, 21st), Team Cadillac (16th, 17th) and MBD Sportscar (24th). The Riley & Scott Racing Team, which will run selected ALMS races this year, was 13th fastest. KnightHawk Racing, another ALMS regular, was third-fastest in the LMP 675 class behind two factory MG machines. KnightHawk's MG-Lola is the only regular team from the ALMS competing in the LMP 675 class for smaller, less-powerful Prototypes. Driving the car are Steve Knight, Mel Hawkins and Duncan Dayton. ALMS

5/5/02

Scott Sharp fastest on opening day at Indy  Last years Indy 500 pole sitter, Scott Sharp, turned a lap at 227.571 MPH to just nip Helio Castroneves for top speed honors for opening practice at the Indy Motor Speedway. Castroneves tripped the clock at 227.408 MPH and he was followed by Al Unser Jr. at 226.885 MPH, Bruno Junqueira at 226.833 MPH and Eddie Cheever at 226.374 MPH. Story & Results | Quotes

5/5/02

Indy 500 Firestone tires  “When you have the privilege to launch and promote the only tire ever authorized by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to wear the Indy 500 name and logo, you really want to do it up right!” That’s how Phil Pacsi, executive director of consumer tire marketing for Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT), summarized the planned promotional efforts for the company’s newest tire offering, the Firehawk Indy 500 with UNI-T. The latest addition to the Firestone Firehawk family of consumer performance tires was unveiled May 5 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Opening Day activities for the 86th Indianapolis 500.  IMS

5/5/02

Letter to the Editor  Dear AutoRacing1.com, With CART adopting the normally aspirated motor in 2003, what do you expect will be the most horsepower they can get from the new motor & do you think that CART will change some of their rules to try and increase drivability of the cars. ie carbon fiber brakes, different downforce rules for the road & street tracks and more expensive materials allowed in the gearboxes / engines and what about steering wheel mounted gear shifts. I feel that if CART adopts some of these rule changes it will make the cars faster & will make up for some of the HP loss & weight gains from the new motor. Charles NapierAnswer: Charles,  Everything will be identical on next years Champ Car as it is today, except the motor, which will produce around 725 HP.  Don't expect any new technology - it costs too much - CART is in cost cutting mode.   The engines, being N/A, will get up off the corners a bit better with no turbo lag, so that will help.  Because the car is not at full throttle the full lap (actually only a fraction of it) on road and street circuits, the lap times won't increase drastically. They will, however, be a good bit slower on the ovals...where they need to be.  CART was thinking about taking about 50 lbs or more of ballast out of the cars (yes, the cars all run ballast to meet the minimum weight) to further make up for the lack of HP, especially on the road and street circuits.  That's a no-brainer so let's hope that happens.  Mark C.

5/5/02

More on Cochran lawsuit vs. NASCAR  This Tennessean newspaper article talks about the NASCAR monopoly and how it is good for everyone and hence should not be broken up.  Just pay Bruton Smith off by giving him his second Cup race and Cochran will just go away.. 

5/5/02

Benson hurt in BGN race UPDATE Johnny Benson remained hospitalized yesterday. "They've run tests, and there was one other test they wanted to do and couldn't," team manager Jay Frye said. "I guess when you run CT scans and stuff, you can only have so much barium in a period of time because that hurts your kidneys. That's what they're doing now . . . waiting to do a test again with that stuff." Frye said the hospital is expected to run those tests this morning and release Benson. "So far, everything has checked out except for the ribs," Frye said. "No head injuries or anything like that."  5/4/02 -  Winston Cup regular Johnny Benson was injured in an accident Friday night in the Hardee's 250 BGN race. Benson and Brian Vickers collided in Turn 3 on Lap 23.  Benson's Chevy slammed hard into the wall. Benson was transported to Memorial Regional Medical Center where he was found to have a broken right rib. A CAT scan of his head was negative. He was undergoing additional tests.

5/5/02

Ecclestone says some technology will have to go   In today's Sunday Times of London, F1 honcho Bernie Ecclestone says that he had a number of people examining what could be done to make small changes to the business. “We are taking a good look at the sport,” he said. “In the end what we will try to do is cut back a bit on technology and the need to spend money. There are a few things you could do to a car that would save money. Each vehicle might go a second slower, but nobody would really notice. “If all the teams agree to act in the same way it won’t make a competitive difference but it will mean a huge reduction on spending.” This will help some of the smaller teams, which are struggling to find sponsors and the cash to invest in making their cars as competitive as those from Ferrari, McLaren and Williams. Stoddart has already called for the time and money “wasted” on testing to be reduced.  Ecclestone said the business had survived bleaker economic periods and that he did not want teams to rely on him helping them out. “There is a possibility sooner or later that some of the teams won’t make a go of it and are going to have to put their shutters down,” he said. “I’d hate to see them disappear but that’s how it is. “Many of the people running them are enthusiasts rather than businessmen — many would not get a job running any other business. “The smaller teams see it as a casino, the more they lose, the more money they need to spend — their will to win gets in the way of reality.”

5/5/02

Austria (A1-Ring) GP Preview   The Austrian Grand Prix was first included on the World Championship calendar in 1964 when a race took place on a makeshift track laid out on the runways of the Zeltweg military airfield. By 1970 a purpose-built circuit, the Osterreichring, had been built in the foothills of the nearby mountains and held its first Grand Prix in 1970, enduring on the calendar until 1987 when concerns about circuit safety contributed to the race's withdrawal. Following a ten year break the race resumed at the same venue, but on a shortened 2.668-mile track dubbed the A1-Ring. It is regarded as quite an acrobatic little track with a couple of tight, 90-degree corners and a sequence of higher speed swerves. It is possible to run either high downforce configurations and sacrifice speed on the straights, or low down force trim sacrificing grip on the corners and produce very similar lap times, dependent on the state of the track surface and the grip levels delivered on a specific day. At the A1-Ring the cars run on full throttle for around 70 per cent of the lap distance. The only Austrian drivers to have won Grands Prix in the past are Jochen Rindt, Niki Lauda and Gerhard Berger. Only Lauda ever won his home race in 1984. FIA

5/5/02

F1 team update   The Ferrari team was at Monza from Tuesday until Thursday carrying out tire testing with an F2001 although on the first day Burti had a slight off-track excursion, damaging the nose and front suspension. In total Burti managed 1300km although it rained on the last day. Meanwhile Luca Badoer ran at Fiorano with an F2002, working on every aspect of the car's development.  More...

5/4/02

DEI to park Park  UPDATE Reports that Winston Cup driver Steve Park will be released by Dale Earnhardt, Inc. following the Coca-Cola 600 in three weeks are false, DEI executive vice president Ty Norris told NASCAR.com.   5/4/02 - According to this Sporting News article, Steve Park will be released from the Dale Earnhardt Inc. No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet following the Coca-Cola 600 later this month. Kenny Wallace is expected to take the seat at Dover. While Park has continued his recovery following his crash in last September's Busch race at Darlington, his results in the car are not what the team had hoped for since his return. Park's best finish this season was 20th at Texas, but his average showing is 27th.

5/4/02

IRL was photographing everything in Motegi  We spoke to our CART sources today who told us that Tony George and Brian Barnhart had digital cameras in hand at Motegi and were photographing everything, especially the containers CART uses to transport their cars and equipment via plane overseas. This of course did not sit too well with some CART personnel.  Not only were they at the track on Saturday (race day), they apparently stayed over on Sunday for more meetings.  As we stated on our rumors page, it looks like they have decided to not race at Motegi just yet.  We wonder what they thought about the 72,000 fans sitting in the grandstands, more than the combined attendance at all four of their races to date.  MC

5/4/02
Industry News

Travis leaves Penske for Reynard  Upon learning that Penske will not be allowed to sell cars in the IRL, designer John Travis has left Penske Cars Ltd. in Poole, England, and gone to work for the UK based office of Reynard (or whatever it will be called).  Don't be surprised if Travis starts to work right away on updating the Reynard Champ Car.

5/4/02

Indy 500 fans can win Disney vacation  Indianapolis 500 fans have from May 5-June 7 to register to win a family dream vacation at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla. The Grand Prize winner will receive a four-day, three-night vacation package for four that includes hotel accommodations at a selected Walt Disney World Resort hotel, tickets to all four Walt Disney World theme parks and round-trip air transportation courtesy of American Trans Air. Entry forms for the Walt Disney World vacation contest are available at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum gift shops, in the 86th Indianapolis 500 Official Program, at the WIBC radio promotion area in the Bombardier Pagoda Plaza, the lobby of the Brickyard Crossing Resort and Inn and the lobby of the IMS Administration Building. The winner’s name will be drawn within a few days following the June 7 entry deadline. Contest rules and information will be available on www.brickyard.com beginning with Indianapolis Star Opening Day on May 5. The Speedway has a strategic marketing and promotions alliance with Walt Disney World, and a key component of that is Tomorrowland Indy Speedway.

5/4/02

Minassian battles F3000 rival Manning at Rockingham  Nicolas Minassian got to within eight thousandths of a second of pacesetter Darren Manning in the battle for pole position for the opening round of the ASCAR series at Rockingham today. Minassian battled with former F3000 rival Manning throughout the one hour session and now joins him on the front row for the Goodyear 100 tomorrow. Manning beat off the challenge of former Champ Car driver Minassian, Stevie Hodgson and British Touring Car champion Jason Plato after a titanic battle during the one hour qualifying session. "It's all about which guy wants it most," said Minassian, who drives for Ray Mallock Ltd. "I'm really enjoying myself. ASCAR have done one hell of a good job to get this series up and running. I'm loving it." The 60-lap opening round of the ASCAR series is expected to be a highly competitive and action-packed race after half a second separated the top six places during the session for the Goodyear 100 at the 1.5-mile Rockingham banked oval today. "It makes a change to drive a car with a permanent smile on your face," said Manning, who drives for Bintcliffe Sport, said. "The car's still not 100 per cent but the race is going to be fantastic."  Manning, who is test driver for the BAR Honda F1 team, topped the times on only his fourth lap during the first ten minutes of the session and while Frenchman Minassian, Hodgson, Plato and reigning ASCAR champion John Mickel piled on the pressure, the Harrogate man held on for the remaining 50 minutes. Manning's team-mate Plato, who cracked his ribs during a two-seater ASCAR ride two weeks ago, proved that he is made of sterner stuff with a place on the second row of the grid. Plato said: "In all honesty, the amount of fun I've had in this car today I don't care if I race in Touring Cars ever again. It's proper, proper fun. There's nothing like going through turn three at 175mph and keeping your foot in."

5/4/02

Rockingham track applies for longer hours  This article in the Stamford Today (England) newspaper says that the Rockingham, England track has applied for longer racing hours, from its current hours of 10 AM to 5 PM, now extended two hours, from 9 AM to 6 PM.  However, the tree huggers around the track are still complaining about noise.  Having been to the Rockingham track, we saw mostly commercial property near the track and not that much densely populated residential areas.

5/4/02

Jimmy Spencer's father, brother in hot water  According to this AP article, The father and brother of NASCAR racer Jimmy Spencer are facing conspiracy charges for what police say was a scheme to steal truck tires for resale at their junkyard.  We bet Spencer loved that this one got out.

5/4/02

CART needs to question Haymarket's motives  UPDATE Dear Andrew, Autosport, and RACER and the SCCA's Sportscar magazine recently ran with a FREE, bagged on, high quality, 68page CART preview magazine called Wide Open. That's a run of something like 300,000 copies. Haymarket is also producing the full page advertisements previewing each of the CART races that you are seeing in USA Today and the Indianapolis Star. That will reach many more fans than an extra page for a race report in Autosport.  However, we too find it a bit surprising that Autosport has not also increased the number of inches it devotes to reporting on CART since they now have this relationship.  After all, CART does race in England now, Haymarket's headquarters.  Mark C. 5/4/02 -  Dear AutoRacing1.com,  CART and Haymarket announced a partnership whereby Haymarket would produce materials for CART (recent annual CART Guide is one example) and do other things to promote CART in Europe.  I'm not privy to the details of their agreement, but as a UK citizen and subscriber to Haymarket's Autosport Magazine, I am appalled at what little coverage CART continues to get, and in fact sometimes they have more IRL coverage than CART.  I went to their website the last two days, and CART isn't even listed on their home page with any news.  With partners like that, who needs enemies?  Surely CART can do better.  Andrew Stillborne, Appalled in England

5/4/02
Industry News

DaimlerChrysler to sign engine deal with Hyundai  According to this Reuters article, Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea's largest automaker, said on Saturday it would hold a signing ceremony on Sunday for a U.S. joint venture to produce passenger car engines with DaimlerChrysler AG . It will be the second tie-up between South Korean and U.S. carmakers in a week following a deal on Tuesday for General Motors Corp to buy key parts of bankrupt Daewoo Motor Co.

5/4/02

Help Wanted   CART will be moving its headquarters from Michigan to Indianapolis on May 17th.  As we understand it, up to 40% of their office staff will not be making the move, deciding Indy wasn't the place for them.  We hear CART has already hired some local people in Indianapolis, and will be looking for more as the settle into their new home.  Mark C.

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