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DATE

News (chronologically)

5/16/02

Brazil Austria GP fallout  Article from El Norte (Mexico) translated from Spanish to English for AR1 by Ed McFarlane  More....

5/16/02

Will open wheel summit help thaw CART/IRL chill? High-ranking leaders from the sanctioning body, broadcast, sponsorship and supplier segments of motorsports will meet May 21-22 in Indianapolis for the inaugural Open-Wheel Racing Summit, presented by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal magazine. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Westin Indianapolis will play host to the two-day conference, which takes place in the week leading up to the 86th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on Sunday, May 26. Key leaders from four open-wheel racing sanctioning bodies, including Indy Racing League President Tony George and representatives from Formula One, Championship Auto Racing Teams and the United States Auto Club, will join high-ranking motorsports marketing, branding, broadcasting, and supplier executives, along with Wall Street motorsports analysts, to discuss and plan the future course of open-wheel racing in the United States. More...

5/16/02

Phil Carlson wins karting double  Phil Carlson won both SKUSA ProMoto Flatout Decals SuperPro events in Sonoma backing-up his win at the season opener in Phoenix,  making him the SKUSA series point’s leader. Carlson also took the brand new Memo Gidley Signature Trachmagic chassis to the top of the podium for its first win. Carlson won the opening western round and dominated the second round in the CART Stars of Tomorrow Series until the engine had carburetion problems. Keep your eyes on Carlson since he is a favorite for the championship in the SKUSA ProMoto Tour and the CART Stars of Tomorrow Series. See where he lands in open wheel cars in 2003 after his strong run to third in the USAC Formula Russell Race Championship Series in 2001.

5/16/02

Fittipaldi completes Day 1 of 2   After rain cancelled testing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this past Monday and Tuesday, Newman/Haas Racing quickly regrouped and put into place a new plan that included rescheduling the test from Ohio to Florida, booking travel arrangements for the crew and engineering staff, changing the set-up on the No. 11 Lilly Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone race cars from road course configuration to oval and moving the precious cargo to Florida via a 28 hour commute. Lilly driver Fittipaldi believes the rescheduling was the right decision. "We were rained out on Monday in Ohio and the forecast didn't look so good on Tuesday," said Fittipaldi. "The best case scenario was that if it didn't rain on Tuesday, the temperature would still be too cool for the information to apply to our race there in August. The entire team went in to a 'regroup mode' and reorganized everything for only a few days later and many, many states away. The equipment had to go from Ohio to Chicago to Florida in the
space of a few days. The entire process was flawless and it showed the how well this organization works together." "Apart from that, the test today went very well," added Fittipaldi who completed a total of 336 miles (in two cars) around the 1.5-mile short oval with a best lap time of 27.4. "We were the only team that came here so we didn't have a gauge as to how well we ran but we were able to accomplish a long list of things we needed to test. We actually needed to spend more time on an oval than a road course so everything seems to have worked out for the best and I guess we have Mother Nature to thank for this. The engineers worked hard to dig into the big library of information the team has and the balance of the car was much better. I'm looking forward to making more progress tomorrow." The Lilly team will complete the second and final day of testing for the 2002 season at the Miami-Homestead oval course tomorrow.

5/16/02

Herbert to attempt double on Sunday  Johnny Herbert will attempt to qualify and race in two different series this weekend. He plans to race for Audi this Sunday in Sonoma, California. He also plans to be in Indianapolis Sunday afternoon for the final qualifying day in his bid to make the starting field for the 500. "It can be done," Herbert tells the Indianapolis Star, "but everything's going to have to go perfectly." Herbert is scheduled to be the fourth man on the track at Indianapolis and, if all goes well, he should be finished his qualifying run by 12:45 pm central time. He will then hop on a plane and fly to California in order to finish the final third of the two-hour, 45-minute race in Sonoma.

5/16/02

Ray leads Thursday practice at Indy  1999 Indy Racing League champion Greg Ray led Indianapolis 500 practice May 16, an eventful day that included two rain delays and a crash by Bruno Junqueira in the car that he drove to the MBNA Pole on May 11. Ray was fastest at 39.5968 seconds, 227.291 mph in the No. 11 A.J. Foyt Racing/Harrah’s Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. It was the second consecutive strong day for Ray, who was second to teammate Airton Dare on Wednesday with a lap of 39.4895, 227.909 in the No. 11 car. Both Ray and Dare must attempt to earn a spot in the 33-car field Sunday on the final day qualifications, Bump Day. “We made some small changes,” Ray said. “The speed wasn’t much faster, but the improvement in feel and confidence was huge. The car was fantastic in Turn 1, and the conditions out there weren’t that good. “We’ve been a little more conservative than usual in our approach. With the small changes we made this morning, the car came right. So a little more of that, and we’ll be good for qualifying.” Junqueira was second at 39.7179, 226.598 in the No. 22T Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone, the backup car of his teammate Kenny Brack. Junqueira crashed early in the afternoon in the No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone in which he won the pole. Junqueira was unhurt and cleared to drive, and the car suffered minor damage to the left-rear and left-front suspension. As Junqueira approached the pit entrance, his car suddenly veered right, spun 180 degrees and hit the outside retaining wall on the front straightaway with the left side of the car. “I was coming into the pits a little too fast, and the brakes locked up on me,” Junqueira said. “I was going too fast, so I tried to get back out on the track, and the car just came around. “The car is not bad at all. Luckily, the car was not damaged that badly, and we’ll be fine for the next two weeks. We did some race simulation laps this morning and the car is pretty good in race trim. I can’t wait to get back in the car.” Dare was third fastest at 39.7379, 226.484 in the No. 14 Harrah’s/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Quotes | Speeds IRL

5/16/02

Full slate for Portland  A Barber Dodge Pro Series race has been added to the upcoming CART weekend.  Portland now includes Champ Cars, Toyota Atlantics, Barber Dodge and go-kart races.

5/16/02

Takagi tests F1 car, da Matta tomorrow  Tora Takagi returned to the cockpit of an F1 car when he tested for the Toyota team at the French circuit of Paul Ricard today.
Cristiano da Matta is scheduled to get his first run in a Toyota F1 car when testing continues tomorrow. "The last time I drove in F1 was two years ago," said the former Arrows and Tyrrell driver. "For me this was an exciting experience and it is incredible just how much F1 technology has changed in that time. I want to say thanks to Toyota for giving me the chance to drive today. It was good fun and very different than CART."
Pos, Driver, Chassis-engine, Time, Laps
1) David Coulthard, McLaren/Mercedes-Benz, 1:13.342, 105
2) Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren/Mercedes-Benz, 1:13.828, 75
3) Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Arrows/Cosworth, 1:14.157, 92
4) Felipe Massa, Sauber/Petronas, 1:14.291, 100
5) Mika Salo, Toyota, 1:15.019, 57
6) Tora Takagi, Toyota, 1:16.958, 106

5/16/02

New MG (Memo Gidley) line of karts  American racing driver Memo Gidley has teamed up with Trackmagic Racing Karts to release his own signature line of shifter karts, called the "Trackmagic MG." Currently known as "Supersub" for his ability to substitute for CART/Fed Ex drivers on a moment's notice, Gidley has maintained strong ties to the karting community throughout his professional career. "I've been with Trackmagic since I started racing karts, and I have always been interested in having my own line," said Gidley. "There are a number of drivers who have attached their name to a brand, but in this case I helped design it, I tested it, and I went out and raced it." During the off season and in between Champ Car engagements, Gidley has served as the primary test driver for Trackmagic Karts, and uses karting as a key part of his training regimen. With three podium finishes, four top five finishes and six top ten finishes over three CART/Fed Ex seasons, Gidley is living proof that driving skills developed in karts can be directly applied to the fastest race cars in the world. The new "Trackmagic MG" scored a recent victory during the most recent SKUSA Superkarts USA race at the Sears Point Karting track in Sonoma, CA. last weekend, when JAF driver Phil Carlson won the highly competitive Super Pro Class. Gidley is not surprised by the early success. "I had certain goals in mind when I set out to develop the Trackmagic MG. I wanted a kart specifically designed for American racing conditions, a kart that was more suited to the motors we use, the weight regulations of our classes, and the overall size of our drivers." Gidley's karting line is only the most recent of his many endeavors to support the karting community, and young drivers who are coming up through the ranks. Along with his annual karting clinic in Hawaii, Gidley can be seen at kart tracks around the country, helping and inspiring young racers. Building on the success of the initial "MG" model, Gidley plans to introduce a full line of Trackmagic MG karts to include the 100cc kart, 80cc shifter, and cadet kart

5/16/02

Paul Newman returns to the stage  (AP) Paul Newman is returning to the stage for the first time in 35 years. The Oscar winner will star in ``Our Town'' next month at the Westport Country Playhouse, which is near his home. The movie star and Westport resident was not the first choice for the lead role of stage manager in the Thornton Wilder play. Joanne Woodward - the theater's artistic director, and Newman's wife - said she didn't think of her husband for the lead when she chose the play to open the theater's 72nd season. ``It wouldn't have dawned on me to ask him!'' Woodward said Wednesday. When they discussed the play a few months ago, Newman said, ``I could play that role.'' ``And I said, `Of course, you could,' and then I went and took a bath. When I came back into the room, he said, `Listen to this a minute,' and then he recited the whole first speech (from the play),'' Woodward said. ``I was stunned.'' ``Our Town,'' which won Wilder the Pulitzer Prize in 1938, is set in 1903 in Grovers Corners, N.H., and explores the appreciation of everyday pleasures.

5/16/02

Infiniti Pro: ex-CART electronics wiz Horton appointed  Jeff Horton has been named technical director of the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series and director of engineering for the Indy Racing League, IRL officials announced May 16. Horton will be responsible for the enforcement of all technical regulations pertaining to the Infiniti Pro Series, ranging from engine electronics to chassis. In his complementary role as director of engineering for the Indy Racing League, Horton will work closely with IRL Technical Director Phil Casey to establish and enforce regulations for electrical components on Indy Racing League cars. Horton will report to Brian Barnhart, vice president of operations for the Indy Racing League, and work closely with Roger Bailey, executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series. “Any time you have the opportunity to add someone of Jeff’s quality and reputation, who is so well-respected, to the staff, you’re excited about it,” said Barnhart. “In particular, Jeff has greatly increased our ability to police the electronic aspects of the Indy Racing League specifications.” A graduate of Wayne State University with a degree in electrical engineering, Horton began his career with Buick Motorsports, working on the engine manufacturer’s American Racing Series (later Indy Lights), GTP and Indy programs before being promoted to manager of the Chevy Indy program in 1993. After nine years with General Motors, Horton moved to Ilmor Engineering, where he worked on the Mercedes-Benz Indy program. In 1995, Horton renewed his association with General Motors and was responsible for the wiring layout and fuel calibration for the Oldsmobile Aurora engine program for the Indy Racing League. Horton returned to the Indy Lights Series in 1996 as manager of engine electronics under series President Roger Bailey. Horton most recently was the vice president of electronic systems for Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc.

5/16/02

Junqueira crashes pole car  After spending most of the morning in the teams spare #22T car, Bruno Junqueira has crashed his primary car #33 coming out of turn four. He is out of the car, and apparently he is fine.  Junqueira was entering the pits at 12:37 p.m. (EST) when the car suddenly veered right just before the end of the pit wall, spun 180 degrees and hit the outside retaining wall with the left side of the car. Junqueira climbed from the car without assistance. He was evaluated and released without injury from the Clarian Emergency Medical Center at the track and cleared to drive. The left rear and left front of Junqueira's car suffered light damage, as the suspension arms were bent.

5/16/02

New CART offices opening in Indy  CART is in the final stages of the relocation process which will move the open-wheel sanctioning body from its home in Troy, Mich., to Indianapolis tomorrow. CART will close its office doors in Michigan - CART's home for the past 23 years - at day's end on Friday, May 17, and reopen its doors Monday, May 20 in Indianapolis. The relocation positions CART in close proximity to the majority of teams participating in the CART FedEx Championship Series. "Relocating to Indianapolis will increase the efficiency of how we do business in the sport of open-wheel racing and enable CART to be closer to its teams," said CART President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher R. Pook. "It's absolutely the best location for CART and we are very much looking forward to making Indianapolis our new home." In all, 10 of the 14 teams currently competing in the CART FedEx Championship Series call Indianapolis home, with the remaining teams making their homes in neighboring Illinois and bordering Ohio. The relocation also benefits a number of CART employees with ties to the Indianapolis area. Approximately 25 percent of CART's current workforce has either worked or lived in Indiana previously. CART's new facility boasts 64,000 square feet - 24,000 of which will be dedicated to office space for 90 CART employees, and 40,000 of warehouse space for housing 13 CART FedEx Championship Series semis and tractor trailers, a fleet of pace cars, Simple Green CART Safety Team vehicles and the CART traveling medical center. This will mark the first time in history that CART is housed under one roof. Effective May 20, CART will begin operation from Indianapolis' northwest side at the following address:
5350 Lakeview Parkway South Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46268 USA
(317) 715-4100 Main office
(317) 715-4110 fax

5/16/02

Hinton - road racers dominate oval drivers  In this Orlando Sentinel article Ed Hinton say, The full measure of a driver is how well he or she adapts to all sorts of tracks, including road courses. Oval trackers rarely adapt well to road racing. On the other hand, road racers often adjust with lightning quickness to ovals -- witness pole-sitter Bruno Junqueira and three other Brazilians in the top five starting positions for this year's 500, all of them at more than 230 mph.  Of course he forgot to mention Juan Montoya's complete dominance of Indy two years ago, Helio Castroneves last year, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell, etc.

5/16/02

Danica Patrick on beating Sam Hornish  In this Orlando Sentinel article by Ed Hinton, Danica Patrick has this to say about Sam Hornish - The other day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, sitting in Team Rahal's motor coach in the paddock, Patrick happened to see a television interview with Sam Hornish Jr., 21, the male prodigy of the Indy Racing League, who won the championship last year and is leading the points this season. Hornish, she said, was the only male driver she had problems with, while they were both teenagers, soaring up through the ranks of championship go-karting. "You just felt the bad vibes from him -- he just didn't like getting beat by a girl," she said, remembering a slam-bang encounter with Hornish that she won, in a national meet. "A lap before the end, I was in the lead. He tapped me in a corner, and then he and another guy got by me. So I'm third in the last lap, and there's one more corner left." And then she smiled with cool satisfaction: "I never lifted. Just drove straight over the top of him."

5/16/02

ABC announces Monaco booth team  ABC will pair Ben Edwards and John Watson in the booth for the Monaco F1 race. Edwards has broadcasted CART and and the 24 Hours of LeMans in the past, and he has worked at Eurosport and other networks. Watson is a former F1 driver.

5/16/02

Toyota to do more business in China  Toyota Motor Corp. plans to make four-wheel recreational vehicles at a bus making joint venture in central China as early as 2004, the Asahi Shimbun reported, without citing sources. The paper's online Thursday edition said Toyota plans to produce the Land Cruiser Prado model at the plant in Sichuan Province, aiming for an annual output of 1,000 to 2,000 units. Hoping to make inroads into China's growing auto market, Toyota plans to step up production in the country, the paper said. The auto giant currently produces small cars in China under another joint venture at Tianjin in northern China.   Reuters

5/16/02

More on CART German TV deal  UPDATE The "German 500" will be the TV presenter of all the races. Three times per race the fans will be informed about the German 500 and the Ticket/Info Hotline. The powers to be continue to push ORB and Steffen Simon very hard and it appears some other ARD Channels will cover the series as well.   5/15/02 - As a follow-up to our previous German TV post.  ORB intends to make all the broadcasts available to the other regional ARD channels for free. But no deal with any of those has been finalized yet. Last year a million people in Germany tuned in to the coverage of the CART race at the Eurospeedway despite RTL's parallel coverage of Formula 1 qualifying. Now, add a German driver to CART, think of the fact how mad most German fans are about Ferrari (with the Austrian GP happenings) and the numbers will skyrocket. Then, other regional ARD channels will be eager to join the broadcast which in turn increases the numbers again. Watching this, ARD will move more races onto the nationwide terrestrial broadcast and the numbers will come close to Formula 1.... CART, are you listening? Finally, compare all that to IRL's German TV package. The IRL races are all on Kirch's Premiere-PayTV (similar to HBO in the US). Premiere has a mere 2,4 to 2,5 million subscribers. So far, none of the IRL-races was live on Premiere, everything delayed by at least two days. Even though Premiere has a policy of not publishing any ratings or whatsoever numbers, it's no secret that the IRL viewership in Germany has been more than disappointing. Estimates range from an average of 30 000 to 50 000 people watching an IRL event. But one Premiere employee was heard saying that "even 35 000 people tuning in to an IRL race would be very optimistic." That translates to a share of less than 2 percent of all Premiere subscribers and less than a fraction of all possible viewers.

5/16/02

Both CART & F1 submit proposals to NY City  UPDATE Here is another article by NY Post writer Kevin Ma (part 2 of a continuing series) on what it will take to have a successful race in NY City.  5/15/02 -  According to the May 20th issue of Smith & Street's Sports Business Journal, in an article written by Daniel Kaplan, CART and Formula One have submitted separate proposals to the city of New York for an open-wheel auto race that would be held on city streets.  "I would like to bring an event to New York that people don't necessarily think of when they think of New York City," said Ken Podziba, commissioner of the New York City Sports Commission, the city agency charged with attracting professional and amateur sporting competitions. "We want to bring in an event that is truly international. Auto racing is not an event people associate with New York City, which is why I want it so badly." The city is reviewing proposals from two groups, Podziba said, though he identified only CART. A source said that the other group was F1, the only other major open-wheel group that stages street races.  The economic impact of the race could be significant, Podziba said, though he did not provide an estimate for a New York event. CART, he said, has argued that the economic impact would be at least as high as the series' largest road race, Long Beach, which CART claims is $39 million.  With F1 already in Indy and Montreal, and other countries wanting a F1 race, we doubt F1 is serious about NY City.  F1 requested that questions on the subject be faxed to the organization, but then did not respond to Mr. Kaplan.

5/16/02

Superb German TV package for CART  CART might not have the best TV package in the US, but thanks to Chris Pook they have the best German TV package anyone could get (except F1 of course). It's official and final and signed and sealed. ORB, the regional German terrestrial channel of the nationwide ARD, will broadcast ALL CART races starting with the Milwaukee Mile. ORB also is available on a few cable systems in other German regions/cities, and more importantly via Astra satellite all over Europe. The 2 European races (Rockingham and Lausitzring) will be live on the the ARD channel. In addition to the ARD broadcast of the Eurospeedway event, ORB not only carries the same live footage on its regional program but extends the total coverage to a non-stop commercial free 5-hour-event (5-hours both on ARD and ORB). All the remaining CART races will be broadcast by ORB, with 2 races (Laguna Seca and Vancouver live)  and all the rest of the time delayed from as little as 15 Minutes to a maximum of 4 hours.  The reason behind that is the fact that most races in the US would fall into prime time on Sunday night - an impossible mission for the ORB-producer who was pushed the contract through. The race calls will be made by Manfred Jantke (formerly Porsche-PR-manager and commentator for Eurosport), Arndt Meier (former German CART driver) and ARDs Andreas Spellig, who also is in charge of ARDs Formula 1 coverage (Friday practice only, because RTL has the F1-rights for Saturday and Sunday).  The force behind the deal is Steffen Simon, the sports editor in chief at the ORB (guess all the CART fans in Europe should send him a thank you-note). Here is how much of a fantastic deal this is for CART: It's like some guy at ABC trying to convince the top ABC brass that it would be a good idea to televise all races of the German Touring Car Championship or the Formula 3000 on an ABC affiliate with 2 races broadcast nationwide in the US on Sunday afternoon with the NFL as competition. If he would succeed it would be kind of a world wonder. Now you understand how much goodwill and support CART gets from this small TV station.  Schedule (in local Germany Military Time):
Milwaukee ORB 22.30 - 01.00
Laguna Seca ORB live 22.30 - 01.00
Portland ORB 22.10 - 00.40
Chicago ORB 22.10 - 00.40
Toronto ORB 22.05 - 00.35
Cleveland ORB 22.05 - 00.35
Vancouver ORB live 22.20 - 00.50
Lexington ORB 22.20 - 00.50
Elkhart Lake ORB 22.35 - 01.05
Montreal ORB 22.20 - 00.50
Denver ORB 22.20 - 00.50
Rockingham ARD live 14.15 - 17.00
Eurospeedway ARD live 13.00 - 18.00
Miami ORB 22.20 - 00.50
Mexico City ORB 22.20 - 00.50
Surfers Paradise ORB 22.20 - 00.50
Fontana ORB 22.20 - 00.50

5/16/02

FIA approves California firm  Italian auto electronics giant Magneti Marelli, a long-standing Wind River customer, has been supplying engine control units (ECUs) to a handful of Formula One teams…Renault, Toyota, Sauber, Minardi, and the defending world champion Ferrari team. The heart of the Marelli ECU is the VxWorks® real-time embedded operating system from Wind River. Now the FIA, the international governing body of Formula One racing, has approved the use of VxWorks for all teams in F1 competition.  ‘Approval of the use of VxWorks in the Formula One cars shows both that a commercial off-the-shelf operating system can meet the stringent demands of the FIA organization and that Wind River is meeting the needs of the Formula One motor sport car manufacturers,’ said Tom St Dennis, president and CEO of Wind River. ‘Our involvement with Formula One racing is just one example of Wind River's innovative work in the automotive industry worldwide.’  The FIA approved the use of programmable electronics, or embedded systems, to aid the driver in Formula One racing, subject to exact traceability of the source code. For the 2002 season the FIA has allowed two-way telemetry between the car and pit lane, enabling the electronics set-up of the car to be modified during a race. A Formula One car contains dozens of microprocessors, or embedded computers. Until now Formula One teams have had to develop their own operating system and application software for each of these microprocessors and submit each system to FIA scrutiny. Now that Wind River's VxWorks operating system has been FIA approved, teams will be able to focus solely on the development of applications to improve the performance of the car.  Wind River

5/16/02

Schumacher to be charged with fraud  According to Australian press reports, Michael Schumacher is facing betting fraud charges in Italy and Austria following his win in Austria over the weekend. The German was handed the win after his team asked Rubens Barrichello to let Schumacher pass and take the checkered flag. "We are not going to let Ferrari make fools of us," said Austrian businessman Wolfgang Poeltl. Poeltl also intends to take Barrichello and the Ferrari team to court in a class action. Two Italian protection agencies have contacted the state prosecutor to discuss legal actions against Schumacher and Ferrari.

5/16/02

Andretti worries about cold temperatures at Indy Sunday  As this Ticker article points out, at least 11 drivers would have to post speeds faster than Andretti's qualifying speed to knock him out. Regardless, it's just another situation that raises Andretti's anxiety level at the Indianapolis 500, a race he never has won despite leading 398 laps -- more than any non-winner in the storied history of the race. "It's supposed to be really cold on Sunday, so that worries me a little bit," Andretti said. When the temperature is cooler, speeds often are faster. However, a cold track can cause dangerous conditions. Sunday's high is predicted to be 58 degrees, which means the final hour of qualifying could produce extremely fast conditions. "We're hoping that we're all right, but we can't sit there and hope, we have to make sure we are ready just in case we have to be," Andretti said. "Hopefully, we'll have 39T (backup car) up to speed if we need it."

5/16/02

Microsoft to make X-Box in China  As both CART and F1 look to race in China - Another American company moves business to China..  Microsoft, looking to cut costs on its Xbox video game console, on Wednesday said that it would shift output from Hungary to China and look to setup a 2nd plant in China as well.  The move to China would help trim production costs because many of the machine's electronic parts were made by Asian companies, meaning those components would no longer need to be shipped to Europe for assembly.  "From the start of Xbox, we knew we wanted to be in China at some point, but we were also on very tight development schedule," said a Microsoft rep. "Now, as we move into the next phase of the program, cost and efficiency are very important, and we are going to execute on our plans to move to China."  Reuters

5/16/02

ALMS tour stops in San Francisco Taking advantage of their time in one of the world's most beautiful and popular cities, drivers from the American Le Mans Series enjoyed a day of fun in San Francisco before beginning to get down to the business of competition at nearby Sears Point Raceway. The series returns to action after a two-month break with Sunday's Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Fosters. The two hour, 45-minute sports car event will begin at 1 p.m. (PDT) and will be televised live by SPEED Channel. Practice begins Friday with qualifying set for Saturday. Nineteen drivers donned their racing suits and took a half-hour ride on a cable car Wednesday afternoon, taking in the sites from Fisherman's Wharf to Chinatown during a video and photo shoot. One of San Francisco's most recognizable symbols, the cable car carried the drivers up and down the steep hills that have appeared in so many movies and television shows filmed in The City by The Bay. The vehicle stopped once and the drivers disembarked to have a look at the famous zig-zag Lombard Street. While gathering at Ghiradelli Square to board the cable car and standing around in their racing suits, the drivers attracted many passers-by. Participants in the ride included Emanuele Pirro and Rinaldo Capello (Audi Sport North America), Chris Dyson and Elliott Forbes-Robinson (Dyson Racing), Bill Auberlen, David Brabham, David Donohue, Bryan Herta and Gunnar Jeannette (Panoz Motor Sports) and Terry Borcheller (Konrad Motorsport).  "This is a great city to visit and I'm enjoying playing tourist. I'm staying at a little place near Chinatown and I've just been out walking around and looking." "I try to have some time to look around, especially when it's in America," said Germany's Maassen. "There are so many things to see." Earlier in the day, Capello and Pirro joined American Le Mans Series founder Don Panoz in the kitchen at the oldest Italian restaurant in America, Fior d'Italia in San Francisco's North Beach section. As TV cameras rolled, Capello, Pirro and Panoz helped prepare food for a noon press conference at the site. "I feel home," said Pirro, the 2001 ALMS champion. "I really enjoy cooking and to get to do it in such a professional atmosphere is really fun." Pirro and Capello conversed in Italian with restaurant head chef Gianni Audieri as they prepared the meals. The cooking segment was featured in the evening news on two San Francisco TV stations. ALMS

5/16/02

G-Force celebrates Indy pole More than 70 men and women arrived for work in Braselton, Georgia, last Monday morning with an energized sense of pride and achievement. While Bruno Junqueira had the tough job of piloting his G Force chassis for four perfect laps of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in pole day qualifying on the previous Saturday - he was not the only one who spent a nervous day wondering whether his speed of 231.342mph who be fast enough to clinch the pole for the world's greatest race. That achievement of putting the first American made car on pole position for the Indy 500 since 1980 was shared by the men and women in Braselton who built the 2002 G Force machines. Originally founded in the UK, G Force is now part of Don Panoz's Georgia-based Elan Motor Sport Technologies group. To see a G Force gain pole position - and four of the first qualifying spots - was an enormous thrill for Gainesville, GA-based composite shop supervisor, Matt Lodge. "I was sitting at home watching qualifying and it was just an amazing result," he said. "It was really rewarding to see all our hard work had turned out so well. It really is a fabulous achievement. "For Bruno to set that time so early made for a nerve-racking day, but I was confident it would hold up for the pole. "The atmosphere at work on Monday was fantastic - the vibe around here was definitely bright. We hope the guys can now repeat the effort in the race. "Not everybody gets to go to races, but we have a big BBQ planned on raceday to cheer the guys on." Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Junqueira was joined in the top five by Robbie Buhl in 2nd (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing); Felipe Giaffone, 4th (Mo Nunn Racing) and Tony Kaanan, 5th (Mo Nunn Racing. Crowd favorite Sarah Fisher also pulled out the fastest ever qualifying time in Indy 500 history for a woman when she piloted her Dreyer & Reinbold G Force to the 9th fastest time. For Allan Bernard of Auburn, GA, the chance to help build the car that sat on the pole at the Indy 500 is a one-in-a-lifetime experience for the composite laminator. "I have never been to the race, but I have watched it all my life," he said. "Getting the chance to play a part in building these cars is a dream job for me. It makes me really proud to work for an American company and be part of an achievement like this - that is the key reason why I wanted to work here. "Not many people around the local region probably know what we do here. NASCAR is very popular around this area, but people will be really surprised when they here that the pole car for Indy was actually built in Georgia." G-Force

5/16/02

Big names lineup for CART Stars event  A virtual who’s-who in North American kart racing is taking shape for the first Championship Auto Racing Teams Stars of Tomorrow Buffalo Bill’s Grand Prix at the Buffalo Bill’s Resort and Casino in Primm, Nevada, May 31, June 1-2. Event organizers have announced that a full $5,000 cash prize will be awarded to the winner of the 125 ICC shifter class. “There are two things close to a racer’s heart – competition and cash. We will have both in abundant supply come the end of May at Buffalo Bill’s” said Stars founder Bryan Herta. “We have confirmed a stellar ICC field and the response for the Rotax Max and other Stars classes has been very positive.” Among the drivers scheduled to compete are current shifter kart standouts Phil Carlson, Alex Speed, Benny Moon, Ron and Joe White, and Kyle Martin. Barber-Dodge Pro Series points leader A.J. Allmendinger (right) will be rushing back from his car event in Connecticut to join the Paul Tracy Karting squad on its Stars assault. "The Stars program has provided some of my biggest awards and opportunities, and it still offers tough competition and top-rate prizes. Any racer who likes that should be there – it’s definitely the place to be in karting." Making his first appearance in a national event since last November, Darren Elliott (pictured left) will dust off the gloves to dust up this resort town 30 miles south of Las Vegas. Elliott has near-legendary status gained from his epic battles with the likes of Memo Gidley, Alex Barron, Michael Valiante, and Jason LaPoint in the late nineties and his presence will surely turn up the heat on the ICC field. More information on the Buffalo Bill’s Grand Prix and the CART Stars of Tomorrow can be found a the new Stars website at www.cartstars.com. Partial list of racers scheduled to compete: · Darren Elliott (SSC) , · Phil Carlson (JAF Racing), · Alex Speed (JM Racing), · AJ Allmendinger (Paul Tracy Karting), · Ron White (Extreme Karting), · Joe White (Extreme Karting), · Matt Jaskol (Paul Tracy Karting), · Preston Peebles (Mile High), · Benny Moon (Paul Tracy Karting), · Kyle Martin (Trackmagic), · Jake Pierson (Trackmagic), · Juliana Chiovitti (Trackmagic), · Michael Abbate (MTC), · Nick Green (Paul Tracy Karting), · Jason Bowles (MS Kart), · David Jurca (Italian Motors), · Jordy Vorrath (Italian Motors), · Tyler Lewis (Leading Edge), · Chris Festa (Paul Tracy Karting), · Patrick Daily (SSC).   The CART Stars of Tomorrow karting series is the official first level in CART’s driver development system. Specifically designed as a driver development series, Stars focuses on recognizing the skills of the drivers rather than the technology development within the machines, using FIA/CIK international standards. The Stars program consists of several regional race series, plus three national and one grand national event. More information can be found at www.cartstars.com.

5/16/02

More on CART German TV deal  UPDATE The "German 500" will be the TV presenter of all the races. Three times per race the fans will be informed about the German 500 and the Ticket/Info Hotline. The powers to be continue to push ORB and Steffen Simon very hard and it appears some other ARD Channels will cover the series as well.   5/15/02 - As a follow-up to our previous German TV post.  ORB intends to make all the broadcasts available to the other regional ARD channels for free. But no deal with any of those has been finalized yet. Last year a million people in Germany tuned in to the coverage of the CART race at the Eurospeedway despite RTL's parallel coverage of Formula 1 qualifying. Now, add a German driver to CART, think of the fact how mad most German fans are about Ferrari (with the Austrian GP happenings) and the numbers will skyrocket. Then, other regional ARD channels will be eager to join the broadcast which in turn increases the numbers again. Watching this, ARD will move more races onto the nationwide terrestrial broadcast and the numbers will come close to Formula 1.... CART, are you listening? Finally, compare all that to IRL's German TV package. The IRL races are all on Kirch's Premiere-PayTV (similar to HBO in the US). Premiere has a mere 2,4 to 2,5 million subscribers. So far, none of the IRL-races was live on Premiere, everything delayed by at least two days. Even though Premiere has a policy of not publishing any ratings or whatsoever numbers, it's no secret that the IRL viewership in Germany has been more than disappointing. Estimates range from an average of 30 000 to 50 000 people watching an IRL event. But one Premiere employee was heard saying that "even 35 000 people tuning in to an IRL race would be very optimistic." That translates to a share of less than 2 percent of all Premiere subscribers and less than a fraction of all possible viewers.

5/16/02

Both CART & F1 submit proposals to NY City  UPDATE Here is another article by NY Post writer Kevin Ma (part 2 of a continuing series) on what it will take to have a successful race in NY City.  5/15/02 -  According to the May 20th issue of Smith & Street's Sports Business Journal, in an article written by Daniel Kaplan, CART and Formula One have submitted separate proposals to the city of New York for an open-wheel auto race that would be held on city streets.  "I would like to bring an event to New York that people don't necessarily think of when they think of New York City," said Ken Podziba, commissioner of the New York City Sports Commission, the city agency charged with attracting professional and amateur sporting competitions. "We want to bring in an event that is truly international. Auto racing is not an event people associate with New York City, which is why I want it so badly." The city is reviewing proposals from two groups, Podziba said, though he identified only CART. A source said that the other group was F1, the only other major open-wheel group that stages street races.  The economic impact of the race could be significant, Podziba said, though he did not provide an estimate for a New York event. CART, he said, has argued that the economic impact would be at least as high as the series' largest road race, Long Beach, which CART claims is $39 million.  With F1 already in Indy and Montreal, and other countries wanting a F1 race, we doubt F1 is serious about NY City.  F1 requested that questions on the subject be faxed to the organization, but then did not respond to Mr. Kaplan.

5/15/02

Patrick Racing testing news  Visteon/Patrick Racing completed its second test in eight days running one-day, Tuesday, May 14, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Townsend Bell, who pilots the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, with Toyota power and Bridgestone tires, was scheduled to test for two-days on the 2.258 Mid-Ohio permanent road circuit, however rain cancelled Monday's session. The team previously tested May 6-7 at on the Milwaukee Mile oval in Milwaukee, WI. Bell, a rookie, completed 130 miles during the test turning a quick lap of 68.42 seconds, which placed him at the top of the speed charts when the Visteon/Patrick Racing team concluded its session at 3:30 p.m. Commenting on the day's work Bell said, “The Visteon/Patrick Racing engineering staff has put in some long hours trying to improve the car and we are beginning to see the results. The Mid-Ohio test was very productive. We came up with some things that were very promising and I was very pleased with the balance we achieved. The Visteon/Patrick Racing car was the fastest for most of the day and felt better than at any test this year. Unfortunately, we didn't run the full day because I slid off the track and damaged the front wing.” Bell, who made his first Champ Car test at Mid-Ohio last year, enjoyed tremendous success during his Indy Lights career on the tricky 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio road course. The 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Champion qualified on the pole and won the race last year and qualified second and won the race in 2000. “I have accumulated quite a few notes from Mid-Ohio over the past two years,” Bell said. “Although Champ Cars are different, the track hasn't changed, so I have been able to apply a lot of that information I have collected. As a result, I am in a better position as far as getting the setup right then at some of the other tracks where we run,” Bell explained.  Patrick Racing

5/15/02

Indy opens gates to young and old  Adults and children of all ages will find many interesting, fun activities Wednesday, May 22, at 500 Festival Community Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Fans will be treated to a driver autograph session, special activities and special access to the Speedway’s historic Gasoline Alley garage area and pit lane, and admission is affordable for all. Public gates are open at 9 a.m. (EST) for access to the Speedway Hall of Fame Museum and attractions in the museum’s east lot, and access to the remaining Community Day activities opens at 11 a.m. Admission is $5, with children ages 5 and younger admitted for free. The facility will close at 6 p.m. Fans can take one lap around the famed 2.5-mile oval in their personal car from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and many other activities will be available for fans, including suite tours, a Victory Circle photo shoot, remote-control cars and a vintage car display. Additional vintage cars and racing artifacts are on permanent display at the Hall of Fame Museum, which will be open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Community Day. Admission to the Museum is $3 for adults, with children ages 5 and younger free. At noon, children of Indy Racing drivers Billy Boat, Scott Sharp and Jeff Ward will compete in the “Power Wheels Mini-Indy 500,” presented by Fisher-Price, in battery-operated cars in the Bombardier Pagoda Plaza. All children can experience Mini-Indy cars from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. in the east lot of the Hall of Fame Museum. For slightly older aspiring race drivers, Indy Racing simulators will operate from noon-6 p.m. in the east lot of the Museum. A local celebrity and media personality pit-stop competition will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Pit Lane in front of the WorldComplex Media Center, just south of the start/finish line, and the Pepsi Stage will be the location for live entertainment featuring the American Cabaret at 11 a.m., and the band Candy Bomber at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Rounding out Community Day will be a driver autograph session, featuring past and present stars of the 86th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, from 3-6 p.m. in Gasoline Alley.  IRL

5/15/02

More on dim hope for CART/IRL merger  This AP article pretty much sums up the current CART/IRL situation, i.e. no merger is in sight.  "Every time CART tries to get close to the IRL specs, the IRL makes it more difficult," said Rahal, a former Indy winner and now a CART owner. "Now it's the chassis. Where we're headed, I think, it looks to me like we're really going to have an AFL and an NFL."  "I'd say what's happened over the past two or three years is that we've grown further apart," Lopes said. "Some people have said we've come closer together, but I don't think that (reunification) is going to happen. It's not on the table right now."

5/15/02

Foyt cars lead Wednesday practice  A.J. Foyt might be breathing a bit easier today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Foyt’s primary drivers, Airton Dare and Greg Ray, took the top two spots on the speed chart May 15 during practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500. Dare led with a top lap of 39.3652 seconds, 228.628 mph in the No. 14 Harrah’s/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Ray was second at 39.4895, 227.909 in the No. 11 A.J. Foyt Racing/Harrah’s Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. It was the first day of track activity since Pole Day on May 11, as second-day qualifying was rained out May 12, and no track activity was scheduled May 13-14. Neither Dare nor Ray was fast enough to qualify on Pole Day and must try to earn a spot in the 33-car field on Bump Day this Sunday. Billy Boat holds the slowest speed among the 24 qualified drivers, at 226.589 in the No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Dare’s best speed in one aborted qualifying attempt on was 225.357; Ray’s best in one aborted attempt was 225.916. Based on today’s speeds, Ray and Dare appear to be in good shape to continue Foyt’s streak of putting at least one car in the field every year at Indy since his debut as a driver in 1958. Practice ended six minutes early when rookie George Mack tapped the outside wall exiting Turn 2. Mack climbed from the car without assistance. He was evaluated at Clarian Emergency Medical Center at the track, released and cleared to drive by Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League and Indianapolis Motor Speedway director of medical services. Mack’s accident was the only incident of the day. This was the busiest day of practice so far, with 38 drivers in 40 cars turning 2,647 laps, nearly 1,000 laps more than the next-busiest day, May 10. Wednesday Quotes IRL

5/15/02

CART grandfathers 2002 chassis for 2003  In a move aimed to reduce costs and maintain safety standards, Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (CART) today announced that all chassis being used in the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series will also be eligible for use in 2003 competition. By using 2002 chassis next year, it is expected that current two-car CART FedEx Championship Series teams could save up to one million dollars each. As part of this announcement, it has been confirmed that Lola Cars will return to CART as a chassis manufacturer in 2003. "We've spoken with several chassis manufacturers, and as we have always done at CART, we are committed to an open market for 2003 and beyond," said CART Vice President of Racing Operations John Lopes. "We are still talking with other manufacturers, but we are pleased that Lola has already committed to returning to CART in 2003." Added Lola Cars Chairman Martin Birrane: "Lola will continue to support its customers and teams in the CART FedEx Championship Series, and Lola looks forward to continuing with our CART teams in the future." Another key factor in the decision to "grandfather" 2002 chassis into 2003 were concerns for driver safety. With several safety updates that were put into place prior to the 2002 season, it is believed that 2002 CART Champ Cars are the safest that they have ever been, and are among the safest open wheel race cars in the world. "The current chassis has proven itself to be exceptionally safe on all types of courses, as evidenced most recently by Townsend Bell's tremendous crash at the Twin Ring Motegi oval," said CART Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Steve Olvey. "With rare exception, our drivers are able to walk away from the vast majority of accidents. Rather than potentially going backward, our medical department is happy to not be sacrificing any of the safety that we currently enjoy." CART

5/15/02

Watch those hands Bernie This photo was taken by an unidentified source and sent to us anonymously. For all we know, it's not a recent photo.   We found it rather funny and thought you might enjoy a chuckle.  We welcome any captions from our readers.

5/15/02

Superb German TV package for CART  CART might not have the best TV package in the US, but thanks to Chris Pook they have the best German TV package anyone could get (except F1 of course). It's official and final and signed and sealed. ORB, the regional German terrestrial channel of the nationwide ARD, will broadcast ALL CART races starting with the Milwaukee Mile. ORB also is available on a few cable systems in other German regions/cities, and more importantly via Astra satellite all over Europe. The 2 European races (Rockingham and Lausitzring) will be live on the the ARD channel. In addition to the ARD broadcast of the Eurospeedway event, ORB not only carries the same live footage on its regional program but extends the total coverage to a non-stop commercial free 5-hour-event (5-hours both on ARD and ORB). All the remaining CART races will be broadcast by ORB, with 2 races (Laguna Seca and Vancouver live)  and all the rest of the time delayed from as little as 15 Minutes to a maximum of 4 hours.  The reason behind that is the fact that most races in the US would fall into prime time on Sunday night - an impossible mission for the ORB-producer who was pushed the contract through. The race calls will be made by Manfred Jantke (formerly Porsche-PR-manager and commentator for Eurosport), Arndt Meier (former German CART driver) and ARDs Andreas Spellig, who also is in charge of ARDs Formula 1 coverage (Friday practice only, because RTL has the F1-rights for Saturday and Sunday).  The force behind the deal is Steffen Simon, the sports editor in chief at the ORB (guess all the CART fans in Europe should send him a thank you-note). Here is how much of a fantastic deal this is for CART: It's like some guy at ABC trying to convince the top ABC brass that it would be a good idea to televise all races of the German Touring Car Championship or the Formula 3000 on an ABC affiliate with 2 races broadcast nationwide in the US on Sunday afternoon with the NFL as competition. If he would succeed it would be kind of a world wonder. Now you understand how much goodwill and support CART gets from this small TV station.  Schedule (in local Germany Military Time):
Milwaukee ORB 22.30 - 01.00
Laguna Seca ORB live 22.30 - 01.00
Portland ORB 22.10 - 00.40
Chicago ORB 22.10 - 00.40
Toronto ORB 22.05 - 00.35
Cleveland ORB 22.05 - 00.35
Vancouver ORB live 22.20 - 00.50
Lexington ORB 22.20 - 00.50
Elkhart Lake ORB 22.35 - 01.05
Montreal ORB 22.20 - 00.50
Denver ORB 22.20 - 00.50
Rockingham ARD live 14.15 - 17.00
Eurospeedway ARD live 13.00 - 18.00
Miami ORB 22.20 - 00.50
Mexico City ORB 22.20 - 00.50
Surfers Paradise ORB 22.20 - 00.50
Fontana ORB 22.20 - 00.50

5/15/02

Team Rahal testing report   CART franchise member Team Rahal wrapped up a successful single day test at the historic Mid-Ohio Sports Car course which saw Jimmy Vasser and the Shell team fine-tuning the team’s Champ Car road course package. Vasser took advantage of a two-day break in practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to test in preparation for the upcoming road course events on the CART schedule. We have been pretty focused on Indianapolis and qualifying for the Indy 500, but we have to keep our focus on the big picture and once we get back on the CART schedule we will be racing at Laguna Seca and Portland,” said Vasser. “It was good to take the road course set-up through the paces and to get a feel for the car again.” Vasser logged 40 laps on the 2.258-mile scenic road course. Vasser’s top lap was unofficially 67.8-seconds, which was among the quickest laps posted during the test. Originally scheduled to be a two-day test with both Team Rahal cars, Monday was lost to wet weather. Unseasonably cool conditions prevented most of the competitors from testing during the morning on Tuesday. It wasn’t until after the lunch-break the majority of the drivers went on course. Gigante driver Michel Jourdain Jr. is scheduled to test for Ford-Cosworth next Monday at Mid-Ohio. As the factory team for Ford-Cosworth, Team Rahal is deeply involved in the development of the XF engine for the CART program.

5/15/02

Team Rahal & Shell partner with Best Western   Team Rahal, a franchise member of Championship Auto Racing Teams (“CART”), and Shell Oil Products US and Motiva, LLC, announced today a partnership with Best Western and a marketing initiative that will utilize Shell driver Jimmy Vasser and the Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola throughout the 2002 season. The Best Western logo will be placed on the Champ Car of Vasser, the 1996 CART champion, throughout the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season. “We are very excited to be involved with such a distinguished racing organization,” commented Bob Gilbert, vice president of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Best Western International. “I believe CART race fans truly represent Best Western guests. We hope this partnership provides us more opportunity to get our name out to the millions of loyal race fans.” “Shell and Best Western are among the most recognized brands in the world, and they have gained that worldwide recognition through aggressive and innovative marketing programs and by being trendsetters in their respective industries,” said three-time CART champion and Team Rahal co-owner Bobby Rahal. “The promotional program that has been outlined for this season by Shell and Best Western is one that will utilize Jimmy and Shell car in an aggressive program that will not only bring awareness to the team and its partners but to Champ Car racing and CART.” “Shell is pleased to have Best Western as a new partner,” said Stu Crum, Director of Communications and Marketing of Shell. “We strive to find partners that will contribute to the success of the team as well as complement our business goals. Best Western has demonstrated its desire to support our racing program with focus.” Best Western is complementing this relationship with a Sleep and Win sweepstakes at the more than 2,300 hotels in the United States and Canada. The instant winner scratch card can be obtained at time of check-in and includes such fabulous prizes as Jaguars, Ford Explorer and hotel stays.

5/15/02

Bid on Dale Earnhardt plane  eBay Motors ( www.ebaymotors.com ) takes to the air with a high-flying assortment of celebrity aircraft and experiences as its special Air Show opened online Monday, May 13th to launch the aviation category on its site. Short-to-medium range private planes, one of the most incredible pieces of aviation history -- the first Boeing 707 flight simulator, and experiences including a ride in a B-17 Bomber and VIP access at a Space Shuttle launch will be available for bidding through Thursday, May 23.  Racing fans or collectors can own the ultimate in NASCAR memorabilia with a bid on the 1972 Cessna 421B SN 421B0224, owned and operated by the late Dale Earnhardt, when he drove for Richard Childress' RCR Team. This aircraft, still painted in its original "Mr. Goodwrench" paint scheme, was used in the early 1990s to transport Dale to and from Winston Cup races. The interior is outfitted in leather for a pilot and seven passengers. This 30-year-old aircraft, which still hasn't reached 5,000 hours of total flight time, is offered with a new 1,600-hour TBO engine, plus all new accessories and control cables, long-range fuel set-up, GPS with moving map, air conditioning and BOSE active noise canceling headsets. A complete status sheet, maintenance history and RCR bill of sale are available for review.

5/15/02

Pathetic but true The FIA has asked Ferrari and its drivers to appear before a hearing on their actions at the Austria GP.  It's not because Barrichello let Schumacher through for the win, it's their actions on the podium that they want to reprimand them for.  Apparently they don't like that Michael pushed Rubens to the top step of the podium to signify he was the moral winner of the race.

5/15/02

Ecclestone wants F1 to allow customer cars  Bernie Ecclestone has come out and said that rather than every F1 team build their own car, F1 should allow customer cars.  Duh....it took him that long to figure it out?  Speaking to the French newspaper Le Figaro Ecclestone said: "Why shouldn’t the five best team sell their complete chassis to smaller teams. These could then run with less costs or effective reductions. "Take Jordan. It had no chance of winning this weekend (in Austria). If Jordan bought a complete package off Renault, one season would only cost 50 per cent of what he spends at the moment. You could even imagine a constructor taking on the responsibility of promoting a second team."

5/15/02

VW targets more affluent buyer As this Reuters article points out, VW is targeting its growth in their luxury car brands.  With CART and ALMS having more affluent fans than say NASCAR or the IRL, one would think they would target CART as their next motorsports endeavor.

5/15/02

Roebuck and Montoya pan IRL cars  In his latest Autosport column, a reader asks respected motorsports journalist Nigel Roebuck what he thought about the Indy 500 and IRL cars.  His answer was most interesting, especially since it came from a recent discussion he had with Juan Montoya who went to Indy just one year and made a mockery of the IRL drivers by completely dominating the race at will.  "I guess it's a little like driving an F3000 car after an F1 car," Montoya said. "A lot less power - and a lot more downforce. When I was a kid, growing up in Colombia, I'd watch the Indy 500 on TV, and what I really loved was the way the guys came right out to the wall at the exit of the turns - they really needed the full width of the track, and I thought that was great. But when I went there myself, in the IRL car, I found that there was so much downforce that you only needed about half the width of the track coming off the turns. I would love to have driven the CART car round there..." I'd have crossed the Atlantic just to see that.  This subject of too much downforce and not enough HP was address in a recent article.

5/15/02

Barrett, Red Racing Announce Busch, Cup Races for 2002  Beginning with the NASCAR Busch Grand National race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Saturday, May 25, Stanton Barrett will compete in up to 12 NASCAR Busch Grand National races and four NASCAR Winston Cup races this season. Jeff Hammond, who has led some of the top teams in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, is serving as team manager. Veteran winning crew chief Richard Lasater, who has built a top reputation in the NASCAR Busch Grand National garage, will head up the competition side of the team. Terry Allen, a veteran of several NASCAR series, serves as team coordinator. "We have a brand new race team, some good sponsors and a lot of enthusiasm," said Barrett, 27, who has competed in both series in his career. Bojangles’, one of the country’s top restaurant chains known for its Cajun-style chicken and fresh buttermilk biscuits, and OdoBan, the fastest-growing cleaner, disinfectant and deodorizer on the market, will sponsor Barrett’s Red Racing team for much of that. "Bojangles’ and OdoBan are working together to sponsor us for seven of the Busch races and three Winston Cup races," Barrett said. "That starts with the Busch race at Lowe’s next week." The three Winston Cup races in which Barrett is scheduled to compete are Oct. 10 at Lowe’s; Oct. 26 at Atlanta; and Nov. 17 at Homestead. His Busch Grand National schedule following next week’s race will include June 8 at Nashville, Tenn.; July 13 at Chicago; Aug. 31 at Darlington, S.C.; Sept. 21 at Dover, Del.; Oct. 12 at Lowe’s; and Nov. 2 at Rockingham, N.C.

5/15/02

Nemechek to drive #25  Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) president John Hendrick today named Joe Nemechek as the interim driver of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet. "We're pleased to be able to put a talented veteran like Joe behind the wheel of the No. 25 car," said Hendrick. "He's a proven winner and we're confident that he'll compete at a high level for the remainder of the 2002 season." The former NASCAR Busch Series champion will join HMS for The Winston at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 18 by virtue of his victory last November at Rockingham, N.C. He is slated to finish out 2002 with the No. 25 team, replacing Jerry Nadeau, who left HMS last week after more than two years with the company. "I'm extremely excited at the opportunity to join a first-class organization like Hendrick Motorsports," said the 38-year-old Nemechek. "They're giving me the chance to come into a situation with a top-tier team and fantastic sponsor. I really couldn't be more thrilled."  RCR

5/15/02

New car for Williams  The BMW WilliamsF1 team is working on major revisions to the FW24 in what will amount to a B-spec chassis. Juan Montoya talked to journalists after winning the Best Newcomer title at the World Laureus Sports Awards the other night. He stated, "At the moment with what we've got it will be very difficult to win. Michael is a very tough contender, but it really depends on the car. That's the way it works," he explained. "In Formula One it is not like you have a car you can start with and win right away. As new parts are put in the car, it evolves. The new car will be a lot closer to Ferrari. The car that will be coming will be the key. "Michael is probably the best driver right now driving in the best car. So he's the guy to beat."

5/15/02

Penske decided a year ago UPDATE To add to what we originally reported, Roger stated that Tony George and he were friends and "business partners". Also in attendance, Bill France. Hmmm wonder what this all means?  Since ISC and Tony built the track in Joliet, they are business partners of sorts, but one has to wonder what else they are partnered on.  5/12/02 -  At a surprise birthday party here in Indianapolis last night, thrown by his wife, Roger Penske addressed the crowd to thank everyone.  During that address he stated that he told his friend Tony George that he was taking Team Penske and Marlboro to the IRL one year ago.  While there is nothing surprising about that statement, it must anger other CART team owners and board members to know that Roger knew he was headed to the IRL, yet continued to attend CART franchise board meetings right up to the bitter end, which of course gave him insight as to what his CART competitors were planning with their series.  One has to wonder if any of that information fell into the hands of the IRL.  Hmm.....

5/15/02

Mercedes to assist Ilmor with McLaren engine  Mercedes motorsports chief, Norbert Haug, reports that the Mercedes’ technical centre in Stuttgart will be more involved in the development and supply of engines to McLaren. Mercedes-Benz’s Ilmor subsidiary has been chiefly responsible for the project including design, construction and testing since 1995 but Mercedes believes there is a need to share the load and help the project by doing some bench testing and other work in Germany. Haug confirmed that the experienced Mario Illien would remain as the Technical Chief of the effort. ‘Mario Illien is the technical director heading the whole program but we will certainly use our technical resources in Stuttgart more. The two facilities work together as a team and that is the whole story.’

5/14/02

Beechler in third Foyt car  AJ Foyt Racing announced today that Donnie Beechler will attempt to qualify the third AJ Foyt entry in the Indy 500.  This pretty much lays to rest the rumors of Scott Dixon driving for Foyt at Indy.

5/14/02

IRL fans can buy photos  The Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway has made its photo archives available for purchase on the Internet at the following websites - www.artemisimages.com, www.indy500.com, and www.indyracing.com. Fans can now purchase high-quality photographs of their favorite Indy moments. Thousands of images of the drivers, cars and pit crews who have raced at ³The Brickyard² ­ both current and vintage ­ are now available at the websites listed above. Sample images have been attached to this email. All of the images were digitized and made available for purchase by Artemis Images through a partnership with The Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Currently, Artemis Images offers more than 10,000 photos online and the selection is expanding daily.

5/14/02

Gary Longo returns to site of crash  Gary Longo, who was critically injured in a racing accident during the 2001 Trans Am 125 at Mosport International Raceway, will return to the famed road course this weekend for an important part of his lengthy recovery from a life-threatening neck injury.   "He's looking forward to returning to Mosport, and thanking everyone who has supported him over the last year, but most importantly, he's looking forward to being a part of racing and Trans Am again," says his wife, Molly. Nerve damage to Longo's vocal cords have temporarily left him unable to speak above a whisper, so Molly often communicates for him. Doctors say he should regain his voice within two years. But that won't keep the young couple from their goal of making new Mosport memories to replace the anxiety they sometimes feel when they recall their experiences in the Toronto area last May.   "This visit is important to him because he needs to put closure to his accident. He wants to revisit the scene and the weekend and have a different memory than the one we live by every single day," explains Molly. The Longos will attend as much of the weekend's events as possible, but their priorities are to meet with the Mosport track rescue team, the doctors and others who were instrumental in this life-saving rescue. He plans to visit with some of the drivers and Trans-Am team members he befriended during his brief 2001 season. He also wants to visit with fans who have supported him with cards, letters and prayers. "He just wants to show everyone that he is alive," Molly says. In addition to becoming her husband's voice, Molly has become an extension of his ego since watching helplessly as he was airlifted by helicopter to Toronto a year ago. Molly left her teaching job to be a constant support by her husband's side, and is due for a little healing time herself, but she admits to some fears about the coming weekend. "I worry about how Gary will react to the situation, if it will trigger flashbacks instead of putting closure to the accident." she says. "We want the visit to be significant to us for different reasons. By returning to Mosport, we can have a more positive reminder of what happened and how we moved forward.

5/14/02

What to buy the gardener  Riddle: What do you get your gardener for his 25th anniversary?
Answer: Sterling Moss.

5/14/02

Krumm available for CART again  CART needs a German driver in their series and Michael Krumm, who drove a couple of races in CART in 2001 for Andreas Leberle and Dale Coyne, is available again.  Krumm will not compete in any further events in the 2002 Formula Nippon Championship with Team X Box Impul. The driver and team have parted company amicably due to additional sponsorship that the team was hoping to attract not being available. Michael was drafted into the Team at a very late stage in the season, on the understanding that additional funding would be required for him to complete the season. Unfortunately this has not materialized and Michael will now focus his efforts on his other activities for 2002. "I am very grateful to Mr. Hoshino of Impul for having the faith in me and giving me the chance to continue my Formula Nippon career. We have struggled with an older car that is very overweight and as the Championship is so competitive it is essential that a strong level of funding be secured. Sadly they have not been able to secure the funding needed to continue the year and develop the package to a competitive level, so it is better for the team that I stand down so they can focus on one car. "I have had some great times in Formula Nippon, especially in 2000 when I was fighting for the Championship right up to the last couple of races, it is a super championship and I will miss racing in the series. Now I will focus on my campaign at Le Mans with Audi Sport and the remainder of the Japanese GT Championship with Nissan. "We are also working on some other possibilities for the latter half of the year and we are already looking at the 2003 season as some interesting things are happening." -- Michael Krumm.

5/14/02

Ladder Series news  A wild weekend full of contact, daring passes and wheel-to-wheel racing marked Rounds 5 and 6 of the Formula Dodge National Championship at Putnam Park Motorsports Park and lent itself to a serious shakeup in the season point standings. Scott Speed, Grant Maiman and Scott Poirier took advantage of a race miscue by Burt Frisselle to move past him in the overall season standings. Speed and Maiman both captured a race victory and second-place finish to move to first and third in the point standings, respectively. Poirier took home third and sixth place to make the move up to second in the point standings. More

5/14/02

Albert Unser - I want to road race in CART  As this article on CART.com points out, Al Unser Jr's son, Albert Unser, says “I'd like to come up the CART ladder system,” he said. “You know, the Barber Pro series next year, then Toyota Atlantic and hopefully Champ Cars. “I want to road race because you can always go back to ovals.”   This confirms what we have said fro years, the best training ground for any race driver is road courses.  Ovals are far easier and more about the car than the driver.  Even the IRL's Robby Buhl was a Skip Barber instructor on road courses, and drove CART road courses before ending up in the IRL where he is one of the faster drivers. Like Al said, you can always go back to just turning left on ovals, but you must learn to be a road racer if you want to be the best.

5/14/02

Name change for Lowes race  To celebrate the specialness of families and the family-friendly nature of stock car racing, The Coca-Cola Company, Lowe's Motor Speedway and FOX Sports today announced a one-time-only name change for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series event scheduled for Sunday, May 26, 2002 to The Coca-Coca Racing Family 600. In addition, on race day, all NASCAR fans - including the roughly 200,000 fans at the track and the millions watching the race on Fox - will serve as the event's Grand Marshals, marking the first time in NASCAR's 54-year history that race fans will collectively start a NASCAR Winston Cup Series event by uttering the four most famous words in motorsports: "Gentlemen, start your engines." But what about Shawna Robinson? If Shawna makes the race then the fans earn their keep by announcing, "Lady and Gentleman, start your engines".

5/14/02

Wheeler picks Gordon to win The Winston  Ever since he started racing quarter-midgets at age 5, Jeff Gordon has visited victory lane on a regular basis. However, the four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion is currently in the midst of one of the longest droughts of his 25-year racing career, having been shut out of victory lane since Sept. 30 of last year. But H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway, believes Gordon's drought will end when NASCAR's annual all-star event, The Winston, takes the checkered flag Saturday night, May 18, at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Wheeler tabbed Gordon as his selection to win the event during his annual "Pick The Winston Winner" press conference today at The Speedway Club. "Can you imagine what would happen if you put 10 lions who hadn't eaten in a week in a narrow cage 30 miles long with one big steak at the end of it?" said Wheeler, who has correctly selected the winner of The Winston an amazing eight times over the past 13 years. "That's precisely what the last segment of The Winston is and the hungriest guy with the fastest car is going to win and, right now, no one is hungrier than Jeff Gordon. And Jeff always seems to rise to the occasion at this speedway. "I almost picked Jeff's teammate, Jimmie Johnson, who had the fastest car with The Winston set-up during testing here last week. But Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the only rookie to have ever won this race and if another one does, it could be Jimmie who is my dark horse selection."

5/14/02

Indy 500 Notebook  Only once in 41 previous Indianapolis 500-Mile Races has legendary driver-car owner A.J. Foyt entered Bump Day still trying to qualify for the race. That’s the situation Foyt faces this Sunday with drivers Airton Dare, Greg Ray and Donnie Beechler. Neither Dare nor Ray were fast enough on Pole Day last Saturday to complete a qualifying run. Ray pulled into the pits after a 225.916-mph lap as the fourth driver out and then Dare’s run was waved off following laps of 225.357 and 224.639.  More...

5/14/02

Busch & Kenseth red hot  After the most recent six Winston Cup races ending with the Pontiac Excitement, Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 Rubbermaid Ford and Matt Kenseth, Driver of the No. 17 DEWALT Ford ranked first and second respectively. A welcomed improvement from where both of these teams were last year at this point. Busch, who has captured one win, three top-five's and four top-10's in the last six races is comfortable with his season so far, and is looking to continue the momentum that has already been started. "The No. 97 Rubbermaid team has come together incredibly well," Busch said. "For many new teams it may take up to the first ten races before they begin to feel comfortable as a new team. But this team, with Jimmy Fennig (crew chief) at the helm has come out of the stables blazing, ready to compete for a Winston Cup championship. We have done a good bit of testing already this season especially around our short track program, and I think that it has helped us immensely. Last year, we just couldn't find the winning combination, but this year it's all falling into place. It's been really exciting so far this season, and I'm looking forward to all that lies ahead of us. There will be plenty of challenges presented to us, but I think that we have what it takes to make the most of any situation that comes our way."

5/14/02

Phoenix court case starts  UPDATE The case between Phoenix and the FIA and Formula One Management began and Autosport reports that according to sources, Charles Nickerson's company has taken an early edge, with the FIA admitting that its pre-Malaysian GP statement was incorrect. The statement read: "Having examined the judgment of the Tribunal de Commerce de Versailles the FIA's advisers have noted that the court has not transferred Prost Grand Prix itself nor made any attempt to transfer the Prost Grand Prix entry in the 2002 Formula 1 World Championship, either to Phoenix Finance Ltd, or to Mr Nickerson."  5/14/02 - Phoenix Finance Limited, the company headed by British businessman Charles Nickerson, is to take the FIA and FOM to Court in London today to protest against the FIA's ruling that the team would not be allowed to compete in the 2002 World Championship.

5/14/02
Industry News

Schumacher & Montoya win awards  We wonder if Emerson made the presentation to Schumacher before or after his recent Austria win.  Michael Schumacher, who won nine grands prix on his way to last year's Formula One world title, was voted the 2002 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year at the third annual Laureus World Sports Awards in Monte-Carlo on Tuesday night. Schumacher, whose victory in the season-ending Japanese Grand Prix gave him the 53rd win of his career, edged out golfer Tiger Woods, the 2000 and 2001 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Tour de France cycling king Lance Armstrong, ace sprinter Maurice Greene and Australian wunderkind swimmer Ian Thorpe for the prestigious title. The 2002 Laureus World Sports Awards, the only worldwide and cross- sectional awards ceremony to honour the world's best sportsmen and women, were presented in a glamorous ceremony staged in the regal surrounds of Monaco's Grimaldi Forum. Colombian Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya was voted Laureus World Newcomer of the Year; Brazilian skateboarder Bob Burnquist was named Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year; and Dutch wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer was selected as Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability. Eriq La Salle, star of television's ER, hosted the ceremony, while the presenters on the night included Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Boris Becker, Michael Johnson, Heidi Klum, Michael Jordan, Ian Botham, Edwin Moses, Nadia Comaneci, Morgan Freeman, Emerson Fittipaldi and Marion Jones.

5/14/02

Mike Hull - I prefer engine lease deals  We asked Target Chip Ganassi Team Manager Mike Hull on today's CART media teleconference to compare the CART engine lease deal vs. the way it's done in the IRL whereby a team buys engines from a rebuilder.  Mike was as diplomatic as possible, but said overall he prefers the CART engine lease arrangement because you have the comfort that everyone is getting equal engines and development is spread evenly across all the teams.  He indicated that you have to push the rebuilders more to be sure you are getting the best.

5/14/02

Ferrari stock float official  Rumored previously, it was announced today that the board of directors at Fiat and Ferrari have decided to float the famous Italian company on the Italian Stock Exchange. Ferrari and Maserati MD Luca Cordero di Montezemolo commented in a statement: "Today's announcement of the decision taken by the Board of Fiat S.p.A. and Ferrari S.p.A. is very important. "It does in fact offer new resources for development projects for Ferrari and Maserati, which will contribute still further to the growth and success of the Ferrari and Maserati Group, our partners, our customers and our fans."

5/14/02

Schumacher a no-show  Following Sunday's debacle in Austria, Michael Schumacher was a notable absentee at the Variety Club’s annual awards dinner in London last night, at which he was due to be given an award for International Sportsman of the Year. We suppose he decided to lay low following the public outcry after his victory in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

5/14/02

Trans-Am Series heads north of the border  Merely one of the 12 rounds of the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup is in the books, and already fans are wondering what the Series will do for an encore.  The Trans-Am, North America’s longest-running road racing championship, launched its 37th campaign in scintillating fashion at last month’s Johnson Controls 100 on the streets of Long Beach, Calif.  More....

5/14/02

Penske no longer talking CART/IRL merger In an article written by Skip Myslenski in yesterday's Chicago Tribune, Roger Penske was asked will the two sides ever get together? "I don't think you're going to see a merger," he said. "I think you're going to see people deciding over the next 12 to 18 months. They'll have to make a choice."   This is a different tune than he was singing in previous years where he was calling for a merger, and is more in line with the path Tony George has taken, i.e. no desire to talk to CART about any merger.  Penske is also clear that he has chosen sides and says he will only run the IRL, so any hope CART had of getting him back has vanished.

5/14/02

CART misses opportunity with F1 debacle With the major backlash against F1 and many people saying they won't watch anymore, it's too bad CART didn't have a decent international TV package for they more than likely would have been able to capitalize on F1's lost fans.  The current international TV package is too late in coming together, and one has to wonder just what is it that Octagon has accomplished?  CART is a viable world class road racing alternate to F1 that features better racing, it only fans around the world could tune in live.

5/14/02

Clive James says no more F1  Respected Australian writer and TV personality Clive James has decided to quite Formula 1 after seeing Ferrari's team orders at last Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix.  "If the drivers aren't racing each other, there is no reason to watch at all," James wrote in The Guardian today (Tuesday). "For the next GP, the huge worldwide audience will be down by at least one name I can vouch for. "Anyone who feels like joining me can register his protest in the same way I will. It can be down at the touch of a button."

5/14/02

Unemployment rate high in Busch series  As this NASCAR.com article points out, there are a lot of drivers out there looking for rides in NASCAR's Busch series, but not enough rides to go around.  The slow down in the economy is one factor, but perhaps another factor is the increasing number of drivers that have come up through the ranks and only a limited number of starting slots available in any given race.  The supply certainly outstrips the demand.

5/14/02

Ferrari team orders to continue, despite FIA threats According to British tabloid newspaper The Mirror, Ferrari's Ross Brawn says that Ferrari will keep applying team orders until Schumacher's fifth world title is in the bag. "The decision we made in Austria will be repeated until the championship is decided," he said. "If similar circumstances arise at Monaco then Rubens knows he will again be expected to allow Michael through. Both drivers understand the situation." "Michael doesn't like Rubens letting him through," said Brawn. "He was not entirely comfortable. But he didn't ask for it. This was not his decision so I don't see why it should damage his reputation."

5/14/02
Industry News

Murdoch pulls the plug on Kirch  This Financial Times article explains that - The last remnants of Leo Kirch's media empire looked destined for bankruptcy last night, after Rupert Murdoch's satellite TV business called for the German group to pay up Euros 1.7bn (Dollars 1.5bn). With little hope of getting any of the money back, the move by BSkyB to trigger a put option against the Kirch holding company seems bound to force its collapse. The option, which forces Taurus Holding to buy BSkyB's 22.03 per cent stake in KirchPayTV, the German group's pay-TV unit, was originally set to be triggered in October. But other clauses, such as a breach of banking covenants and failure to hit operational targets, enabled BSkyB to exercise it now.  Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan, and Bayerische Landesbank, which have a joint Euros 2.9bn in Kirch loans on their books, could also decide to acquire Deutsche Bank's liability within the next two weeks, as they are entitled to by a secondary lien they have on the stake. The three banks are also expected to seize Kirch-Beteiligung's 75 per cent stake in SLEC, the trust that owns the broadcasting rights to Formula One motor racing, which they had helped Kirch to acquire last year.

5/14/02
Industry News

Toyota and Mitsubishi turn profits  Benetton, the Italian clothing and industrial group, has closed 2001 with net profit of 148 million euros. However, this is not comparable with the figure for 2000 (243 million euros) which benefited from capital gains from the sale of its Formula 1 team.

5/14/02

Malaysia ticket prices to be slashed  In an effort to boost attendance, ticket prices for next year's Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix have been slashed up to 43 per cent, said its promoter Sepang International Circuit. They expect the 2003 race to draw over 100,000 spectators. The circuit is also introducing new ticket packages giving more options for spectators to choose between three-day, two-day or one-day tickets. "The new packages and ticket reduction are being introduced after considering views from various parties especially the motor racing fans," says Ahmad Mustafa, general manager of Sepang International Circuit.  More....

5/14/02

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

5/14/02

Turner takes advantage of schedule break  Building momentum is important for a motorsports team. For the Turner Motorsport World Challenge Team, 2002 presents a series of unique challenges learning the ins and outs of their new E-46 BMW 325i racecars. On and off the track, every part of their touring car operation takes full advantage of the available BMW Power to stay atop of the strong field. Development is a key part of the Turner Motorsport/H&R Springs BMW operation, and a long break between their first 2002 race (Sebring, Florida) and the May 17-19 trip North of the Border enables test sessions to fill the agenda. Team Owner/Driver Will Turner, with teammates Bobby Sak and Frank Selldorff, logged mile after mile in three new BMW 325i racecars, including a few during a Springtime snow at Mosport Raceway in Ontario, Canada—the site of the next event. All three drivers gained valuable experience with the World Challenge spec Toyo tires while giving crew members new data from the test. Deciding to campaign the newest BMW chassis available leaves the team unable to rely on last year’s data from the E-36 325i. Turner leads the way in BMW tuning and development both on and off the track and is currently the only team in the World Challenge Touring Car Division to campaign the latest BMW equipment available for all three of their regular racecars. Staying one step ahead is a definite advantage for Turner, and the E-46’s represent a clean sheet of paper in the set-up notebooks.

5/13/02

Dan Gurney's Alligator on SPEED Channel  Dave Despain will include the Dan Gurney (former CART team owner) Alligator on BIKEWEEK - on the SPEED CHANNEL tomorrow night, Tuesday, May 14th at 4:00pm and 9:00pm PST (California time) or 7:00pm and Midnight on the East Coast. (That's 6:00pm and 11:00pm for you folks in Indy).  Catch it if you can......AAR

5/13/02

Chicago race to be 2-day event  It appears, based on their website schedule, that the CART run and promoted race at Chicago Motor Speedway has been reduced to a 2-day event.  This of course makes a lot of sense as Friday on an oval track is pretty much limited to droning around in front of empty grandstands.

5/13/02

St. Pete race gets Marketing Director  The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg announced that Dennis C. "Denny" Antram has been named Director of Sales & Marketing for the new auto race, scheduled to run Feb. 21-23, 2003.  Antram's duties will include corporate sponsorship, hospitality and group sales.  Antram comes to the Grand Prix with a wealth of experience in sales and marketing of professional sporting events. Most recently, Antram served as director of development for Florida 2012, Central Florida's bid to secure the Olympic Games. The project raised more than $11 million and generated a strong political unification within West Central Florida.  From 1988 to 1998, Antram worked as tournament director of the GTE Classic, building it into one of the largest events of the Senior PGA Tour. During his tenure at the GTE Classic, corporate sponsorships increased from under $400,000 to nearly $2 million per year. He was able to expand the media reach of the event through partnerships with several broadcast and print media outlets, and the event was able to deliver over $3.2 million to Tampa Bay area charities under his direction. Antram has served on the Board of Directors of the Senior TOUR Tournament Association and also chaired its marketing committee.  "Denny is the best special event marketer in this region," said Thomas F. Begley, general manager of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. "The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg provides a premier special event to support our desire to work together on an event that will have significant economic impact in our market."  "We're delighted to bring Denny Antram on board," said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, Inc., which is operating the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. "He has a great deal of knowledge and experience in sales and marketing in the Central Florida region. He's a valuable addition to the team and the event."  GPSP

5/13/02

Coors official beer of Denver race  The Grand Prix of Denver announced today that the Coors Brewing Company has signed a four-year agreement to be the Official Beer of the new auto race through 2005. As an Official Sponsor, Coors Brewing Company will be involved in a comprehensive sponsorship program with the Grand Prix event that includes the implementation of a pre-event regional consumer promotion, branding activities including event and race circuit signage, display in the Lifestyle Expo, and an extensive corporate hospitality. "We're excited to be a part of a major event like the Grand Prix of Denver," said Steve Saunders, event-marketing director for the Coors Brewing Company. "It fits in with our strategy of being involved with top notch, large scale events throughout the country. Auto racing has been very good to our company over the years, and we're looking forward to a superb weekend of racing and the beginning of a great tradition in Denver." Coors also sponsors the Super Bowl, the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500 and Kentucky Derby. In addition, Coors is affiliated with CART race team owner Chip Ganassi's NASCAR race team and the Indy Racing League's Hemelgarn Racing. In the Denver area, Coors is associated with Red Rocks Amphitheater; Coors Field, home of baseball's Colorado Rockies, and Pepsi Center.  "Coors Brewing Company represents Colorado at its finest. Coors' legacy of supporting community events makes them a stellar partner and we are pleased to have them as an official sponsor of the Grand Prix," said John Frew, vice president and general manager of the Grand Prix of Denver. "This will be a mutually beneficial partnership that will only grow over time. Coors brings a wealth of experience in corporate sponsorship and promotion and its involvement will enhance our promotion of this event."  The Grand Prix of Denver will take place August 30 - Sept. 1 on a 1.65-mile, nine-turn temporary race circuit on the streets around Pepsi Center adjacent to Denver's Lower Downtown. For tickets or race information, call (888) 82-SPEED, or visit the official race Web site at www.grandprixofdenver.comDenver GP

5/13/02

Some Europe fans now looking at CART over F1  This page of reader letters on Autosport.com about the Ferrari call on Sunday has two interesting letters:  My advice to everyone out there in Britain who has tickets for the British GP at Silverstone this year, is to tear them up now and go to the Rockingham 500 CART Race in September. That's what I'm doing, and I know I'll be guaranteed not only a more exciting race, but one that is fair where the winner actually deserves it...Tim Redmayne.    I haven't been to see a GP in 2 years because of the shameful way that F1 treats its followers. I will be enjoying the Rockingham 500 this year - real racing! Gavin Smith

5/13/02

Houston race dead?  According to this Houston newspaper article, the Houston race is likely to be off the CART schedule for two years, and we hear maybe for good.  CART's schedule is getting pretty full, and with other venues looking for CART races, the attendance in Houston may not be large enough to make it financially feasible.  That coupled with construction woes as spelled out in the article.

5/13/02

Schmidt lands new associate sponsor  New associate sponsor for Schmidt: Norwalk Furniture announced a season-long associate sponsorship of Sam Schmidt Motorsports beginning with the 86th Indianapolis 500. In celebration of Norwalk’s 100-year anniversary, the Norwalk Furniture logo will be displayed on the No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports season entry driven by Anthony Lazzaro and the No. 20 Grill2Go entry for the Indianapolis 500 driven by Richie Hearn. Norwalk Furniture is a 100-year-old family business manufacturing and retailing custom-order upholstered furniture. “The upscale audience of motor racing, and Indy Racing in particular, creates an opportunity, through our association with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, to expose Norwalk to potential franchisee and consumers,” said Jim Gerken, chairman and CEO. “The atmosphere of excellence and professionalism, which the Indy Racing League has created, reinforces the positive attributes of our brand, which have attracted consumers to our stores across the United States and Canada.” Said team owner Sam Schmidt: “It’s an honor to represent Norwalk Furniture, a company steeped in tradition. I’m really happy to have them on board for the season and truly appreciate their support. And I look forward to celebrating their 100-year anniversary with a trip to Victory Lane.”

5/13/02

McGehee cleared to drive, Dismore not  Robby McGehee was cleared to drive May 13 in the 86th Indianapolis 500 after suffering small fractures in his upper spine and lower left leg in an accident during practice May 5 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said Dr. Henry Bock, Indy Racing League director of medical services. Mark Dismore, who suffered a concussion in an accident during practice May 9, has not been cleared to drive, Bock said. Dismore’s status will be determined after an evaluation sometime this week, Bock said.

5/13/02

Residents up in arms over DC race  This Washington Post article says angry Washington DC residents believe that plans for the ALMS race in DC were concealed until the last possible moment, ensuring that there would be no community opposition to a three-day annual event that will bring 200 high-powered race cars within 50 yards of some homes. The debut of the Cadillac Grand Prix of Washington, D.C., which will be held July 19-21 on two parking lots at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, is one of several high-profile projects the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission has aggressively pursued.

5/13/02

NASCAR passing over older fans  This Tennessean newspaper article brings to light the fact that the NASCAR marketing machine is after the younger generation.  "Ricky Rudd is right. NASCAR has sold its soul to the devil. The devil has TV rabbit ears and its dial is stuck on MTV. NASCAR has gone rock. Britney Spears showed up at Daytona. Pamela Anderson was at Vegas. Sterling Marlin had Kiss on the hood of his race car."

5/13/02

Ferrari decision is panned worldwide  The decision to allow Michael Schumacher to take the win over Rubens Barrichello has met with worldwide outrage.  Even the Italian Press is up in arms.  This PlanetF1 article is one of many.  Hans Geist, the promoter of the Austrian Grand Prix, said Monday he wants Ferrari to be punished for fixing Michael Schumacher's victory Sunday. "We have had hundreds of phone calls and emails complaining. The event was super, but the result was an absolute disgrace and people will not want to buy tickets anymore," he said. He called for the FIA to give Ferrari a punishment "that hurts", and said he would pass on all the complaints to the racing body.

5/13/02

Sato medical update  UPDATE Takuma Sato was released from Graz's University Hospital this morning.  He underwent thorough medical tests and doctors confirmed that he has no broken bones or injuries. Contrary to some press reports, he did not lose consciousness and suffered no concussion. His manager Andrew Gilbert-Scott reported that in hospital, “Takuma was on excellent form, joking with the medical staff, and eager to see his blood pressure and heart beat monitoring charts so that he might analyze his own personal telemetry.” Takuma commented today, as he left hospital, "Really I am totally okay! My legs and knees are a little sore but that's all. I remember everything about the accident. I was turning into the corner with Montoya almost alongside me. I was just starting to get on the throttle when I had the big smash. I heard a big bang and shut my eyes for a split second. I had no idea what it was and didn't see Heidfeld coming at all. When I opened my eyes I could see my legs were squashed by the damaged monocoque and I could also see the ground through the hole! It was obvious that I had had a big accident. I was conscious and could feel my arms and legs, and although there was some pain, I knew nothing was broken. The car did a great job of saving me, and I hear there is nothing left of it, but I am fine.” “I would like to say thank you to the medical staff at the circuit and the hospital, they have done an absolutely fantastic job. I am so grateful for their hard work and also all the concern and support I have had from the teams, fans and everyone who has contacted me. The doctors have told me there is no problem with me driving in Monaco, so we will see in a couple of days how I feel. I think I will be okay for Sunday (the Monaco Historic race) as planned too, but first I will see my doctor in England and get advice from the vielife experts".  5/12/02 - The rear crash structure of Heidfeld’s Sauber Petronas punctured the side of the monocoque of Takuma Sato’s car just below the Japanese driver’s right knee, causing significant car damage and making it difficult for the youngster to move.  Speaking shortly after the crash, Takuma's commercial manager, Matthew Winter gave this statement: “Taku will be staying in the Graz Hospital this evening but we can confirm that he has no broken bones or injuries other than bruising. He did not lose consciousness at all this afternoon and has suffered no concussion. He should be released from hospital tomorrow after a few more routine checks and will then recover fully at home before Monaco. Takuma has been visited in hospital by his manager Andrew Gilbert-Scott, his parents and also by his girlfriend. Not only is Taku conscious but he's in excellent form. According to Gilbert-Scott the young Japanese driver has been joking already, and was eager to see his blood pressure and heart beat monitoring charts so that he might analyze his own personal telemetry. Speaking from the hospital, Takuma described what happened: “I was very surprised. I knew nothing about the accident happening; all I felt was a big bang and I didn't know what it was. When the dust settled and opened my eyes all I could see was the ground all around me where the tub had been ripped away” “My arms and legs hurt a bit” he continued “but I am very grateful that Jordan have built such a fantastically strong car for me.” Takuma saved special thanks for the on track medics that tended to him: “The medical team at the circuit were absolutely fantastic.” Recognizing the amount of well wishes received since the accident, Matthew Winter concluded his statement: “We would like to thank everyone for the many messages of good wishes for Taku, that we've had through the website and other ways. He is very happy to enjoy such support from all his fans.”

5/13/02

Even on cable, NASCAR TV ratings stellar  FX’s live coverage of last Saturday and Sunday’s Pontiac Excitement 400 from Richmond drew the 3rd largest audience of any program in the network’s history, delivering a 4.1 household rating, 3.1 million homes, and 4.9 million viewers. The race marked a 20% increase in households and a 7% jump in total viewers compared to FX’s Richmond Winston Cup race last season. The Pontiac Excitement 400 posted the largest audience of any live sports telecast on cable television for the week ending May 5, topping NBA playoff coverage on TNT and TBS; Major League Baseball on ESPN, TBS, and WGN; the NHL on ESPN and ESPN2; the Kentucky Derby coverage on ESPN; and NHRA drag racing on ESPN2. Saturday’s scheduled coverage started 2 hours and 10 minutes late due to rain in which FX posted a 2.9 HH rating, or 2.2 million homes. Both the 66-lap telecast on Saturday and the completed race on Sunday averaged a 4.1 HH rating and 3.1 millions households. Fueled by the two-day coverage of the Pontiac Excitement 400, FX also set a record for the 2nd highest-rated and 2nd most-watched weekend for total day in the network’s history, averaging a 1.25 HH rating, 1 million homes and 1.4 million viewers for the two days. Additionally, FX was the highest-rated basic cable network in total day for the weekend (5/4/02-5/5/02) among Adults 18-49 (0.8 HH), Men 18-49 (1.0 HH), Adults 25-54 (1.0 HH), and M25-54 (1.2 HH). On Friday, May 3, FX’s telecast of the Busch Series race from Richmond posted a 1.7 HH rating, which is a 45% increase compared to the same race a year ago. Season-to-date, Busch Series races on FX are averaging a 1.7 HH rating, up 21% from the 1.4 HH rating through the equal five Busch races of 2001.

5/13/02
Industry News

Toyota and Mitsubishi turn profits  This Reuters article reports that Toyota Motor Corp said on Monday it powered to record earnings in 2001/02 while Mitsubishi Motors Corp announced a profit for the first time in three years, rounding off a strong earnings season for Japan's carmakers. Fuelled by a weak yen and robust U.S. sales, particularly at its Lexus luxury vehicle division, Toyota said group operating profit leapt 29 percent to a record 1.12 trillion yen ($8.78 billion) in the year ended March 31.

5/13/02
Industry News

DaimlerChrysler to make Mitsubishi's in Beijing  Ilmor, DaimlerChrysler and CART China connection?  As this Bloomberg News article reports, DaimlerChrysler AG's Beijing auto venture said it will start building Pajero sport-utility vehicles for Mitsubishi Motors Corp. next year to make better use of capacity at the plant. Production will start next year and the autos, to be fitted with 3-liter and 3.2-liter engines, will be sold for 300,000 yuan ($36,240) from 2004, said Zhou Gong Shu, assistant to Beijing Jeep Corp. Executive Vice President Tong Zhi Yuan. The Japanese automaker plans to sell 20,000 Pajeros a year in China, Zhou said. Japan's fourth-largest automaker, 37 percent owned by DaimlerChrysler, said the talks include the possibility of using engines for the new sport utilities made at a Mitsubishi Motors' plant in China. The Beijing Jeep venture uses about a 10th of its capacity to build 100,000 cars a year.

5/13/02

Ferrari summoned by FIA  Ferrari team officials and drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello have been ordered to appear before the International Automobile Federation (FIA) in Paris on June 26th. An FIA statement said: "Following an incident during the last lap of the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix and incidents during the subsequent podium procedure, the FIA has summoned the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and the drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello to appear before the World Motor Sports Council at its next meeting."

5/13/02

Ecclestone comments on state of F1  Interview from El Norte (Mexico) translated from French into Spanish for El Norte, and then to English for AR1 by Ed McFarlane.  More...

5/13/02

CART teams use 2-day break to test  While the IRL teams all have 2-days off before practice starts again at Indy, CART teams are using the 2-days to test.  The Target Ganassi team will be at the Milwaukee Mile and Team Green and Team Rahal will be at Mid-Ohio.

5/13/02

Pathetic crowd for Indy 500 pole day  UPDATE This Indy Star article estimates the qualifying crowd was 15,000 at Indy on pole day Saturday.  Considering CART's Long Beach race typically gets around 50,000 on a Friday, which is a work day, one can only lament at how far the once great Indy 500 race has fallen.  Thankfully race day is still a sellout.  5/12/02 - As this Indy Star article points out, attendance at Indy for all but the race itself is small, even though the big name drivers have returned.  Here's the bottom line: The old May magic is gone. Or at least it's taking one heck of a long nap. The May 26 race may still be the greatest spectacle in all of racing, but the prelude has turned into an extended yawn, with a 65 percent chance of showers. The marketing guys will call it "downtrending" and point out that open-wheel racing was hitting the skids long before the CART-IRL split nearly ruined the sport. Those of us who know nothing about marketing and lack a true facility for language would call it something else: apathy.  As this letter from one of our readers points out, although Tony George would like us to believe Indy Car Racing was "downtrending" before the split, the evidence does not support that.  The "apathy" in Indy Car Racing was caused by the wedge driven through the sport when the IRL was created.

5/12/02

Newman Haas news  Havoline driver Cristiano da Matta, who is currently third in the CART FedEx Championship point standings after leading the category until Round 3 of 20 in Japan two weeks ago, completed his second and final day of testing on Friday, May 10 at the historic Milwaukee Mile. Da Matta and Newman/Haas Racing made progress toward scoring the seventh team victory at the track in the upcoming Miller Lite 250 on June 2. "We gained some knowledge about how to make the balance of our race car better on short ovals," said da Matta who completed approx. 160 miles of testing on Friday. "Our fastest lap before lunch was a 22.2 on old tires and only one-tenth off of the fastest time so far that day so we thought we were heading in the right direction with the changes. After lunch we ran long runs on full tanks and had consistent lap times so we think we are making progress. We still think we have more work to do but we are making progress. " The team will now focus their attention on maintaining the level of competition on road and street courses that has seen them lead laps in four of the past six road/street course races in the series as well as win two of them. A two-day test is schedule to begin on Monday, May 13 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course where both da Matta and Lilly driver Christian Fittipaldi will share the workload. Prior to the Miller Lite 250 on June 2, da Matta will test Toyota's Formula One race car while Fittipaldi will compete in the Busch Grand National NASCAR-sanctioned race in Charlotte on May 25.

5/12/02

Rain washes out 2nd day of Indy quals, Herbert doubtful  Persistent rain washed out Marsh Mother’s Day Second-Day Qualifying for the 86th Indianapolis 500 on May 12 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The final day of qualifications, Bump Day, is scheduled for Sunday, May 19. Practice will resume at 11 a.m. (EST) Wednesday, with no on-track activity Monday or Tuesday. No cars turned a lap on the 2.5-mile oval today. Track crews started to dry the racing surface at 1:37 p.m. (EST) after the rain subsided, but showers returned at approximately 1:50 p.m., forcing a complete washout. This was the first time a full day of qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 was rained out since 1990, when Pole Day was delayed one day by rain. The final nine spots in the 33-car field will be filled on Bump Day Qualifying, scheduled to start at noon (EST) Sunday. Among the drivers still trying to earn a spot in the field are two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, 2000 Indianapolis 500 MBNA Pole winner Greg Ray and Formula One race winner Johnny Herbert. Herbert faces a dilemma in an effort to qualify the No. 32 WESTERN UNION/Duesenberg Brothers Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone for his first Indianapolis 500. He is scheduled to compete in an American Le Mans Series race Sunday at Sonoma, Calif., in his full-time drive with the Champion Racing team. No decision has been made on Herbert’s status for Bump Day, WESTERN UNION/Duesenberg team spokesman Paul Gatsos said. “Well, I think it’s my feeling that it’s going to be Sunday only – straight into a qualifying, Bump Day scenario,” Herbert said. “I want to do Sears Point, because I want to do it for Champion and for myself. Because obviously it’s good for the rest of the year for the championship, but obviously I want to do this. “I don’t want someone else to get in the car and qualify, because then you’ll have people saying, ‘He’s got someone else in there to qualify, and then he gets back in it to race.’ I want to prove the point that I can do it, for one. The only way I can do that, is to do it. And it’s not a nice situation, but I’ve got to work out that scenario.”

5/12/02
Industry News

Emerson Fittipaldi keeps some pretty heavy company  The following was released today by the Laureus World Sports Awards: *, Eriq La Salle, star of television's ER, will host a star-studded evening, of celebrities from the world of sport, music, fashion, and film.*, The Awards will be presented at the Grimaldi Forum on Tuesday, May 14th.*, The following is the guest list as of May 12, excluding nominees. Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Morgan Freeman, Allan Lamb, Mario Adorf, Dawn Fraser, Greg LeMond, Giacomo Agostini, Gabrielle, Florence Levaut, Siomon Ammann, Andrea Gaudenzi, Dietrich Mattausch, Thierry Aymes, Uschi Glas, Paolo Milanoli, Boris Becker, Jurgen Van den Goorbergh, Carole Montillet, Stefania Belmondo, Greg Gorman, Edwin Moses, Abdelatif Benazzi, Christoph Gottschalk, Robby Naish, Pippa Blake, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Ilie Nastase, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Marvin Hagler, Gianni Ocleppo, Ian Botham, Sven Hanawald, Patrick Oehlandt, Loris Capirossi, Paula Hart, Claudia Pechstein, Bobby Charlton, Nick Heidfeld, John McEnroe, Dan Cleary, Hansi Hinterseer, Robert Pires, Natalie Cole, Mike Horn, Gary Player, Nadia Comaneci, HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, Hugo Porta, Sean Connery, Rachel Hunter, Toni Sailer, David Coulthard, Miguel Indurain, John Salley, Matthijs De Bruijn, Michael Johnson, Bernd Schneider, Marcel Desailly, Marion Jones, Til Schweiger, Didier Deschamps, Vinnie Jones, Dougray Scott, Kapil Dev, Catherine Zeta Jones, Mark Spitz, Mick Doohan, Michael Jordan, Ingemar Stenmark, Michael Douglas, Alexandra Kamp, Kory Tarpening, David Douillet, Kip Keino, Daley Thompson, Morne Du Plessis, Mark Keller, Alberto Tomba, Stephan Eberharter, Franz Klammer, Jurgen Van De Goorbergh, Nawal El Moutawakel, Heidi Klum, Maya Von Hohenzollern, Steven Everts, Ivica Kostelic, Michael Von Preussen, Bruno Eyron, Janica Kostelic, Russell Watson, Emerson Fittipaldi, Tom Kristensen, Lee Westwood, Sean Fitzpatrick, Eriq La Salle, Yang A Yang

5/12/02

Brawn - it was not a race  Ross Brawn refused to apologize for Ferrari’s team orders in Austria. "Rubens had won the race today but in the interests of Ferrari and the drivers’ championship we have made the decision." Asked whether the call was against the spirit of competition, Brawn replied: "You say that but we had told the drivers not to race each other. We told Michael not to push and Rubens not to push so we were not racing." In other words, F1 is just a Ferrari parade.  It's interesting to note that section 48 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations say - "If in the opinion of the Formula One Commission a competitor fails to operate his team in a manner compatible with the standards of the Championship or in any way brings the Championship into disrepute, the FIA may exclude such competitor from the Championship forthwith."  However, we doubt the FIA will actually penalize Ferrari.  They have not in the past, so a precedent has been set.

5/12/02

Ferrari team orders backlash big  The backlash against Ferrari for ordering Rubens Barrichello to let teammate Michael Schumacher past for the win has been tremendous.  Not only are our F1 discussion forums going wild with discussion, just about everyone in the sport is disgusted.  Team boss Flavio Briatore had these harsh words - "The sport of motor-racing is more important than Ferrari," Briatore said. "We can live without them. What happened here today is totally unacceptable. Ferrari took the spectators for imbeciles and manipulated the result. I hope the international governing body won't let this pass without doing anything. If that happened it would mean Ferrari are running Formula One."  It's controversies such as this that have made NASCAR so popular, i.e. getting the fans riled up, but this one is just unacceptable.

5/12/02

Penske decided a year ago  At a surprise birthday party here in Indianapolis last night, thrown by his wife, Roger Penske addressed the crowd to thank everyone.  During that address he stated that he told his friend Tony George that he was taking Team Penske and Marlboro to the IRL one year ago.  While there is nothing surprising about that statement, it must anger other CART team owners and board members to know that Roger knew he was headed to the IRL, yet continued to attend CART franchise board meetings right up to the bitter end, which of course gave him insight as to what his CART competitors were planning with their series.  One has to wonder if any of that information fell into the hands of the IRL.  Hmm.....

5/12/02

Sato escapes serious injury  Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato escaped serious injury at the A1-Ring today following a terrifying crash. The Japanese driver was conscious and talked with doctors as a medical team lifted him from his car. Fortunately Sato only suffered a concussion from the crash, and no other injuries. On lap 27 Nick Heidfeld's Sauber Petronas appeared to break a right-front brake rotor on the approach to turn two sending him sliding down the inside of turn two backwards. Takuma Sato was being lapped by Juan Pablo Montoya's Williams in that corner. Luckily for Montoya, he was slightly behind Sato (though nearly alongside him). Heidfeld flew across the front of Montoya just missing hitting him by a matter of inches, but Sato was not nearly so fortunate. The rear of Heidfeld's Sauber struck the side pod of Sato's Jordan in an horrific smash sending both cars into the gravel trap. A shaken Heidfeld emerged from his cockpit unaided, but Sato sat in his cockpit, while Dr. Sid Watkins tended to him. After about 10 minutes the medical team extricated him from the wrecked Jordan as Nick Heidfeld looked on concerned. He was then rushed to the medical center by ambulance.

5/12/02

Rockingham scoring tower finally working  Rockingham, England fans were largely in the dark as to race standings at last years inaugural CART race because the new scoring pylon was not finished in time.  As we understand it the company that provided the pylon had financial difficulties.  We are happy to report that the scoring pylon is now working.  The last ASCAR race run there featured two distinct racing grooves, so perhaps we will see that when the Champ cars arrive in September.

5/12/02

CMS still owes CART money?  Taken from CART’s 2001 Annual Report - Floyd R. (Chip) Ganassi, Jr. is a principal owner of Chicago Motor Speedway, LLC. Sanctioning Fees:
2001 $1.9 Million ($1.7 paid, $225,000 balance due as of 12/31/01)
2002 $2.0 Million
2003 $2.1 Million
As CMS elected NOT to promote a 2002 race and CART agreed to rent the facility for $850,000 and promote the event themselves.

5/12/02

Egypt bids for F1 race  Add Egypt as yet another country bidding to land a Formula One race if plans for a circuit near the Pyramids gets approval. "The plans are pretty advanced at this stage," said Ashraf Mahmoud, chairman and chief executive officer of the Egyptian Motor Sport Corporation, in Austria this weekend as a guest of F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone. "We have been working on the project since July 1998 and we now have the full approval and support of the Egyptian government. "The feedback from Bernie has been positive and he has been to Egypt. "We are considering sites on the Red Sea coast. But Cairo as a city has a charm in itself. "The most preferred site is on the outskirts of greater Cairo, on the west side of the Nile about 10 minutes drive from the Pyramids which would be in view for television. "There are no archaeological problems with the site." German Hermann Tilke, the man behind the state-of-the-art facility at Sepang in Malaysia, is expected to be named as the designer of the circuit. "I have my own design which is not yet approved," added Mahmoud, who said 2005 is the earliest date Egypt could host a race. "It is the Sphinx shape and it looks like a very fast circuit but I don't know from a commercial and technical view if it's feasible."

5/12/02

CART Ladder: Grant Mariman uses daring pass to win    Grant Maiman executed a daring but intelligent pass late in Round 6 to claim the point en route to his second victory of the 2002 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER season over Scott Speed and Luis Pelayo. The New London, Wisconsin native capped a strong weekend in which he secured 36 of a possible 42 points to make inroads on new championship leader Speed. Only Speed had a stronger weekend, collecting 38 points for his two days of work. The CART Stars of Tomorrow Award winner led the early laps, having checked out from pole and leading Pelayo and Maiman around the 1.77-mile Putnam Park road course over the first five circuits. Barber-CART Karting Scholarship winner Craig Baltzer was also in the mix, looking to maximize his best start position ever. Baltzer unfortunately got tangled up with Jonatan Jorge in turn-1 and lost nine positions, falling out of contention. Speed yielded the point to Pelayo mid-race and the Mexican set the pace for the first time this season. But a miscue by Pelayo allowed Speed to capitalize and regain the lead. The third position, of course, had the best view of the dicing. Maiman sat patiently in third and waited for his opportunity. Preserving his tires as best possible, he saved enough rubber to facilitate a strong charge when he needed one. When Speed and Pelayo broke late into turn-1, the pair slid wide and gave Maiman enough room at the apex to squeeze by. The move surprised them but Pelayo recovered quickly and slotted in to deny Speed P2. The three drivers then ran as a train with 3 laps to go, Maiman running out the clock for his second win of the season and his first since the series opener at Laguna Seca. Al Unser, who crashed out of Round 5 in dramatic fashion, was back in race form and charged through the field from 15th to finish in fourth. Unser also established a new track record with a time of 1:15.115 sec., eclipsing Speed's mark of 1:15.420 sec.
FINISH/START POS/CAR#/DRIVER/RESIDES/LAPS/POINTS
1/3/83/Grant Maiman/New London, Wisconsin/20
2/1/23/Scott Speed/Matneca, California/23/17
3/4/41/Luis Pelayo/Naucalpan, Mexico/23/14
4/15/72/Al Unser/Corrales, New Mexico/23/12
5/5/70/Burt Frisselle/Kihei, Hawaii/23/11
6/8/77/Scott Poirier/Deerfield Beach, Florida/23/10
7/11/20/Jonatan Jorge/Brazil/23/9
8/6/21/Aurelio Lopez/Mexico/23/8

5/12/02
Industry News

G-Force cars dominate Indy qualifying  G-Force driver Bruno Junqueira has claimed pole position for this year's Indianapolis 500 - putting an American chassis manufacturer on pole position for the first time since 1980. The first driver to attempt a qualifying run, Junqueira recorded a four-lap average speed of 231.342mph. G-Force cars dominated qualifying with Junqueira joined on the front two rows by Robbie Buhl (Dreyer & Reinbold) in 2nd, Felipe Giaffone (Mo Nunn Racing) 4th, and Tony Kanaan (Mo Nunn Racing) 5th. A surprise performance from veteran Raul Bousel stopped G-Force from claiming a front-row sweep of qualifying "The car has been just perfect over the past couple of days," Junqueira said. "This year has been much better because I have been able to do the full build-up for the race, rather than just coming in for the second weekend. "It was always going to be a long wait this afternoon, but I am very pleased." Other G-Force drivers to make the field on pole day included crowd favorite Sarah Fisher (Dreyer & Reinbold) 9th, Jeff Ward (Ganassi) 15th, Ricky Treadway (Treadway & Associates) 17th and former winner, Kenny Brack (Ganassi) 21st. In only her second IRL race for 2002, Fisher has been delighted with the performance of the G-Force chassis with the Dreyer & Reinbold team. "As I kept getting more confident in how the car would perform, it kept getting better and better," she said. "No matter where I go on the track, this car does what I want it to. It never strays." The performance of the G-Force has delighted representatives of the Braselton, Georgia-based chassis manufacturer. Part of Don Panoz's Elan Motor Sport Technologies group, G-Force has twice previously claimed pole position for the Indy 500. It also has two previous victories with Arie Luyendyk (1997) and Juan Montoya (2000). "We have put a lot of work into improving the car in the off-season and that hard work is starting to pay off," Panoz said. "The entire team at G-Force has put a lot of resources into the wind-tunnel program for this car and everybody is very pleased with the progress. "Although we are waiting for the news as to who will be the approved manufacturers for next year, we have already done a great deal of work on a 2003 car and have already received a lot of inquiries. "However, getting pole position is one thing, the aim of the G-Force guys will now be to assist our teams to work on their race set-ups." G-Force

5/11/02
F3000

Enge wins in Austria  Tomas Enge started from the pole and led every lap to win the fourth round of the FIA International Formula 3000 Championship on Saturday. Bjorn Wirdheim finished second. Mario Haberfeld held off Giorgio Pantano to finish third. Patrick Freisacher and Enrico Toccacelo rounded out the top six. Pantano and Enge are tied at the top of the championship with 17 points each.

5/11/02

Brazilians dominate Indy qualifying  We wonder how old AJ Foyt feels now.  His infamous quote "all the damn foreigners in CART" will haunt him for years.  Last year CART's Brazilian drivers finished 1-2 and 5th in the Indy 500.  On pole qualifying today at Indy 4 of the top 5 were Brazilians.  Ironically, AJ Foyt is struggling to even get his cars into the field.  He must be cursing those darn foreigners tonight.  Someday AJ will mature enough to understand that it's "may the best man win, regardless of nationality."

5/11/02

McLaren admits to copying Williams to try to catch up  This Reuters article quotes Ron Dennis as saying - Digital television pictures showed two McLaren employees taking pictures of the front of the Williams when it was parked in the 'Parc Ferme' compound after qualifying. "Did they have a team uniform on? Then they were hardly spying, were they," he replied on Saturday with a smile when reporters asked him about the incident. "If you're out of uniform, you are a spy. If you are in uniform, you are gathering intelligence. We are doing nothing that everyone else doesn't do. Except that we at least are open about it."

5/11/02

HP to replace Compaq on Williams cars  After the recent merger between Compaq and Hewlett-Packard, Williams have confirmed that HP's logos will replace those of Compaq on Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya's cars as of the British Grand Prix, held in Silverstone in July. The team will continue to receive technical support from Hewlett-Packard who already handle the complex data signals and telemetry transmitted from car to pit and vice-versa.

5/11/02

Andretti likely to get bumped again  For the second year in a row, Team Green/Motorola have struggled at Indy to make the field.  Last year Michael Andretti had to qualify his backup car the last day after his primary car was too slow to make the field and withdrawn.  This year Andretti is the 2nd slowest in the field after the first day of qualifications, and depending on weather, is probably in more jeopardy of being bumped this year than last.  Although Andretti was fast in the race last year, and probably would have won had it not been for Helio Castroneves' banzai pit box exit that cost Andretti a nose cone, you must first make the show, and right now that appears to be very much in question this year for Andretti.  Hopefully, we’ll get in the race, and we’ll just really work on the race setup, which is totally different than qualifying. I was actually a little loose. I was flat out. The car was hanging it out.”

5/11/02

Letter to the Editor - Tony George statement challenged  Dear AutoRacing1 readers,  In Friday's USA Today article, "Indy Racing eats NASCAR's dust", writer Chris Jenkins discusses a perceived decline in the popularity of open-wheel racing. Indy Racing League founder Tony George is quoted as saying "There was a drop in interest ten years ago and didn't just start seven years ago when the IRL was formed", referring to 1996 when Cart was excluded from participation at the Indy 500. It's disingenuous of Mr. George to make that comment, and it's unfortunate that USA Today presented this statement as gospel.

In 1995 (the last race before the Cart/IRL split) the Indy 500 got a higher domestic TV rating (8.4) than NASCAR's premier event, the Daytona 500 (7.8). Ratings for 1993-1995 were 8.5, 8.3 and 8.4 respectively. In 1996 the IRL was created and CART was excluded from participating in the Indy 500 for several years. Beginning that year, ratings dropped to 6.5, 6.6, 5.5, 5.5 and 5.5 with a small rebound to 5.8 in 2001 thanks to the return of a handful of Cart teams who dominated the event.

The writer didn't provide these crucial facts in his article. He also fails to mention that CART blows away NASCAR and the IRL combined in worldwide interest. Mexico alone accounted for close to 20 million television households for the recent Monterrey Cart race, a single country outpacing the best television audiences in the entire history of NASCAR.

Worldwide, the top forms of motorsport are Formula One, World Rally and CART, in that order. The rest of the world cares very little about American family sedans going around in circles using 1970s technology and cares even less about any IRL events other than the legendary Indy 500.

It's unfortunate that the nation's largest daily newspaper would present an inaccurate and gloomy picture at a time when CART is poised to explode with deep pockets, healthy teams, very successful events in seven countries and a global fan base that dwarfs that of NASCAR and the IRL combined.

Response letters to the editor at USA Today wouldn't be a bad idea. Feel free to cut and paste this text.

Jeffery Walden
Shelbyville, Indiana

5/11/02

Tracy OK after crash, Bruno fastest  Veteran Paul Tracy was released from Clarian Emergency Medical Center and cleared to drive after a crash during pre-qualifying practice this morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Tracy was treated for abrasions on his knees and heels after crashing the No. 26 Team Green 7-Eleven Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone in Turn 2. Tracy's qualifying status for today is uncertain because Team Green does not have a backup car for him.  Bruno Junqueira, Tomas Scheckter and Robbie Buhl topped the session charts, all over 231 MPH.

5/11/02

Atlantics: Alex Garcia says it's a team effort  With his debut in Mexico, Alex Garcia became the first Venezuelan driver to compete in the CART Toyota Atlantic Series. Immersed in an ambitious program along with series newcomers, Transnet Racing, the driver from Caracas finished his inaugural race in torrential rainy conditions on the winding and slippery track in Monterrey. One month later, he earned his first Championship point of the season at the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix in California. After these first driving experiences of the series, Garcia was extremely positive. "I feel great", said Garcia. "Toyota Atlantic is a very competitive series and I am happy to be a part of it." What do you feel are the positives and negatives you have encountered so far in these first races? "The positive has to be the way we have come together as a team in such a short period of time and how quickly we were able to do as much as we have done. The negative is not having had the time to prepare better. Our team was the result of a very late deal getting put together, but we are all working very hard to get over the initial hump of being a new team with a rookie driver". Transnet Racing, although not yet six months old, has obtained its first point of the series. What lessons have you learned? What are your strengths? "Our biggest lesson has been the fact that this is a team effort and we have learned to work with each other very quickly. We got thrown to the wolves as a new team with new personnel and even though we all have quite a bit of experience in our own right, it was a challenge to effectively put all of our efforts together in such a short time". Races are scheduled in June practically one right after the other. How do you prepare yourself? How does the Transnet Racing team prepare? "I spend my time preparing physically and mentally and spending time at the kart track driving my shifter kart. I will go to Milwaukee on the 16th and 17th of May for a couple of days of testing at the mile oval. The team is spending endless hours getting our 014-2002 chassis ready for its debut and relocating to our new shop in Atlanta". Of all the tracks you are scheduled to race in June - Milwaukee, Laguna, Seca, Portland and Chicago - are you familiar with any of them? Have you competed on any of them? "Never. I have not seen any of the tracks where we will race this year. That makes it more of a challenge, but that is OK". You will be testing the .014 chassis in Milwaukee. What is the difference between the new one and the one you were using for the first two races? "Aerodynamics is the main thing. The new car is better aerodynamically. Swift actually has wind tunnel data for this car which does not exist for the 008, and if it is accurate, the new car is much better. The gearbox has been improved, too. The old car can pop from first into neutral very easily, making it tough to down shift into first without going too far and hitting neutral. The new car has a lock that won't allow that to happen, plus the gear box has dog-rings with 6 instead of 8 engagement teeth, making it is easier to get the gears engaged, which in turn translates into quicker shifts both up and down. We actually machined teeth off each dog-ring in the 008 car down to a 4-teeth dog-ring set up which makes it quicker and easier, but also very weak which we did not like. At Long Beach we had problems with the gearbox, so we had no choice". After the two day testing session at Milwaukee on May 16th and 17th, Alex Garcia will be getting behind the wheel again to compete in Milwaukee on June 2nd.

5/11/02

Ford committed to F1 for long time  This Financial Times article reports that Ford yesterday quashed speculation that it might withdraw from Formula One motor racing by vowing to extend the presence of its Jaguar team. Richard Parry-Jones, chief technical officer at Ford, said that Jaguar would remain part of the championship "way beyond 2004", the company's previous time-horizon for committing to the sport. Speaking on the eve of this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, he also confirmed that Nick Scheele, Ford chief operating officer, had given assurances to Nikki Lauda - the former F1 champion and manager of Jaguar Racing - that the team would not fall victim to the cost-cutting and restructuring action at Ford. It is understood that Mr. Scheele has sanctioned continued spending of $100 million to $150 million a year on the team, although that commitment is offset by lucrative sponsorship contracts.

5/11/02

Schumacher and Barrichello lead final practice in Austria  Michael Schumacher dominated the final practice session on Saturday prior to qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix. The world champion finished the morning over half a second ahead of his teammate, Rubens Barrichello. Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya were 3rd and 4th fastest respectively. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was fifth, with the Sauber of Felipe Massa completing the top six.

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