Hot News

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DATE

News (chronologically)

8/29/02

CART stock watch

MPH closed at $4.95 Down $0.05 on Volume of 72,700 shares.
$4.28 Bid - $5.30 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $4.90/$5.10
MPH Value Change Down 1.0%
DOW Jones Down 23.1 or 0.27% on Volume of 1.4 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 21.36 or 1.63%
S&P 500 Down 0.07 or 0.01%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe, Chicago

8/29/02
Industry News

Toyota forges big China deal  China and Japan's largest car makers, First Automotive Works (FAW) and Toyota Motor, have cemented a strategic partnership aimed at grabbing 10 per cent of the burgeoning mainland car market by 2010. They signed a broad agreement in Beijing to produce 300,000 to 400,000 cars for the Chinese market by 2010, ranging from luxury sedans and compacts to sports utilities, company officials said yesterday. Toyota, the world's No 3 car maker is a relative newcomer to China. Its expansion has been hampered by the narrow scope of its first Chinese car partner, compact car maker Tianjin Automotive Xiali, according to analysts. However, Xiali is now merging with FAW in the biggest ever restructuring in the overcrowded Chinese car industry, opening the door to a three-way alliance. "This is the step on the road of strategic co-operation that Toyota has been seeking since entering China. It is also a step for FAW as it quickly melds with the world economy," FAW president Zhu Yanfeng said. Toyota produces buses in China, but unlike rivals in the passenger car sector, including Honda Motor, Volkswagen and General Motors, it has yet to start making sedans in the country.   Reuters

8/29/02

NASCAR's first minority team  NASCAR’s first minority-owned Winston Cup team was formally unveiled to the media today during a press conference at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  BH Motorsports, in a strategic alliance with Hendrick Motorsports, will debut the #54 Chevrolet Monte Carlo during the Oct.13 race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The team announced primary sponsorship from the National Guard for a limited schedule in 2002 – Charlotte, Atlanta on Oct.27 and Rockingham on Nov.3 - with a full time run in 2003. Former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday will drive the car for the three races this season.  “We were fortunate to find BH Motorsports,” said Lt. Gen. Roger C. Schultz, director of the Army National Guard. “NASCAR fans have a great reputation for being loyal and dedicated, some of the values that are very important to us. NASCAR fans love their sport and they love their country. These are the people that we're trying to reach.” Team co-owner and COO Sam Belnavis is CEO and founder of Belnavis & Associates, an advertising and marketing agency focusing on the African-American consumer market. The former director of sports marketing for Miller Brewing Company, Belnavis is no stranger to the motorsports community. He is joined by team CEO Tinsley Hughes, co-founder of Mansion Motorsports, which has fielded cars for Mike Skinner, Darrell Waltrip and most recently Carl Long.  “We're honored to field the No. 54 Chevy with the National Guard as our partner,” said Belnavis. “They, along with Hendrick Motorsports, are helping us lay the groundwork for a successful future in Winston Cup racing.  ”Hendrick Motorsports will provide the team with assistance in its racing operation, marketing support, personnel recruitment and corporate networking, as well as car and race-setup development. The team also announced plans for the Driver Development Program for Minorities, a training and development program to allow drivers with diverse backgrounds the opportunity to compete in NASCAR and other racing circuits, with the ultimate goal of putting a minority driver in the #54 car.   Pete McCole

8/29/02

Treadway-Hubbard using DartTrainer  Treadway-Hubbard Racing has formed a partnership with Dartfish to incorporate DartTrainer into its Indy Racing League driver development and pit-crew training programs. Dartfish will work closely with the team to develop a top-notch video enhanced training program aimed at improving driver and pit-crew performance, which can be used throughout the motorsports community. “The Dartfish video-enhanced training program has tremendous potential in auto racing,” said Scott Cronk, vice president of Treadway-Hubbard Racing. “We started using the tool about a week ago, and it has already identified several areas of opportunity. I think it will be especially useful with our young drivers as well as in the offseason development of our over-the-wall pit crew guys.” DartTrainer’s patented SimulCam™ technology makes it possible for two cars or the same car to appear on the screen at the same time despite the two taking laps at different times. DartTrainer demonstrates the varied acceleration and paths drivers take helping them prepare their race and time trial strategies. Dartfish has developed visual-based learning systems that are particularly beneficial in the auto industry for car safety training and for process improvement in manufacturing. In Germany, Dartfish sponsors the PoleVision Racing team, which has used the DartTrainer system with success for the past two seasons in the V8 Star Racing series. Dartfish also has worked with various NASCAR and Formula One teams.

8/29/02

Toyota tests again  Toyota tests with Kelley, Unser: Toyota continued its development program in preparation for joining the Indy Racing League in 2003 as an engine manufacturer, testing this week with Kelley Racing and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. on Aug. 26-27 at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. “Everything went fine,” said Lee White, general manager of Toyota Racing Development. “We just continue working at the track to fill in blanks of a matrix of questions we have with a whole new venue for us.” Toyota conducted its first on-track test of its IRL engine Aug. 12-13 at Kentucky Speedway with Marlboro Team Penske and driver Helio Castroneves. “It’s fun being with a new group,” White said. “We had two tests with Penske, and we got used to their drivers and methodology. But we have multiple teams, and we have to learn how to interact with other drivers and engineering groups, other setups and approaches to deal with the same problem of getting around the race track quickest. “We’re still working on performance development, but we can do a lot of that in the shop. The reason to be at the racetrack is to learn the electronic controls and other things you must deal with to race in the IRL.” Said Unser. “The engine is running great. The test was great, and the Toyota engineers are good people to work with. I’m excited about 2003.” Toyota’s next on-track test probably will take place in October, White said.

8/29/02

More on CART HDTV broadcast  Following the success of the first-ever high-definition broadcast of North American auto racing during the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank, HDNet and CART announced they will team up again to provide HDTV coverage of Friday and Saturday qualifying as well as the first-ever high-definition coverage of a live auto race at this weekend's Shell Grand Prix of Denver. The cutting-edge technology of HDTV meets auto racing in the high-tech world of CART as HDNet, in conjunction with CART broadcast partner SPEED Channel, will broadcast the Friday and Saturday qualifying sessions from downtown Denver on its all high-definition network, which is available on DIRECTV channel 199. The Friday session will be shown on a tape-delayed basis at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time, with Saturday's final qualifying airing live at 3:30 p.m ET. The coverage expands this weekend to include the 115-lap CART FedEx Championship Series event, covering a live North American auto race for the first time with Sunday's Shell Grand Prix of Denver. The HD broadcasts will be produced using HDNet's HD mobile production units, cameras and crew; along with SPEED Channel's graphics and announcers. "Fans of CART racing are the perfect audience for high definition TV, so we are pleased to enter into this relationship with CART," said Mark Cuban, President of HDNet. "HDNet is proud to bring this high-speed action to HDTV viewers, as we continue to set the standard for quality sports, news and entertainment programming." "We are proud that the people at HDNet have chosen the CART FedEx Championship Series as the first racing series to showcase their technology," said CART Vice-President of Marketing Steve Fusek. "It says a lot for our upscale fans and their willingness to embrace new technology, that HDNet decided that we were the perfect fit for them. Fans responded to us and to HDNet after Cleveland and we are pleased that HDNet wanted to continue broadcasting the exciting action of our series."

8/29/02

Due to high-demand, CART makes changes  Higher-than-anticipated demand from fans that want to meet and greet the stars of the CART FedEx Championship Series has led to Championship Auto Racing Teams making a change to its Friday autograph session at this weekend's Shell Grand Prix of Denver. Previously scheduled to have been held in the Pepsi Center on Friday, the autograph outing will now be held at the East End of the CART paddock beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon. The session will be open to all Shell Grand Prix of Denver ticket holders, who will also have the opportunity to walk through the paddock from 4-6 p.m. to watch the mechanics, engineers and teams of the CART FedEx Championship Series in action as they prepare their cars for Saturday's final qualifying for Sunday's 115-lap event.

8/29/02

Bill France surgery  International Speedway Corporation (ISC) announced today that its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, William C. France, has undergone bypass surgery. The procedure is not expected to prevent him from continuing his roles as Chairman and CEO of ISC. The bypass procedure was performed Wednesday evening. France was admitted to a hospital after a fall Tuesday night that resulted in a broken hip. After initial tests resulting from the fall were performed, doctors recommended the bypass procedure. "I have spoken with my brother and he is alert and in good spirits. The doctors say to expect a full recovery," said James C. France, President and Chief Operating Officer of ISC. "With regards to the company, we have a strong management team in place and expect on-going operations to continue to run efficiently."

8/29/02

Salo to retire  Mika Salo announced in Belgium on Thursday that he will quit Formula One at the end of the current season. Salo was released by his Toyota team, they announced they would not be renewing the 35-year-old Finn's contract or that of Scottish driver Allan McNish. "It's the end of my Formula One career, I'll be leaving at the end of the season," Mika said.

8/29/02

Pollock denies offer was made to Villeneuve  In this ESPN.com article, Craig Pollock totally denies an offer was made to Villeneuve for $50 million.  In fact he denies any offer was made at all.  Could this be his way of now changing his mind and accepting the offer now that his bid for Arrows has fallen through?  So would Villeneuve go to back to CART for a season? "It absolutely is a step backwards to go from F1 into Champ Cars," Pollock said. "There has to be a very good reason behind it; there has to be a very good scenario for all parties concerned. Don't forget that Jacques did win an Indy car championship and the Indy 500 with Player's, and if he is in F1 it is also because Player's did give him a chance by backing him when he went into Formula Atlantic. So maybe there is a little bit of conscience to help them out at the same time, and that is why you would look at the offer if there were an offer on the table. You would always consider an offer."  That folks means we may yet see Villeneuve in CART in 2003. 

8/29/02

Juan Montoya to wed in October  Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya is set to marry fiancée Connie Freydel once his 2003 Grand Prix campaign is complete.  The pair will wed on Saturday October 19th, the first weekend after the season finale at Suzuka. Montoya and Miss Freydel will take their vows in a ceremony in Cartagena, Colombia.

8/29/02

Pollock left out of Arrows deal, now what  According to this Autosport article, Craig Pollock, who in Hungary two weeks ago was confident that a group of American investors represented by him were on the verge of concluding a deal to buy the team, has confirmed that he is not involved in or with the current negotiations. "All I can tell you is that we were anticipating a contract arriving in the post," Pollock said. "Then we were told that there were two contracts being issued because there was another interested party. Our contract never arrived... This paddock never ceases to amaze me and all I can do is wish Tom all the best and concentrate on other things."  Pollock is not buying Arrows nor Jaguar, so what is left for him......could it be that CART team on our rumors page?  One thing we can tell you, the guy buying Arrows is wealthy, loves F1, and is from Silicon Valley.  He's not acting alone.

8/29/02

Menard and sponsors looking forward to Denver  Paul Menard learned how tough the streets can be when he opened his Trans Am career just under a month ago at the Trois Rivieres circuit in Quebec, Canada. Undaunted and without brakes, Menard raced his way up to the top-5 before having to give in to his lack of stopping power. This weekend in Denver, Colorado, Menard is anxious to get back on the streets, because despite his initial experience between the concrete walls, he actually enjoyed the challenge. "I'm definitely excited to go back to a street course," said Menard. "It's a different challenge than what I'm used to. I guess there are some people that don't prefer it, but I like the streets because they're unforgiving. With the concrete walls, it makes you step up as a driver since you don't have any margin for error. One slip and you're in the wall - it brings a whole other element to the racing." This weekend's Trans Am 100 will be Menard's third Trans Am race. "From the one street course I've been to, the passing opportunities aren't as plentiful as they are at a place like Road America. You have to take advantage of the opportunities when they come up and be more aggressive. You also have to take advantage of the changing grip on the track because there are different types of street surfaces out there with concrete, pavement and manholes. The manholes really just represent little bumps in the tracks when you hit them at speed, but the different surfaces take their role in how you attack parts of the track and what you have to do to overtake," Menard said. This weekend in Denver, Menard will have a special incentive as Denver is the home of one of Menard's primary sponsors in the Johns Manville Corporation, the leading manufacturer of Formaldehyde-Free Insulation products. With headquarters within walking distance of the temporary circuit, Menard is going to have a few guests on hand to cheer the blue #99 Mustang. "It's great coming here to Denver for Johns Manville, it's their home city and we'll have them on board. I think they can watch practice Friday from their offices they're so close and I know they'll have some people at the race, so we definitely want to have a good run for them."

8/29/02

Bridgestone to give ice demo in Denver  Bridgestone, the Official Tire of the CART FedEx Championship Series, has secured the Pepsi Center ice for this weekend's Shell Grand Prix of Denver but will be less interested in normal Pepsi Center pursuits like Colorado Avalanche hockey than it will be about showing the traction of its new Bridgestone Blizzak ice and snow tires. For the majority of the weekend, it will be open for free ice skating for fans attending the race who would like to come in and cool off. Bridgestone has worked with CART to conduct a Friday afternoon autograph session with CART drivers in the Pepsi Center so that more fans can pass through and get an inside perspective. In conjunction with the ice skating, the Bridgestone Winter Driving School from Steamboat Springs, Colo., will give hourly demonstrations on the ice to show how well the Bridgestone Blizzak ice and snow tires perform by comparing them to a regular passenger tire. Two identical Toyota Matrixes will be used, one equipped with Blizzaks and one without. The winter driving school professionals will have to negotiate a short course on the ice that demonstrates the superior abilities of the Blizzaks in handling, accelerating and stopping. Throughout the weekend, fans will be selected at random to participate in the driving comparisons as well. On Friday evening Bridgestone will conduct a celebrity ice driving competition that will include Chris Pook, Bobby Rahal, Chip Ganassi, Kenny Brack and others. Fans are encouraged to remain in the Pepsi Center following the CART autograph session to watch the celebrity driving competition.

8/29/02

CART vs. IRL attendance  A midseason attendance comparison, completed by a third-party company, Joyce Julius & Associates, showed CART attracted substantially more fans to its events than the IRL. CART's average per event attendance was 129,789 through the first nine races and that number has since gone up. The IRL averaged 81,625 per event. Without the Indianapolis 500, the IRL averaged only 36,143 per event.

8/29/02

Mo Nunn Racing release team manager  Brad Filbey, Team Manager for Mo Nunn Racing, was released from the team on Tuesday.  No replacement has been named as of yet and no reason was given for the split though we hear they just had a difference of opinion on things.

8/29/02

Burton & CITGO to raise money  For the second year in a row, Jeff Burton and CITGO will team up during Labor Day Weekend to help raise money to find a cure for muscular dystrophy. The No. 99 CITGO Ford will be sporting a special MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association), red, white and blue paint scheme and Burton will be wearing a specially designed helmet and firesuit. After the race, Burton will autograph the helmet and firesuit, which will then be auctioned off at a later time to help raise money for MDA. "This is a really important cause," said Burton. "CITGO is the single largest corporate contributor to MDA and to be associated with a company like that is a great honor. I know the entire CITGO team supports the cause and to represent CITGO, MDA and all the kids out there that need a cure is a phenomenal responsibility, but it's one that we take pride in."

8/29/02

Verstappen eyes return  UPDATE See our rumors page as to where Verstappen might drive in 2003.  8/28/02 -  Jos Verstappen, looks set for a 2003 return to the Formula One racing grid. The 30-year-old charger, however, will not be content with an interim 'fill-in' job at his old Arrows team for the remainder of the year. 'Not me,' said 'Jos the Boss'. 'I will not race only for the last four races.' While Arrows continue with the sale of their ailing Leafield concern, any imminent return to the race-tracks will require the signing of a new race-driver to fill in for Heinz-Harald Frentzen. If Arrows' new teams owners can give assurances that a brief driving fill-in will lead to a full-time Formula One return, however, Verstappen would think very carefully about the role. 'If there are guarantees for next season, that makes the case a bit more interesting,' he confirms. 'But I don't want to just drive the last couple of race as a 'fill-in.' Jos Verstappen - with a signed contract in hand - was unceremoniously faxed the news just weeks before the season commenced in March that his services would not be required for 2002.

8/29/02

CART vs. F1  As CART prepares to head to England, and hot on the heels of last weekends race in Montreal, and longtime F1 venue, there's a lot of talk about F1 vs. CART.  See this AutoRacing1.com article written in 2001 which compares the two..  The photos are of a two year-old Champ Car (Rahal) and a two year old F1 car (Ferrari) taken recently at Rockingham, England.

 

FORMULA ONE CART CHAMP CAR

Top Speed

225 mph (approx)

240 mph (approx)

Engine

3 Liter - Normally aspirated – V10

2.65 litre – Turbocharged - V8

Horsepower

830 (approx)

800 (approx) used to be 950

Gearbox

Automatic – up to seven gears

Manual – up to seven gears

Fuel

Unleaded Racing Petrol

Methanol

Traction Control

Allowed

Allowed

Tires

Grooved (Bridgestone or Michelin)

Slicks (Bridgestone)

Wheelbase

Between 106 & 120 inches (269-305cm)

Between 120 & 126 inches (305-320cm)

Min Weight

1,322.77 Ibs (601.25kg) with driver

About 1,700 Ibs with driver

Max Length

Between 170 & 180 inches (432-457cm)

Between 190 & 199 inches (483-505cm)

Max Height

37.43 inches (93.6cm)

38.5 inches (97.8cm)

Max Width

70.87 inches (177.2cm)

78.5 inches (196.3cm)

8/29/02

Franchitti visits Miami track  UPDATE  We have added photos of Dario flying the helicopter,  8/27/02 -  Dario Franchitti refrained from assigning a degree of difficulty to the tricky 1.57-mile Miami street circuit over which he'll be racing Oct. 6 in the Grand Prix Americas. For starters, he was seeing it for the first time Monday morning . . . and from 500 feet above. More important, the task of the moment required the full attention of Franchitti, fresh from victory in CART's Molson Indy Montreal. He was piloting the four-seat BellJet Ranger III helicopter that carried members of the media on brief aerial tours over the picturesque downtown circuit. His first exposure to the course in his Team KOOL Green Honda/Lola won't come until the initial practice on Oct. 4. But the 29-year-old Scot knows this much without even a walking tour of the track that features a Biscayne Boulevard straightaway and roads through Bayfront Park: ``Street courses by their nature are tight. You've got to be inch-perfect for two hours.'' Franchitti, who tied current Formula One star Juan Montoya for the 1999 FedEx series championship but lost on a tiebreaker, vaulted into second place behind Miami-based Brazilian Cristiano da Matta in the 2002 points battle. So he was sky-high both literally and figuratively Monday. ''I was flying around a lot with friends in Scotland and Australia,'' he said of his new hobby. ``I just got the bug and decided I really wanted to do this.'' He received his helicopter license after the requisite study at Heliflight in Fort Lauderdale. ''It was like being back in school,'' he said of the frequent trips to South Florida between races for intensive flight training and class work. ``But it's really worth it.'' Monday was a joyride for him. The next trip will be strictly business.  Miami Herald

8/29/02

Latest F1 Hot News  

Arrows Sold, Ready To Race
Salo And McNish Out; Panis In
McNish: I'm Very Fortunate
Porsche Set For F1 Return?
Villeneuve: I Love This Track
Who Will Drive The Arrows?
Thunderstorms For Belgium!
Panis Looks To Future
Ferrari: Still Focused On Goals
We Remember James Hunt
F1 News In Brief ......

8/29/02

Sauber tries to lure VW    According to reports, Peter Sauber has openly admitted trying to lure German manufacturer Volkswagen into the sport. Despite finishing fourth in the title chase last year, the Hinwil-based team still do not have manufacturer backing. For now, at least, VW chief Bernd Pischetsrieder is adamant that Grand Prix racing is not on the cards. .

8/29/02
Industry News

Honda to offer XM Radios  XM Satellite Radio, America's leading satellite radio service and the exclusive satellite radio service of NASCAR, will be available as a dealer-installed option in the 2003 Honda Accord. According to Honda, XM will be available Oct. 1 as a dealer-installed option in the Honda Accord, Honda Pilot and Acura MDX. The Accord was the number-one selling car in America last year based on new car purchases, with sales of more than 400,000. XM (Nasdaq: XMSR) had approximately 137,000 subscribers as of June 30, 2002, and is on track to reach 200,000 subscribers by Sept. 30 and 350,000 subscribers by year end. XM is transforming radio, an industry that has seen little technological change since FM, almost 40 years ago. XM's programming lineup features 100 coast-to-coast digital channels: 71 music channels, many of them commercial-free, from hip hop to opera, classical to country, bluegrass to blues; and 29 channels of sports, talk, children's and entertainment including the world's first and only 24-hour radio channel devoted entirely to NASCAR. XM was named 2001 "Product of the Year" by Fortune, an "Invention of the Year" by Time and won Popular Science's 2001 "Best of What's New" Grand Award in the electronics category. XM won several awards at the 2001 CES, including "Best of CES" in the automotive category, and received a coveted "A" rating from Entertainment Weekly. XM's strategic investors include America's leading car, radio and satellite TV companies -- General Motors, American Honda Motor Co. Inc., Clear Channel Communications and DIRECTV.

8/29/02

Reminder: CARA Charities announces new Runway madness event  One of the biggest social events of the year on the CART FedEx Championship Series, Runway Madness, hits the Las Vegas Strip in the fifth annual CARA Charities' presentation on Friday, November 1, at the Ontario (Calif.) Convention Center.  This year's extravaganza - called "runway madness Viva Las Vegas" - will include a different program in 2002 and will be totally "interactive" for the sponsors, guests and the entire CART community. For the first time in "Madness" history, the program will be seen on SPEED Channel as part of "CART Friday Night".  More...

8/28/02

Denver ticket sales surpass 55,000 already  UPDATE We just heard that Dover Down's Jim Michaelian stated at a recent Denver function that they expect all grandstand seats to be sold out by Friday for this weekends race. Not only is the race backed by some high powered corporations, it's also backed by the biggest businessmen in Denver, so this race is only going to get bigger and better as time goes on.  When it comes to attendance, CART's been hitting one home run after another for most of the season and some of its strongest races are yet to come, including the season finale in Mexico City, expected to draw 500,000 for the weekend.  8/28/02 - Robin Miller reported on RPM2Night that they have already sold over 55,000 tickets for this Sunday's Denver race.  Not bad for a first-year event.  Sounds lime 60,000 to 70,000 can be expected come race day.

8/28/02

CART Montreal TV rating  The live CART FedEx Championship Series race from Montreal was 0.52 (273,000 households).  While the SPEEDTV's broadcasts are second to none, the ratings are still a fraction of Network TV.  The only good news, if you can call it good news, is that the Montreal rating is almost double that of the CART Road America rating.  SPEED Channel's Nielsen estimate for September is 53,625,000 households, an increase of 1,126,000 homes since August. The majority of the home increase is due to Nielsen's annual adjustment to its estimate of Total Television Households, which now is 106,700,000, an increase of 1.2 million homes from last year's 105,500,000. SPEED Channel continues its growth in Canada as well, where Mediastats lists the network in 4,322,768 homes. ... The Visor Cam used in SPEED Channel's CART productions would make James Bond proud. With a control box that is just 1½ inches long and ¾ of an inch in diameter, the camera head is even smaller at ½ inch in diameter and fits in the helmet padding out of the driver's field of vision. ... Trackside @ Bristol picked up a solid .57 rating (301,000 households) on Friday night with the same-day replay scoring a .21 (111,000 HH) and a Saturday re-air garnering a .20 for a cumulative rating of .98 (516,000 HH).

8/28/02

Reader questions Gateway attendance  2nd UPDATE Tony Hubert, host of Motorsports Weekly here in St. Louis on KFNS Radio. I saw the letter from the fan about Gateway attendance for the IRL. I can't speak for Saturday I wasn't there, I am sure the crowd was paltry. However, Sunday the crowd was fine and the estimate I feel was accurate. A Gateway official told me they had their best ever walk up crowd for any race they have hosted. That's not bad, plus Gateway finally got some great weather. Usually it pours or it is hellishly hot. The fan talked about getting out of the track easily, probably true. Almost 10,000 people stayed for a Martina McBride concert on the dragstrip, so that eased usually bad traffic. All and all they did okay and the racing was good. By the way, Gateway's new G.M. Matt Strelo had a pretty good first year. He got attendance up for all four events across the board that the track hosts. (Busch Series, Truck Series, NHRA, and IRL) I think that is great considering, if you have ever been to Gateway, it is not a great venue yet. It doesn't hold a candle to Texas, Chicago, Kansas, or Kentucky. Stay in touch, love reading the website. Tony Hubert While another reader writes.....The IRL handed out gift packages to the fans on Saturday, which was nice. The problem was there were more gift packs than fans! Media and team members scooped up the remaining gifts, some people taking three or four packs each. 35K for the race? Not by a long shot.  8/28/02 - Another reader writes that he thought the race day attendance was up over last year, but thinks it was due to the $25 ticket prices and the big Marlboro ticket giveaway.  8/27/02 - Dear AutoRacing1.com, Great piece on Mario. He has always been my all-time favorite driver. They are some really good pictures. I went to St. Louis last weekend. They said there were 35k at the race. I find it hard to believe. They didn't even open up the stand in turn 1. We drove out of the parking lot behind turn 1 in less than 5 minutes. That was 20 minutes after the race. Also they said there were 1600 at the track on Saturday, that is wrong. There were so few people there that I counted them. I counted at about noon, right after the 1st practice session and there were 112 people in the stands. Maybe another 100 behind the grandstand. I counted again a 1/2 before qualifying and there were 571 people in the stands and MAYBE another 100 or so behind the grand stand. I saw very few fans in the paddock. I guess they were counting all the crew members and drivers to boost their figures.  Peter Salt

8/28/02

NASCAR leader bonus big   The NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus has ventured into uncharted waters, eclipsing the $200,000 mark for the first time in the program's seven-year history. With five NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers mathematically eligible to win this weekend's $200,000 check - the largest payout in Leader Bonus history - the on-track action at historic Darlington Raceway could pen another exciting chapter in the rich racing legacy of "The Track Too Tough To Tame." The NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus, which begins at $10,000 and increases by the same amount following each race it is not claimed, has gone 19 events without a winner. NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers can win the Leader Bonus by winning a Series event and leading the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings at the conclusion of that event. Current points leader Sterling Marlin won the season's first event at Darlington, the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, which also happened to be the last time the NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus was awarded. Entering this weekend's Mountain Dew Southern 500, Marlin leads the NASCAR Winston Cup standings by 95 points over second-place Mark Martin. Four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon is third, trailing by 111 points. Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson trail Marlin by 139 and 145 points, respectively. Marlin has been the NASCAR Winston Cup point leader following each of the last 23 series events. Ward Burton is the only other driver to hold the points lead, following his win in the season-opening Daytona 500, meaning a Dodge driver has led following every event in 2002. Marlin already has collected $50,000 in Leader Bonus money this season. He received $30,000 with his victory in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas and another $20,000 after taking the checkered flag in the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway two weeks later.

8/28/02

Breaking news - Emmo to drive again  In an AutoRacing1.com exclusive, we were informed by Peter Yanowitch, co-promoter of the Miami Grand Prix of the Americas, that he was able to talk Emerson Fittipaldi out of retirement to drive in the ALMS race on October 5th.  Fittipaldi will co-drive a Champion Audi alongside Max Papis.  The ALMS race will run on Saturday and CART Sunday.

8/28/02

CART stock watch  

MPH closed at $5.00 Up $0.10 on Volume of 65,400 shares.
$5.00 represents an increase of 31.6% from the
52 Week Low of $3.80.
$4.34 Bid - $5.35 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $4.80/$5.00
MPH Value Change Up 2.04%
DOW Jones Down 130.32 or 1.48% on Volume of 1.4 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 33.4 or 2.48%
S&P 500 Down 16.95 or 1.81%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe, Chicago

8/28/02

Coyne reveals St. George team details  According to this SpeedTV article, Dale Coyne revealed that rather than his own ’01 Lolas, the team will compete in ex-Sigma Autosport equipment raced earlier this year by Max Papis. “This all came together quite quickly,” explained Coyne. “They were looking to put forth an effort over there with Team Saint George and a British driver and a bit of British flavor to the whole program. They contacted us about our equipment, our effort and our personnel to kind of coordinate it and get it off the ground. And we came in agreement to do that. We purchased the Sigma car and all the ancillary equipment that they had with that last week. Our guys here, about 11 guys, are working feverishly on it trying to go through it completely from one end to the other and making it a well-prepared car. Because it actually leaves late this week. It flies over on Friday for a PR event over there.” Coyne added that the team’s own cars would also be part of the program: “We had two cars that we started the update process on earlier this year. With a side intrusion panels, we had sent the tubs back to England, they had to modify them, so we had started on the path of being ready to run this year anyway. And then we looked at this and the logistics of getting a kit, 2002 update kit out of England in time and then the Sigma purchased made more sense to us. “With what CART has done with the rules for next year, I am certainly not afraid to spend the money to buy those kinds of things. It just gets us ready for what we're trying to plan for for next year. “We are probably one more day away from the driver selection. There has been several mentioned. I think the short list is probably Johnny Herbert and Darren Manning. There's been a couple of others mentioned that are also pretty good quality drivers. So we'll see—another conference call early tomorrow morning and we'll see where that lies. But as far as the key personnel, that will be done from here. David Watson rejoins us as engineer. He was here with us in 1996 in his rookie year as an engineer in CART. Then he went on to work for Rahal and has been at Sigma for the last two years, so we're happy to have him back as the engineer on the program.”

8/28/02

Motorsports fans breaking stereotypes  According to this Denver Post article, With the Grand Prix of Denver, a new CART race, coming this weekend, many eyes also will be fixated on the demographics of the crowd. Some will be surprised by what they see. "The idea that motorsports fans are rednecks and have their bellies hanging out of their T-shirts and drive pickup trucks with their wives sitting in the back, it's absurd," said Dean Bonham, chairman of the Bonham Group, a Denver-based sports marketing and research firm. CART is an open wheel, Indy-type car series, NASCAR a stock-car series that blows away all rivals in terms of popularity. Yet there's probably more fuel to the stereotypical white-collar CART fan, often seen as upscale, than blue-collar NASCAR fan......"CART and IRL (the Indy Racing League) have higher demographics than NASCAR, but the gap has closed considerably," Bradley said. "Still, the CART fan tends to be very affluent, very refined and technologically savvy. "Generally speaking, motorsports isn't a bunch of grease monkeys working lower-income jobs who don't have much of an education. And in CART, along with IRL, you see that in the research. The CART fan loves technology, whereas the cars used in NASCAR are modified stock cars but stock cars nevertheless in their foundation. And those cars in NASCAR were always portrayed as minimalist in technology, minimalist in cost and then marketed to a very salt-of-the-earth kind of people living usually in the South." Recent research by the Bonham Group estimated the nation has 30 million fans of auto racing, of which 70.8 percent are male, 33.2 percent are college graduates and 34.2 percent have annual household income of $60,000 or more. Also, the study revealed 65.8 percent of auto racing fans have "high interest" in NASCAR. "High interest" in CART was determined by the Bonham Group to be 13.2 percent, and in IRL it was 9.8 percent.

8/28/02

McNish statement   Allan McNish, currently enjoying his first year in Formula One with Panasonic Toyota Racing is confident that he will continue to race at the top level of his sport beyond the current year. Panasonic Toyota Racing has announced today that the team’s current F1 drivers, Allan McNish and Mika Salo, will not be driving for the team after this season. McNish, 32, comments, “I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to drive for Panasonic Toyota Racing this year. Ove and his team are an excellent group of people and I am enjoying working with them.” “As for my first year in F1, I think I’ve done a solid job with strong performances, closely mirroring the efforts of my team mate, Mika Salo, who has been driving in F1 for a few more years than me. In the long term, I don’t have any worries that I won’t be continuing at the top level, but at the moment I’m obviously looking to the immediate future and preparing for Spa this weekend.”

8/28/02

Priestley will stick to road racing  According to this Canadian Press article, Canadian actor Jason Priestley has decided to stick to racing on road courses instead of ovals, but it took graphic pictures of his injuries to convince him. Kelley Racing general manager Jim Freudenberg said he met with Priestley on Tuesday after his second session of rehab. "He was a little worn out, but he has a great attitude," said Freudenberg. Freudenberg and Priestley's family members urged him to get off the ovals and, after seeing digital pictures of himself after the crash, Priestley agreed. "The fact that his bills aren't paid by being in a race car, it's probably more risky that it's worth," said Freudenberg. "We've been working to make him see that light. "We're going to work on getting him some sponsorship and deals put together so he can go road racing. If you pull that out you might as well pull his heart out. He likes it too much." .......The digital photos of Priestley and his back were shocking enough for him to take the advice of his racing team and family. "He obviously didn't like what he saw," said Freudenberg. "He didn't realize the severity of it until he saw the pictures, but I don't think he'll nag to get back on the ovals. "I think if we can get him back in a car and doing some road racing, I think that would satisfy his need for speed. He's very competitive and this is part of what makes him tic as a person."  With continued rumors of Gil de Ferran wanting to retire, Tomas Scheckter quitting because of the risk, and Helio Castroneves trying to land a F1 ride, one has to wonder if the numerous injuries we have seen in CART and the IRL over the years on ovals is starting to weigh on the drivers minds.

8/28/02

NASCAR antitrust lawsuit to proceed  According to this Dallas Fort Worth Star Telegram article, an attempt to bring another Winston Cup race to Fort Worth appears to have cleared the first phase of legal proceedings. U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Faulkner recommended Monday denying NASCAR's motion to dismiss any counts of a lawsuit that seeks a second Cup date at Texas Motor Speedway. The case should proceed to discovery hearings, said Samuel A. Cherry Jr., attorney for plaintiff Francis Ferko. Attorneys for Plano resident Ferko, a minority shareholder in TMS parent company Speedway Motorsports Inc., filed the lawsuit Feb. 13 in U.S. District Court in Sherman. NASCAR filed its motion to dismiss April 10. "We've overcome the first obstacle on the road to justice for the SMI shareholders," Cherry said Tuesday from his office in Dothan, Ala. Though Faulkner's opinion is only a recommendation, it is unlikely that U.S. District Judge Richard Schell would not accept it, said Paul George, a professor of law at Texas Wesleyan. "A motion to dismiss is based purely on law. Ideally, every judge will look at every question of law and come to the same conclusion, but that's not always the case," George said. "The chances are much higher on this kind of motion than other types that different judges will agree."

8/28/02

Arrows sold - heads to SPA   UPDATE Struggling Formula One team, Arrows, have sent cars, drivers and personnel to the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit to contest the Belgian Grand Prix. Whether or not they line up on Sunday's grid, however, is still yet to be answered as final negotiations with an American investor fall into place. 'Arrows Grand Prix International announced today that the team has been sent to Spa,' read a statement issued today. 'Heads of Agreement have been signed regarding the purchase of the team by an American investor,' continued the press release. The 'American investor' remark hints that Craig Pollock's Silicon Valley-based consortium have been successful in their bid for the Leafield team. 'We hope for the deal to be completed by Friday.' Three Cosworth-powered A23s will be presented for scrutineering tomorrow morning, although the cars' Electronic Control Units will be held by Jaguar and PPD boss Niki Lauda until a reported $3.2 million payment is made. The lunchtime deadline of today, where a further $1.6 million race-by-race installment was due, was missed by Arrows. Should the team sale be concluded by Friday, however, Arrows' new owners will pay their dues and fire up the V10s. Meanwhile, if Arrows get the green light to contest the Belgian Grand Prix under new management, they will be in need of a second Formula One pilot to steer the seat formerly occupied by Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Interestingly, however, the 35-year-old German was spotted in nearby Liege yesterday afternoon and is thought to be considering taking up the driving role despite signing for Sauber for 2003. Former Jaguar tester Tomas Scheckter, who quit his Red Bull-backed Indy Racing League berth on the weekend, is also being touted as a possibility. The 22-year-old South African, son of 1979 world champion Jody, was fired by Bobby Rahal last year after a court appearance for soliciting. Renault tester Fernando Alonso and former Arrows pilot Jos Verstappen are now considered only outside chances of gracing the sister A23. 23-year-old Spaniard Enrique Bernoldi - albeit reluctantly - will continue in his Arrows driving role for the balance of '02. Arrows missed the Hungarian Grand Prix while detailed sale negotiations ensued, and would repeat their claim of Force Majeure if the Pollock deal flounders at the final hurdle.  8/28/02 - Arrows Grand Prix International announced today that the team has been sent to Spa. Heads of Agreement have been signed regarding the purchase of the team by an American investor. They hope for the deal to be completed by Friday.

8/28/02

Panis to drive for Toyota, Salo and McNish out   UPDATE Toyota pilots Mika Salo and Allan McNish have ended their associations with the fledgling Cologne-based outfit. Finnish-born Salo, who held a valid contract for a third season of racing for the Japanese giant, has reportedly 'Agreed to end his collaboration with the team early at the end of the season.' A team statement continued that: 'Allan McNish's contract would not be renewed.' 35-year-old French ace Olivier Panis, who was nudged into BAR's shadows with the recent signing of Jenson Button, was concurrently announced as one of Toyota's official drivers for season 2003. 'The team will announce who is to partner Olivier Panis in 2003 at a later date.' 'We would like to thank Mika and Allan for their hard-work during the last two years, which has been integral in building the team up to its current level,' said Toyota Racing President, Ove Andersson. Allan McNish, the 32-year-old Scottish rookie from Dumfries, joined Salo in a year-long testing preparation for Toyota's debut season of Grand Prix racing last year. 'This decision was not an easy one for the team and for Toyota Motor Corporation and in no way reflects on their clear racing ability,' the Swedish boss adds. 'Both Mika and Allan will complete the remaining four Grands Prix of this season with Panasonic Toyota Racing with the same professionalism and dedication they have demonstrated so far.' Panis will spend the next two year's at Cologne, while diminutive CART sensation Cristiano da Matta has moved into pole position to grace the sister car. The 27-year-old Brazilian, who recently equaled Juan Pablo Montoya and Alex Zanardi's record of four straight ChampCar wins, tested a Toyota at Paul Ricard recently to the plaudits of management. The stumbling block to da Matta's swift signing, however, is a signed-and-sealed Newman-Haas contract of which Carl Haas is demanding more than $10 million for release. A source close to Toyota, however, reveals that 'A solution is being sought. Toyota, we believe, will have their man.' Interestingly, Newman-Haas are Toyota-powered and 'Could be compensated in other ways.' Also linked to the ride have been Australia's Mark Webber and IRL star Helio Castroneves, the Brazilian to get his chance at the TF102 before too long. Olivier Panis, through manager Didier Coton, initially reacted that 'I am very satisfied, Toyota have represented their faith in my abilities that will be rewarded with my total dedication.' Panis debuted for Ligier in 1994, before spending stints at Prost, as McLaren's third driver, and two years at BAR.  8/28/02 - France's Olivier Panis will drive for Toyota next season with both Finland's Mika Salo and Briton Allan McNish leaving the Formula One team, Toyota announced. Panis, 35, currently drives for British American Racing (BAR) who have already signed Briton Jenson Button from Renault. Toyota, in their first season in Formula One, did not name their second driver for 2003 but Brazilian Cristiano da Matta, current leader of the CART championship, is expected to be confirmed alongside Panis. "Olivier Panis has signed a two-year contract to be one of the team's race.   This also means Villeneuve will not be a test driver for BAR and will drive alongside Button.

8/28/02

Reality check for Villeneuve   As we discussed in our article when we broke the story that Villeneuve won't be coming to CART, this Grandprix.com article slams Villeneuve and his manager Pollock for being shortsighted for turning down a guaranteed $50 million at a time when driver salaries are going down.

8/28/02

Latest F1 Hot News  

Jacques Rejects $50m CART Offer
Saelens Eyes Minardi Drive?
New Suspension For Jaguar
Still No Word From Arrows
Walker: Other Teams To Blame
Another Milestone For Ferrari
The Tire-War Continues
F1 News In Brief ....

8/27/02

Bristol TV ratings higher  Winston Cup is on a roll. The ratings on TNT for the Sharpie 500 from Bristol turned in a stellar 4.8 rating, up 17 percent from last year's 4.1. How long before the NBC Entertainment people finally take notice and start begging for this race to be on over-the-air TV? Saturday night's NBC lineup of Meet My Folks, Crime & Punishment, and Dog Eat Dog turned in a 3.3 rating, finishing in a distant last place among the big four networks. An identical 4.8 rating on OTA TV would have earned NASCAR and NBC a big win for the night, better than the 4.7 on first place Fox. How long too before NASCAR stops downplaying this phenomenal marketing opportunity? MotorsportsTV.com

8/27/02

Ryan Hampton is a road racer  Dear AutoRacing1.com, Regarding the guy who won last weekends Infiniti Pro Series race, I know Ryan Hampton. He is not an oval racer. Limited oval experience in USF2000. Raced the SR2 class in sportscars and dominated mercilessly (has been compared to Parker Johnstone when he was in Camel Lights). Interesting how, on a track where the horsepower doesn't matter much (Gateway), that the road racer nobody knows about comes through huh? I think its fitting that Luyendyk, who is an SCCA F2000 regular (did he win the National Championship...or runner up?) was second.  And in the IRL race at Gateway the same day, guess who swept 1-4?  Again, the road racers dominate. Scott Morris

8/27/02

Dixon to carry Coors Light sponsorship  UPDATE We hear the car looks really good, one of the best paint schemes ever.  8/27/02 - Target Chip Ganassi Racing will feature a new paint scheme for the Shell Grand Prix of Denver on September 1. Colorado-based Coors will be the featured artwork on the No. 44 Toyota/Lola driven by Scott Dixon. The familiar silver and black paint scheme will be featured on Dixon’s car. Dixon, the second-year pilot in CART, became the youngest winner in major open-wheel racing last year in Nazareth, PA. Steve Saunders, Director of Event Marketing for Coors, is excited to have the opportunity to showcase the colors of Coors Light this weekend. “Coors has been a long time sponsor of racing. We are proud to call Denver home. What better way to show our support than to feature a Coors Light car in our hometown race – the Shell Grand Prix of Denver,” Saunders said. “Scott is a talented driver and we’re excited to have him pilot the Silver Bullet car this weekend.” Dixon is in his sophomore year in CART. The 22-year old from New Zealand won the 2001 Jim Trueman CART Rookie-of-the-year and finished 8th in the championship point standings last year. So far this season, Dixon has recorded 7 top-10 finishes in 10 races. Dixon is proud to carry the colors of Coors Light this weekend. “It’s great to have a company like Coors on board for the Denver race,” Dixon said. “The car just looks fast, even when it’s standing still. I’m proud to carry their colors next weekend to show our appreciation. I can’t wait to get this thing out on the streets of Denver and bring home a victory for Team Target and Coors.” Coors Brewing Company is also a proud sponsor of Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 40 Coors Light Dodge driven by NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin. So far this season, Marlin has captured victories in Las Vegas and Darlington and sits atop the Winston Cup Championship point standings with 14 races left on the schedule. Last season, Marlin finished 3rd in the championship in his first season with Chip Ganassi Racing.

8/27/02

Wallace to drive #23   Effective immediately, Kenny Wallace will take over the driving duties for the #23 Hills Bros. Coffee Dodge for the remainder of the season.. After a lengthy discussion, car owner, Bill Davis, and driver, Hut Stricklin, have agreed to take this opportunity to maximize efforts for all parties involved for the 2003 NASCAR season. "I am very grateful to Bill Davis Racing and Hills Brothers Coffee, and I consider this as a chance to allow the team to get things in place and get a head start on next year," said Stricklin. "It will also allow me to explore my options for the future. Hills Brothers Coffee is a great sponsor and I will continue involvement with the company for the remainder of the year." "All of us at Bill Davis Racing respect Hut and his family, "said car owner, Bill Davis.. "He is one of the nicest guys you'll meet in this sport and I think a lot of him.. We announced earlier this week that Kenny will be driving the #23 Stacker 2 Dodge beginning in 2003, and we see this as a opportunity to get a head start on next season and work toward building the team chemistry and consistency that is essential to run up front in the Winston Cup Series." Bill Davis Racing PR

8/27/02

CART stock watch  

MPH closed at $4.90 Up $0.05 on Volume of 65,700 shares.
$4.19 Bid - $5.31 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $4.70/$5.00
MPH Value Change Up 1.03%
DOW Jones Down 94.6 or 1.06% on Volume of 1.5 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 43.96 or 3.16%
S&P 500 Down 13.13 or 1.39%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe, Chicago

8/27/02

Mario Andretti named to CART Board   Legendary race car driver, Mario Andretti, has been named to the Board of Directors of auto racing sanctioning organization Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. The announcement was made Tuesday in Indianapolis by CART President and CEO, Christopher R. Pook. "Mario Andretti is a true believer in the CART product, and has long been a great ambassador for our sport," said Pook. "Mario has a wealth of experience in racing that will benefit our Board of Directors and management as we continue to refine and implement our business model and marketing platform. We believe that Mario's experience in various forms of motor racing, as well as his business and marketing acumen, will complement the strengths of the other members of the Board of Directors." Andretti ended a racing career in 1994 that left him standing among the pantheon of motor-racing greats, compiling 52 Champ Car wins over his CART and USAC careers with four season championships. In 1978, he joined Phil Hill as the only American to claim the World Drivers Championship, winning six races enroute to the Formula 1 title. He showed his versatility over his 36-year career by winning fabled endurance races at Sebring and Daytona as well as the Daytona and Indianapolis 500-mile races. His 407 Champ Car starts are the most in the history of the sport, as are his 67 pole positions. "I am proud and honored to join CART's Board of Directors and hope to assist the current Board in helping CART attain the status that it deserves in motor racing," Andretti said. "While this is a business decision for me and my family, it has always been clear that my heart is in CART and it will be my pleasure to help the series to grow."  

Tribute to Mario Andretti, America's Greatest Race Car Driver

8/27/02

Trans-Am series heads into unchartered waters   After making August stops at two of its traditional venues, the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup prepares to sail into largely uncharted waters as it heads into the final leg of its 2002 season. The series recently concluded events at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec -- home to 19 Trans-Am events since 1976 – and Road America, where the Trans-Am has made an annual appearance since 1970. In sharp contrast, the final third of the current campaign will be contested on circuits that will be largely new to Trans-Am competition. Of the four remaining 2002 races, two are scheduled on brand-new street courses, including this weekend’s Trans-Am 100 on the streets of Denver (2 p.m. ET, Sunday, September 8, SPEED Channel, tape delay). Round 10 also takes place on a new street circuit in downtown Miami (Oct. 6), while the series concludes on Oct. 27 at Virginia International Raceway, where the series hasn’t appeared since its inaugural season in 1966. Only Round 11, Oct. 11 at Road Atlanta, provides any current Trans-Am competitors with a frame of reference as they prepare for the season’s home stretch. “With the points championship so tight throughout, I think that it is only fitting that the last few races present as many challenges as possible and test not only the drivers, but the crews as well,” says veteran Trans-Am Series driver Randy Ruhlman, “Going to new circuits is always tough, with no past data to rely on and somewhat limited track time. The teams that can come up with a competitive setup and stay ahead of the conditions should come out on top.”

8/27/02

CART drivers bowled over by Canada   The cockpit of a CART FedEx Championship Series race car is a noisy place and one where not many ambient sounds can cut through the turbocharged roar of more than 800 horses pushing a car through a race course. So it was only fitting that on his victory lap after winning Sunday's Molson Indy Montreal, Dario Franchitti pulled his Team KOOL Green Honda/Lola/Bridgestone to a halt in one of the mostly-heavily populated sections of the course and shut down his car to soak in the roar of some of the 64,000 fans that showed up on race day to see the Champ Cars. "What a wonderful crowd we had all three days," said Franchitti after edging Cristiano da Matta for the victory. "They truly understand what we're all about. It doesn't matter if it's Toronto, Vancouver or now Montreal. They've all got such passion and enthusiasm for open-wheel racing. It makes it so enjoyable to drive in that atmosphere." CART made its way to Montreal's Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve for the first time in its history during the past weekend and attracted enough fans over the three-day weekend to make the event the second-largest sporting event in the entire country during 2002. The drivers and teams were surprised by a crowd of over 47,000 for the first day of practice and qualifying on Friday, and were further delighted as the throng of aficionados swelled to 61,000 on Saturday and 64,000 for race day. The attendance pushed CART's season total to over 1.6 million for the 2002 season. But the festivities were not contained to the race course alone as the French-Canadian city came alive with parties, displays and gatherings once the day's engines had silenced. Molson, Ford Motor Company and Player's all claimed parts of the Montreal streets for parties, Ford's on Thursday coming complete with Jacques Villeneuve's CART car from 1995 and his father Gilles' Formula Ford machine. "This weekend showed all of us connected to CART how much passion there is for racing in Montreal and in Canada as a whole," said CART CEO and President Christopher R. Pook. "Everyone from the fans to the race organizers and everyone in between made us feel welcome at every turn and we look forward with great anticipation toward coming back next season." The 2003 CART FedEx Championship Series will make three stops in Canada as it did this year when it drew more than 501,000 fans for the three dates in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Toronto will open Exhibition Place to CART on July 13 with Vancouver's Concord Pacific Place serving as the next race on the calendar on July 27. Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve will see the return of the Champ Cars next season on September 7.

8/27/02

Franchitti visits Miami track   Dario Franchitti refrained from assigning a degree of difficulty to the tricky 1.57-mile Miami street circuit over which he'll be racing Oct. 6 in the Grand Prix Americas. For starters, he was seeing it for the first time Monday morning . . . and from 500 feet above. More important, the task of the moment required the full attention of Franchitti, fresh from victory in CART's Molson Indy Montreal. He was piloting the four-seat BellJet Ranger III helicopter that carried members of the media on brief aerial tours over the picturesque downtown circuit. His first exposure to the course in his Team KOOL Green Honda/Lola won't come until the initial practice on Oct. 4. But the 29-year-old Scot knows this much without even a walking tour of the track that features a Biscayne Boulevard straightaway and roads through Bayfront Park: ``Street courses by their nature are tight. You've got to be inch-perfect for two hours.'' Franchitti, who tied current Formula One star Juan Montoya for the 1999 FedEx series championship but lost on a tiebreaker, vaulted into second place behind Miami-based Brazilian Cristiano da Matta in the 2002 points battle. So he was sky-high both literally and figuratively Monday. ''I was flying around a lot with friends in Scotland and Australia,'' he said of his new hobby. ``I just got the bug and decided I really wanted to do this.'' He received his helicopter license after the requisite study at Heliflight in Fort Lauderdale. ''It was like being back in school,'' he said of the frequent trips to South Florida between races for intensive flight training and class work. ``But it's really worth it.'' Monday was a joyride for him. The next trip will be strictly business.  Miami Herald

8/27/02

Greg Ray done with 3-car Foyt team running on 1-car budget  Greg Ray will miss the final two races of the season after splitting with Foyt Racing. "Aside from leading 41 laps at Richmond earlier this year, it's obvious that our overall performance has not met our expectations - neither mine, nor those of my team at Foyt Racing," he said. "The reality of the situation is that right now we are a three-car team operating on a single-car budget. That means we are stretching people and resources way beyond their original intentions. The mechanical failures and other problems we've encountered are due to the limited supply and excessive demands we have had to put on our people and equipment, and that puts a strain on the entire team, from top to bottom." Ray has taken the checkered flag on just two occasions this season, but has not ruled out a return to Foyt if the team's budget can stretch to another car next season. "I would certainly love to run Chicago and Texas with another team, if an opportunity presents itself," he said. "But my main focus is to develop a race-winning program for 2003, and hopefully we can make that happen at Foyt Racing."

8/27/02

Denver qualifying and race in High Definition TV format   Attention DirecTV owners, see Denver CART qualifying on both Friday and Saturday, as well as the race live on HDNet in High Definition TV format this weekend.

Friday: 6:30 PM ET Champ Car Qualifying (from Denver)
Friday Replay: 11:30 PM ET Champ Car Qualifying (from Denver)
Saturday Live: 3:30 PM ET Champ Car Qualifying
Sunday Live: 3:00 PM ET Shell Grand Prix of Denver
Friday Replay: 10:00 PM ET Shell Grand Prix of Denver, Special Encore Presentation from earlier in the day

8/27/02

NJ NASCAR track back in the news   The hot topic on this mornings radio stations in NJ was talk of a proposed new race track by ISC and Donald Trump in the Meadowlands of NJ, site of the existing NY Giants and NY Jets Football stadium.  There is an indoor arena on the site (Brendan Byrne Arena) and the plan is to knock it down and rebuild one in downtown Newark.  The new democratic party now in power in NJ appears to favor this idea, though there are traffic and environmental concerns because more wetlands will have to be filled in.  The entire monmouth complex is built on wetlands, that today would never be done.  They are talking about it being one of NASCAR's cookie-cutter 1.5-mile tracks.  Of course because ISC is involved, and with their monopoly control over race dates, the track is assured of getting at least one Winston Cup race per year.  You can bet that the IRL will also get a race date, but we can tell you, based on CART's experience at the Meadowlands years ago, while there is huge interest in NASCAR in NJ, the IRL (and any form of Indy Car racing) will be a very hard sell.  We can also tell you that a visit to the Meadowlands is far from the most enjoyable experience.  It's surrounded by swamp and industry.  An eyesore to say the least.

8/27/02

2002 NASCAR All-Star football team   Joe Gibbs is the "coach" and Terry Bradshaw is on the "roster." And that's just the beginning, for the "2002 NASCAR Preseason All-America Football Team," a lineup of former professional, collegiate and high school players who have become part of America's fastest-growing sport. NASCAR's football team can boast a total of nine Super Bowl championships. Gibbs, currently a team owner in NASCAR's three national series, won three Super Bowls while coaching the Washington Redskins; Bradshaw, part-owner of a NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National operation, quarterbacked the Pittsburgh Steelers to four world titles; and place-kicker Mike Cofer, a Late Model driver in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge, was a part of two titles with the San Francisco 49ers. Gibbs also has reached NASCAR's pinnacle. In 2000, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Bobby Labonte captured the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship. All-America team member Dale Jarrett, an all-star option quarterback in high school, won the 1999 championship. All three of NASCAR's national series (NASCAR Winston Cup, NASCAR Busch and NASCAR Craftsman Truck) are represented on the All-America team. The team also has players from some of the nation's premier collegiate conferences, including the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Pac-10 and Conference USA.

8/27/02

2003 Chevy Monte Carlo given green light   Officials with Chevrolet and GM Racing received the final approval this week. For the past six months, key representatives from GM Racing have been working diligently with NASCAR and Chevrolet Winston Cup drivers, team owners, and engineers to develop, build, and submit a brand new Monte Carlo for Winston Cup competition. Hendrick Motorsports (HMS), Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI), Richard Childress Racing (RCR), and Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) pooled their talents to design the new race car, which will make its official debut at Daytona Speedweeks in February 2003. With valuable input from Joe Gibbs Racing, which was one of the teams leading an earlier 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix submission, GM Racing engineers were able to streamline their entire course of action and accomplish the task in a relatively short period of time. Each team played a significant role in the development of the new Monte Carlo. RCR built the downforce car, DEI built the superspeedway car, and HMS built the final submission car. GM Racing concentrated on the challenge of building a car that not only conforms to the new aerodynamic platform established by NASCAR, but that also retains the styling characteristics of the street Monte Carlo. When the fans see this new Monte Carlo racecar, they will easily recognize its distinct and sporty style. Among its familiar features are the sloping hood, front & rear fascias, rear quarter glass panels, short rear deck, and sleek overall shape. Chevrolet's Winston Cup teams are eager to obtain the new Monte Carlo templates from NASCAR, and will begin building the new Monte Carlo race cars as soon as possible.

8/27/02

Priestley may race again  According to this Indy Star AP article, Actor Jason Priestley is likely to get back behind the wheel once he recovers from injuries sustained in a crash earlier this month, his longtime friend and racing team manager said today. "I would be surprised if his racing days are over," Kelly Racing team general manager Jim Freudenberg said. Priestley was released Saturday from Indianapolis' Methodist Hospital, where he had spent 12 days recovering from injuries suffered in a crash at the Kentucky Speedway. He is reportedly continuing his rehabilitation in Indianapolis, but neither Freudenberg nor hospital officials would confirm it. Priestley suffered fractures in his back and feet, plus injuries to his nose and eyes. Doctors have said he is expected to make a full recovery. The 32-year-old former "Beverly Hills 90210" star was badly hurt Aug. 11 when his open-wheel car spun out of control at 180 mph and hit the wall nearly head-on during practice for the Infiniti Pro Series, a developmental circuit for the Indy Racing League. Freudenberg said Priestley will likely be in the rehabilitation center for three to eight weeks, depending on how long it takes him to recover so that he can get around without a wheelchair. He's undergoing intensive physical therapy for his foot and back injuries, much of it in the water, he said. "He's in some pain," Freudenberg said. "His pain tolerance is higher than most individuals. He's not complaining at all. He's got the best attitude."

8/27/02

Cheever wants to sell Scheckter contract to CART or IRL teams  According to this Indy Star article, Indy Racing League team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. said Monday that he and his partners would not stand in the way of rookie Tomas Scheckter landing another ride. But it would come at a price, Cheever said. Scheckter, the winner of the IRL's Michigan race, walked away from Cheever's team before last weekend's race in Madison, Ill., at Gateway Intentional Speedway. Scheckter has a contract with TWR, Cheever's technical partner, through the 2003 season. "We are sending letters to all the CART and the IRL teams saying that should they wish to buy his contract, we are open to negotiations," Cheever said. "But if he tests in anybody's car or does anything with any team without our prior consent, we will sue (the team) and obviously him. That's pretty clear, isn't it?" Cheever did not say what the buyout price is.

8/27/02

Latest F1 Hot News  

Verstappen Eyes Return
Russian Grand Prix: Dead Duck?
Wilson Needs Cash For Drive
Button: More To Spa Than Eau Rouge
The Volatile Spa Weather
Belgian No-Show For Arrows
Williams: Ferrari A 'Juicy Target'
Formula One: A Man's World?
Massa Out, Frentzen In For Monza?
Renault: Michelin Must Improve
F1 News In Brief .....

8/26/02

CART stock watch  

MPH closed at $4.85 Up $0.30 on Volume of 231,000 shares.
$4.17 Bid - $5.22 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $4.55/$5.12
MPH Value Change Up 6.59%
DOW Jones Up 46.05 or 0.52% on Volume of 1.3 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 11.05 or 0.8%
S&P 500 up 7.09 or 0.75%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe, Chicago

8/26/02

Franchitti CART vs. F1 quote   Dario Franchitti stated after CART qualifying in Montreal - "Don't forget, our cars weigh 400-500 pounds more than an F1 car."  "I think if we'd run our '99 spec cars here, our softer tires and had 1,000 horsepower like we did then, we'd have made some of those F1 people pretty embarrassed."

8/26/02

Sponsor happy with CART and Pook   Dear AutoRacing1.com, Just wanted to share with you how happy we are at Simple Green with CART. The Montreal race was spectacular for us as Canadian Tire has the largest concentration of stores in that market and the people who came by our trailer during the race were ecstatic that we are a sponsor of the series!  I also caught Chris Pook live on TV during the Friday night drivers party and was shocked, and impressed, that he also was speaking fluent French!  Spanish in Mexico, French in Montreal, English in the USA.  How many more languages does this guy know?...this guy is a class act and just wish the rest of the media would stop the BS negative talk...facts are facts...look at the fan reaction...CART is going to surprise a lot of people in 2003!  Mark Carter, Simple Green, Vice President

8/26/02

Spears movie to be filmed at Indy too?   The Indy Star reports - as reported a few months ago, singer-actress Britney Spears plans make a NASCAR themed movie and will play the daughter of a successful NASCAR team owner who uses her savvy and experience in the family business to help a driver regain his will to return to racing. She'll do it with the sanction of NASCAR. And if it works out, with the cooperation of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Brickyard 400. Fred Nation, IMS vice president, said: "We'd be pleased to be considered, especially if NASCAR would like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to be one of the venues. . . . We will look for a way to cooperate with that." There are several racing film projects in the talking stages, he said, "but one never knows until they happen. Right now there are at least a couple based around the Indy 500, things that are being talked about, and we would hope something would come to fruition." Ann Carli, who is producing Spears' movie, said she hopes to be at next year's Brickyard 400. "We're in the development stages still. Until we have the final script, we're not going to lock locations.".

8/26/02

CART's Chris Pook on live chat   Today, CART President and CEO Chris Pook will be on live on ESPN.com at 1 p.m. ET to answer your questions.  Click here.

8/26/02

CART stock watch  

MPH opened Up and as of 11:10AM EST is now Up $0.55 or 12.4% on Volume of 57,900 shares.
Does the old adage “Race on Sunday sell on Monday” apply to CART stock?
Dow Jones Down 90.3
NASDAQ Down 14.37
S&P 500 Down 7.17
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe, Chicago

8/26/02

Minardi tells Wilson to bring money   According to the Sunday Mirror, Justin Wilson can drive for Minardi next year - provided he can raise the kind of sponsorship that Alex Yoong has delivered to the team. The 6'-3" driver has a big fan in Paul Stoddart, but F1 is a money pit and the Minardi cannot afford to run Wilson unless he buys his ride. In fact the offer of a guaranteed drive in 2003 is open to both Anthony Davidson and Wilson if they can come up with the cash. "It's no secret we are looking for the funds to be more competitive but we also want good drivers and both Anthony and Justin fit the bill," said Stoddart. "Anthony did a good job in Budapest in very difficult circumstances and should be able to do an even better job at Spa," he told the Sunday Mirror. "Justin was very unlucky not to get the drive for those two races, but we would have no problem making the car big enough for him next year. He deserves another chance." "There's a good possibility I could drive for Minardi next year but I have to bring in sponsorship and any British driver will tell you that's not easy." The team is willing to make their cockpit larger to accommodate him.

8/26/02

Latest F1 Hot News  

Massa: Sauber Is Last Resort
Frentzen Returns To Sauber
Da Matta: F1 Or CART?
Arrows To Remain At Base
BMW Step Up Involvement
Irvine Returns To Ferrari?
Schumacher: I Want To Push
Minardi: We Will Survive
F1 News In Brief (Part 1)
F1 News In Brief (Part 2)

8/25/02

CART vs. IRL   Update Final weekend attendance figures: CART 172,000, IRL 36,000  8/24/02 - While we're on a roll of comparing CART with F1 (with F1 winning the speed battle, but CART winning the equity battle) why not CART vs. IRL? 

IRL Gateway attendance: Friday = 0, Saturday = 1,600 for a 1,600 total for 2 days

CART Montreal attendance: Friday = 45,000, Saturday = 65,000 for a 110,000 total for 2 days.

Gateway 2002 IRL Pole: 175.120 MPH

Gateway 2000 CART Pole: 180.334 MPH (Not the CART record)

8/25/02

Small teams hurting in F1   This Sport Telegraph article says - Prost went bust. Arrows face extinction. Eddie Jordan has preserved his team "by the skin of his teeth", pulling off a subsidized Ford engine deal less than three months after cutting back his workforce. Paul Stoddart's Minardi outfit owe survival for the foreseeable future to a recent injection of Russian money, but what then? August is the month when the number-crunchers in Formula One teams turn up the heat in the quest to find fresh sponsors for next season. How dismaying that is in the economic downturn. "It's going to be a tough winter. Any sponsor not already signed up will be difficult to hang on to," says Jim Wright, commercial director of Williams, one of the 'Big Three' teams who command the most lucrative rates and maximum television exposure, as well as attracting sponsors who supply expensive equipment such as engines and computers. "It will inevitably hit the weaker teams," says David Richards, BAR's team principal. "The smaller teams that negotiate contracts on a yearly basis will really feel the brunt of it..

8/25/02

Priestley, Hallisky medical update  Jason Priestley was released from Methodist Hospital and has been admitted to an undisclosed orthopedic rehabilitation center. Rehabilitation is anticipated to last from 10 to 12 weeks for the injuries he received in an accident during final pre-race practice on August 11 at Kentucky Speedway. Priestley, driver of the Kelley Racing #7 HomeMed Pharmacy car in the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, is expected to make a full recovery according to his physicians. Bernie Hallisky, crew member of the #78 Kruse Special also injured on August 11 at Kentucky Speedway during a pitroad accident is scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday, August 28 to make final repairs to his left hip. Following his immediate recovery from the upcoming surgery, Hallisky will also begin rehabilitation. Cards and well wishes may be sent to Jason and Bernie % Kelley Racing, 6803 Coffman Road, Indianapolis, IN 46268 or in the "Contact Us" section of the website. Both Jason and Bernie would like to express their sincere thank you to everyone who has been so kind and generous during their respective recuperation and look forward to seeing and speaking with everyone soon at a race track near you!!

8/25/02

Montreal attendance tops 170,000  A race day crowd of 64,000 pushed the three-day attendance total at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve to 172,000 - 47,000 on Friday, 61,000 on Saturday and 64,000 on Sunday.  The massive crowd, when combined with the figures from Vancouver and Toronto boosts the total attendance for the three CART races held in Canada this year to over 501,000.

8/25/02

Allmendinger wins Barer Dodge Pro race  A.J. Allmendinger of Hollister, California finished the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series season the same way he started it by taking a commanding win over Memo Rojas and Rafael Sperafico to notch his sixth win of the season at the Circuit Gilles Villenueve in Montreal. Leo Maia followed up last weeks win at Elkhart Lake with an aggressive run to fourth place after starting from ninth as Dan Di Leo finished fifth in the Elite Die Casting Company machine. Piero Rodarte had his best finish of the season to go with his best qualifying effort of the season, converting his seventh place start into a sixth place finish. Javier Gonzalez of Mexico City, Mexico finished seventh, also his best finish of the season while Marc Breuers finished ninth. Michael Vukelich had a smart run to ninth in only his second-ever Barber Dodge Pro Series race. Tom Fogarty came home in tenth place, his third top ten finish of the season.  Memo Rojas locked the brakes heading into the hairpin and hitting Dan Di Leo, knocking his car sideways. As the field went to the outside of the corner to avoid Di Leo, he quickly got pointed to the exit of the corner and began to move out but made contact with German Quiroga at the exit of the corner, knocking Quiroga's car toward the wall. The impact with the wall rolled Quirga's car onto the roll hoop and Davy Cook found himself with nowhere to go as Quiroga's car came to a rest upside down directly in his path. Quiroga quickly scrambled out of the car unscathed.

8/25/02

CART and Molson ecstatic with Montreal race  Chris Pook and the Montreal promoter Normand Legault met the press today before the race.  To summarize - both are very happy with the event and with each other.  The feedback from the fans has been extremely positive and based on their massive turnout, who can disagree?  Legault said they will put up even more grandstands in 2003.  He also said he is happy with the September 7th date next year.  Both Pook and Legault answered questions in both English and French.

8/25/02

NASCAR penalty for Ward   ThatsRacin.com reports #22-Ward Burton and his crew chief, Tommy Baldwin, were called to the NASCAR hauler following Saturday night's Sharpie 500, where Burton was admonished for his on track demonstration following his wreck Lap 404. Burton was hit by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and wrecked in Turn 3.  Once he got out of his #22 Dodge, Burton waited on the track for Earnhardt Jr. to come around and threw his heel shields at Earnhardt Jr.'s # 8 Chevrolet. Kevin Triplett, NASCAR's managing director of business operations, said a penalty would likely be forthcoming this week regarding Burton's behavior. "Junior just didn't take his time," Burton said. "We'd been giving and taking out there all day. I've got some really good words for him that I can't say." Earnhardt Jr. said the wreck wasn't intentional. "I don't really keep it no secret when I wreck somebody. I don't do it that often. Hopefully for sure Ward knows that that wasn't intentional," Earnhardt Jr. said.

8/25/02

Infiniti Pro: Hampton all the way   Ryan Hampton completed his domination of the Gateway 100 by leading all 80 laps Aug. 25 at Gateway International Raceway for his first career Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series victory. It was the first time in Indy Racing League history – IRL or Infiniti Pro Series – that one driver led every lap. Hampton earned his first Infiniti Pro Series victory in his third start in the new Indy Racing League development series. Hampton also led all three practice sessions for the event and won the pole. Former U.S. F2000 standout Hampton beat second-place Arie Luyendyk Jr. by 1.9352 seconds on the 1.25-mile oval in the No. 34 Conti-Genoa-Frost Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. He averaged 99.576 mph in an 80-lap race slowed four times for 26 laps by caution periods. Ed Carpenter was third in the No. 2 Menards/Jack K. Elrod/Futaba/Delphi entry. “The car kind of started going away at the end of the race,” Hampton said. “Then, all of the sudden, the last 10 laps the thing just hooked back up, and it was off and running. It was good. It was exciting. I wish I had somebody to race with, though.” Aaron Fike and Tony Turco were unhurt in a two-car accident on Lap 2, while Gary Peterson was unhurt after hitting the wall on Lap 42.

8/25/02

Time running out for Arrows   As this Planet F1 article says, and as we have elaborated on a number of times, time is running out quickly for the Arrows F1 team.

8/25/02

Junqueira moving to Miami  Target Chip Ganassi driver Bruno Junqueira is moving to Miami soon because he can't stand the idea of spending another cold winter in Indianapolis.

8/25/02

CART to test in Milwaukee  CART is planning on holding a special test at Milwaukee on September 23rd.  As we understand it they will be testing some pieces for next year.  We also hear there is a good chance they will hold another town meeting the night before or after right in Milwaukee - since it was so successful in Columbus, Ohio.

8/25/02

Montreal goes bonkers over CART  All the interviews on Montreal TV of fans, and a number of newspaper articles this weekend in Montreal, all have the same theme - "this is better than F1."  In yesterday's drivers meeting, race promoter Norman Legault said if he could, he was going to erect two more grandstands Saturday night because the demand for tickets is so high.  We did not walk around the circuit today to see if they actually did it.

8/25/02

Scheckter quits Team Cheever, citing safety concerns    2nd UPDATE Scheckter said yesterday he is willing to race in the IRL again, but not with Cheever.  However, we also know he will be talking to some CART teams.  According to this SPEEDTV article, “We’ve got to get that guy a test,” said CART president and CEO Chris Pook. “We’re juggling some testing schedules right now to get him in a car.” CART team owners mentioned in connection with a Scheckter test include Carl Haas - looking for at least one driver next year in the wake of Christian Fittipaldi’s departure to Petty Enterprises - and Bobby Rahal. Haas is reported to have expressed an interest in the South African, while noting his penchant for crashing. Rahal, meanwhile, brings an altogether more interesting perspective to the situation, having worked with Scheckter during their brief association with Jaguar, an association that ended when Rahal dismissed the former World Champion’s son from the Jaguar development program after he his arrest for soliciting a prostitute in London. “I like Tomas,” said Rahal. “Even when I had to get rid of him it was like firing your son . . . ‘Tomas! You just don’t do that.’ “But yes, I would love to test him. I think Tomas is a helluva race car driver. He’s a sharp young man. He has the sort of glow around him that attracts people to him and I think he would be a great addition to our series.” As to the safety issues Scheckter alluded to, Rahal repeated his own reservations about the IRL. “I’ve said it before and, unfortunately the record proves it . . . I think it’s a very dangerous series. Davey Hamilton, Richie Hearn . . . Jason Priestley had about as much business being in one of those cars (Infiniti Pro Series) as my 13-year-old son. These cars aren’t stock cars, they are fast race cars and when I’m at Indianapolis I worry every time a guy I’m close to goes out in one of my cars.”   8/24/02 - The Cheever Team has now put out this press release - Red Bull Cheever Racing has withdrawn the entry for the No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti for the Gateway Indy 250 after Tomas Scheckter elected not to participate in the race this weekend. The team will compete with Eddie Cheever Jr. in the No. 51 car and Buddy Rice in the No. 52 car. Team owner and driver Eddie Cheever Jr. said: "After not showing up for a scheduled technical briefing yesterday we called and were informed by Tomas that he was not going to participate in the race this weekend. He did not offer any further details. This news was very shocking after the time and effort that both Red Bull Cheever Racing and TWR have put into preparing his car for this race, as we have done all season. We have a contract with Tomas through 2003 which we fully intend to enforce. Although this is a surprise, it will not have a negative impact on our performance this weekend."  8/24/02 - According to this Indy Star article, Tomas Scheckter's controversial first Indy Racing League season as Eddie Cheever Jr.'s driver and teammate is over, Scheckter told The Star on Friday. The 21-year-old South African driver said his management staff made the decision this week. Cheever Racing expected him for this weekend's IRL race at Gateway International Raceway. Cheever, contacted in St. Louis, said he was unaware of Scheckter's decision. But the owner/driver said Scheckter, who won the July race at Michigan and has three poles this season, missed an afternoon meeting at the track. When team general manager Richard Caron called Scheckter in Indianapolis, Scheckter said he wasn't competing with the team this weekend. His car was at the track, ready for today's action. Scheckter, the son of 1979 Formula One champion Jody Scheckter, said the decision was made "on safety grounds." [Editors Note: we hear Scheckter saw a list of driver head, neck, back, leg and feet injuries in the IRL since 1996 and said what am I doing racing in the IRL?  His father has been against him racing in the IRL from day 1] He would not elaborate. Scheckter's two-year contract with Cheever and the sponsor, Red Bull, was through the end of the 2003 season. Cheever said there were no safety concerns that he knew of, but he refused to speculate on why Scheckter decided to break the contract. Scheckter's sudden departure leaves Cheever's team with two drivers: himself and IRL rookie Buddy Rice.

8/25/02

Priestley moved to rehab center   Canadian Actor Jason Priestley was released Saturday from an Indianapolis hospital where he spent 12 days recovering from injuries sustained in a crash at Kentucky Speedway. Priestley, a Vancouver native, was released from Methodist Hospital late Saturday morning, hospital spokeswoman Penny Johnson said. She said she did not know where Priestley had been taken after his discharge. The actor's doctors had said earlier in the week that he would soon be moved from the hospital to a physical rehabilitation center.

8/25/02

Frentzen returns to Sauber  Heinz-Harald Frentzen will return to the Swiss-based Sauber team for season 2003. The 35-year-old German, from Moenchengladbach, will replace 21-year-old Brazilian Felipe Massa after a debut year of speed, excitement - and a string of rookie mistakes. An option to extend present driver Nick Heidfeld's 2003 contract will be exercised tomorrow, forging an all-German lineup at Sauber Petronas for 2003. Felipe Massa has been offered next year's job of test and substitute driver. 'The decision to replace Felipe Massa was not easy for me,' said team principal and founder, Peter Sauber. "The extension of Nick's contract was a formality,' the Swiss-German continued. 'He has done an excellent job for our team and feels at home with us.' Heinz-Harald Frentzen returns to the team he debuted for in 1994, and stayed with until an offer was accepted from Sir Frank Williams to grace the sister championship car alongside Jacques Villeneuve in '97. Heinz-Harald Frentzen's three years at Sauber was one of the most successful stints in the team's history. From '94 to '96, he earned 29 Championship points while his personal F1 record boasts two pole positions, three wins and the runner-up championship slot in '97. Peter Sauber continues: 'Finally, the decisive factor was Heinz-Harald Frentzen's performance this year, which impressed us deeply. 'He is not only one of the fastest drivers in Formula One, he also knows how to move a team forward. Furthermore, he has proven that he is still highly motivated.' Frentzen, after moving to Arrows for season '02, quit the struggling Leafield outfit one month ago citing growing uncertainty and instability within the team. Persistent whispers suggest that Massa may be replaced by the German before the end of the year. Before the 35-year-old's return to the rear of the grid, he drove for Jordan in 1999 and 2000, winning twice. Mid-way through last season, Eddie Jordan mysteriously fired Frentzen forcing him into the ailing Prost cockpit for the balance of 2001. While Frentzen looks to re-start his Grand Prix career, Felipe Massa's will take a turn for the worst if he cannot gain alternative employment in a racing cockpit. 'I hope that Felipe Massa will accept our offer as test and substitute driver,' Peter Sauber continues. 'We continue to be very interested in his development." Heinz-Harald Frentzen, harking back to his days in Sauber sportscars and Formula One, plays tribute to his 'Very special relationship with Peter Sauber. 'He brought me into Formula One and paved the way for my career. The performance of the Sauber team has impressed me tremendously over the years and I am convinced that together we will achieve a lot." According to reports in Germany, Heinz-Harald will be paid $2.8 million dollars for next year, while an option exists for his 2004 services. "I am looking forward enormously to returning to Sauber,' he said. 'Of all the teams I looked at for next year, Sauber had the best technical package.' The 35-year-old German was reportedly courted by Toyota, Jordan, Jaguar and Minardi. Born in Moenchengladbach in 1967, Heinz-Harald Frentzen now lives in Monaco with his wife Tanja and two-year old daughter, Lea.

8/24/02

Atlantics: Moran Jr. gets 2nd win  Early on in Saturday afternoon’s CART Toyota Atlantic Championship race at the 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, it looked like Jon Fogarty (Dorricott Racing/Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Swift 014.a) would win the race as well as take over the Championship lead with one race remaining in the 2002 season. But it was Rocky Moran Jr. (Sigma Autosport/Sunoco/BG Products Swift 014.a) who would snatch the victory from Fogarty on the next to last lap to post his first victory of the season. Michael Valiante (Lynx Racing Swift 014.a) entered into the weekend with a 14-point lead in the Championship, but in the opening laps of the race, Valiante’s right rear tire went flat after light contact with the front wing of Moran Jr. Valiante would drop to 27th place while changing the tire in the pits, but would battle back to earn nine points with hard earned seventh place finish. Moran Jr. would help Valiante out at the end though with his pass of Fogarty for the lead, costing Fogarty four points in the Championship chase. Valiante now leads Fogarty, 146 to 140, heading into the season finale next weekend at the Shell Grand Prix of Denver. The win was the first of the season for Moran Jr. and also the first for the Sigma Autosport team who is competing in their inaugural season in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. Moran Jr. earned his first career win last October at the 2001 season ending Laguna Seca event, which was also the first career victory for his team at the time, Cobb Racing.  Moran’s pass for the lead came after trading second place with Ryan Dalziel (Hylton Motorsports/Telemetry Swift 014.a) throughout the second half of the race. The two traded second place five times before Moran Jr. made the pass on Fogarty on Lap 26.

8/24/02
Fran-Am

Spengler wins pole in Montreal   Bruno Spengler of St. Hippolyte captured his second consecutive and second career Fran-Am 2000 pole today after his time from yesterday¹s first round of qualifying held for the fastest overall time following today¹s second qualifying session. Spengler also led the charts in today¹s qualifying round, but his time of 1:41.644 set yesterday bested his 1:41.670 lap today around the 2.709-mile Circuit Glles-Villeneuve. His Team Basi/TCS Racing teammate Scott Jenkins, of Portland, Oregon, will start second tomorrow after his 1:42.346 lap set today. Trois-Rivieres¹ Marc-Antoine Camirand is credited with starting third.

8/24/02

Rick Mears sought alcohol rehab too    According to this AP article, Rick Mears, 50, revealed that he checked himself into a alcohol treatment program twice — in mid-April and in late May. ``I got to a point where I felt it could become a problem, and I didn't want that to happen,'' he said. ``I wanted to try to get sorted out and be ahead of the deal instead of behind it. ``That's what I did.'' Mears retired from driving after the 1992 season and currently is an adviser and driving coach with Marlboro Team Penske in the IRL.

8/24/02

Mexico City ticket sales make big jump   AutoRacing1.com learned today that ticket sales for the season finale in Mexico City surpassed the 100,000 mark already, with 74,000 being sold this past week alone.

8/24/02

More CART vs. F1  Final qualifying is over in Montreal and 2.7 sec covers the entire field, vs., 4.5 seconds for F1.  1 second covers the top ten in CART, while it covered the top 5 in F1.  2 seconds covered the top 12 in F1 while 2 seconds covered the top 17 in CART.  While it's clear F1 cars are faster as expected, it's also clear there's a lot more equity in CART than F1.

8/24/02

 

Montreal Saturday attendance  Saturday attendance in Montreal is estimated at 60,000, putting the weekend total so far tat 105,000.   People are saying 70,0000 to 75.0000 are expected on race day.  Official figures won't be announced until after the weekend is over.

8/24/02

 

Montreal perfect fit for CART  It looks like the Denver Post understands what CART is all about.  This article by Mike Chambers that appeared in yesterday's Denver Post chooses not to jump on the "CART is Dying" bandwagon like St. Petersburg, but to highlight the fact that CART is a huge success in Montreal, and all other city races.  Denver is the next City on CART's calendar - next weekend (Labor Day weekend).

8/24/02

 

St. Petersburg starting on negative press already  Next years 2003 CART season does not start until February in St. Petersburg, Florida, but already the media in St. Petersburg have jumped on the "CART is dying" bandwagon with this article from a writer who normally doesn't write about CART at all.  It seems clear that someone is alerting these journalists as to negative issues regarding CART and these journalists, most whom have no clue about motorsports and would otherwise ignore it this far in advance of a race, are writing articles that can hurt ticket sales for their cities event.  The trend is too apparent for it to be just coincidental.

8/24/02


 

Allmendinger wins Barber Dodge pole in Montreal  A.J. Allmendinger of Hollister, California stole the pole position from Toledo Parana, Brazil native Rafael Sperafico in the dying moments of final qualifying for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race with a fast lap time of 1.40.530 seconds at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Starting alongside Allmendinger will be Friday's provisional pole winner Dan Di Leo, who is making his second consecutive front row start while 2001 Barber Dodge Rookie of the Year Sperafico will take the green flag from third position in Sunday's race. Marc Breuers, who scored his first Barber Dodge Pro Series win at Mid Ohio, qualified his Sunoco machine in fourth after isolating the problem he has had with his set up since Road Ameriaca and making some drastic changes to his car, putting him back towards the sharp end of the grid. Breuers currently sits in second place in the championship with a slim four-point lead over Sperafico. Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico will take the green flag from the fifth starting position with Josh Beaulieu starting sixth. Beaulieu has won previously at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve while driving in Canadian Formula Ford and will be hoping to repeat the feat in the Barber Dodge car on Sunday. Piero Rodarte, also of Mexico City, will start seventh after his Saturday effort moved him from his provisional 14th spot from Friday. Rodarte missed the Road America round last week and the break has apparently done him some good as his final qualifying effort yielded him his best ever starting position in Barber Dodge competition. Chris Baker also is starting from his best position in his rookie season with his eighth place effort being the Houston, Texas native's first start in the top ten in Barber Dodge. Leo Maia, who drove a flawless race at Road America on his way to taking his first win will start next to Cleveland round winner Davy Cook on the fifth row.

8/24/02


 

Barber Dodge Pro Series: More fines handed down  For the third time this season, CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Stewards, led by Chief Steward, K.C. Van Niman, levied post-race penalties following last weeks Round 10 race at the Motorola 220 at Road America. Road America race winner, Luis Diaz (Dorricott Racing/Telmex Swift 014.a) was fined $1,000 for the late race restart infraction that allowed him to get a large jump on the field on the Lap 16 green flag.  The race leader is not allowed to accelerate until he passes the restart cone. “The acceleration cone was positioned at Turn 13A,” said K.C. Van Niman. “The driver of the 33 car started to accelerate way before that point somewhere in the area of Turn 11.” Also, Rodolfo Lavin (Michael Shank Racing/Corona Modelo Swift 014.a) was placed on probation for the remaining two races for his contact incident in Turn 12 with Waldemar Coronas (Scuadra Fortia/Aviacsa/Royse/Maizoro/Millenio Swift 014.a).

8/24/02

More CART vs. F1  UPDATE This Montreal Gazatte article says - The purists of Formula One racing will tell you that the appeal of the most elite form of motorsport includes its exclusivity, its stars untouchable behind secure gates, burly guards, tall fences and taller women. Yesterday, thousands of fans getting their first taste of CART racing in Montreal were telling the purists they could put F-1 where the sun doesn't shine - which certainly was not Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Night and day does not begin to explain the differences between F-1's Air Canada Grand Prix, an annual fixture on Île Notre Dame since 1978, and CART, whose Molson Indy Montreal takes its first bow here this weekend. Both series feature cars with four tires and a steering wheel, and roughly from there their roads fork. F-1 operates on a need-to-know basis, and its customs suggest that fans don't need to know much. F-1 offers a magnificent spectacle featuring the world's most sophisticated cars, but security is suffocating and drivers and their teams are accessible only with a very long camera lens. And then there's CART, with its access to drivers and their cars. This weekend, for the $45 cost of a three-day paddock pass, plus a daily ticket to the grounds ($20 for general admission), a fan is granted a point-blank ogle at the team transporters, which haul cars and crews around the continent. It includes touch-close contact with drivers, who will stop their motorscooters to sign an autograph, and the pace-cars and operation nerve-centers of the circuit. And an up-close view of the cars in pit lane, their engine cowlings removed, their shimmering mechanical hearts and lungs exposed to wide eyes and disposable cameras. As president of GP F-1, Normand Legault holds the umbrella under which the Air Canada Grand Prix and Molson Indy Montreal operate. He was standing in the paddock yesterday at 9 a.m., nearly being trampled by fans who didn't know where to run first. "Whoever told me it was impossible to hold a CART race in Montreal should never have said that," said Legault, beaming. "It's nice to see the fans smiling and having a good time. "This is really so much in line with what we were trying to accomplish."  8/23/02 - Everyone makes a big deal about F1 cars being faster than Champ Cars, but consider this little factoid.  In 1999 Michael Schumacher took pole position here in Montreal (before the tire war) with a time of 1:19.298 min.  Given Champ Cars are running on brick hard tires, the Champ Cars are not significantly more advanced today than they were in 1999, given they had over 900 HP back then, but only around 800 HP now, and given da Matta's time today was a 1:19.455 min., might the Champ Cars have beaten Schumacher for pole in 1999 when they had over 900 HP?  You decide.  BTW, F1 pole time in 2000 was 1:18.439 min.  In 2001 the tire war started and the times dropped to 1:15.789 min and then to 1:12.836 min this year.

8/24/02
ASCAR

New oval planned for northern France  According to this Autoweek article,  group in Northern France is planning to construct a third European oval track, this one near the town of Abbeville, 70 miles south of Calais.  If the project comes to fruition, it will be a one-mile tri-oval, using part of an existing rallycross circuit. Spokesman Bruno Martin said: “ASCAR is the kind of show we want to put on. I think ASCAR could be very popular here in France and because we are so close to the Channel, I hope that the British fans would come to watch too.”

8/24/02
F-3

Scandal hits Brazilian F3  UPDATE In spite of being a national hero, three-time F1 champion (81, 83, 87) Nelson Piquet - Piquet Sports´ owner - is really, really wrong on this issue. Take a look at the photos I'm sending you, and you'll see that Nelson Angelo Piquet's (that is his son's name, not Nelson Jr.) supposed "prototype" is nothing but a Dallara F3 car with grotesque wheel covers attached so that it won't be considered an "open-wheel car". That wasn't the only play made by Piquet in search of the "unfair advantage", as Roger Penske would say. Nelson owns two of the racetracks on which the South-American F3 championship races, the Brasilia and the Goiania speedways. He "rented" both tracks to his son for periods of over a month, so that no other driver could test on these tracks. It may be important to say that winning the F3 championship crown isn't worth all that much to Piquet. He has been stating clearly for the past years that his son will run South-American F3 this year, British F3 next year and then straight on to F1. Piquet Sports has bottomless pockets compared to the other teams; Nelson can easily back Nelson Angelo´s future foreign rides no matter what results his son gets on the track (Nelson Angelo has a comfortable lead in this years´ championship, winning four of eight races so far). The point is: Nelson Angelo Piquet is an extremely talented driver, who is being coached by one of the smartest drivers in motorsports history, his father. That´s exactly why they shouldn´t be pulling these cheap shots. They surely don´t need them to win. BTW, Arialdo Pinho, the man who pointed the gun to Thiago Medeiros, is Nelson Piquet´s partner in the Piquet Sports team. The whole "gunpointing" mess started with a letter, signed by 13 of the 18 South American F3 drivers, in which they state to the public the illegal procedures taken by the Piquet Sports team. Cássio Côrtes   8/23/02 - South-American Formula-3 racing has been temporarily suspended in Brazil. Initially, the races scheduled for 7th and 8th September in Brasilia have been cancelled. Moreover, the threat to driver Thiago Medeiros, last Sunday in Fortaleza (Ceará), when a gun was pointed to his head by local businessman Arialdo Pinho, has further contributed to the highly-charged atmosphere.  The decision to suspend the Brazilian stages of the championship was taken by the Brazilian Automobile Confederation (CBA), after drivers accused Piquet Sports, the team for which Nelson Piquet Jr. drives, of breaching the regulations by holding a private practice run in Fortaleza.  Piquet Sports claims that it did not commit any breach of the regulations and that Nelson Jr.’s practice was carried out in a prototype. The other teams claim that the driver was driving an F-3 car disguised with a prototype cowl.  Yesterday Medeiros was still upset as a result of the assault he had suffered: “I have lived at racetracks since I was eight years old and I never thought I would have a gun pointed at my head in my own workplace” he said. www.bateroda.com.br

8/24/02

Herbert is Coyne's first choice  CART owner Dale Coyne says former F1 driver Johnny Herbert is the top candidate to race for the new British-based team at next month's Rockingham 500 in England. "We're talking seriously with Johnny and it makes sense because he's the guy we ran there last year in the exhibition runs," Coyne tells CART.com. "I think the fans in England would like to see it happen, too." Coyne says while this is a one race deal for 2002, it could lead to a much bigger program for the 2003 season. "This is the first of many dominoes to fall and I'm the first owner to spend money for next year," said Coyne. "This will lead to something bigger for all of us."

8/24/02

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