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DATE

News (chronologically)

9/6/02

Infiniti Pro: Foyt fast again  A.J. Foyt IV, zeroing in on the inaugural Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series title, was the fastest driver overall during practice Sept. 6 for the Chicagoland 100 at Chicagoland Speedway. Foyt, 18, turned a top lap of 30.6158 seconds, 178.731 mph in the No. 14 Harrah’s/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone during the first of two practice sessions for the new Indy Racing League development series. The fast lap continued Foyt’s domination of 1.5-mile tracks during the inaugural season of the Infiniti Pro Series. Foyt, grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, won from the pole at both prior events on 1.5-mile tracks this year, at Kansas Speedway and Kentucky Speedway. “I think it really helps on the racetrack,” Foyt said of his grandfather’s influence. “He helps me on what line to run and just what’s going on all the way around the racetrack. He always keeps me involved in what’s going on.

9/6/02

Infiniti power to the fore in Chicago  Red Bull Cheever Racing drivers Buddy Rice and Eddie Cheever Jr. led the speed charts after practice for the Delphi Indy 300 on Sept. 6 at Chicagoland Speedway. But the tenacity showed by defending Indy Racing League champions Sam Hornish Jr. and Pennzoil Panther Racing –locked in a tight struggle for this year’s title – was just as impressive. Rookie Rice was the fastest overall with a lap of 24.4578 seconds, 223.732 mph turned during the first practice in the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. His teammate and team owner, Cheever, was second in that session and overall at 24.4690, 223.630 in the No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. “The first session, obviously, we were set up for qualifying trim,” Rice said. “This morning was just strictly qualifying. This afternoon was all full-tank runs, and we were running everything out just for the race trim. We’re real happy right now with the way the cars are working.” Hornish was third overall and led the second session at 24.4910, 223.429 in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. His fast lap came less than three hours after near-disaster on the 1.5-mile oval. Late in the first practice, Felipe Giaffone hit the outside retaining wall between Turns 3 and 4 with his No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone. Hornish ran over the detached nosecone from Giaffone’s car, damaging the front wing and front suspension of his primary car. But the Pennzoil Panther team fixed the car in time for the second practice, and the unflappable Hornish put it at the top of the speed chart. Hornish is third in the series standings entering this event, the second-to-last of the 2002 IRL season, just eight points behind leader Helio Castroneves. “I just said, ‘Well, I think it’s going to do less damage if I try to hit that thing square and punt it out of my way than it’s going to do if he runs in the back of me and we both go in the wall,’” Hornish said of the incident. “So I figured I would try to take the lesser of two evils. “Our focus today was working on the race setup,” Castroneves said. “During both practice sessions, we did full-tank runs and tried to run with other cars to see how the Marlboro Team Penske car handled in traffic. “We started with a setup from our test at Chicagoland Speedway last week and made changes throughout the day. I think the car was actually a little better during the test, but overall we’re in good shape. I'm not too worried about our speeds given the focus was race setup. Tomorrow we’ll work on qualifying so we’ll see what times we can put on the board.”

9/6/02

Hot-head Stewart in trouble again  We thought he was going to finishing school?  Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson and Sullivan County District Attorney General H. Greeley Wells, Jr., announced today they are conducting an on-going investigation of an alleged assault following the Sharpie 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Allegations are that driver Tony Stewart shoved a female fan in the pit area immediately following the race. The sheriff’s department is conducting the investigation, which is interviewing all persons known to have been in the area when the alleged assault took place. Sources say that at least six witnesses have been interviewed, which include a police office who witnessed the alleged assault. Following the completion of the investigation the results will be submitted to the District Attorney’s office and the matter presented to the Sullivan County Grand Jury to determine if charges should be brought. Bristol Motor Speedway, NASCAR, and Gibbs Racing are all cooperating fully with the investigation. Joe Gibbs Racing has declined to comment on the charges, pending their own investigation, but have vowed to cooperate fully with the investigation. A spokesman for Gibbs Racing said that Gibbs would address the press Saturday. Stewart was placed on probation by NASCAR and his sponsor, Home Depot, for punching a photographer earlier this year. Stewart has since admitted he has an anger management problem and is undergoing treatment at this time.

9/6/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $5.14, On the High Of The Day, Up $0.11 on Volume of 25,000 shares.
$4.50 Bid - $5.46 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $5.00/$5.14
MPH Value Change Up 2.19%
DOW Jones Up 143.5 or 1.73% on Volume of 1.4 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 44.28 or 3.54%
S&P 500 Up 14.77 or 1.68%
A precise reversal of yesterday’s move to the down side.
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago

9/6/02

Bobby Hamilton hurt  Bobby Hamilton will miss the next three Winston Cup races after suffering a broken right shoulder blade and left wrist in a wreck on the final lap of Thursday night's Virginia is for Lovers 200 Truck race at Richmond. Greg Biffle will drive the #55 Chevy owned by Andy Petree in Saturday night's Chevrolet 400. That will break a streak of 266 consecutive Winston Cup races in which Hamilton has started. No interim driver for races after this weekend has been determined. Hamilton was driving a No. 4 Dodge truck he owns in Thursday night's race. As he went into Turn 1 on the final lap, running in the top five, he made contact with another truck and crashed hard into the outside wall. He rebounded across the track and was hit several times by other trucks racing on the final lap of the race won by Tony Stewart. "I'm not really sure what happened," said Hamilton, whose right arm will be immobilized by the shoulder injury. "I realized I was spinning toward the wall and going to hit on the driver's side, so I turned the wheel the opposite way. I hit the wall and it pushed me back down the race track, where I got hit several times."  That's Racin

9/6/02

Pook reviving CART by going on the offensive  This Racing Press article is direct and to the point.  Read the whole article, but here are some interesting excerpts - In the battle to save CART, Pook has been ruthless and uncompromising in his strategy. Gone are the slew of concessions to the IRL that his predecessors had made.....perhaps Pook's most brilliant move thus far has been to declare a two-front war. In the stirring tradition of Robert E. Lee, who divided his pathetically small Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War to attack the much larger, better-equipped Army of the Potomac, Pook has abandoned the idea of a defensive battle and gone on the offensive against CART's three worst enemies -- Tony George, the media, and CART defectors like Michael Andretti and Chip Ganassi. Make no mistake. Pook is not fighting this war of words out of anger, frustration, or perceived insult, although those sentiments are laced liberally through his public utterances. Rather, his strategy is carefully plotted and directed to manipulate public perception. The court of public opinion went into the case of The People vs. Champ Car Racing with their verdict already decided -- that the series was doomed -- but Chris Pook, a white-bearded version of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, has come back screaming, "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!" Pook wants it made clear that Tony George is the enemy, and you do not negotiate with enemies. He is also adamant in his opinion that the media is writing obituaries for CART when it isn't even on life-support, and that those members of the media who say or believe otherwise are better off blackballed. Michael Andretti and Chip Ganassi leaving CART? Good riddance to bad rubbish -- if they were any good, they'd be staying. Let IRL keep our outcasts and we'll keep our top talent. This is a particularly clever position for Pook to take -- how can you accentuate good without pointing out a corresponding evil?.........One thing everyone conveniently forgets is that Pook, by being blunt, outspoken, confrontational, and on the offensive, has kept CART one of the hottest topics of conversation in auto racing this year. His leadership goes directly against the sterile, corporation-friendly blandness that has soaked American motorsports into a soggy mess in recent seasons. A modern motorsports Moses, he only has one stone tablet with a single commandment: Thou shalt not disbelieve in CART nor its diversity of events. Any time he is confronted by doubters, he preaches his gospel of CART's wonderfully unique combination of road courses, street courses, short ovals, and superspeedways, calling on one and all to repent, cast aside the evil (IRL/media/Andretti/insert enemy du jour), and join the faithful in the journey to the promised land. Not everyone likes his style. Pook knows this and couldn't care less. He has equal disdain for sycophants and critics. Either you're with CART or you're against it -- there is no fence to straddle and there is no use kissing up to either side. But whether you're an enemy or an ally, the important thing is that you keep talking about CART. Praise it, criticize it, laugh at it -- but don't ignore it. There is no such thing as bad publicity -- except no publicity at all. For this is truly the crux of CART's future -- not simply survival, but surviving in manner that people continue to talk about the series. Pook has the support of his drivers, CART's shareholders, and many of CART's current team owners. They see him as a refreshing change of pace from CEOs past -- a man with a vision and an uncompromising determination to see it made reality. And whether you agree with Pook or not, you cannot fault his drive to succeed, nor question his ability to do what he says he will do.

9/6/02

Is NASCAR as popular as NASCAR tells us?  Through the month of August, eight different NASCAR races had pulled higher ratings than did this year's Indy 500, once the premier national racing attraction. But NASCAR's claim to be the No. 2-ranking sports property on television needs a second look. In an ESPN/Chilton poll taken in 2001 that asked fans to name their favorite spectator sport, NASCAR was sixth, trailing the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, NCAA football and NCAA basketball. (Full story from Florence Morning News)

9/6/02

More on Red Bull driver search   The Red Bull F1 Driver Search program released additional details surrounding the test days that will determine the four drivers to be fully funded to race in leading European junior formula racing series in 2003. The unprecedented Danny Sullivan-led Red Bull initiative an annual search to cultivate up-and-coming American driving talent and help them break into Formula 1 competition, paving the way for the U.S.¹s long-awaited comeback in the world¹s premiere motor sport was announced in May. As previously announced (release #5), the identities of the American drivers in the initial group of 15 to 20 vying for the seats will be revealed Thursday, Sept. 26, as part of the media lead-up to the SAP U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday, Sept. 29. The American F1 driver search on-track evaluation at a circuit in France to be named shortly is scheduled for a total of four days beginning Oct. 14, and will be conducted in identically prepared Formula 3 (F3) cars. The fleet of race cars will be run and maintained by two leading F3 teams. Over the first two days, the candidates will be divided into sub-groups and will drive 200hp Martini-Fords. The judges have the option of changing the track configuration, and at certain points drivers will be re-assigned to different cars and sub-groups. The judges may or may not reduce the field after these first two days. On day three, the candidates will be further evaluated, again with car swaps and track-configuration changes as part of the exercise, and again the judges have discretion whether or not to reduce the field at the end of the day. During day four, the drivers will be assigned to a different set of cars; again, they¹ll be identically prepared F3 cars, but of a different chassis make and engine (Dallara-Opel, making approximately 240hp). Also, the track configuration will be one that none of the candidates have driven in the previous three days. At the end of the day, four drivers will be chosen. At that time, the judges will decide which of the European junior series (e.g., Formula Ford, Formula BMW, Formula Renault, Formula 3, etc.) each driver will be offered. Details of the Red Bull F1 Driver Search Test Days, including cars, venue and format, are subject to changes and modifications.

9/6/02

Andretti out of #43  John Andretti will not be in the familiar number 43 in 2003, as he has decided not to accept the contract offered by Kyle Petty and Petty Enterprises. Instead, Andretti will most likely sign with Chip Ganassi Racing and drive the Havoline sponsored Ford. Earlier this year John Andretti and Kyle Petty had a difference of opionions when Andretti wanted to run both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, but Petty denied the request. Teaming with Ganassi seems the logical choice for Andretti, since Ganassi fields cars for the IRL’s marquee event. Petty Enterprises has scheduled a press conference for Saturday to unveil their 2003 plans, and to confirm Andretti will not be back with the team. Andretti remains the driver thru the end of the year. Petty Enterprises is expected to announce they will only field two cup cars next year, but the big question is, who will drive the fabled 43?

9/6/02

Cost containment?  Dear AutoRacing1.com, What's up with the IRL cost containment rules?? I seem to remember that a major principal in the IRL was that ALL teams would have access to ALL equipment at the SAME price. In other words, if Andretti-Green is the factory team for Honda, they have to pay the same amount that any other owner would have to pay. The only advantage of being a factory team was that you were on the leading edge of development for the manufacturer. That all seems to have been thrown out the window, as now the IRL is apparently allowing the manufacturers to financially incent certain teams to use their engines. The smaller teams (and the ones who incidentally have been IRL supporters since the beginning) are left out in the cold having to pay for engines that other bigger and more well funded teams are getting for free. Literally, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.   Why isn't the media all over that story? Sounds a lot like the politics of CART from a couple of years ago if you ask me. If I was a small budget IRL team owner who had supported Tony George's cause from the beginning I would be a bit miffed. Mark B. Chicago, Il.  Dear Mark, There are still cost caps in the IRL, so a team knows it will pay no more than a set amount.  However, just like a sponsor pays a team to advertise their name, so too can an engine manufacturer pay a team (usually with free engines) to showcase their product.  In racing, the best teams always seem to get the best deals.  The best teams have always been in CART and the manufacturers are offering the best CART teams free engine deals to switch to the IRL.  These manufacturers want to win races, and you win races with the best teams and drivers.  So yes, the majority of the loyal IRL teams will get the shaft as the better CART teams are lured over to the IRL.  In the end, the IRL will be very much like CART, but with Tony George in power, which is what he wanted in the first place.  The CART vs. IRL feud has little to do with cost and much to do with who controls the sport.  AutoRacing1.com

9/6/02

Townsend Bell, Bryan Herta land tests with Minardi  2nd UPDATE This Autosport article gives more details of the story regarding Bell's test for Minardi we broke last Saturday.  9/1/02 - Beside Townsend Bell, the Minardi team give Bryan Herta a proper testing opportunity at the end of the season, during the post-season month of testing. Herta had a run in a Minardi at the recent Thunder in the Park event and got a taste for Formula 1 and hopes to be able to put together a deal to race for the team next year. After the Donington event the team said that they had been very impressed by Herta, despite the fact that it was not a proper test.   8/31/02 - We spoke to Rod Campbell and Townsend Bell today.  They informed us that Townsend will be testing with the Minardi team in two weeks at Mugello in Italy. He will be running last years car with this years engine.  It will be a full 2-day test.

9/6/02

Minardi could use Ferrari engines in 2003   Autosport magazine claims Ferrari has offered a supply of customer engines to the Minardi team for next year. Minardi using 2002 Ferrari engines and gearboxes, would provide the operation with a major performance boost in Team Principal Paul Stoddart’s bid to advance towards the top end of the grid. However, the privilege would come at a price for the small stable, a reported $23 million a year. Ferrari is understood to be in a position to offer the engines to Minardi since the demise of the Prost team, which was using year-old Ferrari engines. ‘We dream of having Ferrari engines but they are in business and we need to raise the funds,’ Stoddart said.

9/6/02

Latest F1 Hot News  

Herta Still Eyeing Indy Debut
Sauber Pilots To Debut HANS
Ferrari Dream-Team To Stay
McLaren Call For Williams Alliance
Minardi Chasing Ferrari Power
Arrows Cannot Miss Monza
Sunny Testing At Monza
Silly-Season Update
Sauber Extend Tire Deal
F1 News In Brief

9/6/02

Da Matta rejects Toyota offer, pans F1   Cristiano da Matta's dream of re-crossing the Atlantic and taking up residence in the Formula One pitlane appears to have soured.  The 28-year-old Brazilian, courted by fledgling Cologne-based outfit Toyota, has evidently decided to remain strapped to his ChampCar cockpit amid critical comments that an offer did not show the respect he demands.  The Japanese giant, whilst negotiating for a release of da Matta's 2003 contract from present employers Newman-Haas, showed reluctance to meet the youngster's salary demands whilst merely offering him a test and development role.  For da Matta, the prospect of defending his probable world series crown in America next year is more attractive than a thousand miles of lonely Formula One development.  'They (Toyota) don't want to pay and they keep talking about me being a test driver instead of a race driver,' said da Matta. 'They don't respect who we are or what we do here (in CART racing).  'I don't like what they think.' Amid reports that Toyota had successfully negotiated the release of da Matta's American commitments, then, the diminutive youngster has reportedly called off his break into the sought-after environment of Grand Prix racing. 'I think I'm staying in CART,' said da Matta. 'CART is a great series,' he added, piping up his support for the ailing American championship. 'The average quality of the driver is better here than in F1.'  If our sources are to be believed, the turning point in negotiation may have come from CART CEO Chris Pook who offered the potential defending champion a tasty bonus if he stayed in America.  With the bid to lure Jacques Villeneuve back to the States now failed, Pook is eager to do all he can to maintain and raise the image of the struggling ChampCar series.  An emergency meeting of several team bosses was called overnight where Pook urged that 'all was well' in the CART World Series. Da Matta, it seems, may be part of a continuing campaign to save a championship that more and more participants are abandoning.  With the five foot three Cristiano staying fixed to the challenges of American open-wheeler racing, then, Toyota still have a vacant seat to fill with a 'Young, motivated, fresh driver.'  Additionally, Tokyo are applying the pressure that a South-American - preferably Brazilian - youngster should accompany the experienced driving services of Olivier Panis in order to boost the region's growing vehicle market.  One young Brazilian who is keen to keep his Grand Prix racing dream alive is Felipe Massa, the 21-year-old who has lost his Sauber berth to the more experienced hand of Heinz-Harald Frentzen.  F3000 pilot and BMW-Williams tester, Antonio Pizzonia, is also high on the list of Toyota potentials, as are Australian and English rookies Mark Webber and Anthony Davidson.  Toyota F1 President Ove Andersson confirms the Cologne-outfit's desire for a young charger: 'We believe Panis will give us a valuable input,' said the Swede.  'The other driver should be someone who is young with potential and enthusiasm, and someone who can give us new angles and something to learn from.  'Mika (Salo) and Allan (McNish) have done a great job for us in two years - it's just the fact we need to get something new.  'We are in a situation where we need to get a fresh angle on things. I think that's part of the learning curve - but we haven't yet decided on our second driver for next year.'   'We have several options and we are looking at them for the future. We hope to make an announcement before the end of the year.' .

9/6/02

Why don't sponsors participate in England?   Dear AutoRacing1.com, As Rockingham nears, and I prepare to go to my second ever CART race, I am still wondering about the marketing efforts that teams and sponsors put on for spectators. I went last year and was surprised that the three engine makers did not have some space for a "mini-Motor Show" to promote their vehicles. I would have thought that 44,000 fans with (on that occasion) a lot of time to wander around could have been enticed to visit a Marketing stall, perhaps organized by Ford UK etc. for each engine maker. There was no official CART merchandise stand to be seen, and the major sponsors could have had stalls promoting their products and brands. E.g. Shell and Texaco/Havoline could have had stalls handing out information and maybe customer loyalty cards, discount vouchers etc. and building their brand image with the most dedicated CART fans. The extra cost for 2-3 days could be a few thousand dollars at most, a drop in the ocean for the overall budget on marketing, which is what it is all about really. Herdez could have set out their produce and brands, again with promotions, and they really could have pushed home their products to fans by getting to see the whites of their eyes. I don't know if this happens at US races, but I don't see why it should not be the case at every race! Last year at Rockingham the only really effective marketing came from the British Army recruitment, aided by a fly-past of their helicopter display team. They were looking for recruits and though this event was a good place to find some. Why don't CART sponsors do the same? We are waiting! Last year I could have bought no end of Jimmy Vasser's die cast 1996 Target car models, or F1 merchandise, and that seemed to be it. How about a MIller Genuine Draft beer tent, and a Corona one too? The crowd at Rockingham were much better behaved than your average English soccer crowd, there will be no chants of "Penske Sucks! Penske Sucks!, We don't want his IRL trucks!" or anything disreputable like that to spoil the day. Why don't they come to see us, so we can back CART sponsors to thank them for putting on the Greatest Show on Earth? Ed McFarlane, Goadby, England

9/6/02

Rick Treadway to drive for Bradley  According to this Indy Star article, Team owner Fred Treadway doesn't have an IRL program for 2003 yet, but he has purchased an Infiniti Pro Series car. Also, his son, Rick, will drive Bradley Motorsports' second car in the season-ending race at Texas next week. The sponsorship deal was tied to getting an Infiniti engine, which Bradley has.

9/5/02

Jeff Gordon in Hornish pits  Jeff Gordon will be in the pits of Sam Hornish Jr. on Sept. 8 at Chicagoland Speedway as Hornish tries to zero in on his second consecutive Indy Racing League championship. No, not that Jeff Gordon: Jeff Gordon of Speedway Engine Development. Gordon will support Hornish during the Delphi Indy 300 on the 1.5-mile oval. Hornish is third in the series standings, eight points behind leader Helio Castroneves and seven behind second place Gil de Ferran. Speedway Engine Development is the most successful builder in the seven-year history of the IRL. General Motors engines assembled by the Indianapolis-based shop have won 17 races and captured back-to-back drivers’ championships in 2000 and 2001. Gordon has been Panther’s man in the pits since June 1998. Although he has one of the best seats in the house, he seldom sees the cars on the track. His eyes are focused on the laptop computer that displays telemetry data from the Chevy Indy V8 that powers Hornish’s No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. “My sole responsibility at the track is to look after Panther’s engines,” Gordon said. “I make sure that the motor is doing what it’s supposed to do. I monitor the oil and water temperatures, fuel pressure, oil pressure and the other operating conditions. I look after the motor so that the team can concentrate on race strategy and pit stops. “At most races, I never see the car until the last few laps. I’m watching the computer screen for anything out of the ordinary. I also monitor the fuel mixture setting so I have the answers when (team engineer) Andy Brown asks whether we can push the engine harder or run it leaner.” Gordon has been with Speedway since co-founders Rick Long and the late Herb Porter opened for business in August 1996. Racing is an all-consuming occupation for Gordon. Days away from the track are devoted to dyno testing every Chevrolet racing engine that leaves the Speedway shop. Speedway also is one of four independent engine builders – the others are Menard Engine Group, Roush Industries and VDS Engines – that are playing a key role in the development of an all-new Chevy Indy V8 engine for 2003. “I make sure that all of the engines are prepared correctly before they go to the teams,” Gordon said. “In a typical week during racing season, we’ll run eight engines on the dyno. On average, Speedway has between 35 and 40 engines in rotation among our teams.”

9/5/02

Patrick retains Servia  U. E. “Pat” Patrick announced today that Oriol Servia will pilot the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, with Toyota power and Bridgestone tires, for the remainder of the 2002 FedEx Championship Series season. Servia, 28, who originally joined Visteon/Patrick Racing at the end of July for a five-race trial, has impressed the team with both his knowledge and tremendous driving talent. “Oriol has done a good job for the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team since joining us over a month ago,” said Patrick. “He is a tremendous driving talent who has worked very well with our engineering staff and mechanics. We are pleased to be able to give him the opportunity to continue racing with our team as we pursue our goal of winning races,” Patrick concluded. Servia, who is in his third CART season (48 starts), has been competitive in every event he has contested this season. However, a series of incidents that can only be described as “bad luck” have conspired to prevent him from finishing among the leaders during his brief tenure with Visteon/Patrick Racing. “I am very proud and happy that Mr. Patrick has the confidence in me to allow me to continue racing with the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team,” Servia said. “We have been very competitive, but have not achieved the results we wanted. I am grateful for the chance to continue the work the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team has started. With the progress we have made so far, these next five events should give us the opportunity to reach our goal of winning races,” Servia concluded.

9/5/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $5.03 Down $0.10 on Volume of 39,900 shares.
$4.39 Bid - $5.36 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $5.00/$5.12
MPH Value Change Down 1.95%
DOW Jones Down 141.42 or 1.68% on Volume of 1.6 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 41.31 or 3.2%
S&P 500 Down 14.25 or 1.6%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago

9/5/02

Ganassi quits CART? Not so fast  2nd UPDATE We should have been a bit clearer on our previous report.  It's a given that Ganassi will run with Toyota in 2003 in the IRL.  What is not decided yet is whether Ganassi will also run in CART.  That decision has not been made so we are told by the team.  9/5/02 - AutoRacing1.com just got off the telephone with a Target Chip Ganassi representative who spoke to Chip Ganassi himself after we called him.  We were informed that the Autosport report is incorrect and that the Target Chip Ganassi Team has not, we repeat, not, decided which series they will race in for 2003. To report that the team has quit CART is, therefore, premature and may end up being false.  9/5/02 - Although AutoRacing1.com hears otherwise, according to this Autosport article, Chip Ganassi Racing will leave the Champ Car scene and switch its attentions to the rival Indy Racing League next season. Ganassi has run parallel programs in both series this year, fielding three-cars in CART and a single car regularly in IRL, and it was expected to split its efforts between the two series again. However team owner Chip Ganassi told Autosport at last weekend's Denver Champ Car event that his squad would follow its engine supplier Toyota in moving all its resources to IRL. Ganassi also suggested that another top CART squad Team Green will join the exodus under its new owner Michael Andretti. "You can count Green and Ganassi out of CART," said Ganassi. It's unclear who will drive for Ganassi in IRL, but Toyota favorite Scott Dixon, who joined Ganassi's Champ Car team mid-season is a likely candidate. Of Ganassi's other Champ Car drivers, Brazilian Bruno Junqueira is thought likely to stay in CART and drive for Newman Haas Racing, while Kenny Brack's poor form, has put him out of favor. Jeff Ward has driven for the team in IRL this season.

9/5/02

Atlantics:  Awards Banquet report  The 2002 version of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship proved to be one of its most competitive and exciting in the 29-year history of the tradition rich open-wheeled development series. This past Sunday night, the series concluded the season with its annual awards banquet where drivers and team members were rewarded for their outstanding efforts.  Story

9/5/02

Da Matta wins 3rd Quarter DOY voting  Cristiano da Matta, the runaway points leader in the CART series, was the overwhelming choice for third quarter 2002 Driver of the Year honors. Da Matta, who earned four poles and three victories during the quarter, received 15 of 17 first-place votes and 143 points from a 16-person panel of motorsports writers and broadcasters and a fan vote on ESPN.com. NASCAR's Bill Elliott, who won two straight races in the third quarter, including the Brickyard 400, was second with one first-place vote and 83 points

9/5/02

Cadillac to sponsor Miami race  Cadillac Motors, a division of General Motors, has secured title sponsor of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Grand Prix Americas race, to be held Saturday, Oct. 5th. The ALMS race will be entitled the Cadillac ALMS Challenge. “Given the great success of our recent sponsorship of The Cadillac Grand Prix of Washington, D.C., we are eager to get our dealers and fans involved in bringing racing back to downtown, Miami,” said Jay Spenchian, brand director for Cadillac. “Miami is a key market for Cadillac and Grand Prix Americas gives us a great opportunity to reach that community.” Grand Prix Americas will speed through the streets of Miami on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 4-6. The 1.57-mile street circuit will reach speeds of more than 180 mph making its way through Bayfront Park, Biscayne Boulevard and downtown streets. The world-class racing event will feature CART Fed Ex Championship Series on Sunday afternoon and the Trans-Am for the BF Goodrich Tires Cup Races immediately following. The Cadillac ALMS Challenge race will be held on Saturday. “The combination of Cadillac’s reputable automotive expertise and motorsports experience makes them a perfect fit for this event,” said Chuck M. Martinez, president and general manager, Grand Prix Americas. “Cadillac’s interest in becoming a title sponsor of Grand Prix Americas shows the importance and magnitude this event plays in the City of Miami.” Grand Prix Americas will be a historic event as it brings together two of North America’s premier road racing series for the first time ever. CART FedEx Championship Series will join the ALMS promoting a “dual-headline” that will make the Grand Prix Americas one of the foremost motorsports weekends of the year. The high-voltage auto street race, dubbed “The Blast by the Bay,” will feature three days of exciting street racing, concerts and parties led by Hispanic TV star and model Sofia Vergara as the Grand Marshall. Fans will have the opportunity to meet world famous drivers by attending several autograph sessions held throughout the weekend. Cadillac’s endurance-racing program is a fundamental part of the brand’s aggressive strategy to grow business and to accelerate a change in perception of the brand. In the final year of its three-year program, Cadillac and its two LMP entries will also compete at Laguna Seca on Sept. 22 before the Miami event. The Cadillac Program will conclude by running at the ALMS season ending Petit Le Mans in Atlanta on Oct. 12. The American Le Mans Series is a series of North American sports car races based on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s most famous endurance race. American Le Mans Series races feature four classes of racecars competing for class wins and the overall win, with the fields including many of the same drivers and cars that compete at Le Mans. The series holds events at many of North America’s premier permanent road racing facilities as well as at temporary circuits in key major markets. All events are on live television in the United States. Well-known automotive brand names such as Audi, Cadillac, Corvette, Dodge, Ferrari, MG, Nissan, Panoz, Porsche and Saleen are represented on the series. General Motors (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, designs, builds and markets cars and trucks worldwide, and has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.  We hear that a sponsor announcement for the CART race on Sunday is not too far off.

9/5/02

Manning named to drive for St. George Team  Yorkshire ‘Young Gun’ Darren Manning will take on the American Aces in Europe’s Fastest-Ever Motor Race Beckham may be on paternity leave, but there is another very good reason to display your Three Lions shirts and St. Georges Cross flags with pride in the next two weeks. For the first time in motor racing history, an All-England team will challenge the American stars of Champ Car racing when the 200+mph CART FedEx series comes to Britain’s only banked oval motor racing circuit, at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on 13/14th September.   See feature story.

9/5/02

CART TV ratings on SPEED continue to disappoint  While we saw a jump in the SPEED TV ratings for CART's Montreal race, the Denver ratings were back down to a 0.29 and 155,000 households.  As good a job as the SPEED staff does on the race broadcasts, these continued low numbers must be making it hard for CART teams to keep sponsors.  While we have seen CART's network TV ratings to be equal or better than the IRL's network ratings, the SPEED TV ratings just are not cutting it.  What to do?  CART is in survival mode, every sponsor counts.  The SPEED folks are going to have to recognize this, and work with CART to move more races to network TV in 2003, even if it means the race is run on Saturday, or tape delayed an hour or so on Sunday, the ratings would still be in the 1.0+ range.  Until SPEED reaches enough households, CART qualifying and pre-race and post race shows, and CART Friday night can be on SPEED.....but the races must move to network TV, or CART risks losing more sponsors and total collapse, which does neither CART nor SPEED any good.

9/5/02

Rockingham - what if it rains?  Dear AutoRacing.com, Just wondered if you could answer a question for me. When CART comes to Rockingham, if the weather forecast going into the weekend is for rain, would they switch to running on the road course? I realize that if they have got practice in on the oval, they wouldn't want to just switch the race to the road course because no one has run on it. My concern is that, knowing the British weather all too well, we could be in for rain/showers all weekend and end up with a rain-delayed race on Sunday, or worse yet no race at all. That would certainly put off a lot of people from coming back to the event next year (Weather in May is no more predictable than September). I'm not a fan of in-field road courses, but having seen several races on the Rockingham course it is considerably better than most, and can provide good racing. Parts of it will be a bit tight & twisty for the CART cars, but it would be better than having no race at all wouldn't it. When the ASCAR series runs on the oval it is supported by Trucks and Legends which run partly on the road course, and the track workers do a fantastic job in converting the track in a matter of minutes so the inner walls are closed off before ASCAR runs the full oval. Hope you can shed some light on this for me, I suspect I'm not the only one who would like to know. I'm looking forward to CART next year, good to hear we won't be losing Tracy or Carpentier. Also, I understand Chris Pook's comments about limiting the number of cars because of the transportation costs involved in the fly-away races. I think it would be interesting though to have a few extra cars at selected events where the equipment can be moved by road and the pit facilities allow, perhaps to give some new drivers a race or two for experience. For example, if a Mexican can find some sponsorship for his home races, a team might be able to run him for those events, or a Californian might have the budget to do the races at Long Beach and Laguna. Best wishes, Stuart Page, England  Dear Stuart, Last year we suggested they bring the rain tires and road course wings to England and Germany just in case the weekend was a washout.  The Franchise Board voted on the idea and decided to chance it - they would wait out the rain.  Hence if it rains on Saturday, they will run on Sunday or the next clear day, even if that means Monday.  Because of the fickle England weather, and unless this years race turns profit by selling out, we continue to hear rumblings that CART and it's marketing partner Octagon, will move the race to an upgraded Brands Hatch circuit.  The road course means they run rain or shine, and being close to London, one can expect far bigger crowds.  As for extra cars at certain races, good idea, but very costly to do.  We think existing teams can run their backup cars far easier than it is for a team to come together for just 1 or 2 races per year.

9/5/02

Another racing sponsor jumps into China  According to to the Financial Times, tobacco company Gallaher has signed a deal with the China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC) to manufacture and distribute one of its many cigarette brands in China. According to the newspaper, China is; "the prime target for western tobacco companies searching for new customers".   The company has signed a letter of intent with the China National Tobacco Corporation to manufacture and distribute cigarettes in China. The deal will involve CNTC producing Gallaher's brands in China and Gallaher producing CNTC products for the Russian market. Furthermore the FT claims Gallaher is close to doing a similar deal in Moscow.  China has an estimated 300m smokers and the tobacco companies are keen to get into the market. This is part of the reason for the big push for a Chinese GP. It is worth noting that Gallaher has also announced its profits for the last six months which are 23% up on last year, an indication that, as usual, tobacco companies do well in recessions.

9/5/02

Da Matta talks about F1  Here is a translated interviewed by Ed McFarlane that appeared in the Mexican newspaper El Norte:

Londres, Inglaterra.- Cristiano da Matta, líder de la Serie CART, consideró que le gustaría competir en Fórmula Uno como un triunfador y no como un corredor más de la lista.
London, England:- Cristiano da Matta, CART series leader, says that he like to compete in Formula One as a winner and not to make up the numbers.

Y es que en las últimas semanas se ha dicho insistentemente que el brasileño, de 28 años, podría sustituir el próximo año al británico Allan McNish, en el equipo Toyota.
In the last few weeks, persistent rumors have said that the Brazilian, 28, could replace the british driver Allan McNish in the Toyota team.

Da Matta confirmó que su compatriota brasileño Rubens Barrichello, de la escudería Ferrari, es uno de los que lo anima para pasar de la Serie CART a la Fórmula Uno.
Da Matta confirmed that his countryman Rubens Barrichello, of Team Ferrari, is one of those encouraging him to move from CART to F1.

"Rubens me advirtió que la Fórmula Uno es muy política, pero me dijo que él es feliz allí y creo que yo también me sentiría feliz", dijo Da Matta.
"Rubens warned me that F1 is very political, but he told me that he is happy there, and I'd be happy there too" said Da Matta.

"Si uno es un corredor de verdad, su satisfacción personal es alta en el campeonato CART. No quisiera ir a la Fórmula Uno sólo a participar. No voy a ir sólo para ser uno más", agregó el brasileño.
"If you are a true racer, you get great personal satisfaction in CART. I'd not want to go to F1 just to take part. I'm not going to go just to make up the numbers" added the Brazilian.

Da Matta ya hizo una prueba en el equipo Toyota de Fórmula Uno en mayo pasado y dijo que estaba muy impresionado por esa experiencia.
Da Matta has already tested with the Toyota F1 team last May and said he was very impressed by the experience.

9/5/02

Priestley continues recovery  This Star News article says - Jason Priestley, who is recovering at an Indianapolis rehabilitation hospital, gave his first post-accident interview Wednesday to The Star. He was seriously injured Aug. 11 in an Infiniti Pro Series crash at Kentucky Speedway. "The frustration is (based on) not being in a race car right now," he said. "But other than that, it's not been that bad. "Rehab is way too hard, but you don't mind the work so much when you know it's going to pay you back tenfold." The Canadian broke both feet and the middle part of his back and suffered several fractures in and around his eyes and ears. Surgeries on his eye socket and the bridge of his nose are unnoticeable because of the small incisions made by doctors. Priestley is wearing a chest brace to restrict movement of his back, which has a pin in it. The casts on his feet are expected to be replaced Friday to allow him to apply a small amount of weight on them, he said. Priestley is expected to remain in Indianapolis at least 10 more days before returning to his Los Angeles home.

9/5/02

Latest F1 Hot News  

Ralf's Sights Set On Montoya
Arrows Await Future
McNish Returns To Sportscars?
Hakkinen Makes F1 Return
Pollock: Team Boss Dream Over
F1 World Grows Weary?
Another Wet Monza Day
Williams: Revolution In 2003?
F1 News In Brief

9/4/02

Herta talks about CART Stars of Tomorrow  CART Stars of Tomorrow founder Bryan Herta spoke recently about recent events and the next few important months in the program. “Firstly, I wanted to make sure our participants know exactly how they can race at the Grand Nationals in Las Vegas in November.  Story

9/4/02

Shell to renew Denver sponsorship  According to this report, Organizers of the Denver Grand Prix say the race will return next year and Shell Oil has indicated it wants to remain the title sponsor. "I think it's a certainty that they'll see the event in Denver next year," said Jerry Miraglia, executive vice president of Dover Motorsports, one of the Grand Prix partners.

9/4/02

Surfers Honda Indy 300 race expects 300,000+  CART just seems to have one big success after another this year when it comes to events.  Attendance has been impressive.  There's no better example than CART's Honda Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise, which  just keeps getting bigger and better.  Current ticket sales are up by around 70 per cent on the same time last year and corporate sales have set new pre-event records. The early response to this year's event is likely to see last year's four-day record crowd of 286,000 easily broken. "It would be safe to say that if you want to come to Indy and get a good seat you better to it now," said Jones. "The response to this year's event has been absolutely outstanding and our team is working around the clock to ensure it provides the best complete entertainment package available." "The list of on and off track entertainment we have put together will ensure there is something for everyone or all ages at this year's.  However, the real success to this race is hidden in the corporate sales, which are quite impressive.  Story.  It will be interesting to see if Honda drops sponsorship of this event now that they are going to the IRL, in favor of say a Nazareth or Gateway race, with attendance in the 15,000 to 20,000 range.  We hear Ford of Australia may be chomping at the bit to replace Honda as sponsor of this huge happening as soon as Honda drops it.  If you look at the huge events CART now has (St. Petersburg, Monterrey, Mexico City, Long Beach, Denver, Miami, Australia, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, etc.) and the marketing value to large corporations, it appears CART's future is sound.  Some current teams and manufacturers may turn their back on CART's full grandstands, for the empty grandstands in the IRL (what that does for them we'll never understand), but it's just a matter of time before new teams and new sponsors take their place.  IRL's attendance this year has been as dismal as ever at most events, so for now we'll maintain - Beating a dead horse, where's my fork?

9/4/02

Chevy's and Pontiac's get air dam changes  NASCAR officials have announced that recent NASCAR Winston Cup Series rules modifications regarding Chevrolet and Pontiac air dams, in effect for races at Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 18) and Darlington Raceway (Sept. 1), will be in effect for the remainder of the season. The modifications were not in effect for the Aug. 24 event at Bristol Motor Speedway. For the remainder of the season, the leading edge of the Chevrolets’ air dam must not extend more than 3½ inches forward of the bumper. For Pontiacs, the leading edge of the air dam must not extend more than 1½ inches forward of the bumper. Prior to the race at Michigan International Speedway, the Chevrolets’ air dams could extend 2½ inches forward, while the Pontiacs’ air dams could extend 1 inch forward of the bumper. The leading air dam for Dodges and Fords must not extend more than 1½ inches forward of the bumper.

9/4/02

Schumacher's top testing at Monza  
Driver Car Engine Tires Time

R Schumacher

Williams

BMW

M

1:24.201

M Schumacher

Ferrari

Ferrari

B

1:24.248

P de la Rosa

Jaguar

Cosworth

M

1:24.560

O Panis

BAR

Honda

B

1:24.839

M Gene

Williams

BMW

M

1:24.842

E Irvine

Jaguar

Cosworth

M

1:24.916

D Coulthard

McLaren

Mercedes

M

1:25.113

J Trulli

Renault

Renault

M

1:25.475

N Heidfeld

Sauber

Petronas

B

1:26.080

J Button

Renault

Renault

M

1:26.107

J Villeneuve

BAR

Honda

B

1:26.174

T Sato

Jordan

Honda

B

1:26.761

A McNish

Toyota

Toyota

M

1:27.252

S Sarrazin

Toyota

Toyota

M

1:27.406

A Yoong

Minardi

Asiatech

M

1:28.087

9/4/02

Pollock open to a Villeneuve move to CART   In this Autosport interview, Jacques Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock makes it sound as though he's open to a deal that would see the popular French Canadian back in CART:
Q: There's been a lot of talk about Jacques returning to Champ Cars. What's the real story?
"I had a proposal put towards me in Montreal by the CEO of Player's, way back at the time of the Grand Prix, that they would be interested in having Jacques going across there next year - it's the last year of Player's. But we weren't in a position to negotiate that. I told him we were under contract to BAR, and they would have to deal directly with BAR for that to be confirmed. Which I believe did take place. But at this date we've not had a financial proposition, terms, duration, nothing at all."
Q: You've always had a very carefully planned career path for Jacques - does going back to CART make sense?
"It depends on what's behind it. We'd never do it if we didn't have a firm contract back into F1, and it depends obviously on how that contract was set up."
Q: Presumably the fact that Olivier Panis has now gone elsewhere has made it less likely that Jacques will leave BAR next year?
"It depends on what the team wants. We are obviously very open to any form of logical proposal."
Q: But as things stand he's racing for BAR next year?
"As things stand he has a contract, yes."

9/4/02

Andrews named crew chief of #99  Roush Racing announced that Paul Andrews has been hired as the crew chief of the No. 99 CITGO Racing Ford Taurus, effective immediately. Andrews has been a Winston Cup crew chief since 1988 when he was teamed up with the late Alan Kulwicki. In 1992 the pair won the Winston Cup Championship in addition to racking up two wins and six poles. Andrews has achieved 12 total Winston Cup victories in addition to 74 top-five and 145 top-10 finishes. Andrews was most recently crew chief of the No. 1 car of Steve Park. "Paul will make a great addition to the No. 99 CITGO team," said Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 99 CITGO Racing Ford Taurus. "The CITGO team has been running really well and we're looking to build on that with the addition of Paul."

9/4/02

Our condolences to Chris Kneifel & Family  Our condolences go out to CART's Chris Kneifel and his family.  Chris's grandfather W. Clement Stone passed away yesterday. We did not learn the two were related until today.   W. Clement Stone, who parlayed $100 into a $2 billion insurance empire and was known as much for giving away his vast fortune as for making it, has died. He was 100. Stone, the largest contributor to Richard Nixon's 1968 and 1972 presidential campaigns, died Tuesday in Evanston Hospital. Stone founded the Combined International Corp., which later merged with Ryan Insurance Group to form Aon Corp. His trademarks were a pencil-thin mustache, a bow tie, and his ever-present optimism. He once said the Depression was the "best thing that happened" to him because "it forced me to develop good work habits." After peddling newspapers on Chicago street corners as a child, Clement moved to Detroit with his mother and started selling insurance at age 16. At 20, he used his $100 savings to set up his own insurance agency in Chicago. Within eight years, about 1,000 agents throughout the country were selling insurance for him. In 1946, Stone bought the struggling Pennsylvania Casualty Co., which grew steadily under his watch and became the base for the giant Combined International Corp. Stone gave millions of dollars to Republican politicians and a variety of philanthropic causes. He gave more than $8 million to the 1968 and '72 Nixon campaigns. He also stood by Nixon after he resigned from the presidency in 1974, predicting he would "go down in history as one of the greatest presidents by virtue of his achievements." "Clem was one of the first influential Americans to believe that my father could make the impossible comeback to become president," said Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Nixon's daughter. "He was truly an inspiration to the president." Countless civic and charitable groups benefited from his generosity. He was involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs for 50 years, and in 1981 was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by three U.S. senators and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He had a simple explanation for his giving. "I have a magnificent obsession," he once said. "All I want to do is change the world, make it a better place for this and future generations." He certainly had a lot to give. "What's a few million dollars?" he once asked. "Everything's relative." He wrote or co-authored three books: "The Success System that Never Fails," "Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude" and "The Other Side of the Mind." Survivors include his wife, Jessie Verna Tarson, a son, 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. A memorial service is planned for Friday in Evanston. AP Story

9/4/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $5.13 Up $0.04 on Volume of 115,700 shares.
$4.43 Bid - $5.44 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $5.03/$5.22
MPH Value Change Up 0.79%
DOW Jones Up 116.24 or 1.4% on Volume of 1.59 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 28.04 or 2.22%
S&P 500 Up 15.32 or 1.74%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago

9/4/02

Pook and Dixon on RPM2Night  Although the CART FedEx Championship Series won't be in competition on the track this week after completing four consecutive weekends of racing, some of the top names in CART will remain in the public eye through various forms of national television coverage. This evening "RPM 2Night," aired on ESPN 2, will feature an in-depth one-on-one interview with veteran motorsports journalist Robin Miller and CART President and CEO Chris Pook, shot on location last week at CART's new headquarters in Indianapolis. Also on tonight's show, ESPN's Marlo Klain catches up with Champ Car driver Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing following his second-place effort last weekend at the Shell Grand Prix of Denver. "RPM 2Night" will air this evening at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time. MTV's "Dismissed," a dating show shot on location at unique locales, will also air this evening with special footage and interviews shot at this year's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Round 2 of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series. "Dismissed" will air at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on MTV. Legendary race car driver Mario Andretti, who was recently named to CART's Board of Directors, will make a special appearance this weekend on the Food Network, which reaches approximately 100 million households. Andretti and his Napa Valley Winery will be featured on the series "Tasting Napa," set to air this Saturday, September 7 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time on the Food Network.

9/4/02

NASCAR tidbits  There have been 15 different race winners and 13 different Bud Pole winners through 25 races. … The NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus will be worth a record payout of $210,000 at Richmond. The bonus, which begins at $10,000 and rolls over each race until there is a winner, is given to the driver who is the race winner and points leader following that event. The last driver to win the bonus was Sterling Marlin (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge) at Darlington’s spring race ($20,000). … Saturday night’s race will be a Winston No Bull 5 event. Michael Waltrip (No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet), Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford), Sterling Marlin (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge), Jimmy Spencer (No. 41 Target Dodge) and Mark Martin (No. 6 Pfizer/Viagra Ford) are the eligible drivers for the $1 million bonus from R.J. Reynolds. Five fans will also be eligible for a $1 million bonus as part of the “They Win, You Win” fans sweepstakes: Lisa Reynolds of Sioux Falls, S.D.; Lowell Thomas of Belleville, Ill.; Teresa Garnett of Naugatuck, Conn.; Tommy Medley of Roanoke, Va.; and Joseph Bowser of New Smyrna Beach, Fla. The Winston No Bull 5 $1 million bonus has been awarded both to a driver and a fan 12 times since 1998.

9/4/02

NASCAR TV ratings continue to boom  In the final Nielsen Media Research ratings for the weekend of Aug. 24-25, the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on TNT attracted 4,137,000 households, an increase of 23 percent from last season’s event. The Sharpie 500, the most-watched sports program on cable for the weekend and top motorsports program overall, attracted 7,085,000 viewers, making it the most-watched Bristol race ever.

9/4/02

With 11 races to go.... Sterling Marlin (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge) finished fourth last Sunday in the Mountain Dew Southern 500, which limited the damage done to Marlin’s series point lead by race winner Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet). Despite winning and advancing to second place in the standings, Gordon sliced only 20 points off Marlin’s lead. Marlin now leads by 91 points. Mark Martin (No. 6 Pfizer/Viagra Ford) is third, 125 back of Marlin. Marlin and Martin are seeking their first series title while Gordon is chasing his fifth. The top five drivers are separated by 167 points. This is the second-closest margin between the top-five drivers in history with 11 races remaining. In 1984, 140 points separated the top-five drivers with 11 races remaining.

9/4/02

Denver race exceeded expectations  According to this Denver Post article - "The stands were packed, and we didn't have to educate the fans to stay in the seats for the victory lap," event general manager John Frew said Monday. "When Bruno Junqueira took his victory lap, it was spine-tingling. CART will be back, and we'll be back. "We're here to stay." Promoters of the first Denver street race since 1991 went into last weekend with a handful of goals. Avoiding a final-day bumper-tag race - often what a CART street race turns into - wasn't one of them. To that end, "this event exceeded our expectations, and I hope we exceeded the fans' expectations," Frew said. "I really believe this is going to become an institution in this city." When the race was announced more than a year ago, promoters had hoped to draw a three-day crowd of more than 100,000, generate an economic impact of more than $30 million and prohibit the event from interfering with downtown residents and businesses. While economic impact studies won't be completed for some time, Frew said attendance was far better than what he had hoped, and he hasn't answered to any major complaints. "We know we have a winning formula," he said. "I talked to the police, the firemen. People got in and out with ease." Frew would not divulge precise attendance figures based on a policy of the event's primary promoter, Dover Motorsports Inc. But he did not refute estimates of 25,000 on Friday, 35,000 on Saturday and 50,000 to 55,000 on race day. "We'd love to announce attendance; we would want to put the positive numbers out there," Frew said. "But Dover is a public company on the New York Stock Exchange. It's silly, but releasing numbers is like releasing inside information." The event wasn't without growing pains. A bevy of drivers complained Friday and Saturday of an inconsistent track surface, which likely contributed to Sunday's one-caution race. Driver Scott Dixon admitted he raced cautiously on a track promoters vowed on Saturday to fix before next year. "You have the same guys complaining that always complain," said Dixon, who finished second. "The track obviously had problems, but it's the first year. ... I'm sure they'll make huge improvements next year." From a fan's perspective, there weren't enough pedestrian bridges to get from one part of the track to another. The existing bridges were clogged Sunday. And the lone general admission grandstand accounted for a small portion of the GA tickets sold. Frew said the walk-up crowd was "far beyond our wildest dreams." "General admission didn't mean you have a seat," he said. "It just gets you on the grounds. Next year, hopefully people will understand that if you want a seat, you better pay a little more for a reserved seat."

9/4/02

Who is 2nd best in F1?   “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you an idiot.”  So said Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher in 1950, the same year the Formula One World Championship began. Half a century later, Michael Schumacher is forcing an awful lot of F1 drivers to revise their attitude to losing. Story....

9/4/02

Arrows submits letter to FIA   The FIA, have said in a press statement that they have received a letter from the Arrows team explaining their actions of the past Grands Prix when they failed to compete at either Hungary, Germany or Belgium. "We have received the communication from Arrows and we are currently studying this communication. It would be inappropriate to make any further comment at this stage. We received the communication after close of business yesterday [Tuesday]," read a statement from the organization. There is no date by which the FIA is required to announce the future of the team, although it is most likely that a further statement will be released later in the week clearly indicating whether Arrows will race again in the 2002 season, or whether they will sit out the remaining three Grands Prix before returning under a new name for the first race of next year in Australia.

9/4/02

Reader thinks starters would be good  In response to Chris Pook's proposal to add starter motors to 2005 Champ Cars, a reader writes, Starters are a great idea. I've wondered for ages why they dont have them. The benefits:
Safety: If Zanardi could have lurched forward using the starter motor at Lausitz after his spin he just might have got off the racing line in time. (Tire warmers might have avoided the spin in the 1st place, had Zanardi changed tires, which he did not). Less risk to the Simple Green safety team as less need to go on track to rescue stranded cars.
Racing: More incentive to make a risky move, knowing that if you mess up and stall you can get started again and not go a lap down. Fewer yellows. For the fans: the sight of a fast car restarting behind a few slower cars and fighting past them. = RACING
Sponsors: Less chance of your car missing out on a race by stalling and going a lap down or dropping out all together = more benefits and reasons to sponsor.
The Disadvantages: I can't think of any!  Ed McFarlane, England

9/4/02

Latest F1 Hot News  

Richards Regrets Losing Panis
Massa Earns Rivals' Respect
F1 Testing Round-Up
Arrows Miss Their Deadline?
Frentzen Returns To Hinwil
Can McLaren Catch Ferrari?
Irvine's Stock On The Rise
F1 News In Brief

9/3/02

Lowe's testing report  Kevin Harvick was fastest on the unofficial speed charts Tuesday in the first of a two-day testing session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Eight Winston Cup teams were on hand for Tuesday’s session in preparation for the upcoming UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Oct.13. Harvick’s #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet turned an unofficial lap of 181.941 mph around the 1.5-mile speedway during the twilight part of the session, which ended at 10pm. Ward Burton was second fastest with a speed of 180.965 mph, and Busch Series point leader Greg Biffle, running a limited Winston Cup schedule in 2002 with a full run planned in 2003, was third fastest with a speed of 180.783 mph. Among the other teams participating in the test session were two hoping to make their first starts of the season in October’s race – Jack Spague, driving the #60 Haas Automation Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, and Ron Hornaday, Jr., driving the #54 \Army National Guard Chevrolet for newcomers BH Motorsports. Sprague was fourth fastest on Tuesday, turning an unofficial lap of 179.104 mph, Hornaday was fifth quickest, with a lap of 177.049 mph. Dave Blaney (176.759 mph), Scott Wimmer (176.297 mph) and Tony Raines (176.125 mph) rounded out the session. Testing continues on Wednesday.  Pete McCole

9/3/02

Denver promoter happy with CART race  The crowd for the Denver race was estimated at about 50,000, and in excess of 100,000 for the three-day event. That had John Frew, vice president and general manager of the Shell Grand Prix of Denver, in good spirits. "We are very delighted with the crowd turnout," Frew said. "From an operational standpoint, we're also very happy. We were able to get our fans in the facility efficiently, they enjoyed themselves and we got them out of the facility quickly. "The enthusiasm of our fans was obvious throughout the weekend," Frew said. "We're looking forward to doing it bigger and better next year." [Editor's Note - we suspect they are announcing very conservative attendance figures to start so that each year it can be reported higher. There were a lot of people at the track last Sunday, it was a mob scene.]

9/3/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $5.05 Down $0.04 on Volume of 50,300 shares.
$5.05 Bid - $5.09 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $5.05/$5.35
MPH Value Change Down 0.79%
DOW Jones Down 355.45 or 4.1% on Volume of 1.56 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 51.01 or 3.88%
S&P 500 Down 38.05 or 4.15%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago

9/3/02

Grey Ray to drive for Schmidt  Sam Schmidt Motorsports has hired 1999 Indy Racing League champion Greg Ray to drive in the final two Indy Racing League events of the 2002 season, team owner Sam Schmidt announced Sept. 3. Ray will drive the No. 20 Empress Casino/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone at the Delphi Indy 300 Sept. 8 at Chicagoland Speedway and at the Chevy 500 Sept. 15 at Texas Motor Speedway. “I’m extremely excited,” Ray said. “They’ve had a competitive program. They have a tight-knit group of guys, and I’m looking forward to stepping in there and accomplishing goals for the team and myself. The partnership of Ray and Schmidt brings together two friends, who also were known for their competitive nature on the track. Schmidt, who scored one career Indy Racing victory, battled many times with Ray during Ray’s 1999 IRL championship run and was still mathematically eligible for the championship entering the final race in 1999 at Texas. “I’m excited about it,” said Schmidt, who became a team owner after he was paralyzed in a testing accident in January 2000. “In some sense, it feels a little strange for me, because Greg and I were such fierce competitors back in 1999 for that entire year. I think it’s a good fit, good timing, and I think Greg will do a great job with the team.” Ray is driving in place of Richie Hearn, who scored top-10 finishes in six of seven races for Schmidt before suffering a broken right foot at the Belterra Casino Indy 300 Aug. 11 at Kentucky Speedway. Anthony Lazzaro drove for the team Aug. 25 at Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis but crashed in the morning practice session and did not start the race. While the times have been tough, Ray still has the competitive urge of a champion. “I still have the same fire, the same passion, the same dedication to racing and the business side of that,” Ray said. “I’m looking for to great things happening in the future and looking to get off on a great step with Sam Schmidt this weekend.” That future could also include heading back to Foyt for 2003. “There is a possibility we could work next year if things come together,” Ray said. “We’re taking that one day at a time, and I’m pursuing other things, as well.”

9/3/02

CART hosts B-2-B meeting in Denver  UPDATE It should be noted that once again, Chris Pook indicated the engine formula for 2005 and beyond is very likely to be a normally aspirated V10 running on regular gas and with A STARTER. The reason he gave, as he has given in the past -  people see cars stranded with nobody around them and don't know why. With a starter, less caution periods, less questions in the mind of the viewers.  9/1/02 - A mix of local, national and international business decision-makers participated in a B2B seminar on the benefits of CART racing prior to the start of this weekend's Shell Grand Prix of Denver. Story

9/3/02

A weekend I'll never forget  UPDATE Another reader writes - Dear AutoRacing1, I have lived all 31 years of my life in Dayton, Ohio and had no idea about the history of the Dayton 100 until I read the article by Steven Levinson this morning.  I had no idea we ever had a speedway, let alone played such an interesting role in open wheel racing of the time. My father and other members of my family were not auto racing fans at all, so I did not have the benefit of growing up with someone teaching me about the history of the sport. I consider myself a great auto racing fan, but my history goes back to the late 70's and early 80's. Formula 1 does a good job of reminding us about the history of the sport, but we do not do a very good job in this country of teaching the history of how auto racing has evolved with the exception of the Indianapolis 500. My guess is there are a lot of other fans that began their history of the sport around 1980 and appreciated the lessons Mr. Levinson shared with us in his article. Thanks to all of you at AR1 for your great job on providing us with timely information and history of our favorite sport. Rick Flaute, Dayton, Ohio [Editor's Note - we here at AutoRacing1 have stated on numerous occasions that one reason for NASCAR's success are the great story tellers that give the fans a real sense of the history, something we feel open wheel racing lacks. As an example, NASCAR's TV announcers routinely tell stories about the past that paint a picture of intrigue, and give you a real appreciation for the sport. The Indy 500 had Donald Davidson, who did a good job of that for the Indy 500.  But that's not enough.  In this 2000 article we talked about the need for CART to have a corporate visionary and historian.]  9/3/02 - A reader writes - Dear Autoracing1 and Mr. Levinson, I really enjoyed your article about your Labor Day weekend in 1952. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio and never even knew that speedway existed. I love hearing about the history of the sport I love. My Father and Grandfather's stories about sprint car racing and the Indy 500 gave me the basis for a lifetime love affair with auto racing, from sprints and midgets to CART and F1. I thoroughly enjoy the website and I would love to see more historic articles like this one. It would be great to hear some stories about the 60s, 70s and 80s in all areas of open wheel racing from sprints and midgets to F1 on your excellent website. Thanks again. LTC Mel Hull, Brigade XO 1st Brigade , 1st ID, Fort Riley, Kansas

9/3/02

Moscow F1 race threatened again  According to this ITV article, Moscow’s hopes of hosting a grand prix are under threat again – this time from Russian president Vladimir Putin. It is thought that Putin would rather see St Petersburg host the race instead of Moscow. Spurred on by this, the city’s mayor Vladimir Yakovlev has now launched a rival bid for the event. With Bernie Ecclestone fast running out of patience over Moscow’s chaotic bid, it is the perfect time for a rival offer to be tabled. Ecclestone, who reached a preliminary agreement with the Moscow authorities back in March, was furious when Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov failed to attend a meeting last week. He said: "I don't know why Moscow resists holding a round of the world F1 championship. In any town this is considered to be an honor. "I came here because I wanted to understand why problems had emerged. I am not going to hide it. Something surprised me and seemed strange. "If Russia and Moscow are not interested in F1, then they can hold other competitions. We are OK. We don't have to persuade anyone."

9/3/02

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9/3/02

Ford to decide the fate of Jaguar this week   According to this Independent News article, The fate of the Jaguar Formula One team will be sealed this week as executives of its parent company, Ford, meet to decide whether to continue with the beleaguered motor racing outfit. If Ford opts to pull the plug, it will mark the end of a failed three-year attempt to catapult Jaguar into the top tier of F1. It will also threaten 350 jobs at Jaguar's F1 base in Milton Keynes. The decision will depend on the result of a month-long study into the team, led by the Ford vice-president Richard Parry-Jones. It is understood that Dieter Materschitz, founder of the energy drink Red Bull, has offered to buy 70 per cent of the Jaguar team for £50m. But Ford has consistently denied that the team is for sale.

9/2/02

An interview with Toyota's Ove Andersson   It has been a busy week for the Toyota F1 team. The unexpected announcement that they are to drop both Mika Salo and Allan McNish for 2003 caught everyone by surprise.  BAR's Olivier Panis and another, as yet unnamed, driver will be taking over. In an interview at Spa, team boss Ove Andersson spoke about the events of past few days and the future for Toyota. Interview

9/2/02

St. Pete newspapers finally report the news  A reader writes - Dear AutoRacing1.com - I wrote  a nasty letter earlier about the negative press the St. Petersburg Times newspaper was doing about CART.  Woke up this morning to almost the entire front page of the newspaper being about CART!  Anthony Lusby, Tampa, Florida.

9/2/02

Stoddart in driver shopping mode   Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has made it clear that it will be he and his team that decides next years driver line-up, not sponsors or backers. "We'll be completely in control regarding our choice of drivers for next year," he said today. "We're in a good position," he added. "We're the only team with two seats available, and we're looking for two good strong drivers." "I'll announce the drivers and engine before the end of Suzuka," he added. Stoddart also confirmed that Alex Yoong would be back with the team at Monza next week for the pre-GP tests, and the big race itself the week after. However the Australian was full of praise for Davidson. "He's done a fantastic job," he said. "He's got a solid future in F1." "Mark Webber is an undisputed talent," added Stoddart. "And for Anthony to be just half-a-second off his pace, so quickly, is a remarkable performance. Yet despite his pace Davidson has to relinquish his seat to Alex Yoong: "We have always maintained that Alex would do the last three races," said Stoddart. "We don't desert our drivers. I say what I mean and mean what I say." But what if Alex fails to qualify at Monza?: "Should he fail to qualify at Monza, I don't think I'd need to make a decision," said Stoddart. "Alex would make the decision."

9/2/02

Ron Dennis speaks out on Spa   McLaren boss Ron Dennis says Belgian GP organizers need to address the commercial reality of the famous track, and there is more to the issue than tobacco advertising.  “There are 17 races permitted in the current world championship and there are several countries prepared to go further in providing venues, better facilities, circuits and inevitably a better package for the electronic and print media.” Dennis said.  “You then qualify that by saying that Spa is a particularly challenging circuit and has the charisma that stems from Eau Rouge, through the length of the track to the fact that it sometimes rains halfway round - all of these things. We have to be careful about moving too far away from the heritage elements of racing but there has to be a balance. I think organizers sometimes play heavily on that aspect. Putting aside Spa, can you conceive not having a Monaco Grand Prix? No? Well, imagine the advantage that places the organizers in when it comes to the commercial package.  “To a certain degree some of the circuits trade on that to try to optimize their own commercial position. And that means that as a revenue generating race this is probably right at the bottom of the scale. If someone like Turkey or Bahrain comes in and the commercial terms are significantly better – which gets passed down to everybody - then you have to look at it and ask if this is the way to up the quality of grand prix racing?  Spa, it is believed, could come under serious threat from 2004 onwards.

9/2/02

Tony Stewart not going anywhere  According to this ThatsRacin.com article, Joe Gibbs Racing hoped to silence talk that Tony Stewart might be trying to get out of his contract early, saying there have been no discussions between the driver and team. "There's absolutely no truth to that," said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. "The nature of this sport is that when a guy is running well, other teams try to talk to him. But there's no truth that Tony is trying to leave." Stewart, in his fourth season with Gibbs, is signed through 2004. There's been speculation that he might drive for Chip Ganassi, who fielded a car for Stewart in the Indianapolis 500 last season, and it's believed Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones tried to get him when he was considering buying into a Winston Cup team. But Gibbs said Stewart isn't going anywhere, at least for the time being. "He's here at least through '04," Gibbs said. "Our policy has always been to not talk about guys under contract, so we don't talk about that."

9/2/02

Yates and Ganassi maneuver   According to this ThatsRacin.com article, there's still a slight possibility Robert Yates could be forced to field three teams next season if sponsor Chevron/Texaco opts out of an agreement with Chip Ganassi Racing. Chevron [Havoline/Texaco], which currently sponsors the #28 Ford that Ricky Rudd drives for Yates, is believed to be moving to Ganassi next season to fund a third entry. But Yates said the deal had a clause that allowed the sponsor to go back to him if the Ganassi entry did not shape up to its liking. Because there's such a slim pool of available drivers for Ganassi to pick from, that could happen. The deadline is this week, Yates said. Yates is firm in that he only wants to field two cars next season. Elliott Sadler is stepping into the ride Rudd currently drives and M&M's will sponsor it [but will switch to #38]. So Yates tried to get out of his deal with Texaco a year early, freeing the company to sign with Ganassi. Ganassi officials have not confirmed that they have made a sponsorship deal with Texaco a year early, freeing the company to sign with Ganassi. Ganassi officials have not confirmed that they have made a sponsorship deal with Texaco, but have admitted they want to field three teams next season.

9/2/02

What shall become of Pollock's gamble with Villeneuve's career?   While Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button are confirmed as BAR for next year, there is much speculation about what will happen in 2004 when Villeneuve's deal ends.  The team was hoping that Villeneuve would agree to go to race in CART next year so that the money spent on his salary ($19 million per year) could be invested instead in technology and developing the team. That deal has an outside chance at best to materialize, and it's almost a given that Villeneuve will not be asked to continue beyond the end of the deal current BAR deal. The team will start looking for a suitable replacement quite quickly. The big question is whether or not Villeneuve, who is 30, is an attractive enough package for one of the top teams to take interest at the kind of money he currently makes.  He is a former CART champion and Indianapolis 500 winner and the 1997 World Champion, but since making the decision to join BAR he's been winless. His performances when compared to those of this years teammate Olivier Panis have equal at best, and his unwillingness to help with sponsor promotions is legendary. This was fine as long as his long-time friend Pollock was running BAR, but Pollock was ousted from BAR last year and things have changed.  Pollock recently made an unsuccessful bid to acquire the Arrow's team and it's thought that had he been successful, Villeneuve would have driven for Pollock once again in 2004. As it stands now, Villeneuve's driving career after 2003 remains in serious doubt, and it's likely he will find team owners unwilling to cough up the kind of money he's been making at BAR, especially since BAR is likely to again go winless in 2003.  If that happens, will he retire?  He certainly has enough money to.  Or will he and Pollock look back on the offer make by Gerald Forsythe and BAT in 2002 as a deal they should have taken?

9/2/02

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9/1/02

Said wins in Denver  Tradition-laden permanent road course or first-time temporary street circuit, it makes no difference to Boris Said, as he demonstrated Sunday while winning the inaugural Shell Grand Prix of Denver Trans-Am 100.  The victory followed Said’s August 17 triumph at storied Road America and was his series-leading fifth of the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup season. Said finished 0.967 seconds ahead of Butch Leitzinger, and added nine points to his championship lead over three-time and defending Trans-Am Series champion Paul Gentilozzi in the process.  With three of 12 rounds remaining in the 2002 Trans-Am Series championship, Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Panoz Esperante) holds a 264-224 edge over Gentilozzi (#3 Johnson Controls/Microchip/Matrix One/Futaba Jaguar XKR) in the points race. Gentilozzi finished fourth Sunday. A maximum of 102 championship points is available in the season’s final three events.  Leitzinger (#88 Tommy Bahama/Tom Gloy Chevrolet Corvette) remained third in the championship chase following his runner-up effort, but also closed ground on Gentilozzi. Leitzinger takes 217 points into Round 10, Oct. 6 on the streets of Miami, Fla.  Said, meanwhile, will be looking for his sixth triumph of the season at Miami. His five victories this year are the most since Gentilozzi won six races en route to the 1999 championship.  The Shell Grand Prix of Denver Trans-Am 100 will air via tape delay on SPEED Channel on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 2 p.m. ET. Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup championship leaders (unofficial, following 9 of 12 events): Boris Said, 264; Paul Gentilozzi, 224; Butch Leitzinger, 217; Johnny Miller, 197; Stu Hayner, 181; Randy Ruhlman 175; Tony Ave, 158; Michael Lewis, 152; Tomy Drissi 149; Simon Gregg, 125.

9/1/02

Observations from Denver Dear AutoRacing1.com - I'm sending this email from my wireless handheld while sitting in the grandstands here in Denver.  I have been to just about every CART venue on the circuit, including Long Beach.  The fans were going nuts in the stands around me during the close finish. I think they actually understood what a great driving performance they just saw on a track everyone predicted would be so difficult it would turn into a crash fest. This was every bit as good an event as Long Beach and these Denver fans are really into the race.  As I look out around the facility from atop the grandstands it looks like very few people are leaving.  People are taking it all in and there is all sorts of post-race entertainment for the fans.  All I can say to all those manufacturers, team owners, and sponsors who have turned their back on CART, have fun in the IRL, you won't see anything like this over there.  I've been to the Colorado Springs IRL race too, it's a race in my own backyard. I can tell you where I'll be spending my money next year - right here at this race.  Jim Delamarter, Colorado Spring, Co.

9/1/02

Minardi to test Russian  Minardi will test Sergei Zlobin at the Italian circuit of Fiorano this week. In the Spa-Francorchamps paddock on Sunday, Paul Stoddart revealed that the test is thanks to a sponsorship deal arranged with gas company Gazprom. Zlobin could potentially line-up for Minardi in 2003, following in the footsteps of Alex Yoong who became Malaysia's first ever F1 driver when he broke into the sport just over a year ago with Minardi. Zlobin is currently competing in the European Formula 3000 series, and Stoddart has hinted that he may well have a future with Minardi. "I suspect we'll be running him quite a bit next year," said the Australian. "We will definitely be running him again in the November-December period and then if he's good enough we'll try to work with him. "I'm quite prepared to put a lot of effort into him. If Giancarlo (Minardi) sees a bit of potential, we will do everything to give that kid every chance of making it all the way, if we can do it. Whether he is going to be just doing secondary testing or proper testing depends on where his ability is and what we have to do to lift him up to that." "It's funny what a difference a couple of months can makes. Now Gazprom, a few other deals and suddenly we are back on our feet again. I see the Gazprom sponsorship as representing our engine budget for next year."

9/1/02

Reader questions Gateway attendance  3rd UPDATE Word has leaked from the Denver promoter Dover Downs, who was also the promoter at last weeks IRL race in Gateway, that only 12,000 seats were sold for the Gateway race, and not the 35,000 that was estimated by the local newspaper.  Attendance includes everyone, including crew members and complimentary tickets, so certainly attendance was higher than 12,000.  8/28/02 -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

9/1/02

Seen at Denver - III  We spotted Geraldo Rodriguez, manager for Tony Kanaan, in deep conversation with Honda's Robert Clarke.  One would assume Geraldo is trying to work the best deal for Tony in either CART or the IRL.  We know Toney Kanaan prefers to stay in CART, but if Mo Nunn is forced to race strictly in the IRL because he has no sponsors for a CART program, Kanaan may be forced to settle for the IRL.

9/1/02

Ford to rethink F1 options  Perhaps Ford will sell engines to Minardi and Jordan for a profit, and sell 75% of the Jaguar team to Red Bull.  Read this and the rumors page for more.  According to this Grandprix.com article, the Ford Motor Company is expected to have on a major rethink of the structure of its Formula 1 activities. The problem is that F1 is expensive and Ford is not doing very well at the moment. The company announced massive losses in 2001 and is expected to shortly announce new quarterly results which are expected to see another $1bn loss. This cannot continue and Ford is looking at ways to make savings throughout the company. We hear that the Formula 1 program is not going to get away without making cuts - and that is another problem which needs to be taken into account. It has now emerged that Eddie Jordan's deal, flagged by Jordan as being a factory supply of engines, is actually not quite as it seemed in Hungary. Jordan was being rather quieter than usual in Belgium and the implication was that Ford bosses were less than impressed by what had happened in Budapest. However a deal is in place between the team and Ford Europe which will involve a commercial deal with Jordan sponsor DHL. This will help to pay towards the $60m which will be needed for the Jordan engines. These will be badged as Ford RS Cosworths. This is all well and good but it does not really fit in with Jaguar Racing and in order for Ford to get any real marketing value out of the Jordan deal there is going to be the need for further investment in such things as VIP hospitality and advertising on the tracks, on TV and in the written press. When all this is taken in to account it would seem to make more sense for Ford to cut costs by running the Ford brand on its factory team as well. Otherwise the costs are duplicated. This raises the question of whether or not it makes sense to continue with Jaguar or whether Ford should take advantage of the fact that Red Bull is willing to buy into the team. Our sources in Austria say that Red Bull wants to own at least 75% of the team and would like Ford to retain 25% to ensure that the engine supply was not disrupted in the long term. This would reduce Ford's overall costs in F1 while retaining a factory involvement and creating the potential in America for big new sponsorship deals, US drivers and more coverage for F1 in general. It all makes a great deal of sense. According to our sources, the plan is for Jaguar Racing to run an all-new 90-degree Cosworth V10 engine next year. The plan is for Jordan to have the current 72-degree V10 engines being used this year by Jaguar and any other customers would have the engines being used this year by Arrows. Ford bosses have so far said that the company will stay in the sport but have not made any predictions about the branding. These discussions are expected to take place in the days ahead.

9/1/02

Townsend Bell, Bryan Herta land tests with Minardi  UPDATE Beside Townsend Bell, the Minardi team give Bryan Herta a proper testing opportunity at the end of the season, during the post-season month of testing. Herta had a run in a Minardi at the recent Thunder in the Park event and got a taste for Formula 1 and hopes to be able to put together a deal to race for the team next year. After the Donington event the team said that they had been very impressed by Herta, despite the fact that it was not a proper test.   8/31/02 - We spoke to Rod Campbell and Townsend Bell today.  They informed us that Townsend will be testing with the Minardi team in two weeks at Mugello in Italy. He will be running last years car with this years engine.  It will be a full 2-day test.

9/1/02

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8/31/02

Said awarded pole after penalty  Trans-Am Series points leader Boris Said received an unexpected pole position Saturday when provisional pole-sitter Stuart Hayner was penalized following qualifying for Sunday’s Shell Grand Prix of Denver Trans-Am 100. Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Panoz Esperante), who had qualified provisionally on the outside pole with a lap of 80.487 miles per hour (1 minute, 13.612 seconds), ascended to the top starting spot after Trans-Am Series officials penalized Hayner one second on the official qualifying results as a result of a violation of post-qualifying impound procedures. Hayner will thus start sixth on the grid in Sunday’s Shell Grand Prix of Denver Trans-Am 100, after being dropped from his provisional pole-winning lap of 1 minute, 13.612 seconds to a time of 1:14.612. Trans-Am officials penalized the Revolution Motorsports team for violating SCCA Pro Racing Rule 1.5.4.5, which states: “Admittance to any area in which technical inspections are being conducted is controlled by the technical administrator.” “Following the qualifying session, the #02 Revolution Motorsports car was approached by an unauthorized person,” explained Trans-Am Series Chief Steward Terry Dale. “The entry by the person in question compromised the integrity of the impound process. As a result, a one-second penalty will be applied to the #02 car and its starting position for the race will be reflected as sixth.” The pole position becomes the seventh of Said’s Trans-Am Series career and his second of the season, following a pole-winning effort at Trois-Rivieres. “We’ve been fast all weekend,” Said observed, “and I think we’ll have a good car for the race. I think the people in Denver have done a great job of putting together this circuit, which is actually two different tracks in one. “Part of it is bumpy and narrow; part of it is wide and smooth,” Said continued. “Tomorrow is going to be a lot of fun.”

8/31/02

Nunn Racing awaits word from Japan  UPDATE Well the team got word from Japan.  They were told they need a bit more time, perhaps until Tuesday or Wednesday.  8/31/02 - We hear from the Mo Nunn Racing team that they expect to get word from Pioneer of Japan this weekend as to where they want to spend their money in 2003, CART or the IRL.   Everyone on the team is on pins and needles, but from our perspective, knowing the decision is being made by Pioneer of Japan and not Pioneer of America, the decision will be to race in the IRL, which has a race in Japan next year, whereas CART does not.  MC

8/31/02

Atlantics: Fogarty wins race and championship   Jon Fogarty (Dorricott Racing/Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Swift 014.a) entered Saturday’s CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season finale needing a win to give him a shot at winning the 2002 Championship. He got just that as he maneuvered past Scotland’s Ryan Dalziel (Hylton Motorsports/Telemetry Swift 014.a) on the 13th lap and held on to a .652-second margin of victory. It was a bookend victory for Fogarty as he captured wins in the first and last races of the 2002 season. (Monterrey, Mexico & Denver) In between, there were ten top-five finishes that propelled him to be the first rookie to win the Championship since Alex Barron won the 1997 title. Fogarty trailed Michael Valiante (Lynx Racing Swift 014.a) by six points heading into today’s 38-lap race and after he passed Dalziel for the lead, Valiante held the fourth place spot. The pressure all shifted to Valiante as he had to move up to second to win the Championship. With five laps remaining and Fogarty pulling away, Valiante spun in Turn 5 while trying to pressure Alex Gurney for third (Dorricott Racing/Behr Castrol Swift 014.a). It was all Fogarty needed to secure the 2002 title. “I saw an opportunity to pass Ryan (Dalziel) in the brake zone when I beat him to the inside,” said Fogarty on the pass. “Then I saw dust spewing from his undertray so I worked at beating him to the dry spot. I had the benefit to see how off he was. As soon as he braked, he locked them up. I made sure he would clear the apex then look for the best run possible off of the turn.” Fogarty continued on the Championship. “It’s hard putting a meaning to this day and race into words at the moment. It meant so much for me because I was able to do it for Dorricott Racing. Since we decided to run Atlantic after the demise of Indy Lights, we knew we had a huge undertaking. It was frustrating to be in such a tough battle and going through a steep learning curve at the same time. We had a few baubles and when we did, Michael (Valiante) would capitalize on them. I feel that when it was said and done, this Championship was deserved.” In the early stages of the race, Valiante seemed content to run in fifth place while Fogarty was in second keeping Valiante in the Championship lead. When Fogarty took over the lead on Dalziel’s miscue, everything changed. “When Fogarty moved into first, I had no choice but to try and pass Gurney, and I kept going deep into Turn 5 to try and force him to make a mistake, but there’s a transition between asphalt and concrete right there and I just took it in too deep,” said a disappointed Valiante. “My car was good running alone, but close behind another car, it pushed and I spun. Then the engine stalled and it was over.”  Above - Jon Fogarty celebrates winning the Toyota Formula Atlantic race and the series Championship with CART CEO and President Chris Pook along with team owner Phyliss Dorricott and Formula Atlantic CEO Vicki O'Connor at the Shell Grand Prix of Denver. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

8/31/02

Forsythe will now make offer to Villeneuve in writing   We learned today in Denver and this Toronto Star article confirms that Forsythe will now present Villeneuve with a formal written offer - British American Racing boss David Richards said yesterday he never made a reported $50 million offer to Jacques Villeneuve, which included racing in CART next season before returning to Formula One with BAR for the 2004 and 2005 seasons. "The figures quoted were a complete and utter fabrication," Richards said as the team prepared for tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix. "The people in North America made an offer to me as to what their contribution would be, but no firm financial offer was made to Jacques because it wasn't worth discussing. It wasn't at the appropriate level that Craig had indicated would be acceptable, so I didn't waste anyone's time." The "people in North America" were Player's president Bob Bexon, Gerry Forsythe, co-owner of the Player's/Forsythe team, and CART CEO Chris Pook. "There is no question that we did discuss the possibility of Jacques going to the Player's team in Canada," said Richards. However, he said Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock made it very clear that if his client was to go it would have to be at similar financial levels to what he was at in F1, and then they would consider it. "Having discussed that in North America," Richards continued, "and we talked with Player's, with Gerry Forsythe, with Chris Pook of CART — and everybody there, they decided that they couldn't run to that amount of money." Richards denied yesterday that the money ever amounted to $50 million, although the stories quoted Forsythe as saying Pollock had demanded $7 million more than that, then turned the deal down when the extra funds were not forthcoming. The bottom line according to Richards is that "Jacques Villeneuve stays with us for one more year. It's a completely dead issue." And that's where Villeneuve wants to leave it, too. "I am not amused because it was said that I refused the offer because I was wanting more money," said Villeneuve, who was 13th fastest in practice. "If you are offered 50 million you think about it and you think hard about it. You would be stupid not to. But I didn't see any offer so I have no more comment to make about it. As far as I'm concerned it's all over. I'm staying here and that's it." But that may not be it. According to a well-informed source, Richards will be asked by the North American contingent to prepare a written offer to Villeneuve and present it to Pollock today.

8/31/02

Visteon confirmed with Patrick Racing   AutoRacing1.com confirmed today that Visteon is a done deal for at least one car for the next two years with Patrick Racing..

8/31/02

Seen in Denver - II   Arie Luyendyk was making the rounds in the CART paddock today.  We assume he was hear to say hello to old friends, but one has to wonder if he would not like to get his son doing some road racing in the Toyota Atlantics Series.

8/31/02

Atlantics - Ryan Dalziel wins Denver pole   Ryan Dalziel of Hylton Motorsports, has won the pole for the Toyota Atlantic race.  "I am the happiest man alive. This pole was well overdue and it feels so good to be back at the front again. I have a very good car for the race today, and the only thing that could be any better is to score a win here today. My guys had a massive job to put my car back together yesterday for qualifying and the did a fantastic job, so this pole is for them."  More later...

8/31/02

Denver race shortened   In order to accommodate the television window for Sunday's Shell Grand Prix of Denver CART FedEx Championship Series event, Championship Auto Racing Teams has shortened the race distance from 115 to 100 laps around the 1.647-mile temporary street circuit in Denver, Colorado. The lap times for the Champ Cars on the nine-turn Denver course were slightly longer than anticipated in Friday practice and qualifying, meaning that a 115-lap event would have pushed SPEED Channel's live coverage - along with the live coverage on HDNet - past the allotted time scheduled. "We wanted to be able to give SPEED Channel the opportunity to show the post-race festivities and interview the drivers after what we expect will be an exciting race," said CART Vice-President of Racing Operations. "The amount of grip on the circuit was different than what was factored into our extensive computer simulations, leading to the difference in the projected lap times and the computation of the race distance." Sunday's Shell Grand Prix of Denver will now cover 164.7 miles in its 100 laps. It will take the green flag at 3 p.m. Eastern Time and will be covered live on SPEED Channel and HDNet, which is available on DirecTV channel 199.

8/31/02

Rahal upbeat   Bobby Rahal appeared particularly upbeat today.  We asked him how things are looking for next year and he said good, in fact they met with a new sponsor (new to CART) this weekend in Denver and it looks like they will come on as a sponsor in 2003, not for an entire car, but for a half a car.   We asked him about his interest in Tomas Scheckter and he was rather nonchalant, saying that's someone CART should line up a test for.

8/31/02

Seen in Denver  Kyle Krisiloff's grandmother Mari Hulman George, and Kyle's mother are both here in Denver to watch Kyle compete in the CART Toyota Atlantic race, the final race of the season for the series.  Grandma Mari is particularly excited and supportive of her grandson's racing.  We also spotted Chris Pook in deep conversation with Mo Nunn, no doubt talking about his team's plans for 2003.  Also seen was Parnelli Jones.

8/31/02

The real story on Andretti Green Racing  We had a long discussion with Kim Green this morning to get to the bottom of all the rumors flying around about what they will be doing next year.  He said "there have been a lot of rumors floating around about us, and unfortunately, most of them all false."  He reiterated to us that ultimately the team where their sponsors want them to race, and their goal is to keep their entire team intact, including all three drivers.  He confirmed they would be a three car team again, but as to how many cars will be in CART and the IRL has yet to be determined. If they retain Tracy we already know he won't drive in the IRL (saying "there's no way I'm going to drive one of those crapwagons") and we hear that Franchitti has no interest in the IRL.  Hence if they keep both drivers, they might be running two cars in CART in 2003.  He confirmed what Michael Andretti stated this week, that they might have something to announce in 2 to 3 weeks.  MC

8/31/02

Davidson to step down from Minardi seat   Anthony Davidson will have to step down from Minardi after this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix - but has a chance of a drive with the team next season. Yoong was stood down for the Hungarian and Belgian races after failing to qualify three times this season. Davidson has impressed in his two outings for Formula One's back-of-the-grid team, but Stoddart says his contract will not be extended. "Unfortunately, it was a two-race deal and Alex Yoong will be back for Monza. "But I wouldn't rule out Anthony driving for us next year - he's certainly done enough to justify his place in F1."

8/31/02

Does Fernandez have an advantage?  Adrian Fernandez is from Mexico City. Learning to drive there could be an advantage for him because as you know Mexico City is another mile high city. His experiences there surly will help his ability to over come the challenges of Denver. Having two other Mexican drivers ( Michel Jourdain and Mario Dominguez) with as much racing experience in Mexico as Adrian it could make for a very Viva Mexico weekend. Sam Mancuso

8/31/02

Arrows new owners could be banned from F1   The troubled Arrows team could be kicked out of Formula One following their decision to pull out of a second consecutive Grand Prix. Arrows have left the Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium this weekend, blaming legal complications for stalling a claimed deal with an American investor. But the sport's governing body, the FIA, has demanded a more detailed explanation. This is because Arrows have been beset by financial problems this season and the FIA believes the team may be effectively insolvent. The legal teams are still working through the detailed documentation that supports the sale of Arrows. If a team miss a race because of insolvency, they lose all their rights in F1 - including financial benefits and their entry into the championship. An FIA spokesman said: "We've asked Arrows for a detailed explanation about their state of health following certain decisions over the past few weeks. We will then decide which position to adopt. "[Punishment] could go from a simple fine to being banned from the [F1] circuit," the spokesman added. "But before any decision is taken we must consider the large number of people who are employed with the team."  BBC

8/31/02

Who owns Arrows?   Arrows reported links with industrial giant AMVEST Corporation has been denied by the American company. The British team returned to Britain from Belgium on Friday evening, missing the Grand Prix, saying they did not want to "jeopardise the successful completion of the transaction" to sell the team that appears to be in its final stages. For the last few days Tom Walkinshaw's outfit has been increasingly linked in the media with the coal and finance company based in Charlottesville, Virginia and multi-millionaire founder Carl W. Smith, although the team has not confirmed or denied the reports. But on Friday evening a spokesman at company headquarters in Chalottesville told formula1.com: "We have checked this out and your Carl W. Smith is not our Carl W. Smith."

8/31/02

Jordan backtracks on Ford claims, what deal?   The BBC reports - Formula One team boss Eddie Jordan has moved to cool his claims for his new engine deal. Jordan has secured a supply of Ford Cosworth engines for the next three years, but he has now emphasized that it is not a works deal. That is contrary to the implications Jordan made in announcing the deal at the Hungarian Grand Prix, in which he appeared to say it was a works-backed Ford deal. It has emerged that Jordan will have to pay around $50m over three years for the engines - and that they will not be the same as those used by works team Jaguar. Jordan has backpedaled somewhat on his earlier claims. Cosworth are building a new engine for Jaguar next year, while Jordan will use an upgraded version of the 2002 engine. Jordan admitted at the Belgian Grand Prix: "Jaguar is the works team, Jordan is a private team. They are two different things."

8/31/02

Did you know?   Michael Schumacher may be the renowned master of Spa-Francorchamps, but the 33-year-old German has never started the Belgian Grand Prix from pole position. 'Wow, is that the case?' he asked with genuine surprise. 'I have no idea why that is. Let's try and put it right this year, then.'   Schumacher commemorated his twelfth visit to his favorite Spa-Francorchamps track with a mountain-bike ride around the 6km layout. Just like he did on debut in 1991, the German took a close look at the undulating surface from the bike for a German TV retrospective: 'I wanted to experience that again,' said the now five times world champion. 'Only on a cycle do you really notice how many ups and downs there are. The Eau Rouge is even more extreme on a bicycle!'

8/31/02

Latest F1 Hot News  

Friday Analysis: Belgium
Drivers Plea: Don't Axe Spa!
Mika Salo: Never Say Never
Arrows Snub Another Race
Michelin: Its Up To Us
Should Ferrari Be Slowed?
Jordan Calls For Jaguar Help
Oastler Joins Jaguar Racing
Verstappen: 2003 Or Bust
BAR: All The Best, Olivier
Villeneuve Denies $50m Offer
News Direct From The Paddock (Part 1)
News Direct From The Paddock (Part 2)
News Direct From The Paddock (Part 3)
News Direct From The Paddock (Part 4)

8/30/02

Wheldon breezes through rookie test  Dan Wheldon is set to make his Indy Racing League debut in the Delphi Indy 300 on Sept. 8 at Chicagoland Speedway after passing his IRL rookie test Aug. 29 on the 1.5-mile oval. 1999 U.S. F2000 champion Wheldon, from Emberton, England, will drive the No. 15 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone as a teammate to reigning IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. Wheldon, 24, breezed through the four-stage rookie test at Chicagoland. He turned many laps faster than 220 mph in the car he will drive in his IRL debut. The rookie test culminated two days of testing at Chicagoland for Wheldon, who has completed more than 1,200 miles of private IRL testing with Pennzoil Panther Racing since June, nearly all in Hornish’s car. “It’s been a fantastic two days,” Wheldon said. “I’ve learned a tremendous amount. I had the opportunity to run fast by myself and with Sam. “We’ve practiced a lot of pit stops and restarts, and the entire Panther crew has been fantastic, very supportive. I really feel like I’m ready for the race and looking forward to coming back here next week. “We were able to run 220.8 very comfortably, so it should be fun.” Wheldon comes to the IRL with impressive credentials. Besides the U.S. F2000 title he earned as a rookie in that series, he finished runner-up in the standings as a rookie in Toyota Atlantic in 2000 and Indy Lights in 2001. He was named Rookie of the Year in all three series.

8/30/02

Thin Denver air causes more problems than you might think   Al Unser Jr's comments on CART's race in Denver this weekend - Everything that needs air and breathes works harder at altitude. The engines are high-tech but still work harder, the driver works harder and the crews work harder. "The challenge in Denver is the altitude. It's going to affect their entire teams." "The air, of course, is much thinner, but it doesn't flow through the engines or cool the brakes like we had thought," he said. "The turbo will still make the horsepower, but it will be working much harder than they anticipate. We had tremendous problems with overheating and our brakes locking up. "The engines will be 20 percent less effective at altitude and so will the drivers and the crews. When drivers and crews are not adjusted to the altitude, it's going to cause strain." Unser also pointed to a loss of down force from the wings on the IndyCars as a critical factor. With less air pressure at altitude, the wings produce less down force, which means the cars do not hold to the course as well as usual. Crews might discover they must add to the wings. There were those who believed Unser had an edge when he earned his two victories in Denver. "I didn't think I had an advantage and it didn't turn out that way," Unser said. "Back then I smoked, and it took that advantage right out the window. "The driver who is in the better shape might have the physical edge, but it's how the teams adjust to the altitude that will ultimately make the difference." Rocky Mountain News

8/30/02

Big crowd for Friday   Although no official attendance figures were released, today's attendance in Denver was every bit as large as a Friday in Long Beach.  There were people everywhere, and a conservative estimate would put the crowd at over 40,000.

8/30/02

Atlantics: Gurney takes provisional pole in Denver   Jon Fogarty (Dorricott Racing/Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Swift 014.a) held the provisional pole for less than a second before teammate, Alex Gurney (Dorricott Racing/Behr Castrol Swift 014.a) snuck in and claimed it during Friday afternoon qualifying at the Shell Grand Prix of Denver. Gurney turned the 1.647-mile temporary street course with a time of 1:10.168 seconds (84.500 mph) to win provisional pole heading into tomorrow morning’s second round qualifying. The biggest factor may have been the bonus point and guaranteed front row starting spot that Fogarty needed in his Championship battle with Michael Valiante (Lynx Racing Swift 014.a). However, a series of red flag sessions cut into Fogarty’s chances to top Gurney’s time so Valiante, who exited the session in the early minutes with a broken gearbox, maintained his six point advantage over Fogarty heading into the final day of the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. “It is a great feeling to be on the pole heading into tomorrow,” said Gurney. “I’ve been trying hard. I’ve had a couple of provisionals, but hopefully, we can make this one stick. I don’t want to take Championship points away from my teammate, but I guess both of us up here is a really good thing. It is a good start.”  Championship points leader, Valiante, only turned three laps before the gearbox on his Swift 014.a broke, forcing him to retire from the session. Valiante stands 20th on the provisional grid with a time of 113.778 seconds (80.365 mph), but will have a chance to improve on that when second round qualifying begins tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. MST.   Top 12 qualifiers

Pos Driver Car# Team Lap Time Mph Kph Leader Previous
1 A. Gurney 34 Dorricott Racing 1:10.168 84.500 135.986 0.000
2 J. Fogarty 32 Dorricott Racing 1:10.270 84.377 135.788 0.102
3 R. Hunter-Reay 1 Hylton Motorsports 1:10.520 84.078 135.307 0.352 0.250
4 J. Hand 27 DSTP Motorsports 1:10.524 84.074 135.300 0.356 0.004
5 R. Dalziel 9 Hylton Motorsports 1:10.587 83.998 135.178 0.419 0.063
6 L. Diaz 33 Dorricott Racing 1:10.903 83.624 134.576 0.735 0.316
7 G. Ryley 23 Lynx Racing 1:10.951 83.568 134.486 0.783 0.048
8 S. Koster 17 Michael Shank Racing 1:11.222 83.250 133.974 1.054 0.271
9 J. Macri 31 P-1 Racing 1:11.343 83.108 133.746 1.175 0.121
10 A. Justus 78 Performance Development & Racing 1:11.563 82.853 133.335 1.395 0.220
11 K. Krisiloff 13 US Grand Prix F1/Patrick Racing 1:11.577 82.837 133.310 1.409 0.014
12 R. Lavin 11 Michael Shank Racing 1:11.717 82.675 133.049 1.549 0.140.

8/30/02

Wallace released from DEI   According to his website, Kenny Wallace has been released from his DEI contract in 2002. Wallace was hired to first drive the #1 car for Steve Park, and be on stand-by for the rest of 2002 in case there was another need for him in any of the DEI cars. DEI decided that since it was obvious that their drivers were no longer in need of substitutes and that they were paying a full driver salary to someone that was sitting at home on Sundays watching the race on TV, that the contract could be ended.

8/30/02

Drivers not enamored with Denver track   The general consensus from the drivers here in Denver is that the track is a bit Mickey Mouse and bumpy.  All are struggling with grip.  Brakes and cooling are also an issue at this mile-high track where the air is thin. “It’s bumpy for everyone,” said Scott Dixon. “It’s actually kind of fun experimenting with different lines and different braking points (to cope with the bumps) and seeing what works best.” “It’s not the smoothest of tracks, it’s a little bit bumpy and the grip level could be higher,” he said, “but this is what we have for the weekend and it’s up to us to make the cars suit the track rather ragging and complaining.”   “It’s not very bumpy,” said Adrian Fernandez. “It’s extremely bumpy.” “I have a clause in my contract with Player’s that says I’m not allowed to ride motocross,” said Patrick Carpentier. “I’m thinking of applying the clause and taking the weekend off!” It’s crazy,” said Player’s/Forsythe teammate Alex Tagliani. “It’s not a case of having understeer or oversteer, it’s a case of keeping your car off the wall.” “There is zero grip,” said Tony Kanaan. “Asphalt, concrete or paint, it’s the same.”

8/30/02

CART stock watch  

MPH closed at $5.09 Up $0.14 on Volume of 185,000 shares.
$4.44 Bid - $5.41 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $5.00/$5.12
MPH Value Change Up 2.83%
DOW Jones Down 7.49 or 0.09% on Volume of 1.1 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 20.68 or 1.55%
S&P 500 Down 1.72 or 0.19%
A Happy & Safe Labor Day Weekend To All.
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago

8/30/02

Darlington washed out   Qualifying for the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway was cancelled Friday afternoon due to rain. The field will be set according to owner points. Sterling Marlin, driver of the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T, will start on the pole for Sunday's race. This is Marlin's second pole of the year; he won the pole at Pocono also due to rain. Darlington Raceway is the site of the last win for Coors Light Dodge in 2002. "It's a good spot for us," Marlin said of his qualifying position. "This Spring we started last and won the thing. It takes a good handling car at Darlington, and it doesn't matter if you start in the front or in the back. If the car drives good you'll be OK, but it's a plus to start up front." Marlin will drive chassis #203, "Daddy's favorite," on Sunday. This car has six top-10 finishes this season; it has finished outside of the top-10 only twice. "We brought the same car we won with in the Spring, and we've got the same shock and springs and sway bar and everything up under it," Marlin said. "We'll start Happy Hour tomorrow and see what we've got."

8/30/02

Portland sponsor wants more from race  This Oregonian article says - when Freightliner didn't renew as 2002 sponsor of the annual Portland CART race, the Rose Festival had G.I. Joe's to fall back on. The locally owned company might be the longest-running motorsports sponsor in America. It has backed every CART race in Portland beginning in 1984, and it had its name on the IMSA races that predated CART's first stop at Portland International Raceway. Other sponsors have come and gone, but G.I. Joe's has remained. So far, Norm Daniels, G.I. Joe's president, hasn't signed on to help sponsor next year's visit to Portland by the struggling open-wheel series. The man behind the advertising phrase "Seize the Weekend" might be seizing the opportunity to force the Rose Festival Association to come up with a better package for him and race fans. He uses the term "speed week" to describe his vision of a series of motorsports events that would build excitement, ending with the CART race next June 22. "I think he wants to see something that will maintain enthusiasm all through the week," said Jim Franzen, who has headed the festival's race committee for the past three years and recently was named president of the Rose Festival Association. CART has one more year on its contract with the Rose Festival group, with an option to renew in 2004. What happens beyond 2003 will depend on next June's event. Though it's not the series it once was, CART remains the best of a limited number of options.

8/30/02

Da Matta leads first-ever practice in Denver  Points leader Cristiano da Matta paced the Friday morning practice session for Sunday's inaugural Shell Grand Prix of Denver, Round 14 of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series. Driving the Havoline Toyota/Lola, da Matta toured the 1'622-mile circuit with a top time of 1:02.506, good for an average speed of 94.858 miles per hour. Adrian Fernandez was second in the Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola and Scott Dixon was third in the Target Toyota/Lola.  CART

8/30/02

Petree Dallas Cowboy deal falls through  Andy Petree Racing will remain a major factor in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, just won't be carrying silver and blue colors, and no large stars will be on the cars in 2003. The long-discussed arrangement between Andy Petree, the top chassis and mechanical mind among NASCAR Winston Cup owners, and the NFL's Dallas Cowboys will not be completed. "We're moving forward and we're doing everything we can to finish this year on a strong note, and to have a great 2003," said Petree, the only owner in the sport to have won two NASCAR Winston Cup championships in a "hands-on" capacity. "We do need additional sponsorship but that's an area we've been working on throughout this process. We are in discussions with Schneider Electric/Square D regarding the future - they are a great partner of ours - but we know we still need additional sponsorship support. This is a tremendous marketing opportunity for a corporation at a price I know is unmatched in this sport," Petree said. "Andy Petree Racing has a lot to offer a sponsor, and we feel somebody will step up and take advantage of this," he said. "This is a chance for a company to partner with our program, to do so at a price that is incredibly reasonable and to receive a tremendous boost in their sales and awareness. "Keep in mind that we also have a strong and on-going relationship with General Motors, and they have been tremendous supporters of ours through all of this," he added. "With friends like that behind you, great things have to be ahead for you." Petree said the ending of the Dallas Cowboys discussions should not be a factor in bringing in sponsorship. "We worked hard to put something together but we both knew we had to do something soon. They let me know they just couldn't get everything done in time for 2003. They made the decision to end the discussions for 2003. I needed to make the announcement today so we can continue working on sponsorship for Andy Petree Racing. "The Cowboys are great people and I believe they were serious about putting something together," he added. "The fact of the matter is we are here to win races, plain and simple. And we're going to continue to do that."

8/30/02

Burton fined $5,0000  NASCAR officials said that Winston Cup driver Ward Burton has been fined $5,000 for his actions during last Saturday night's Bristol race. Burton, driver of the No. 22 Dodge, removed the heat shields from his shoes and threw them at Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car. Burton was penalized under Section 12-4-A in the rule book: "actions detrimental to stock car racing..."

8/30/02

Arrows sits out Friday and race   Arrows confirmed this evening that the legal teams are still working through the detailed documentation that supports the sale of Arrows. Attorneys on all sides have been working extremely hard all week to finalize the deal in time for this weekend. Unfortunately, due to the sheer amount of paperwork involved, the process cannot be completed by close of business today. Consequently the team has been advised to do nothing that could jeopardize the successful completion of the transaction and therefore will not race in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

8/30/02

McLaren fastest on Friday in Belgium   McLaren's  Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard set top times in the second free practice session at Belgium this afternoon. As the temperature increased this afternoon times dropped and with that, Michelin showed a healthy hand with good consistency. There were seven French-shod runners in the top ten.  Ferrari was not far off the pace however, Schumacher just two tenths off Raikkonen while this morning’s fastest man Rubens Barrichello was third after topping the charts in the morning.  He spun in the gravel at Les Combes late in the PM session.

8/30/02

Indy 500 ruling still irks Tracy  This Denver Post article says - "I was robbed," Tracy said. "All the evidence they have hasn't been shown to the media. They won't allow the stuff that shows me ahead of Helio with the green light on. They own the rights to the video footage, and that has never been put out to the press." "(Tracy and Barry Green) have chosen to continue to bring that topic up, but the fact is, there was no conclusive evidence that would have changed the outcome of the Indianapolis 500," he said. Where is the blimp video? "We certainly weren't allowed to take it away with us," Barry Green said. "We used it in our argument; it proved our points without a shadow of a doubt."...... Castroneves said he saw a yellow light and lifted off the accelerator when he was in front of Tracy. Team Green said it proved otherwise. "We proved mathematically by two experts - a professor and a doctor from England - that, frame by frame, 30 frames per second, when he lifted off, it was after the pass was made," Barry Green said. An ABC video, played repeatedly since one of the most controversial races in Indy 500 history, was shot from behind the leaders and seems to show the yellow light in turn three was on when Tracy was running behind Castroneves. That's not the primary reason Team Green's appeal was denied. "They turned it around and told me they don't go by the lights anymore," Tracy said. "They said it was a judgment call, like an umpire making a call." That didn't sit well with Tracy, either. "This is not a sport that is judged, so to speak," Tracy said. "It's like a horse race. A horse race doesn't come down to a judge deciding who wins. If it's that close, they have a photo finish. The technology is there." ......"There is no doubt in my mind today, that if you presented my argument to 1 million people, that 1 million people would agree," Green said. "I'm very disappointed, but I can sleep well at night. I feel sorry for Roger (Penske) and Castroneves, and Tony George and the IRL." Tracy said the public underestimates the influence of Penske, a successful team owner, in open-wheel racing. Penske's move from CART to the IRL during the winter was a huge loss for CART, which later lost Honda and Toyota as engine manufacturers and key sponsors. Both will sponsor and produce engines for the IRL in 2003. "Penske has a lot of money invested in the IRL," Tracy said. "He was key for the IRL to get Toyota to come over there. I think he also had a stake of getting Honda to come over. He's got vested interest. He's a major board member of ISC (International Speedway Corporation), which owns the majority of tracks the IRL runs on." Tracy said he doesn't question Penske's integrity and doesn't think Penske persuaded the IRL to rule against Team Green and for his own driver. But Tracy said Penske's power could have been a silent persuader...... "I have all kinds of people coming up saying, 'You won the Indy 500,'" he said. "I guess people feel for somebody who gets something taken away from them, like an underdog. "We were the underdog. Penske was the powerhouse team, with the most money. It was almost like the good and the bad." Barry Green said he feels like a winner, too. "I've had no one other than Tony George tell me that we didn't win," he said. "I would say the world does think we won."

8/30/02

Scheckter manager says he's free to go  According to this Star News article - Tomas Scheckter's manager, Enrico Zanarini, said Thursday that the rookie driver severed his ties to the team and technical partner TWR before last weekend's race in Madison, Ill. Zanarini maintains that Cheever and TWR have no right to offer a contract buyout or to sue, as Cheever told The Star last week. "It's very straightforward," Zanarini said by telephone from Belgium, where he will attend this weekend's Formula One race at Spa-Francorchamps. "We have terminated the contract for reasons I cannot yet tell you. "But Eddie Cheever has no right on Tomas' contract. He simply cannot do the things he's said." Cheever said Thursday that his lawyers tried unsuccessfully this week to serve Scheckter lawsuit papers for violating his contract that extends through the 2003 season..

8/30/02

Ecclestone warns Belgian government   Bernie Ecclestone has barked scorn at Belgian politicians for taking their berth on the Formula One World Championship calendar for granted. For 2003, the Belgian government refuses to exempt Formula One from their all-encompassing ban on tobacco advertising. As the F1 supremo hints, however, it could cost them their historic Spa race: 'Most countries are supportive of their grands prix,' said the 71-year-old. 'If there are problems they try to find a solution. It seems as if we've got to a position where they don't want their grand prix any more.' Russia, China, Turkey, Beirut and Bahrain all wait in the wings for a vacant GP berth.

8/30/02

New space age helmet for Schu   Michael Schumacher is looking forward to a brand new, space-age Schuberth helmet which could ensure perfect racing lines every lap out. The Brunswick firm have developed a racing helmet equipped with a laser-driven navigation system. A Global Positioning System calculates and tracks the exact position of Schumacher on the race-track, thereby allowing the German to save the co-ordinates and have the exact racing line reproduced on his electronic visor. A similar system is used in aviation. Schumacher will test the helmet over the winter period.

8/30/02

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