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DATE

News (chronologically)

9/20/02

Remembering another USGP  It is now currently accepted in Formula One that finances and politics influence locations of Grands Prix. Think of the sterile facility of Magny-Cours replacing the popular Paul Ricard, or the charisma of Adelaide losing out to Melbourne. However, in the early seventies a bid was placed by a Californian Speedway to purchase the American Grand Prix for themselves. Built in 1970, the Ontario Speedway cost a remarkable US$25.5 million, built by the Questor company, a US conglomerate. The track was 3.21 miles in length, following the standard USAC oval configuration, with a road circuit section infield. Seating was provided for some 140,000 spectators (both infield and in grandstands), and the track was situated some 40 miles from Los Angeles.  Story

9/20/02

IRL may not learn from others errors  This Canadian National Post (A large Cnadian National Daily newspaper) article says, The Indy Racing League, that open-wheeled thorn in the side of CART, always promised to be the next big thing in American racing. Getting there may not be such a good thing. With its racing season wrapped up for 2002, it seems fitting to ponder the IRL's outlook for 2003. Since before the Indy Racing League even began to field cars, IRL top dog Tony George touted it as a place for American drivers to find a home, away from the foreign-driver-dominated CART series. It was to be a series made in his own image -- more financially reasonable with a grassroots feel, run on American-style ovals, with the Indianapolis 500 at the centre of its universe. Since then, it has not exactly fit the mould. Despite the regularly repeated refrain about "American drivers" -- I last heard George spout it this past spring -- the IRL fields have always been fairly international in nature. Yes, driver Tony Stewart, now of NASCAR and anger-management fame, was a champion, but so was Swede Kenny Brack. Canadian Scott Goodyear never won the championship, but he came close. This year, American Sam Hornish Jr. may be at the top of the standings, but the real standouts are CART émigrés Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves. Then there is the now-departed Tomas Scheckter, son of South African Formula One champion Jody, Felipe Giaffone, and a host of other drivers of a distinctly non-U.S.- born nature......What started out as a relative bargain for teams at US$1.6- million a season is expected to balloon to US$5-million or more just to field a one-car effort, without a hope of catching the series' front-runners. There are a few factors at the root of the changes. An unavoidable one is the increase in the professionalism and exposure of the teams. In racing, costs always rise as teams seek to compete -- this has nothing to do with the IRL. Next year, however, Honda, Toyota and General Motors are bringing their engines and their lease contracts to the IRL. Add a couple of million to each car's budget or wait by the sidelines. Sure, top teams will get a deal, but many of the rest will be paying customers. Plus, the teams have to pony up for new chassis next year (they they destroy a lot of them against those hard concrete walls). That adds at least another half- million per car when all is said and done. The cumulative effect of all these added costs is a virtual doubling of the cost of IRL for next year, surpassing the budget to run in CART.  The fallout is that a bunch of the smaller teams, having been with the IRL series from the get-go in 1996, are probably going to fall away -- the way some of these same teams dropped out of CART in the years before the IRL showed up.......Similarly, IRL's field next year could look very much like a five-team race, with three- and four-car teams at the front and a handful of also-ran one- and two-car teams chasing them around (or just staying out of their way). One member of a small team, insisting on anonymity, was recently bemoaning this very fact on espn.com. "The IRL is going to be like CART was in the late '80s," he said. "Owners are going to need money and the American drivers will be driven out because the Brazilians are the only guys who seem to be able to raise money. "And it's going to take US$4-million to US$5-million just to run in the back. The days where we can show up and have a chance to win are all but over. The old IRL is dead."

9/20/02

More TV ratings  Today's LA Times reports that the F1 race from Monza got a 0.9 rating, 2 share on ABC last Sunday in the big LA market.  That was followed by the IRL race live from Texas.  Even with the big promotion and battle for the championship the IRL got a 0.6 rating, 1 share, on network TV nonetheless.  We wonder what Honda and Toyota think about that, given both HPD and TRD are headquartered in the LA market.?

9/20/02

Tom Kristensen leads opening practice  American Le Mans Series point leader Tom Kristensen led the way Friday as practice got underway for Sunday’s Monterey Sports Car Championships event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Kristensen, driving the Audi Sport North America Audi R8 Prototype, turned the 2.238-mile circuit in 1:15.679, just a couple of ticks faster than the other factory Audi. Kristensen and co-driver Rinaldo Capello have won three of the last four ALMS races, including two in a row. Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela share the second car, which turned a lap of 1:15.800. The Panoz LMP-1 of David Brabham and Jan Magnussen was third-fastest in the LMP 900 class with a lap of 1:16.785. Claudia Huertgen led the way in the LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes with a lap of 1:19.584 in the KnightHawk Racing Lola EX257-MG. She will co-drive in Sunday’s race with Steve Knight and Chad Block. The Pilbeam MP84-Nissan of Jeff Bucknum, Bryan Willman and Chris McMurry was second, followed by the Lola B2K40-Millington of Ben Devlin and John Lloyd. Andy Pilgrim, driving a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, was the fastest of the day in the GTS class with a lap of 1:25.077. He will co-drive the factory-backed car with Kelly Collins. The other factory Corvette of Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell recorded the second-fastest time before a broken suspension part caused Fellows to crash in Turn 10. He was uninjured and the car was quickly repaired. The Saleen S7R of Terry Borcheller and Franz Konrad was third in class.  Sunday’s two-hour, 45-minute sports car endurance race starts at 12 noon (PDT). NBC Sports will have live television coverage beginning at 4 p.m. (EDT), while the American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.

1. Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello, Audi R8 (LMP 900), 1:15.679.
2. Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro, Audi R8 (LMP 900), 1:15.800.
3. Jan Magnussen and David Brabham, Panoz LMP-1 (LMP 900), 1:16.785.
4. Johnny Herbert and Stefan Johansson, Audi R8 (LMP 900), 1:17.563.
5. JJ Lehto and Max Angelelli, Cadillac Northstar LMP 02 (LMP 900), 1:17.954.
6. Bryan Herta and Bill Auberlen, Panoz LMP-1 (LMP 900), 1:18.299.

9/20/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $3.77 Down $0.20 on Volume of 43,300 shares.
$3.15 Bid - $4.10 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.71 / $3.37
MPH Value Change Down 5.04%%
DOW Jones Up 46.63 or 0.55% on Volume of 2.1 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 4.61 or 0.38%
S&P 500 Up 2.07 or 0.25%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago

9/20/02

2003 BMW engine track tested already  A week after BMW broke the 19,000-rpm barrier with a qualifying version of its P82 engine at Monza, the firm revealed today that it tested the 2003 P83 unit in Barcelona testing on Wednesday. BMW, in its bid to maintain its reputation as creator of class-leading Formula One engines, wants to test the unit early so it can iron out glitches early and then embark on an aggressive development program ahead of the first race of the 2003 season in Melbourne. ‘The P83 had a great roll out in Barcelona,’ BMW Motorsport Co-Director Mario Theissen said. ‘We have already gathered important results.’ There is the likelihood engineers will want to have it revving to 19,000 rpm by the start of the season but this will depend on the results of spec testing of the current P82 unit with the extended rev band. BMW is hoping to have the P82 revving to 19,000 rpm in race specification for the final two races of the season in the US and Japan.

9/20/02

Frentzen confirmed for USGP  Sauber has confirmed that Heinz-Harald Frentzen will drive for the team during the upcoming USGP in Indianapolis. If Massa were to compete in the US, he would be penalized ten grid positions for an accident he had with Pedro De la Rosa at Monza last weekend, and would significantly impair the team's chances of scoring points. "The test in Silverstone made it clear to me that the C21 is an excellent race car," said Frentzen. "I was able to familiarize myself with its handling as well as with the electronic systems. The seating position is still a compromise, and we will try to improve it further prior to the US Grand Prix. I'm very happy that I can drive a race for Sauber Petronas at this early stage, and I will give my utmost to support the team in its battle against very strong competitors.

9/20/02

DaimlerChrysler acquires majority holding in Ilmor  DaimlerChrysler AG today announced that it will acquire an additional 30 percent holding in Ilmor Engineering Ltd. (Brixworth/Northamptonshire, Great Britain). DaimlerChrysler will thus raise its holding from its original 25 to 55 percent and will be the owner of a majority holding effective 31 October 2002. Mario Illien, Liz Morgan, the widow of company co-founder Paul Morgan, and Roger Penske will each hold 15 percent. The parties agreed not to disclose the price of the acquisition which is not material in respect of DaimlerChrysler's financial position.  A step-by-step take-over of the remaining shares by DaimlerChrysler by the year 2005 was agreed. DaimlerChrysler also disclosed that Ilmor Engineering Ltd., since 1993 responsible for the design, development and production of Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 engines in coordination with Mercedes-Benz, will operate under the name Mercedes-Ilmor and will also incorporate the technical motor sport development team in Stuttgart. Managing Director will be Hans-Ulrich Maik (53), who was successful when responsible for the production of the Mercedes-Benz engines and for the international power train activities for many years. Mario Illien will remain as Technical Director.  In the last four years, McLaren, Ilmor and Mercedes won the Drivers' World Championship twice and the Constructors' World Championship once. The team secured the runner-up position twice in the drivers' ranking and three times in the constructors' ranking. Since the start of the cooperation in 1995, McLaren Mercedes has won 31 Grand Prix races.  Prof. Jürgen Hubbert, member of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler with responsibility for the Mercedes-Benz and smart Passenger Car Division:  "The acquisition of a majority holding in Ilmor and the new structure of Mercedes-Ilmor demonstrate the determination of our company to create even sounder foundations for the activities of Race Mercedes-Benz in Formula One in the long term. Following on from the acquisition of a holding in the TAG McLaren Group (40 percent) two years ago, this is yet another step within the framework of a strategy that is pursued by DaimlerChrysler to strengthen and extend the technological competence of the Mercedes-Benz brand in tough global competition in the future."  Mario Illien, Technical Director of Mercedes-Ilmor:  "The creation of Mercedes-Ilmor and the acquisition of a majority holding in Ilmor by DaimlerChrysler are logical steps, following on from nine years of intensive and successful cooperation with Mercedes-Benz. In future, we will be able to exploit synergies even more effectively. I am happy to see the foundations Paul Morgan and I created less than 20 years ago being further developed through Mercedes-Ilmor and therefore secured for the long term. This demonstrates great confidence in all our staff who will do everything to justify this confidence." Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:  "With this step, our Formula One program is geared up to meet the requirements of the future, also in respect of the changes to the regulations from 2004 on. The capabilities of Ilmor will be even more closely linked to the resources of the DaimlerChrysler Group, thereby expanding the range of options for Mercedes-Ilmor. We are confident that with this step we will succeed in creating an even better foundation for a powerful, cost-efficient and highly responsive Formula One engine system." Mercedes-Benz

9/20/02

Castroneves completes Toyota F1 test, but da Matta beats him for ride  Indy Racing League driver Helio Castroneves completed 75 laps in a TF102 and was delighted with how it went. "I loved every single second of today's session," he said. "I did quite a few laps, doing some long runs as well as some qualifying laps. "This was my first time in an F1 car and I was impressed by how easy the TF102 was to drive, and especially by the braking. The team were great and worked professionally and I am very happy with the overall organization of the day."  After the test, Toyota signed a CART driver instead.

9/20/02

Miami tickets hot  The best seats ($125) for the Miami race are already sold out, as are all the cold pit passes.  As with previous downtown Miami races, ticket sales on race weekend will be high, and it's not inconceivable the race will entirely sell out like the previous one did.

9/20/02

Miami race happenings a weeklong affair  The City of Miami has put together a week long celebration in conjunction with the Grand Prix Americas. Parties, concerts, Bike Races, festivals. It all culminates with a Concert featuring Carlos Vives at the Miami Arena. For more info check out www.raceweekmiami.com

9/20/02

Ferrari dashes other teams hopes  Rory Byrne has issued some chilling words to the rest of his fellow Formula 1 designers. The brains behind Michael Schumacher's world championship winning Benettons and Ferraris, has been hard at work on next year's F2003. But he believes that next year's car can be as big a leap forward as the 2002 car. Asked if the F2002 was the best car of all time, Byrne was reluctant to take the accolade. "I think this is the best car this year. It's all relative to the tools you've got at your disposal. But really, whether this car is relatively any better than the best cars of the 60's, 70's and 80's is difficult to say." Byrne is clear which are his two favourite Formula 1 designs. "I think the two cars that stand out in my estimation are the B194 Benetton and this year's Ferrari." Wrapping up the world championship early has given the design department at Maranello more time on the 2003 cars. "There are lots of facets to the research and design," said Byrne, "and we're busy on all fronts, being our usual aggressive selves to try and take another big step next year." Asked if the F2003 could be as radical a leap forward in speed and design as the F2002, Byrne was positive. "Yes," he said, "it's certainly possible."

9/20/02

MK Racing has yet to sell one car  Former Ford racing director and NASCAR team owner Michael Kranefuss, now in the IRL chassis business with MK Racing, said the company's first rolling chassis will be ready for on-track testing next month. As yet he has no buyers but said, "It's tough to get any of the frontrunners to talk to you when they haven't seen a car."  Good luck.  With G-Force picking up Lola's brain trust, and Dallara firmly entrenched in the IRL, Mr. Kranefuss will be lucky if he sells any cars at all.

9/20/02

Walkinshaw gives up on Nissan engine  TWR has given up trying to find a company to badge the Nissan engine and will just be a rebuilder for Chevy.  Guess what engine Cheever is running in 2003?  You got it.

9/20/02

Latest F1 Hot News  

Montoya Admits Frustration
Webber: No Sympathy For Enge
Female Racer Gets F1 Chance
Frentzen Back With A Bang
Rubens Targets Indy Win
Byrne: Best Yet To Come
Action-Packed Testing Round-Up
Irvine Ponders The R4
Arrows Close Leafield Doors
European Races Face The Chop
Coulthard Disappointed With Indy
F1 News In Brief

9/20/02

ALMS drivers tour Monterey  Automotive manufacturers in the American Le Mans Series showcased their cars in a “sightseeing tour” of the scenic 17 Mile Drive Thursday as part of Monterey Sports Car Championships weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Street versions of the various marques that compete on the series posed next to their racing counterparts (along with uniformed ALMS drivers) on pit road at the Raceway. The street versions, with ALMS drivers at the wheel, then made a lap of the Raceway before heading out to Pebble Beach, Calif., to begin a run along the famous and picturesque 17 Mile Drive. Stops were made along the way at such locations as Spanish Bay, the Pebble Beach Lodge, Ocean Avenue and Junipero in Carmel, Calif., and the Bernardus Lodge of Carmel Valley. Participating manufacturers and drivers included Audi (drivers Emanuele Pirro, Frank Biela and Tom Kristensen); Panoz (David Brabham and Bill Auberlen); Cadillac (JJ Lehto and Max Angelelli); Corvette (Ron Fellows and Andy Pilgrim); Viper (Marino Franchitti); Ferrari (Peter Kox and Emanuele Naspetti); and Porsche (Sascha Maassen and Jorg Bergmeister). Highlights of the 17 Mile Drive event will be show in NBC Sports’ telecast of the race.

9/20/02

Miami construction photos  This link will take you to some construction photos of the new Miami street circuit.

9/20/02

Carpentier feelings support the data  In this recent article we documented the massive number of injuries in Indy Car oval track racing.  Ironical the latest CART.com article says - Before Forsythe intervened, Patrick was being seriously pursued by two teams in the rival Indy Racing League. "Yeah, I had two good teams that were really interested and I was looking at it seriously," he admitted. "You know I didn't run my first oval until 1995, but I really like them. I guess maybe it had something to do with my speed skating. "But I still feel like the IRL cars are pretty risky and our CART cars are still safer. I enjoy ovals but not 16 of them. I like CART's mix of ovals, road courses and street circuits. "I don't think there's a tougher test in motorsports and I'm glad I'll still be in it."

9/19/02
Industry News

Nissan inks big China deal   We reported this was about to happen days ago.  Nissan Motor Company signed a deal with the mainland's second-biggest car group yesterday to invest US$1.28 billion to produce 900,000 vehicles within 10 years in a market it described as its new frontier - China. At a lavish ceremony at the Diaoyutai State Guest House, Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn signed the 50-50 joint-venture agreement with Miao Wei, chief executive of the state-owned Dongfeng Motor Corporation. The two will set up a new company, Dongfeng Motor Company, which aims to become a globally competitive maker of commercial vehicles and passenger cars, with sales of 550,000 units in 2006 and 900,000 within 10 years. Nissan has promised to invest directly 8.55 billion yuan (about HK$8.12 billion) in the new firm for its equity stake and to spend an additional 20-30 billion Japanese yen (about HK$1.27-1.91 billion) in capital development until 2006, while the Chinese side will contribute its existing land, plant and equipment. This will make it one of the biggest vehicle joint ventures in China.

9/19/02

Frentzen impresses Sauber, then crashes   Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who was evaluating whether he could drive the car made for the smaller Massa at next weekend's USGP, set the fastest time of the day but crashed heavily on his last lap. Frentzen was unhurt, but the car was damaged heavily. Before his crash, he completed over seventy laps, setting a best time of 1:21.648, about two tenths of a second off Heidfeld's best time Wednesday. "This was in fact a very impressive come back to the Sauber team by Heinz-Harald," said Peter Sauber. "He completed 71 laps and set the fastest time of the day, and he achieved this in a seating position which is only a compromise for him."

9/19/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $3.97 Unchanged on Volume of 9,900 shares.
$3.34 Bid - $4.28 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.95 / $4.00
MPH Value Change 0%
DOW Jones Down 230.06 or 2.82% on Volume of 1.78 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 35.69 or 2.85%
S&P 500 Down 26.14 or 3.01%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago

9/19/02

Close IRL finish helps ticket sales  The nail-biting finish to the Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway Sept. 15 sparked increased season ticket sales in the days following. Over the past three days, the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office has handled an increased number of inquiries about the 2003 season and has sold hundreds of seats in the process. “We are very happy with the fan response following the IRL season finale,” said speedway ticket director Kevin Camper. “We were already seeing an increase in sales from last year. This week has been our best yet.” Sam Hornish Jr. wrapped up the IRL championship by beating Helio Castroneves by only .0096 seconds, the closest IRL finish at Texas and second overall in IRL history. “We actually have had fans this week ask if we offered a season ticket package just for the IRL races,” said Camper. “I guess those close finishes make quite an impression.” 2003 Season Tickets went on sale August 20. The six-race package, which ranges in price from $170-$415 per seat, includes a NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series race along with two Indy Racing League and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events. The Indy Racing League will compete at Texas in 2003 on Saturday night, June 7 and Sunday, Oct. 12.

9/19/02

Winston Cup Leader Bonus Reaches Record $230,000  A monster bonus is on the line at The Monster Mile. The question is can a driver tame Dover International Speedway and leave Delaware with the point lead in the battle for The Winston Cup? It’s worth a NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus record payday - $230,000. Bobby Labonte won $190,000 at Indianapolis in 2000, the largest Leader Bonus payout in history. The top six drivers in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings are mathematically eligible for the NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus at Dover. Entering this weekend’s MBNA All-American Heroes 400, Mark Martin leads the NASCAR Winston Cup standings by six points over second-place Sterling Marlin. Jimmie Johnson is third, 40 behind the leader, and Tony Stewart trails by 59 points. Defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon is within 67 points of Martin. Rusty Wallace is mathematically eligible but has a 146-point deficit to overcome. Martin took over the NASCAR Winston Cup point lead from Marlin following the New Hampshire 300. Marlin has been the point leader following each of the last 25 series events. Ward Burton, the winner of the Daytona 500, is the only other driver to hold the lead in 2002.

9/19/02

Morgan Shepherd Tags a One Race Deal at Dover  Morgan Shepherd will attempt to qualify the #51 Winston Cup Series Dodge owned by Rick Ware. "This is a one race deal," stated Shepherd. Shepherd will take the weekend off from driving duties with his #21 Craftsman Truck Series Ford, and #89 Winston Cup Ford Taurus. This will be Shepherd's seventh Winston Cup attempt for the 2002 season. No other details were made available at this time.

9/19/02

CART website news  The official web site of the CART FedEx Championship Series, www.cart.com, has given fans a number of new ways to follow their favorite racing series since VFX assumed the task of running the site last year, and the fans are responding with increasingly growing interest according to the latest traffic figures. The site underwent a redesign for the 2002 season, making navigation easier for the fans as well as making more complete use of the space available on the screen itself. The site was beefed up with the addition of fan resources such as the Fan Club, Tech Section, Enhanced Event Pages, Ladder Series Pages, Palm databases, Volunteer information and the CART Alumni section, and also added prizes to its online fantasy racing game that includes memorabilia that is signed by race drivers before the victory champagne dries on their firesuits. The new offerings also include the popular 'SPEED On Demand' feature that allows visitors the chance to replay complete race broadcasts on their own computer. Races from Chicago, Toronto, Cleveland, Vancouver, Mid-Ohio, Elkhart Lake, Denver, England and Montreal are available with more scheduled to be added. The feature is also being expanded to include qualifying as well as SPEED Channel's 'CART Friday Night' show. Those improvements have led to increased site traffic as cart.com has seen its number of page impressions rise 12.7 percent from the same time period in 2001. The number of unique visitors to the site every month has climbed to over 320,000 per month, an increase of four percent from a season ago.

9/19/02

More feedback on Adrian Fernandez  I sympathize with Adrian.  He could have been a victim of a missed call.  However, his sponsors are Telmex and Tecate, two of Mexico's biggest Multi-Nationals.  Is he seriously considering the IRL?  That would be silly, since both of his sponsors have a vested interest in two of Mexico's biggest sporting events, the CART GP's of Monterrey and Mexico City. What would his sponsors do without him/ He's one of the biggest sporting draws in all of Mexico. And as a CART supporter, I appreciate what Mexico has done for our series, and I hope Adrian will regain his equilibrium and recognize where his interest lie.  IRL has nothing for him, either in terms of racing or marketing.  Would Telmex and Tecate rather market in Nashville, Richmond, Colorado Springs (all third tier markets) or in Monterrey and Mexico City. It's a No-Brainer", Adrian!   Mordichai Rosen, LA, Calif

9/19/02

Big IRL finale/shootout a bust on TV  UPDATE Well the final ratings are in and the IRL did not get the bump up they hoped for.  It appears that not even the compelling close racing from the IRL is enough to get viewers to tune in with significant numbers for open wheel racing. The season finale from Texas on ABC turned in a final rating of 0.9, which is 960,000 households. The F1 race from Monza on ABC finished with a 0.8 rating, representing 800,000 households. The only sporting event to turn in worse numbers for the weekend on an over-the-air network was golf on PAX.  MotorsportTV.com  9/17/02 -  The overnight TV rating for the highly publicized, highly promoted IRL finale at TMS with Hornish and Castroneves battling for the championship turned in a very disappointing network TV overnight rating of 0.9 with a dismal 2 share on ABC, despite the NASCAR race being rain delayed.  That's unusually low for a network TV rating, though the final rating may go higher.   F1 on ABC right before the IRL race got a 1.0 overnight rating, indicating F1 may be as popular as the IRL in the USA.  Here's the link.

9/19/02

We try to explain the Adrian Fernandez situation  Adrian's penalty in Rockingham was NOT a judgment call. There was a timing sector which began at the end of pit lane and ended near the blend line exiting Turn 1. He went through that sector in less than the minimum allowable time, case closed. However, the sector distance was measured down the middle of the lane (in conformity with all Cart distance measurements), and in the case of Rockingham the pit exit lane was very wide. It's possible that if you went around the very inside edge of the pit exit lane, you would shorten the distance and go through the sector too quickly. Adrian was mad that he was exiting with a pack of cars going the same speed as everyone else, but apparently he was on the very inside edge of the pavement. It's easy to see why that would make no sense to him and we can certainly understand his frustration. Since this 2nd stage speed limit is new this year, we guess nobody thought about the effects of geometry and just by chance this is the first race where the pit exit lane was extra wide. We think the transponders are on the right side of the car, so with a normal-width pit exit even if you are on the inside of the pavement your transponder still travels around near the middle of the lane. Cart should probably change their procedures to use the inside edge of the pit exit lane for the speed measurement, or put the timing line on an angle so the inside arc is the same distance as the outside arc.

9/19/02

Cry-baby  Dear AutoRacing1, Adrian epitomizes the disease that has nearly destroyed CART, and that is its cry-baby owners. He doesn't like a call made during a race, so he hangs that over CART's head and says he may switch to the IRL because of it. What a joke!  I have lost a lot of respect for Adrian.  Adrian has to realize that there will ALWAYS be bad judgment calls made in ANY sport by officials or referees. Give me a break. Does he really think the officiating in the IRL is fairer?  Ask Paul Tracy and Barry Green.  Mark Bette

9/19/02

Fisher to drive McLaren in PR stunt   [This is the same Sarah Fisher who told us I'm strictly and oval track driver]  American female racing driver and TAG Heuer Ambassador Sarah Fisher will do a demonstration run in the West McLaren Mercedes Formula One car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix circuit on Friday 27th September. Sarah will become the first woman to drive a Formula One car since Italian Giovanna Amati back in 1992. 21-year-old Sarah competes in the US race series Indy Racing League (IRL) for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and is currently in her third season. Earlier this year she was on pole position for the Kentucky race and has a second and third place race finish to her credit. Sarah visited the West McLaren Mercedes team headquarters for a seat fitting yesterday to ensure that she will be comfortable and safe in the car, and had an opportunity to meet team members and management who will be assisting her on the day. The demonstration run will take place in the build up to the SAP United States Grand Prix, which is the penultimate round of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship. Sarah will be driving the spare West McLaren Mercedes MP4-17 Formula One car, which the team brings to every race as an additional car for either of their regular drivers David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen. "I'm obviously very excited about driving a Formula One car in front of my home crowd," said Sarah who lives in Indianapolis. "Its extremely rare to get a chance like this and I can't wait. I'm grateful to TAG Heuer, Bernie Ecclestone and West McLaren Mercedes for making this happen, and hopefully it will help to promote Formula One in the USA and will also bring international attention to my series, the Indy Racing League as well." Sarah recently became an Ambassador for McLaren's Official Supplier TAG Heuer and will assist them in launching the new chronograph, the F1 Micrograph in America. "Sarah Fisher is TAG Heuer's American driver and ambassador in the prestigious IRL where she is enjoying a remarkable career and we are proud and honored that Bernie Ecclestone and West McLaren Mercedes shared our enthusiasm for the initiative. She shares with TAG Heuer luxury sports watches the same obsession for excellence and perfection and we are glad she can drive a West McLaren Mercedes Formula One car run by a team we have been partnering for more than 15 years," said Jean-Christophe Babin, President & CEO of TAG Heuer. "We are pleased to provide Sarah with this one-off opportunity," added Martin Whitmarsh, Managing Director, McLaren International. "Through our 39 year history we have never had a female drive one of our Formula One cars so I guess it's about time. Hopefully Sarah's demonstration will assist in promoting Formula One in America further and give her a taste of the category." "Sarah has done a great job in the IRL and by achieving pole position at the Kentucky Oval in August," said Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport." We are pleased to support this initiative to further increase awareness of Formula One in America."  McLaren

9/19/02

Penske spews the party line  According to this Autoweek article, Roger Penske says - As for one series, “It’s simply the number of cars available with sponsorship,” he added. “The sponsors will make that decision. Where will they get the best commercial value? I think it takes some time for that to be assessed. I think CART might have a series. It might be an international series, it might be a road-racing series. But I think the open-wheel series that people are going to want to see is the IRL, because it’s wheel-to-wheel every race. We’re racing like NASCAR, but without fenders."  What Roger doesn't address is 1) the alarming safety record of the IRL as outlined in this article, i.e. open wheel cars don't have fenders like NASCAR Roger.  You're 436% more likely to get injured in an IRL race than a CART race as the statistics in the article clearly point out.  2) NASCAR is not a rev-limited series which artificially makes all the cars equal.  You can drive an IRL car full throttle and not spin it out on most tracks, but a Winston Cup car can be spun out by applying too much throttle in the corners.  Is it true sport, or just P.T. Barnum show-biz? 3) According to the TV ratings, people really are not watching the IRL races any more than they are watching CART, ALMS or TransAm - they all get around a 1.0 rating on network TV.  The only series that matters to USA fans is NASCAR.

9/19/02

Penske remembers  According to this Autoweek article, Roger Penske explains one of the reasons why he left CART as this - "“I wasn’t part of the CART management process. All the decisions made by the public board were made without my knowledge. If CART is not strong enough to survive without one team, then they really have to look at their basic infrastructure and foundations. I felt the same way when Michigan, Nazareth and Miami were tracks that all supported CART when they didn’t have anything else, and it was very easy for them to say they didn’t want to go back. So for me, I’ve never looked back.”   Penske said when CART dropped those races he considered it a kick in the teeth and he wouldn't forget it.  Now he backs it up with a confirming statement.

9/19/02

Latest F1 Hot News  

Webber Signs Letter Of Intent
Bernie Eyes Up Ferrari
Optimism Fades At McLaren
Renault Defend Jarno Trulli
Williams Target The Future
Button Admits Qualifying Weakness
FIA Sanction Sauber Swap
Pizzonia Targets Jaguar Ride
Young Russian Back On Track
Pre-Indy Testing, Day Two
Ecclestone To Revive Formula One?
Verstappen Nears Minardi Deal
F1 News In Brief

9/19/02

The future of Adrian Fernandez is up in the air  Ed McFarlane has provided a translation of this new El Norte article.
The Future of Adrian is up in the air.
Adrian Fernandez will decide his future
By Enrique Guadarrama/El Norte
Monterrey, Mexico;- Fernandez Racing will decide in a couple of months if it will continue in CART next year, said Arturo Romero yesterday. The Project Director of Quaker State, who has been connected to Adrian's project in the American series, said that Saturday afternoon they had a meeting with Chris Pook, CART President, and various CART officials to clarify the "retirement" of Adrian in the (Sure For Men) Rockingham 500. "We are contemplating what we will do next year because they don't have professional staff and we told them so publically, or maybe they are applying the rules as they like and now it's the time to put an end to it." said Romero. Adrian was excluded fro the last race for not obeying a black flag in the last stint of the race, and this infuriated the Mexican, who spoke with Wally Dallenbach, Chief Steward, the same day, to clarify what had happened. The Mexican was excluded from the race on lap 172 of 211, because he had broken the speed limit of 85 mph leaving the pits, when he was in 15th position. (Translator's Note: Actually, he was excluded for ignoring the black flag.) "We showed that we disagreed with the penalty, resulting in them excluding us as a consequence" added Romero "How it will all end, we don't know yet because there are many races remaining and as a professional team we have to conclude the Championship." Romero stated without elaborating that Pook looked at the case and will pay greater attention when punishments are applied in the races that follow. "Depending upon what happens (in the coming races) it will be a decision for Fernandez Racing to take, not the sponsors." said Romero, albeit in an unhappy tone. (Translators Footnote: Where has Fernandez been this year? Has he talked to Paul Tracy about the IRL and their "rulebook"?) ....Translation by: Ed McFarlane, Goadby, England

9/19/02

Trucks at Lowes in 2003  Officials from Lowe’s Motor Speedway announced a three-year deal to bring the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to the speedway next May as a companion race for NASCAR’S all-star race, The Winston. The 134-lap event, to be called the Hardee’s 200, will make it’s debut at Lowe’s Motor Speedway under the lights on Friday, May 16, 2003 following qualifying for The Winston.  The race will mark the first Truck Series race in North Carolina since the Lowe's 250 took the checkered flag at North Wilkesboro Speedway on Sept. 28, 1996. "Combining The Winston's unique qualifying format with the Hardee's 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race results in an action-packed night to kick-off the on-track portion of NASCAR's all-star weekend," said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway. "Our goal is to make the Hardee's 200 the most successful event in the history of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series and set a new attendance record."

9/19/02

End of Grand Stand UPDATE Click here to watch a video of the implosion.  9/18/02 -   Per this Milwaukee Journal article - Over the decades, the Milwaukee Mile grandstand on the Wisconsin State Fair grounds has seen its share of great moments in sports and entertainment. From its wooden bleachers, fans have cheered everyone from Roy Rogers to the Beach Boys, the 1939 championship Packers and some of the top names in auto racing. But no one has brought down the house like a Milwaukee company plans to Wednesday. At 1 p.m., after a fond farewell by a few distinguished guests, Midwest Rail & Dismantling will detonate charges to cut through steel columns holding up the roof of the 65-year-old structure. The building's demolition - excavators have already begun gouging away its Lannon stone facade - will make way for a $20.5 million steel and aluminum replacement scheduled to open next June. But for some, the grandstand is a State Fair landmark, as much a part of its history as the rise of the cream puff. And its demolition is one spectacle they'd hoped they'd never have to see. "That building was built to last," said 81-year-old Allan Krause, the Milwaukee Mile historian who saw his first race on the oval in the summer of '36 and sneaked into Packer games as a child. "It'll be hard to watch it go down."

9/18/02

Coincidence?   Today was a media event for the Grand Prix of the Americas in Miami. They had Bruno Junqueira, Scott Dixon, Roberto Moreno and Andy Pilgrim giving the media rides around an autocross layout. All of the media from South Florida was there. During this event came word from the Homestead-Miami Speedway about the big announcement that Ford will be the title sponsor for the NASCAR race!  Actually the announcement was suppose to be last week but it was delayed. We know for a fact that the Homestead-Miami Speedway knew about the GP of the Americas media event today. The Homestead-Miami Speedway is owned by ISC. Was this a tactic to deflect attention away from the ALMS/CART media event? Coincidence? You decide.

9/18/02

Strong CART attendance features younger, broader fan base  Research reports after nine months of the 2002 calendar year are showing that the high-tech, high-speed world of the CART FedEx Championship Series is attracting an audience that is getting younger, and that is stretching across cultural and racial divides. According to the latest Scarborough Research Release, CART race attendees from the 18-24 age bracket increased 47 percent, and were up another 20 percent in the 25-34 age group over the same time frame from 2001. The report also showed that the percentage of females attending CART races increased 14.5 percent and now makes up 34 percent of the total attendance figure. CART is also building a fan base in the Hispanic and African-American sectors of the population. The percentage of Hispanics that attended CART races went up 27 percent this season to 19 percent of the total attendance while the percentage of African-American fans climbed 38 percent to 11.2 overall. Both figures show the percentage of Hispanics and African-Americans that attend CART races to be higher than that of the U.S. national population average - making CART the only major racing series in North America that can make that claim. Overall, CART's attendance numbers continue to dwarf that of other open-wheel racing series in North America. Joyce Julius Sponsors Report numbers show the average attendance for all CART weekend events to be a robust 122,456 following last weekend's event at England's Rockingham Motor Speedway - averages that are nearly twice that of the Indy Racing League's total 2002 attendance figures. The CART figures are obviously boosted by the strong draw of its street courses, which has seen a three-day average attendance of 162,265 for its street-course events this year and 120,232 for its events held on permanent road courses. CART's current attendance stands at over 1.8 million for the season, a number that has the series on track for its 11th consecutive season of drawing more than 2.3 million fans to its races. The CART FedEx Championship Series will return to the track October 4-6 for Round 16 of the championship with the Grand Prix Americas on the streets of Miami, Florida.

9/18/02

CART statement on Andretti Green  With the announcement today of the new Andretti Green Racing team's decision to take current CART FedEx Championship Series drivers Michael Andretti, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan out of the series, Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc. President and CEO Christopher R. Pook made the following statement: "While it's unfortunate that Andretti Green Racing did not choose to join the current lineup of teams that have recently committed to CART's future such as Patrick Racing, Newman/Haas Racing, Player's/Forsythe Racing, Team Rahal, Fernandez Racing and Walker Racing today's announcement expedites the decision-making process that will allow our current and prospective teams and drivers to finalize their plans for what will be a very exciting and competitive 2003 racing season. We will concentrate our focus on growing the CART FedEx Championship Series and cultivating the talented drivers and teams that are coming up through the CART ladder system of driver development. In addition, we will continue to build the strength of the series on our successful race venues and the superb quality of our teams."

9/17/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $4.25 Down $0.29 on Volume of 225,000 shares.
$3.62 Bid - $4.56 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $4.25 / $4.58
MPH Value Change Down 6.39%
DOW Jones Down 172.63 or 2.06% on Volume of 1.69 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 15.94 or 1.25%
S&P 500 Down 17.58 or 1.97%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago

9/17/02

Brock Yates bullish on CART  This Brock Yates article lays out pretty much what we have reported already in various pieces.  He all of a sudden sounds bullish on CART.

9/17/02

Ford to sponsor Homestead Cup weekend  It's official - and it's all Ford. Ford will be the official title sponsor of NASCAR's championship weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the next four years, it was announced jointly today by Curtis Gray, president of the speedway, and Francisco Codina, general marketing manager, Ford Division. Now known as Ford Championship Weekend, the November 14-17, 2002 event will feature the Ford 400, the NASCAR Winston Cup season-finale, the Ford 300, the NASCAR Busch Series season-finale, and the Ford 200, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season-finale. The races will provide exclamation points to a year in which, for the first time in history, NASCAR's top touring divisions will crown champions on the same weekend at the same venue. "We're thrilled to partner with Ford for one of the biggest weekends in all of motorsports," said Gray. "With the closest points race ever for the NASCAR Winston Cup currently ongoing, as well as tight points races in the NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, race fans have the unique opportunity to be a part of history this November at the inaugural Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway." In addition to sponsoring the Championship Weekend and all three races, Ford, with the support of its South Florida Ford Dealers, also acquires Official Vehicle status at the Speedway, including the pace cars for all three races, through 2005. "The eyes of race fans all over the country will be on Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, and Ford needs to be big here," said Codina. "South Florida is an ideal place to introduce new products, flex our muscle on the track, and make our legions of fans and employees proud that they drive a Ford."

9/17/02

New paint scheme for Ganassi  Target Chip Ganassi Racing will feature a new paint scheme for the Protection One 400 at Kansas Speedway on September 29. St. Louis-based Energizer will be the featured artwork on the No. 41 Energizer Dodge driven by Jimmy Spencer for this one event. The black and silver trim paint scheme will feature the famous Energizer Bunny® on the hood of the car.

9/17/02

Lepage to drive for BAM at Dover  Kevin Lepage will drive for BAM Racing in this week’s MBNA America 400 NASCAR Winston Cup stock car race at the one-mile Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Lepage will drive the Dodge fielded by Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau. Derrike Cope had been driving the BAM Racing Dodge but was injured in a Busch Grand National crash just over a week ago at Richmond, Va. "Kevin Lepage has always shown an ability to adjust quickly and to drive fast," Beth Ann Morgenthau said. "He has worked successfully with (crew chief) Scott Eggleston before, and that should certainly help us as he begins work with a brand new team. We think he will continue doing what he has done in the past, and give the BAM Racing Dodge team a tremendous effort." The team has been strong in its last two outings. With Cope behind the wheel at Michigan, the car ran in the lead lap until the very end of the race and Cope spent time in the second half of the race in the top five. The effort at Bristol, Tenn., appeared to be a solid one but Cope was caught up in another car’s accident. "We’ve said all along that we are building a team here, and we will do what we need to do to be successful," Morgenthau said. "We’ve made progress. We’re not where we want to be yet but we feel we’re headed in the right direction. We are grateful to Kevin Lepage for helping us with that at Dover."

9/17/02

Danica Patrick to appear on FOX show  Twenty-year-old Danica Patrick has been fighting her way to the top of the open-wheel racing world for the last few seasons, this year making a splash in the Barber Dodge Pro Series under the tutelage of Bobby Rahal. Wednesday night, she will get a brief glimpse of what could await her at the top as the Illinois native will appear on FOX Sports' irreverent 'Best Damn Sports Show Period'. Patrick will join former all-star athletes John Kruk, Michael Irvin and John Salley as well as host Tom Arnold in a discussion of what she has accomplished and what she hopes to face next season as she runs her first full season of Toyota Atlantic competition. "I am really excited to be a guest on the 'Best Damn Sports Show Period'," Patrick said. "I have been watching the show for quite a while and it is very entertaining. Of course, being a woman guest on that show might be intimidating but I'm ready." The show will air Wednesday night on the FOX Sports Network with broadcast times varying from region to region.

9/17/02

One-engine plan in jeopardy  According to this Planet F1 article, Bernie Ecclestone now admits that the FIA's plans to introduce a one-engine-per-weekend rule for 2004 has met with serious opposition. The plan, championed by FIA president Max Mosley, was intended to reduce the costs for the smaller teams in F1 and make the championship more competitive. In 2004 the teams would have one sealed engine to work with from Friday practice through to the race on Sunday, capable of running 800kms. Should it develop a fault the team would be allowed to replace it, but at the expense of 10 grid places. Though there has been preliminary discussions with the teams and engine manufacturers no regulations are yet in place. "There's discussion as to whether that's going to stick or not," admitted Bernie. "There's a lot of opposition against one engine for the weekend. People say it's not Formula 1 and they want more freedom." The teams have raised the point that if they're going to be able to replace engines at the expense of grid places, the new engine they replace it with is likely to be a higher performance/shorter life engine and not one capable of doing 800kms. This would mean they have to build two types of engine, thus increasing the cost. Bernie thinks the principle is sound though. "I suppose in the end it's probably a good idea because the public don't really know how many engines somebody uses - whether they use four or three or two or one and they probably don't care either." 

9/17/02

ITV viewers down 17% in one year  UPDATE More bad F1 TV news - The German television station RTL reported that for Monza in 2001 there were 10.6 million households in Germany tuned in to the Italian GP coverage. This year, however, that number has slipped back to 8.0 million, a hit of around 20%. Schumacher winning just about every race is becoming boring for German fans as well it appears.   9/16/02 -  This ITV-F1 article says ITV1 have reported that they have lost an incredible 17% of viewers for their Formula One™ coverage over the course of the past year, a year which has been dominated by the superiority of Ferrari and Michael Schumacher. At this year's Belgian Grand Prix, ITV1 reported a drop of 600,000 from last year's recorded figure of 3,600,000 - a popularity decline of a worrying 17% in just twelve months.

9/17/02

Schumacher to take vacation in USA   Triple back-to-back champion Michael Schumacher, after a DVAG press conference and two days of testing later this week, will head of to the United States on the weekend for his now traditional pre-Indy holiday. 'I am looking forward to it,' the German said after finishing second at Monza. 'America is a fantastic country and the fact we can move around freely makes it even better.' Sources hint that his destination of choice is Montana.

9/17/02

Latest F1 Hot News  

Irvine Heads Home For Jordan
Sauber Take Penalty On Chin
Steiner Applauds Jag Effort
BMW: New Engine For Indy
Minardi Target Jos And Justin
Castroneves Joins Race For Seat?
Sato: From Bad To Worse At Monza
Rubens: I Can't Find The Words
Lauda's Relief: 'Thank God'
F1 News In Brief

9/17/02

Industry News

Motorola making big push in Hong Kong, China  Communications giant Motorola is investing about US$10 million a year in Hong Kong, China to transform its Silicon Harbor Centre in Tai Po into a worldwide design facility focused on Global System for Mobile (GSM) mobile devices. Motorola officials made the pledge to the delight of Hong Kong government officials led by Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology Henry Tang Ying-yen at yesterday's opening of the company's GSM Platform Integration Center. Peter Shinyeda, Motorola vice-president and general manager of its wireless and broadband systems group, said the company's initial US$10 million investment this year would be followed by a similar-sized outlay each year for an undetermined period. "This is an indefinite commitment from Motorola," he stressed. Motorola's establishment of a unique wireless design centre "speaks volumes for what Hong Kong can offer", including "the best and the brightest" of the SAR's engineers, Mr Tang said.  He credited the SAR's telecommunications infrastructure and "trendy and fashion-conscious consumers" in making Hong Kong "the ideal test-bed for the introduction of new technologies and services".

9/16/02

Pudong, Shanghai is the only sensible place  We here at AR1 have maintained for quite some time that the only sensible place to hold a auto race in China is on the streets in the Pudong district of Shanghai, not out in the rice patty's one hour from China (where the planned F1 track might be built).  We have said that Shanghai will soon be the commercial capital of Asia.  All the car companies are moving production to China.  That's one sure sign.  Here's more proof - Plans to expand Shanghai's Pudong International Airport, delayed for nearly two years because of questions over the future of the old Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, are finally coming to fruition. Shanghai would spend about 10 billion yuan (about HK$9.37 billion) to expand the Pudong facility and add a second runway next year, municipal government officials said yesterday. The project will enlarge the site and add a new terminal building, according to an official from the Shanghai Airport Authority's publicity department. "The second-phase construction will begin next year. Detailed plans are under study," he said. The authority was set up in 1998 to manage both the Pudong and Hongqiao airports, which together handle more international flights than any other city on the mainland. It is wholly owned by the Shanghai municipal government. Preparations for the Pudong expansion began in early 2000, but approval was delayed owing to the uncertainty over whether Pudong eventually would replace Hongqiao as Shanghai's international airport. Pudong, home to both China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines, has an ultimate design capacity for four runways handling 80 million passengers a year. The US$1.57 billion Pudong airport has been underutilized since it opened in 1999 because of its long distance from downtown Shanghai, China's richest city by per-capita gross domestic product and the country's financial and commercial hub. Existing capacity is for 20 million passengers annually, although it handled just 5.5 million in 2000, its first full year of operations. The airport is more than 30km from the city centre while Hongqiao is just 13km away. In an attempt to boost use, the Shanghai government has decided from October 28 to move all overseas flights, including those to and from Hong Kong and Macau, to Pudong. Hongqiao Airport will handle domestic flights. Shanghai is also planning to build a high-speed magnetic levitation railway to shorten travel time between the city center and the Pudong airport to eight minutes. The railway is scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2004. Most international flights have already been moved to Pudong, with only a handful of overseas airlines still operating Asia-bound flights out of Hongqiao. The city government has said it hoped the large, modern Pudong airport would be one of Asia's busiest by the end of 2010.  Reuters

9/16/02

Industry News

Ford signs Michelson  Ford Motor Co. signed Phil Mickelson to an endorsement contract Monday, the first step toward the company becoming a strong marketing presence on the PGA Tour.   Mickelson, No. 2 in the world ranking and one of the most popular players in America because of his devotion to family and his gambling style of play, will start wearing the Ford logo on his shirt this week at the American Express Championship.   Terms of the contract were not disclosed, although Ford Division president Steve Lyons said he hopes it turns into a long-term partnership.  "This is a tremendous opportunity for myself and my family to tie in with one of the very few American icons that Ford has become," Mickelson said. "This is part of a comprehensive strategy on Ford's part to get involved in golf. I'm very fortunate to be part of the initial stages."   Ford also is looking into a deal to become title sponsor of a PGA Tour event.   "Certainly, having Phil working with us, that would be a logical next step and it's something we're looking at," Lyons said. "We're not final on anything yet, but we're looking at a couple of opportunities."   Ford already is the title sponsor of the Senior Players Championship, one of the four majors on the Senior PGA Tour, and it also has an endorsement deal with Jim Ahearn.  Lyons said the Mickelson deal is not a sign that Ford will sign more players.   "We'd really like to stay focused on Phil and manage his business relationship," he said.  Mickelson, who has won 21 times on the PGA Tour but never a major, gives Ford one of the most visible players in golf behind Tiger Woods.   Woods, the No. 1 player in the world, has a five-year deal with Buick.  Mickelson is regarded as a devoted father, having threatened to walk out of the 1999 U.S. Open if his wife went into labor, and skipping the final three months of last season when his second daughter was born.  "The way Phil represents family values fits very well with our brand, and his aggressive style matches pretty well with the values we have at Ford," Lyons said. "We really look forward to this being a lynchpin that launches us to a new area."  AP

9/16/02

Record ticket sales at LVMS  A high volume of telephone ticket orders and an equally heavy dosage of Internet orders kept Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s ticket office working at a fever pitch Monday as tickets went on sale for next year’s NASCAR Weekend. “This was by far the busiest and most successful first day of ticket sales since the inaugural event,” said Chris Powell, LVMS president and general manager. “With the increased volume of Internet buyers, we’ve drastically increased our efficiency in filling orders. We’re very much overwhelmed with the first-day results.” LVMS’ ticket office more than doubled the number of tickets sold on any previous day since 1997. In addition, the speedway has processed a record number of renewals from last year’s event. “Today’s success in the ticket office is a direct result of the appeal of our facility and our great city,” Powell said. “Combine that with the momentum NASCAR is carrying nationwide and it comes as no surprise that ticket sales are way ahead of any previous pace.”

9/16/02

Rockingham road work hampered race attendance  BBC TV local news for Eastern England reported tonight, Monday 16th Sept., that traffic from London and Southern England heading for Rockingham from the main North-South Freeway, the M1, was severely delayed as Northamptonshire County Council officials failed to lift road works on one of the link roads to Rockingham, despite knowing of the race and planning traffic for it, leading to, said the BBC, 10,000 fans being held up. They missed the ASCAR support race and only just made the CART race. This report gave a very positive spin to the event, and gave Darren Manning a lot of airtime. Is it a co-incidence that the Silverstone F1 circuit is principally in Northamptonshire too?  Ed McFarlane, reporting from Goadby, England

9/16/02

Japanese driver in Winston Cup  Winston Cup team owner Travis Carter has entered former Japanese GT champion Hideo Fukuyama in this weekend's MBNA All-American Heroes 400 at Dover International Speedway. Fukuyama, 47, of Suzuka City, Japan, will drive a #66 Ford from the Haas Carter Motorsports shops. Fukuyama is also expected to attempt to qualify for Martinsville and Rockingham, and may have the backing for a full time Winston Cup ride next season.. Fukuyama tested earlier this year at Dover with crew chief Teddy Brown.

9/16/02

Ramirez named Mexico City Grand Marshal  This weekend at the Rockingham CART race, a very familiar Mexican face in British racing circles appeared at the track. The reappearance of Jo Ramírez, former team coordinator for Team McLaren F1, was not a coincidence. The most famous Mexican personality in F1 in the last decade, Jo was in hand to check the action of the fastest cars in the world of motor sport and give a few interviews since he has just been announced as the Grand Marshal for the 2002 season-closing Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante presented by Banamex-Visa, which will be run November 17th at the legendary Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in México City. The announcement was made by Rubén Saldívar, general director of GRAND –the joint enterprise by CIE and Forsythe Racing which organizes the Tecate-Telmex Grand Prix in Monterrey and promotes the Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante in México City- who said that “GRAND’s idea since it started eyeing motor sports was honoring pioneers and legends of Mexican sport, and Jo fits both kinds. We are pleased he has accepted this honorary position and we hope his presence will contribute to strengthen our commitment with the history of Mexican racing as well as moving on to create its own history for the 21st”.

 

Jo’s selection as GM was unanimously supported in Mexico by experts, journalists and drivers. Among CART drivers, Mario Domínguez from the Herdez Competition, said: “Jo is a great guy, he represents the best of Mexico in world motor sports, it isn’t by chance that he was team manager for champs like Senna and Stewart”. Another Aztec driver, Michel Jourdain Jr. agreed: “An excellent choice”, and Mexican star Adrián Fernández, the only team owner-driver in CART, said: “Jo’s my great friend and nobody deserves it more considering his accomplishments”. Meanwhile, CART’s VP Tim Mayer –son of the famous Teddy Mayer who was also a key figure at McLaren- said: “It is good that in Mexico they keep paying tribute to their sport personalities. Certainly Jo is world class, pretty well known and universally liked”.

 

Jo Ramírez started his racing career at the other side of the rail in 1962 when he was helped by another Mexican legend, Ricardo Rodríguez, to join Ferrari as an assistant and soon became a mechanic with the team. When Ricardo died at the end of that year Jo spent some time with Lucky Casner’s CaMoRaDi team and then went to Lamborghini which was starting its street car production. He didn’t like the production scene and returned to help with the Ford GT40 in England and by 1966 he joined All American Racers to help Dan Gurney with the F1 team. When the AAR returned to America late 1968, Jo came with them to start working on Can Am, Indy and Trans Am cars but when Dan retired, Jo decided to go back to England.

 

By 1971 Jo accepted an offer to join the John Wyer Automotive team where he would be reunited with Ricardo’s brother, the legendary Pedro, the man who could best tame the Porsche 917. They had a great season together, although Jo was assigned to Jo Siffert’s car, but Pedro died that year and Jo left the team to go to Tyrrell F1 where another championship followed with Jackie Stewart in 1973. He would later become team manager for the new Copersucar team of the Fittipaldi brothers in 1975, and stayed there until 1978 when he went to reform Shadow after its key personnel quit to form Arrows. He then spent some time with teams like ATS and Theodore until he accepted Ron Dennis’s offer to join McLaren in 1983, just when the glory days of the team started and he got his drivers crowned in 1984, 85, 86, 88, 89, 90, 91, 99 and 2000 being the team coordinator with some 400 employees under his supervision by the end of the century. When he turned 60 he decided to retire and he did at the USGP 2001, when his driver Mika Hakkinen won and dedicated victory to Jo, his 114th by a driver he worked with in 479 races. Now Jo returns to Mexico to participate in a CART Grand Prix and receive a full and well deserved homage next November. When he found out, Jo just said. “It is an honor for me and I hope to add my bit to give more luster to our Grand Prix”.

9/16/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $4.54 Down $0.15 on Volume of 17,200 shares.
$3.88 Bid - $4.86 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $4.44 /$4.65
MPH Value Change Down 3.20%
DOW Jones Up 67.49 or 0.81% on Volume of 1.2 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 15.54 or 1.2%
S&P 500 Up 1.29 or 0.14%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago

9/16/02

Newman Haas may use different sponsor name  Thought you might get a chuckle out of this.  According to this News Telegraph article out of the UK, A new drug that is said to outperform Viagra may be re-branded because a family with the same name fears embarrassment and ridicule. The manufacturer, Eli Lilly, is considering a request to change the name of Cialis (rumored to be the Newman Haas sponsor once the drug is approved by the FDA), its new "love drug", before a launch next year. A rebranding of the impotence product would cost an estimated £1 million in Britain alone. Russell Cialis, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, said yesterday the company was guilty of a "cock-up rather than a conspiracy" in giving the drug a name shared by dozens of people in several countries. Mr. Cialis, 63, said younger members of the family would be teased and victimized at school if the name became as inextricably linked with erectile dysfunction as Viagra. "Carelessness might be forgiven where the product was low-profile or uncontroversial, such as shampoo or an antibiotic, but this product is neither," he said.

9/16/02

CART postpones test  The September 23rd track test that was scheduled by Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc. has been postponed to later this fall in order to improve a specific technical issue related to the test session. The test was to have been held at the Milwaukee Mile on the 23rd with three of the CART FedEx Championship Series teams participating as the series was slated to try new aerodynamic configurations that are designed to improve the side-by-side racing at CART's oval-track races. The tests were to be run with a current version of the Ford-Cosworth engine currently in use in the series, but the engines would have been detuned slightly to approximate the output of next year's 2003 Cosworth power plant. The test had to be postponed from its scheduled date as the manufacturers at Cosworth received a set of engine components for the test that did not conform to the company's rigid performance specifications. "It is unfortunate that we can not conduct the test as planned next week, although we give our complete support to Cosworth and their decision to give us only their best engines," said CART Vice President of Racing Operations John Lopes. "We appreciate Cosworth's commitment to quality and CART will continue to work with the company to schedule a test that will give us the best opportunity to produce a highly competitive and entertaining racing package next season." CART intends to reschedule the oval test in the coming weeks and a specific date will be announced as soon as arrangements can be finalized.

9/16/02

IRL defies critics, expectations with breakout season   This Racing Press article gives a summary of the 2002 season and the close finishes, even closer than NASCAR, this year.  The article does point out that the IRL rev-limited engine formula leads to contrived close racing because, as we have seen the last two races, drivers get side-by-side, ride around wide open for 25 laps and no one can get ahead.  The cars are so glued to the track and running wide-open, very little driver talent is required.....just don't hit anything.  Then again, many fans are just there to see a show, and a show they do get.  It's working because the majority of the press, many uneducated as to what constitutes a talented race driver, are writing good things about the IRL, and that certainly is helping the series.

9/16/02

Hornish & Castroneves IRL future uncertain   According to this Dallas Morning News article, both talented young drivers could have opportunities to move into other racing leagues next year, but both claim to be leaning on staying in the Indy Racing League. Hornish has admitted an interest in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, and Dale Earnhardt Inc. officials admitted courting Hornish about joining the team in 2003. "Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. and I talked about it recently," Hornish said. "I was asking him what it's like to be a Cup driver and how his life is different from mine. He told me none of that mattered. It isn't about the days you're gone from home; it's about doing what you love to do." Hornish said Earnhardt Jr. told him he needed to decide how he wanted to spend the rest of his career – driving an Indy car or driving a stock car. "In my heart, that's a pretty easy decision," Hornish said. "If I had to pick between winning the Indy 500 or winning the Daytona 500, it definitely would be the Indy 500." Hornish is under contract with Pennzoil Panther Racing for another season, but a report surfaced Sunday saying Hendrick Motorsports is interested in Hornish for one of its Winston Cup cars next year. Rick Hendrick is looking for a new driver in the No. 25 Delphi/UAW Chevrolet. "I just wanted to focus on winning the IRL championship first," Hornish said. "I didn't want to waste time on what might happen. I may never run in [Winston] Cup, but I know the IRL is a wonderful place to race." Castroneves said he feels the same way, but he will have a test session in France on Friday for Toyota's Formula One team. "It's an opportunity and we'll see what happens," Castroneves said. "I've always wanted to drive a Formula One car and I'm happy to go over there and try it. But I'm also very happy with this team. It's hard to break up such a good combination. As far as I'm concerned now, I will be here next year trying to win the championship."

9/16/02

Team Rahal website cited  Long recognized as one of the most innovative and informative racing web sites in the Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc. community, Team Rahal upped the ante heading into the 2002 season in a move that has earned them national acclaim from one of the computer world's leading magazines. Communication Arts named the Team Rahal site as one of its Interactive Annual 8 Winners for 2002 in the Business category and will feature the site along with 46 others in the Sept./Oct. issue of Communication Arts magazine. The site, which was redesigned this year after winning many awards in the previous three seasons, gives CART fans many different forms of information on the team and the CART FedEx Championship Series. The site keeps fans informed by letting the Team Rahal staff update the site with results, audio and video directly from the track on a race weekend. It also provides fans with information on the engineering of the car and takes visitors on a QuickTime video tour of the team's Hilliard, Ohio race shop. "Since the fan experience is limited by geography and time-for most fans racing happens far away and it's over in a couple of hours-we created ways to expand it beyond the limitations and provide access to information in real time," said site Art Director Todd Yuzwa. "It's what keeps the fan connected to the race team day-to-day. Our approach combined the aggressive use of technology with the often overlooked emotional depth and determination of the drivers who climb into machines capable of traveling more the 230 mph. The interface looks as high performance as the cars, but it's also filled with subtle nuances that make it rich and satisfying." "The choice of color, typography and grid structure screams high-tech and the design is aimed squarely at the target audience - CART racing fans," noted Communication Arts judge Stephen Lynch. The site was selected for the honor by a panel of seven judges, who studied the entries for more than two months. The Team Rahal site joined efforts by such major companies as Nike, IBM, Harley-Davidson and BMW as winning recognition from the magazine.

9/16/02

NASCAR closed door meeting  NASCAR conducted a closed-door meeting with Winston Cup drivers Sunday, following the regularly scheduled prerace driver and crew chief meeting. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said officials asked drivers to constantly be aware of their surroundings and to remember to "act like professionals." Hunter said officials also expressed their plan to address some of the issues of fans in the garage area next season.  That's Racin

9/16/02

CART to hold another business seminar  Continuing what has been a concerted effort this season to help teams educate prospective sponsors, Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. and Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (CART) announced today that they will be holding a Business-to-Business Forum, Thursday October 3rd, at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Miami, Florida. Following on the heels of a successful gathering in Denver where many key players in the business community attended a similar forum, the Miami B2B Forum is designed to provide investors and businesses with a thorough understanding of the financial opportunities that exist in CART. Featured speakers at the event include Christopher R. Pook, president and CEO of CART, Michael McFarland of The McFarland Group, sports marketing agency for Gehl Company, Adrian Fernandez, team owner and driver of Fernandez Racing and Rod Bymaster, Manager Audi Sport North America. The event will also include a forum discussion, entitled, "Generating Revenue through Motorsports". "The motorsports industry creates an impressive blend of entertainment, business-to-business and investment opportunities," said David L. Rosenberg, Bear Stearns managing director and a contributing organizer of the event. "We believe this Forum will offer a rare opportunity for those outside the industry to gain a greater understanding of the business." "CART is taking a leadership position as it pertains to providing a sports marketing environment that is conducive to the creation of new business opportunities," added Pook. "This B2B Forum, held in conjunction with the debut of the Grand Prix of the Americas, is an excellent opportunity for those companies not currently using our sports marketing platform to come and check us out." For additional information on the Forum, please contact Andy Castleman on 317-715-4134 or via e-mail at businessdevelopment@cart.com, Jason Berlinger on 310-201-2727 or at jberlinger@bear.com or David Rosenberg on 310-201-2727 or drosenberg@bear.com.

9/16/02

Craig Pollock story   This Planet F1 article talks about the dilemma Craig Pollock has in trying to place Jacque Villeneuve in the right place.  If CART wasn't a mere shadow of its former self, he might consider running in CART for a year.  The article goes on to say, on the surface what Craig and Jacques have been offered looks a good deal. But think about the consequences and it’s not so good. ChampCar is fading. With the news that Honda and Toyota are switching their engines away from the CART series and that the front-running Chip Ganassi and Team Green outfits are leaving for the IRL, it means that there are going to be smaller, sub-standard grids next year. It would make a nice change to run at the front of a race for JV, but it’s a big step down.  Unfortunately for CART, this negative aura surrounding the series, right or wrong, is preventing it from landing the big deals and moving forward in a positive manner.  CART needs a big announcement from Ford that they are getting behind the series in a positive way, but with each passing day, the questions about that happening keep flooding our email.

9/16/02

Tony Stewart in more hot water?  UPDATE In the most recently reported incident involving driver Tony Stewart, in which a safety worker accused Stewart of striking him while exiting his car following a crash at the July race here, the New England 300. "Today NBC showed never-before-seen footage of the alleged incident. NBC pre-race host and lead pit reporter Bill Weber explained that NASCAR saw the tape this morning: They reviewed it and restated their original opinion that they do not consider this an issue. It is over with and closed. Now, from the garage there is some concern that the bulls-eye on Tony Stewart seems to be growing." NBC analyst Wally Dallenbach explained to viewers that, as a driver, he used to speak to track safety workers during safety seminars. He explained what was going through his, and likely Tony Stewart's mind, while exiting the car after an on-track accident: "If I'm in a wreck and I'm okay, give me room. Do not touch me. Do not get in my space because I'm angry. When you get out of that car you're very ticked off and you don't want anybody touching or grabbing you." NBC analyst Benny Parsons said the incident "was blown out of proportion, but Tony was wrong in doing that. The guy was just trying to help him." NBC PR  9/14/02 - How much more of this can Home Depot take?  According to this ThatsRacin article, Tony Stewart has been accused by an emergency medical technician at New Hampshire International Speedway of punching him during the July race at the track. EMT Phil Jewett said Stewart punched him as he attempted to attend to Stewart following the driver's wreck on Lap 121. "As soon as he saw me in the corner of his eye he swung at me and hit me in the left arm," Jewett told The Concord (N.H.) Monitor in Saturday's edition. Track officials were unable to confirm if Jewett was working this weekend's race. Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president for communications, said Jewett notified the Winston Cup series' medical liaison the day of the incident and the liaison notified NASCAR President Mike Helton. Hunter confirmed that Helton spoke with Jewett the day of the incident and also spoke with Stewart. "That issue ended here. Outside of a 'Get your hands off me' gesture or that kind of stuff, we knew Tony was upset that day because he wouldn't get in the ambulance and wouldn't go to the infield care center," Hunter said. "One of things they tell them in the safety meeting, is when the guys get out of the cars, don't put your hands on them. They tell the EMTs that these guys are mad when they get out of the car," Hunter said. "In this instance, we just felt (Stewart) just shrugged (Jewett's) hands off of him." Hunter said he considered the incident closed and was surprised Jewett chose to bring the issue up again. Jewett told the paper he came forward because he said Helton had told him he would investigate the incident and get back to him. "Nobody ever got back to me," Jewett told the paper. "They didn't get back to my supervisors or anyone from Raceway Ambulance. That's another reason why I'm irritated about it now." Stewart's team spokesman, Mike Arning, said Stewart would not comment on the issue. Arning and others with the team could not comment because they were not with Stewart when the incident occurred. "NASCAR is the eyes and ears of the race and they say they couldn't find any evidence of anything wrong and we accept that," he said.

9/16/02

Nagatino Island race definitely off   It is official! The Nagatino Island Formula 1 race track project is off. Speaking at a press conference last week Moscow's deputy-mayor Iosif Ordzhonikidze said that the city had not given up on the plans to hold a Grand Prix in the city but he confirmed that the Nagatino Island plan, which involved the TWR Group in Britain, is not going to happen. The reason for this is that it would have cost the city government too much money. Nagatino Island will now be developed for residential housing.  The project has been dogged by rumors and scandals since the start. Just four days after he signed the original contract with TWR, Ordzhonikidze was gunned down in Moscow and seriously injured. The Moscow police said that they believed that the shooting had been caused by the F1 project.  Prediction - it will be a cold day in hell before F1 races in Russia.  Not only can't they afford a race given their economy, there's plenty of other countries that can.

9/16/02

Hornish hints he will stay in the IRL   In this Indy Star article says, Sam Hornish talked earlier this season with Dale Earnhardt Inc. about running at least a limited NASCAR schedule. He said he began to have second thoughts after visiting with Dale Earnhardt Jr. before an International Race of Champions event in July. "He said, 'Do you want to be a stock car driver for the rest of your life or do you want to be an Indy-car driver for the rest of your life?' " Hornish recalled. "That's not a difficult decision for me to make. It's becoming more apparent all the time what I need to be doing."  He also stated on RPM2Night, "I don't think I can do anything else until I win the Indy 500."  What team gives him the best chance to do that?  Perhaps our sources are correct about Hornish and Penske - see rumors page.

9/16/02

Penske: Helio free to go to F1   In this Indy Star article, Roger Penske says about Helio's F1 test with Toyota this week - "If he can find a good F-1 ride," Penske said, "we would certainly let him out of his contract." Castroneves said after Sunday's race that he expects to return to Team Penske next year but is excited about the F-1 opportunity. "I'm just happy to go and try," he said.  The article also says - Championship Auto Racing Teams already has made an impact on the IRL paddock as several crew members have defected. The crew for rookie Dan Wheldon, who drove the last two races in a second Panther Racing car, was almost entirely former PacWest mechanics.

9/16/02

Latest F1 Hot News  

Driver Analysis: Italian GP
Leaping Cat Here To Stay?
Asiatech Look For Backers
F1 Set For Eighteen Races?
Massa Makes F1 History
Ferrari Still Miles Ahead
Team Orders Rule Ferrari Again
Tifosi: As Far As The Eye Can See
Irvine Returns To Podium
How It Went Wrong For Williams
Brief News From The Paddock

9/16/02

Honda finally gets it right   Honda, after all their recent reliability dramas at Spa and Monza testing, got all four contenders home in yesterday's engine-breaking Italian Grand Prix. 'It's good to score another point,' said Shuhei Nakamoto, race and test team manager. 'The engine has been reliable this weekend and we haven't had any problems.' Olivier Panis, who notched up the sixth place, added: 'Honda will have more of the latest specification engines at Indy, so it looks promising.'

9/16/02

Tifosi: As Far As The Eye Can See...   'Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine looked down with amazement as Tifosi stretched as far as the eye can see from the Monza podium. And, as Jaguar's Eddie Irvine was handed his trophy for third place, the perfection of the moment at the Italian Grand Prix became clear for all to see: Rubens, Michael and Eddie, the combination of pilots who brought every Ferrari victory since 1996. 'Oh, that was fantastic,' the rarely enthusiastic Ulsterman enthused. 'If you are going to get a podium, Monaco and here are the two to get.' 'It was such a feeling,' Barrichello added. 'I don't think we're ever going to experience something like that again. Michael Schumacher was equally delighted: 'If you look out from the podium, people stretch all the way down the straight - the longest in the world - and it is full of the tifosi and that's an amazing emotion that went through me and Rubens.'

9/16/02

Fernandez threatens to leave CART  Translated by Ed McFarlane from this El Norte article:

Adrian threatens to leave CART, thunders off against CART [Already being wooed by Honda to run in the IRL, this latest move may be the straw that breaks the Camels back]
By Sandra Becerril /El Norte
Mexico City, Mexico: - Like we've never seen before, Adrian Fernandez got out of his car extremely disturbed at having been disqualified from  the 15th race of the CART series, at the oval in Corby, England, and threatened to leave the series next year. During his last pit stop on lap 172, the Mexican driver broke the pit speed limit. That is to say, instead of leaving the pits at 85 mph, he did 87 mph.  CART officials showed him the black flag, which meant a drive through the pits again, but without stopping. However, Fernandez disobeyed the order and the officials stopped timing him on lap 186 of 211 and registered him as retired.  At that point the driver/owner of the Fernandez Racing team had no choice other than to return to the pits and get out of his car. There, Adrian took off his helmet and threw his right glove down, and then faced up to a CART official he found in the pits.  "We cannot carry on in this way, in Fernandez Racing we are contemplating whether or not to run in CART next year, we will soon take a decision because we cannot carry on like this, CART has shown no improvement in this area." warned Fernandez in a message.  For the race at Rockingham Motor Speedway there were two speed limits in the pits; 50 mph to enter and 85 mph to leave.  The Mexican thought that his punishment was absurd and unjust, given that he had left the pits behind other drivers.   "I am very disappointed and troubled by the way CART applied the rule, they don't have enough well-qualified people to apply the rules in a fair manner, the penalty for having exceed the speed limit on leaving the pits is totally unjust and absurd."  "I left surrounded by other drivers, I could not have broken the rule, it's not the first race in which they've applied the rules in a way that suits them." he explained.  The race was won by the Scot Dario Franchitti, while Cristiano da Matta and Patrick Carpentier took second and third place respectively.  The other Mexican, Michel Jourdain Jr., of Team Rahal, managed to score 2 points by finishing 11th and maintained his 6th position in the series classification with 94 points, whilst Mario Dominguez wound up 13th.

9/15/02

Interview with Roger Penske   This Dallas Forth-Worth Star Telegram article is an interview with Roger Penske.  Read the entire interview for yourself.  One interesting response by Roger - Q. You recently predicted that there would be one domestic open-wheel series within 18 months. You want to revise that? A. From my perspective, I think we need one open-wheel series. I said 18 to 24 months ... and I would still say this. Obviously, CART has got capital in the bank. Chris Pook [CART president/CEO] is a very savvy guy. They've got a real strong CEO. The issue is, is the market bigger than what he can control? It's the fans. It's the emotion. At the end of the day, you've got to build a series that will have identity. And we've got to build the stars. That's what NASCAR's done.

9/15/02

Massa penalized   Following an incident in today's Italian GP, Felipe Massa is to be the first driver to be punished under the FIA's 'back ten places' rule. Race stewards at Monza decided that Massa was totally responsible for the incident that put him and Pedro de la Rosa out of the race. As a result Massa will be forced to start ten places behind his qualifying position at Indianapolis later this month, unless of course he qualifies worse than 8th, which would put him dead last since only 18 cars will start. Following the incident de la Rosa said: "I was doing OK until I met the worst person you could want to meet in a race, Massa!" This is the first time that the penalty has been applied since it was announced earlier this year.

9/15/02

$12 million per car per year to win in Cup   The increased pressure to perform has not escaped Bob Whitcomb, the former car owner from Keene who won the Daytona 500 in 1990 with Derrike Cope behind the wheel. Whitcomb ran a car on the circuit until 1993 before getting out. “We had about $3½ million in sponsors, and that was among the top 10 in the garage area,” Whitcomb said. “Some of the owners tell me now that you can’t think about running up front unless you have at least $12 million. The sponsors definitely want performance. “When I got into it, I got into it to have some fun. The pressure finally got to me.”

9/15/02

Attendance, can't we get the real numbers?   Here we go again.  27,000 for CART at Rockingham?  The place seats 52,000 and 27,000 would mean the pace was 50% full.  We say the attendance was closer to 10,000, about 20% full.  The IRL race was announced as having an attendance of 86,000.  The front straight grandstand holds 120,000, so 86,000 would mean it was almost 75% full.  In fact, it was 50% full at best considering 1/3 of the grandstand was completely empty.  Still, 50,000 to 60,000 is a decent attendance compared to CART's 10,000.  It's time an independent organization do the crowd estimates.  Goodyear, we miss you.

9/15/02

Ferrari offers Schumacher $75 million per year   According to this Italian F1 news article, talk is that Ferrari is offering Michael Schumacher $150 million Euros for a 2-year contract extension.  Today a Euro is about equal to one US dollar, so that would mean he's being offered $75 million per year for 2005 and 2006.  Jeff Gordon who?

9/15/02

Post-Rockingham - III  And you wonder why no one shows up for the CART race at Rockingham?  They have no TV package there worth a darn.  A reader writes, Dear AR1, I just watched the BBC showcase highlights.. The program was 30 minutes long, with the race jammed into 25 minutes!  It was impossible to follow the race at all.  Brack was leading, then pit stops, then Franchitti won. really poor showcase for CART. Ho hum Gary Parravani, England

9/15/02

Post-Rockingham - II  I went to the Sure For Men Rockingham 500 this year and found it much better than last year’s event. The crowd looked smaller than last year, but the race promotion was very weak, and the precedent of last year's turmoil very poor. The only promotion for the race that I saw was on a series of small wooden stakes hammered into the roadside of major road junctions in the vicinity of the circuit, advertising it like it was a village fête. The race was not well reported in the British press, either before or after, with the honorable exception of the Express newspapers. Indeed, it almost seems like a conspiracy of silence. I’d have expected them to at least say “Scot finishes ahead of second placed Brazilian F1 hopeful” but some gave just a paragraph to the whole event, whilst giving Monza qualifying a good half-page. The pits were closed after the checkered flag fell, not the best send-off for fans, but if the attendance was so low, why the heck did it take me over an hour to get away from the circuit, when I got in my car over an hour and a half after the end of the race? In the car park I saw a Hungarian-registered car, so someone seems pretty keen to drive half way across Europe for CART!  An attendance of 27,000 [looked closer to 10,000] represents 0.05% of the UK population, or 1 in 2000 people. It did seem that most fans had little idea about the teams, and what merchandise there was on sale seemed to be out-of-date F1 stuff, some NASCAR decals and a bit of CART stuff. Top marks to Herdez for having a stall promoting Doña Maria products with free giveaway tachos and sauces, and brochures. Why don’t the teams and CART sell their own merchandise at reasonable mark-ups and this will help raise fan awareness and loyalty in a virtuous circle? I hope next May’s event will be better attended, and I agree with the AR1 reader Gary Parravani who said that a Sunday is a much better day for a race. Also, against forecast it was cloudy and cold at Rockingham. May at least sounds warmer and sunnier than September, whatever the weather records say. Also, hopefully Dario will be there to defend his crown and give the race a boost [Editors Note:  If rumors are to be believed, that won't be the case as they say Dario is off to the IRL with Michael Andretti.....but of course this is just rumor for now]. Ed McFarlane, England

9/15/02


With CART a mere shadow of its former self, IRL suddenly has become the force NASCAR must reckon with   This Ed Hinton article in the Orlando Sentinel says, at birth, the Indy Racing League was ridiculed as the most destructive, if not simply the worst, idea in the history of major motor sports. Initially, it lived down to its billing -- gutting the prestige of the Indianapolis 500, tearing asunder Indy-car racing, fumbling the hearts and minds of masses of American race fans right into the lap of burgeoning NASCAR. Now, as it concludes its seventh season today at Texas Motor Speedway outside of Fort Worth, the IRL is hailed as the healthiest thing happening to auto racing. It has left once-mighty Championship Auto Racing Teams bloodied and reeling, financially, from the long Indy-car war. And the IRL is looking long-term to challenge NASCAR for national supremacy. "NASCAR hasn't always been on top," says Tony George, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the singular founder of the IRL. "I don't think they're preordained to always be." Multinational corporations are buying into the IRL for hundreds of millions of dollars -- Honda, Toyota, Philip Morris, General Motors, with more on the way. ABC Sports President Howard Katz, whose programming acumen was questioned when he staked the network's future summer Sundays on the fledgling IRL, is smiling now, breathing easier, even envisioning the IRL in Monday Night Football's prime-time slot, as a prelude to NFL seasons. Through the IRL's troubled formative years, "they've been putting pieces in place," Katz says. "And I think if you look at it objectively now, the pieces are in place. Next year ought to be the year [the IRL] takes some kind of leap in television ratings because the product is so much better." Meanwhile, Fox, NBC and Turner stew in their hundreds of millions in losses -- advertising shortfalls on their $2.8 billion contract with NASCAR -- despite the highest TV ratings in sports other than the NFL. One industry executive assesses the NASCAR television paradox as "an artistic success and a financial failure." Corporate bets aren't placed frivolously. For now, NASCAR may have four times the TV ratings and 10 times the attendance of the IRL. But some of the world's richest speculators think they can see over the horizon.  More...

9/15/02

Post-Rockingham  Two letters from Rockingham attendees 1) As a spectator at the Sure For Men Rockingham 500 today, it was apparent that the grandstands were by no means full, and that there was not a 52,000 capacity crowd. However, I would like to point out that for a sport which does not receive terrestrial television coverage or widespread media attention in the UK, today's attendance was indicative of this. Many of the people that I passed in the crowd did not know who they were watching, but came along due to friend's recommendations, and still enjoyed the event. For those of us who understand oval racing and follow the series, we were witness to a very exciting and enjoyable race. I feel that it is not the fault of CART to pull in the crowds at an oval race, but the fault of the media (and possibly RMS) in not attracting enough attention to this event. I for one would be saddened to see this event move to a road course like Brands Hatch, because it gives UK race fans a chance to see real ChampCars racing on a very good circuit. Yours sincerely, Andrew McMullan 2) I was at Rockingham both days. It was great! There was a surprisingly large amount of people there on Friday, and it was great to see that Rockingham had learned so many lessons from last year. I’ll tell you exactly why the crowd figures were disappointing, its not so much to do with the weather, or oval racing, or CART, its to do with the race being on a Saturday. For some unknown reason most of Britain are football supporters. Football is mainly played on Saturdays at about 3pm, and the supporters would much prefer to be watching their teams on TV or using their season tickets etc than watching CART. I’ll remind you in May when the race moves to a Sunday and you see if I’m wrong!  Gary Parravani


Panoramic view taken during Rockingham 500 by Gary Parravani
It's hard to not notice all the empty seats for yet another open wheel oval race

9/15/02

Latest F1 Hot News  

Driver Analysis: Qualifying
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Brief News From The Paddock

9/14/02

Infiniti Pro: Foyt wins Texas finale, moving up to IRL next?   [Editors Note: Yet another race where the entire field runs 100% throttle the entire race and they go around the track in a pack...it's called  putting on a thrill show, not a race.  Foyt led 66 of 67 laps and won with HP].   A.J. Foyt IV made Indy Racing League history Sept. 14 at Texas Motor Speedway, becoming the first champion of the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series by winning the BG Products 100. In a stirring finish, Foyt edged runner-up Cory Witherill by .0379 of a second in the final race of the first season of the new Indy Racing League development series. Foyt’s average speed was 133.356 mph. All 12 cars running on the lead lap finished within one second of Foyt, as 12th place Aaron Fike was just .9820 of a second behind at the line. “It was a great race,” said Foyt, 18, from Hockley, Texas. “I just did like my grandpa said and Jack Starne my spotter. I just kept it right on the bottom. They couldn’t get around me. “Cory Witherill did a good job there at the end. It was pretty close, but I hung on, and that’s all that matters.” Ryan Hampton finished third in the No. 34 Conti-Genoa-Frost Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, .2801 of a second behind Foyt. Foyt, grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, earned his fourth victory in seven starts this season. Three of those wins came from the pole, including this one, in the No. 14 Harrah’s/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. “I think just winning the inaugural event in Kansas really got us going, and that’s what got us to the end of this race and to the championship,” Foyt said. “My grandfather’s done a great job. Harrah’s and everybody, they set up my car great.” Foyt ended the season with 290 points to win the Firestone Firehawk Cup awarded to the series champion. He finished 47 points ahead of series runner-up Arie Luyendyk Jr., son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk. USAC standout Ed Carpenter finished third in the series standings, 64 points behind Foyt. “He did a great job,” A.J. Foyt said of his grandson. “We’re all proud of him. I didn’t really feel that he was going to do this good, so I’m very proud of him.” Foyt dominated the race, leading 66 of 67 laps. But he never pulled away from the field in a classic drafting duel, as his lead over Witherill hovered around one-tenth of a second from Laps 53-66. Then on the final trip around the 1.5-mile oval, Witherill made a move in his No. 92 WSA Healthcare entry to the outside of Foyt exiting Turn 4 and tried to win a drag race down the front straightaway. The move fell just short. “The key thing was to stay up in front to keep yourself in position and just wait until the last minute,” Witherill said. “You could be anywhere on the grid then pull out and lose positions, so it wasn’t worth it to move around. It was better to just stay up front and wait until the end to try to make a move.” Now that Foyt has won the inaugural series title, is he pressing his grandfather to open a spot in his IRL team for 2003? “You got that right,” A.J. Foyt said with a smile. The inaugural season of the Infiniti Pro Series was termed an overwhelming success by series organizers. The series was announced in August 2001 and was on track just 10 months later for the inaugural race at Kansas Speedway. “I am happy with the decision we made to go ahead and debut the Infiniti Pro Series in 2002,” said Tony George, IRL president and CEO. “We couldn’t have accomplished this without the support of our partners Infiniti and Firestone. In addition, the commitment by the drivers and the teams added to the success of the inaugural season. “This season exceeded the expectations we had for the series. I hope the fans enjoyed watching the racing. We’re confident we’re well on the way to establishing a series that will develop the drivers and teams that will be the future of the Indy Racing League.”

9/14/02

Raikkonen loses fast lap   Kimi Raikkonen moved across on Sato's Jordan/Honda at the high-speed entry to the Roggia chicane during qualifying today. The cars touched, and Sato's front-left corner was damaged and he darted into the gravel trap and the tire wall. Raikkonen's car was also damaged in the clash, which caused a red flag with just two minutes of the session remaining. The Finn, who was clutching an ice pack to his left elbow, did not appear to take too much notice of Takuma's complaints, but Dennis appeared to argue with the Japanese driver about how many flying laps he had completed consecutively. "My incident with Sato is one of those things which happen in racing," said Raikkonen. "He was on his fifth consecutive lap, and my team was under the impression that he would be coming into the pits, which is what you would expect during qualifying, and advised me accordingly. When I couldn't see him in my mirrors, I believed he had slowed down and went for the line into the corner." Jordan's engineering chief Gary Anderson said: "We'll be sending Kimi a set of our larger mirrors...." The stewards took Sato's view of the incident, as they stripped Raikkonen of his fastest qualifying time, dropping him from fifth to sixth, promoting Jaguar's Eddie Irvine a place. An FIA statement read: "The Stewards of the Meeting received a report from the Race Director, stating that the Driver of car No. 4 (Raikkonen) caused a collision with the driver of car No. 10 (Sato) during the qualifying session. Both drivers and their representatives were summoned. "Having heard the explanations of both drivers and viewed video evidence, the Stewards of the Meeting decide to impose a penalty in accordance with Article 119 of 2002 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations to delete the fastest qualifying time of the Driver of car No. 4 (Raikkonen) for causing a collision contrary to Article 53 of the aforementioned regulations.".

9/14/02

Bahrain confirms 2004 race   According to the GrandPrix.com article, The Crown Prince of Bahrain was at Monza to announce the signing of a contract for Formula 1 to visit the Middle Eastern kingdom from 2004 and onwards. Work will begin immediately on the construction of a Formula 1 circuit at Al-Jazair and it is anticipated that the event will take its place at the end of the F1 calendar. This will be the perfect location for World Championship showdowns as it is only a couple of hours ahead of Central European Time and also good for the F1 markets in Asia. It remains to be seen which race will be dropped from the calendar to make room for Bahrain but it is anticipated that it will either be Austria or San Marino. An announcement is expected shortly from the Shanghai city authorities about their plans for a Chinese GP in 2004.

9/14/02

Team Red Bull USA on ice?   According to the GrandPrix.com article, there was talk in the Monza paddock that Dietrich Mateschitz's plans for a Team Red Bull USA have been put on hold until 2004 as there is no obvious route for the Austrian drinks firm to take in order to fulfil its dream to have an American-flavored, Austrian-sponsored F1 operation. There is still some vague talk of a deal with the Ford Motor Company over Jaguar Racing but no sign that this is ever going to be agreed to. The question of what Red Bull does in 2003 remains open with the possibilities including a deal to put Enrique Bernoldi into one of the available seats in F1 or for Mateschitz to embark on his American dream by sponsoring either Townsend Bell or Bryan Herta at Minardi. We expect that a decision will be made in the course of the next few days.

9/14/02

NASCAR Park planned  A six-acre NASCAR-themed park with race carts, a miniature golf course, children's rides and more is on track to join the lineup at Concord Mills. South Carolina's Burroughs & Chapin Company Inc., the same developers behind Myrtle Beach's Pavilion Amusement Park and Broadway at the Beach shopping complex, announced Thursday they hope to open the NASCAR SpeedPark at the mall by summer of 2003. An indoor retail section of the complex will open at the mall on Sunday. The project will be the third SpeedPark the company has built, following the first in Myrtle Beach in 1998 and a second in Sevierville, Tenn., in 1999. Company spokesman Pat Dowling said Concord Mills was the logical choice for the first such park to be built as part of a mall complex. "It's one of North Carolina's most prominent tourist destinations," he said. "It's also NASCAR country." Built next to the mall's current movie theater, it will be a blend of indoor and outdoor attractions. It's slated to have about 30,000 square feet of indoor space on the lower level and an undetermined amount of space on an upper level, mall officials said.

9/14/02

BMW breaks 19,000 RPM   BMW breaks barrier: The BMW V10 engine broke the 19,000-rpm barrier during qualifying with both Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher hitting 19,050 rpm in their Williams-BMWs on Saturday. This is the first time a F1 engine has revved more than 19,000 rpm on a planned basis.  Nineteen-thousand revolutions a minute means 9,500 ignitions per minute per cylinder. That translates to 158 ignitions per second for each cylinder, or one ignition every six-thousandths of a second. A production engine reaches about one-third of this engine speed. .

9/14/02
Industry News

G-Force announces expansion, hires Lola staff  The American manufacturer will have a new name, a new logo, an exciting new car and a dramatically expanded technical team - moves which aim to put the car in victory lane on a regular basis in 2003. G Force owner Don Panoz made the announcements today at Texas Motor Speedway on the eve of the final round of the 2002 IRL championship. >From next season, the G Force will be known as a "Panoz G Force", reflecting the unprecedented commitment the company owner has placed in the Indy Racing League program. As part of that commitment, Panoz G Force has dramatically expanded its design and technical team. New appointments include Chief Executive Officer, David Bowes; Chief Designer, Simon Marshall and Technical Consultant, Ben Bowlby. The trio previously worked at Lola where they were extensively involved in that company's CART program. They join forces with Panoz G Force's existing team led by Director of Sales, John Biddlecombe; Chief Aerodynamicist, Tony Tyler and Technical Consultant, Nigel Bennett. The technical team were also joined at the media conference today by Elan Motor Sports Technologies President, Tony Mastandrea and Panoz Motor Sports Group President and COO, Scott Atherton. Panoz today unveiled the new company logo as well as giving a sneak preview of the 2003 Indy Racing League challenger - the first IRL design to be known as the Panoz G Force. "The level of competition in the Indy Racing League has increased remarkably and we believed our commitment to the program needed to reflect that," Panoz G Force owner, Don Panoz said. "Over the past 12 months, we have closely examined every area of G Force and have worked towards providing significant improvements in design, manufacturing and customer service. "We are totally committed to ensuring the new Panoz G Force car is undisputed as the chassis of choice for IRL competition. Our target is the IRL championship and the Indy 500 - that is our complete goal. "We have gone out and recruited the best people to greatly enhance our technical capabilities.

9/14/02

Fernandez steaming hot  Adrian Fernandez does not get too upset often, but after being penalized for a pit speed violation today he was so mad he ignored the black flag and was disqualified.  After the race he stormed off.  Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director, explains: “Based on my quotes from yesterday, all of us at Fernandez Racing had high expectations for today and felt as though we had two competitive cars. Shinji’s probably described it best. He was getting in a rhythm and, after a couple of successful stops, moved into a competitive position. We were settling in to have a decent day, and then we had the accident in Turn Four. Adrian’s day was obviously very eventful towards the end. Prior to that, I was very pleased with the pit stop performance of the team as we gained four positions to where Adrian was consistently running in seventh. With two more stops to go, we thought things would work out for a strong finish. On our fifth stop, we were in the middle of a group of cars going for the start line of the second stage of the pit lane speed and Adrian was probably a millisecond late in hitting the button. We were caught for speeding with an 87 in an 85 zone and the resulting penalty was to go to the back of the field. There were several cars that were caught in the zone today. The two-stage limiter is something that we only use on the ovals since the tragedy at Germany last year. With everything as competitive as it is, a tenth of a second here and there can mean the difference between first and 12th place. It was a very minor mistake with an excessive penalty.”

9/14/02

levitt-kennyleads.jpgTickets sale excuses for Rockingham UPDATE Attendance at Rockingham was announced as 27,000, but that looked generous to us. Yet another oval track failure?  Apparently so.  It should be noted that attendance at last weekends IRL Chicagoland race (45,000 estimated), though certainly better than today's CART race, was lower than the previous year (even though it was announced as a sellout because all tickets were bundled with Winston Cup tickets) indicating the downward trend in open wheel oval track racing has not abated. After coming off a series of successful road course races, CART will likely move even quicker to become an all-road racing series based on today's dismal results.   9/13/02 - [Editors Note: Is this an indication this race will move to Brands Hatch as rumored? European fans want to see road racing, and the fact the promoter was counting on US Servicemen to fill the seats doesn't bode well for oval racing in Europe.  Even ASCAR attendance has been soft at Rockingham, in a country where race fans understand the skill required to drive a road course vs. ovals, this despite a great finish at Rockingham last year.]  According to this Reuters article, ticket sales for Saturday's Rockingham 500 round of America's CART race series have been affected by the possible U.S.-led military action into Iraq, according to the circuit's chairman Peter Middleton. Middleton said that around 30,000 tickets had been sold for the British round of the motor racing series at Rockingham, which holds 52,000, but claimed that potential military strikes had directly affected sales. "There are a lot of American servicemen and women based in England who are now on alert in case anything happens," Middleton told Reuters. "If things were different, we are sure they would have been here to see the Champ Cars and the race would have been a sell-out. "We have built up a great relationship with seven or eight American bases and we were anticipating block bookings of several thousand people. "Three weeks ago, though, they said they didn't know what their plans might be because they were going to be on alert for the anniversary of September 11. The Iraq situation added to that."

9/14/02

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9/14/02

Villeneuve Slams BAR Tactics  [Editors Note:  Is this because a move to CART is still being pushed at the highest levels?]  The relationship between British American Racing and Jacques Villeneuve has continued to deteriorate at the Italian Grand Prix. In recent weeks, the 1997 world champion and Craig Pollock have been fending off speculation that the Canadian is set to return to US-based CART Racing. BAR chief Dave Richards, sensing a chance to redistribute Villeneuve's lucrative salary to chassis development, has been encouraging his lead driver to make the move. With the offer rejected, however, the new team principal is forced to honour the final installation in Jacques' $20 million per annum, three-year contract. And the pair's clashing personalities, all the while, continue to send sparks flying. An irate Villeneuve says that Richards reluctance to confirm him as Jenson Button's 2003 teammate is simply 'Playing with the media.' 'It is becoming very tiring,' he said at Monza yesterday. 'It shows that the energy of the team is not spent in the right areas. 'It is ridiculous, I don't understand it,' Villeneuve continues. 'I have known forever, for a long, long time ... there has never been a discussion going on because I had no reason to re-negotiate my contract. 'This is just making a joke of it, it's playing with the media and if that is what the team wants to do that is not my problem.' Nonetheless, Jacques is willing to admit that his days with British American Racing appear numbered beyond the terms of his 2003 agreement. 'I will need a good season (next year),' he adds disconsolately. 'It is obvious that I will not be wanted here,' he continues, 'So I'll have to do a good job to get a contract with another team the year after.' 'I don't think it is fair actually,' Villeneuve continues to gripe. 'After having worked hard here since the beginning and after having stuck with the team when there were other good opportunities I find it very unfair. 'But that's life.' Villeneuve joined BAR in 1999, as friend and team founder Craig Pollock set about the task in building a custom-made, 'Ferrari-like' outfit for the French-Canadian. Four years on, Pollock has been ousted and Villeneuve looks set to follow him out the door.

9/14/02

Montoya to the front in final Monza practice   Juan Pablo Montoya of Williams nipped Ferrari's Michael Schumacher by 0.009s in the final free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix. Montoya was right on the limit in the 45-minute session, while Schumacher was in his usual routine of steadily chipping away at his fastest mark. The German lowered the quickest time to 1m21.328s, but a late flyer by Montoya nipped him by 0.009s - both well inside last year's pole.

9/14/02

Andretti leads morning warm-up in England   Michael Andretti had the quick time to set the pace in the 30-minute, pre-race warm-up session for today's Sure For Men Rockingham 500, Round 15 of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series. Driving the Motorola Honda/Lola, Andretti toured the 1.479-mile Rockingham oval with a top time of 25.205 seconds, good for an average speed of 211.244 miles per hour. Tora Takagi was second fastest in the Pioneer/Denso Special Toyota/Reynard and Patrick Carpentier was third in the Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard. Takagi had a top time of 25.221 seconds (211.110 mph) while Carpentier had a top time of 25.299 seconds (210.459 mph). Rounding out the top five were Jimmy Vasser at 25.329 seconds (210.210 mph) in the Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola and Adrian Fernandez at 25.355 seconds (209.994 mph) in the Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola.  Next up is the pre-race show, set to begin at 8 a.m. ET, followed by live coverage of the race at 8:30 a.m. ET--both on SPEED Channel.

  Much More...click on 2002 archives button below

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