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10/28/02

Josh Beaulieu Flies in First Toyota Atlantic Test  Barber Dodge Pro Series racer Josh Beaulieu had his first taste of a Toyota Atlantic Swift 014.a today, testing with Michael Shank Racing at Buttonwillow Raceway. Beaulieu, a resident of Langley, British Columbia, completed 130 miles during his very first visit to the Buttonwillow circuit, posting a best lap of 57.3 seconds on scrubbed tires – a time less than a half-second from the unofficial track record. Team owner Michael Shank commented on the test: "I was really impressed with Josh today. I knew he had shown a lot of speed last year in Barber Dodge, but what really opened my eyes was his approach and willingness to put in the kind of effort that it takes to completely understand these cars from the engineering standpoint. He worked extremely well with our engineers and responded with a real quick time on a day when there were more experienced drivers on the track with him. Overall, I would say that he easily surpassed all of our goals for him and showed his outright speed in a very short amount of time." "Of course I am very pleased about the way the test went," said Beaulieu. "We were running on scrubbed tires all day, so I think there is plenty of room for improvement. The car was working quite well, and to be honest I found the grip in the braking zones unbelievable compared to anything else I have raced. I thought the team did a great job, and these guys really showed they are gearing for a run at the title next season. I don’t yet know if the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship is in the cards for me next season, but we are working very hard to put a deal together." Michael Shank Racing is based in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, (near Columbus) and has been a full-time competitor in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship since 1996 with drivers such as Sam Hornish Jr., Kenny Wilden, Martin Basso, Rodolfo Lavin, Ryan Dalziel, Sepp Koster and Bruno St-Jacques. Josh Beaulieu, in his second year of professional auto racing, has established himself among the next generation of Canada’s racing stars. You can find out more about Josh’s career by visiting his website www.joshbeaulieu.com.

10/28/02

Details on new rules  Fans attending next year’s United States Grand Prix weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and other Formula One events will get to see a dramatic, new two-day qualifying system in which the drivers will run one at a time, just one of the rule changes on which the FIA Formula One Commission has agreed for 2003.  The Commission met Oct. 28 in London and decided on these regulation changes:
Qualifying
There will be two qualifying sessions -- Friday and Saturday, both between 1 and 2 p.m. Qualifying to be one flying lap for each car, cars to run one at a time. The running order on Friday will follow the championship standings (previous year at first race), with championship leader going out first, second in championship running second, and so on. The running order on Saturday will be determined by the Friday times (which do not count for the grid), so that the fastest on Friday runs last on Saturday, the second fastest second last, and so on.
Practice schedule
This will remain Friday: 11 a.m.-noon; Saturday: 9-9:45 a.m. and 10:15-11 a.m.
Testing
Provided that by Dec. 15 at least three teams indicate to the FIA not to run more than 10 car-days of private testing between March 1-Nov. 1, the teams which agree to this can test at each event from 9-11 a.m. Friday and may use their spare car and their test driver during this period.
World Championship points
From 2003, points will be awarded down to eighth place on the scale 10:8:6:5:4:3:2:1. Previously, points were awarded to sixth place on the scale 10:6:4:3:2:1.
Team orders
Team orders that interfere with the race result are prohibited.
The 2003 Belgian Grand Prix
In the absence of unanimous agreement by the teams to run at the 2003 Belgian Grand Prix without tobacco advertising, this event has been removed from the World Championship calendar.
Tires
Each team will be allowed to use two different dry tires at each event. Previously, each tire company could supply only the same two dry tires to each of its teams. Teams will continue to be limited to 10 sets of dry tires per event. Only one type of wet tire can be used per event.

10/28/02

CART stock watch 

In Today's NYSE trading in MPH
MPH closed at $4.50 Down $0.40 per share on Volume of 80,000 shares.
$3.89 Bid / $4.86 Asked on close.
$4.50 Low / $4.91 the High trades for the session.
MPH value per share Down 8.16%
DOW-Jones Down 0.9%
NASDAQ Down 1.16%
S&P 500 Down 0.83%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe, Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

10/28/02

Atlanta overnight TV rating  NBC Sports’ coverage of the NASCAR Winston Cup NAPA 500 from the Atlanta Motor Speedway, the fastest track on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit, earned a 4.2 rating/8 share in the overnights for its rain-delayed coverage (3:30 - 6:15 p.m. ET), according to Nielsen Media Research. The NAPA 500, which was delayed for 2-1/2 hours and ultimately shortened to 248 of the scheduled 325 laps due to rain, clocked a five percent increase over last year’s 4.0/9 in the overnights. The race peaked at a 4.9/9 at 5:30 p.m. ET as Kurt Busch, who also won last weekend at Martinsville, claimed his third victory of the year.

10/28/02

Engine Management malfunction did in Visteon car  Following a thorough investigation of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing car it has been determined that the cause of the fire that ended the team’s Honda Indy 300 yesterday in Surfer’s Paradise, Australia was an engine management system malfunction according to Visteon/Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee. “Following the race the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing car was brought back to the garage area where we did a thorough examination to determine the cause of the fire that forced the car from the race,” McGee said. “After examining the damage and reviewing all the data we have determined that the engine management system malfunctioned and that caused an exhaust system failure. The result was a fire in the engine compartment. It is unfortunate because the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team worked very hard to prepare the car for the race and we felt we had a competitive racecar and solid race/pit strategy. Even though the weather conditions prevented the race from being contested on the track, we felt that had we finished the race our strategy would have produced a top-five finish,” McGee concluded.

10/28/02

Marlin definitely out rest of season  Dr. Jerry Petty, neurosurgeon, and Dr. Dom Coric, spinal injury specialist, of the Carolina Neurological and Spinal Injury Clinic, performed a medical update on Sterling Marlin the morning of Monday, October 28. Marlin, who suffered a non-displaced fracture of the #2 cervical vertebra as a result of his accident at Kansas Speedway on September 29, is progressing well with the healing. Marlin's MRI clearly showed the first steps of healing of the C2 vertebra. He must continue to wear the Aspen collar, which keeps the cervical vertebrae stable, for two more weeks and will then be reevaluated. Marlin is on schedule to be back in the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge for 2003 Winston Cup testing. "The MRI showed the best case scenario," said Dr. Dom Coric, M.D. "Sterling is on target to make the recovery we want him to make." Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates certified athletic trainer, Al Shuford M.Ed,A.T.,C.-L, will begin the first steps of physical training in re-strengthening Marlin's neck. Jamie McMurray will continue to replace Marlin in the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge for the remainder of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season. McMurray will pilot the Havoline Dodge for the Ganassi team in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season.

10/28/02

Happy Birthday Bernie  F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone turns 72 today and they had a birthday cake for him at today's F1 meeting.   Photos from meeting.

10/28/02

F1 meeting - Spa loses date, qualifying changes  Formula 1 qualifying in 2003 will see just one lap per driver, similar to American oval track racing where 2 laps per driver are allowed. This was the most radical decision made during Monday's F1 meeting. The current one-hour qualifying format will be replaced by two one-hour sessions - one on Friday and one on Saturday. Friday's session will determine the order the cars run on Saturday. Rather than allow any and all cars on the circuit during the sessions, the cars will be sent out one at a time for one flying lap. Next season will also see a change to the F1 points scoring system with points awarded to the top eight in 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 order. Team orders 'that affect overall race results' will be outlawed. Testing has been cut back, which allows teams who agree with the FIA to test for 10 days or less during the season being granted two additional hours of running on the Friday of a GP. This proposal will only take place if three or more teams sign up to the agreement. The tire manufacturers – currently Michelin and Bridgestone – will be allowed to supply each team with two different compounds at each race, rather than two compounds for all their teams as is currently the case. As predicted, the Belgian GP at Spa has been stripped of its place on the 2003 F1 calendar. No race will take its place, leaving just 16 rounds next year.   Photos from meeting.

10/28/02

What to rename CART?  Dear AutoRacing1.com - With all the talk about the CART series being renamed, the best I could come up with is The American Grand Prix Series, a la ALMS.  Makes clear the association to F1, as well as the American-ness (which can be interpreted as Pan-American). American F1, on the other hand, seems a little hokey. It's clearly not F1.   (F2?) Putting that in the name would have the effect of stigmatizing the series as clearly inferior. Wanna-bees. A concession I don't think necessary or desirable. Wes Barton  Dear Barton, AR1 likes F1A for Formula 1 Americas.  The term "Formula 1" is branded and if Bernie ever allows the use of Formula 1 as part of the CART name (won't happen unless Bernie owns it), it would go a long way towards getting the average person on the street to understand what form of racing the CART series is.  CART or Champ Cars are not branded, never were, never will be.  The American GP series as you suggest, is certainly not a bad idea either because most people associate "grand prix" with open wheel road racing.  AR1 Staff

10/28/02

Williams takes swipe at Ecclestone  Williams F1 team boss Sir Frank Williams,  talked to Richard Williams, Guardian journalist over the weekend.  He had this to say about Bernie Ecclestone's decision to sell 75% of F1 a couple of years ago: "If so much money hadn't been taken out (of the series and into Bernie's pocket), and if the revenues had been split more appropriately, there wouldn't be so much woe," says Williams.

10/28/02

Williams talks about changes  Williams F1 team boss Sir Frank Williams,  talked to Richard Williams, Guardian journalist over the weekend.  He had this to say - "It's arguably the most important meeting we've ever had," Williams says of today's meeting at Heathrow. "Formula one doesn't need much of a makeover but it does have to provide something that persuades people to switch on. Television exposure drives the flow of revenue into formula one. Without that, we can't do what we want.   "The whole thing is born out of the fact that one team is utterly dominant," Williams says of the proposals that are up for discussion. "Unfortunately in one of that team's cars is a driver who is superior to his peers. The trouble is that Michael is racing seven days a week and the rest are not. They think a bit about the cars but mainly, if they're not testing, they relax and enjoy themselves. Michael is a machine. Formula one is suffering because of it, but it's not his fault.  "I don't wish to discount in your newspaper every single one of the proposals submitted by the FIA," he continues. "But the one that is most discussed and dismissed is the one of ballast." He then comments on Mosley's plan to have drivers 'swap' teams. "It's another attempt to mix up the grid but it's not a practical idea," he says.   On the issue of limiting teams to one engine: "The idea is to cause upset on the grid and save money," says Williams. "But how do you explain to someone watching the last race of the season, with Michael and Juan Pablo going for the championship, that Michael's been pushed back to the fifth row of the grid because his engine broke in the warm-up? It might give you a great race but it would ruin the championship."  And aerodynamics? "Aerodynamics are the biggest single factor in the car's performance," says the man whose cars have won 9 Constructors' and 7 Drivers' titles. "It would mean that if you turned up in Australia for the first race of the season and you'd got your calculations wrong, you'd be out of the championship. It would be won by the time you were allowed to change your car."  Williams likes the idea of changing qualifying: "I don't think you'll find many people against that," he says. "And it's easy to adopt."  As for the proposal regarding the standardization of various components: "We're interested in that," he responds. "We're not just a bunch of no-nos. We have diverse interests but we realize that we want to grow revenues by making the show more attractive while exerting strong downward pressure on costs." "We also need to improve the ability of the circuits to promote overtaking," he adds. "It's not a matter of giving Max something to announce to the world. It's important to come out with something that genuinely moves the business on.   "The best should be the best," says Williams a man who wants to see his cars dominating the sport because they're the best not because the rules favor them and handicap their rivals. "I don't want Williams to be humiliated by having to get Ferrari to help us. We're not in that business. We'd rather take the pain."

10/28/02

Justin Wilson to CART or F1  Autosport asked Justin Wilson - Q: And what of next year, anything signed yet?  "I don't know at the moment. I'd like to go to America, I'd like to go to Formula 1. Whatever happens, happens really. I think both are good options and trying to choose between them is not so easy. There's a lot of talk going on at the moment about CART and people saying it's on its way out, but I still feel there's a lot of enthusiasm and I reckon that it's at the bottom of its lull. There's been a lot of negative talk, but I believe next year it will be strong, especially as everybody will be using the same engines. There are a lot of teams talking about going to CART, but these words just need to be put into action. I'm a little bit concerned with what's going on with Formula 1 at the moment. I can't believe that there are keep that are trying for force Minardi out for the sake of what is to them peanuts. It's disgraceful."

10/28/02

Minardi Day  5,000 enthusiastic Minardi fans were treated to a day of non-stop F1 action at the Imola circuit on the weekend. A fleet of four two-seater machines were the highlight of the program as Alex Yoong, Matteo Bobbi, Giorgio Pantano, and team boss Paul Stoddart took a total of 39 passengers on the ride of a lifetime. Russian ace Sergey Zlobin was also in action in last year's PS01 contender. 'What a great way to end a memorable year,' Stoddart said.

10/28/02

Montoya officially wed  Juan Pablo Montoya married fiancé Connie Freydell in Cartagena, Colombia, on Saturday afternoon. Over 300 guests attended the ceremony, including close South American compatriot Rubens Barrichello, of Ferrari. 'I am very happy,' he reported. 'But this will not change my approach to racing!'

10/28/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Growing Support For Historic Spa
Jean Todt Eyeing Retirement
Aggressive Tactics Press On Reform
Bernoldi Stirs Heated Dispute
One-Engine Rule To Be Scrapped?
Panic Grips Formula One World
Irvine Slams 'Stupid' Ideas
Stoddart Seals Verstappen Deal?
Driver Swaps: Are They Serious?
F1 News In Brief

 10/27/02

Said caps off dominant season with a win   Boris Said is simply not a sentimental guy. After a Trans-Am Series season in which he: A) recorded the first-ever victory for the Panoz Esperante; B) earned the 100th Trans-Am Series victory for Ford; C) became only the third driver in the 37-year history of the series to win as many as eight races in a season; and D) claimed his first Trans-Am Series championship, Said only seemed interested in his next ride. “I’m never going to look back on that stuff; I’m just not the type,” Said explained after claiming his eighth victory of the year in Sunday’s season-ending VIR Speedfest Trans-Am 100 Presented by the Justin Bell GT Motorsports Experience at Virginia International Raceway. “I like racing. I like winning races. To go out and run side-by-side, like we had the chance to do today … that’s what it’s all about for me.” Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Ford Mustang), who wrapped up the 2002 BFGoodrich Tires Cup two weeks ago at Road Atlanta, switched from his normal Panoz to a Mustang for the final weekend of the campaign, and made history for the folks at Ford in the process. Said’s victory was the first for the Mustang since he drove it to the checkered flag in the 2001 season opener at Sebring, and the 100th in Ford’s storied Trans-Am Series history, which dates to 1966. Sunday’s win became possible after Said took the lead from Tony Ave (#53 Trilithic Panoz Esperante) heading into the first turn on the 26th of 31 laps and went on to a 4.902-second victory, Said’s series-high eighth of the season and fifth in a row. Said became only the third driver in 37 years of Trans-Am competition to post as many as eight victories in a season, joining Tom Kendall (11 in 1997) and the late Mark Donohue (10 in 1968). His victory enabled him to finish the season with 359 championship points, and podium finishes in 10 of 11 starts. “This is a big deal for [team owner] Mike Davis and the whole ACS Express team,” Said commented. “It says a lot that in only three years, they’ve built a championship team. I’m just the guy who gets to have the fun, and not only do we win races, our cars don’t break. That’s really something..

 10/27/02

Aussie attendance tops 297,000   3rd UPDATE The Sunday race-day crowd was held down due to day-long torrential rains in Surfers Paradise, but still 103,351 people sat in the rain to watch the race.  That brought the weekend total attendance to 297,808.  Only the heavy rains prevented the total number from exceeding the 300,000+ that was predicted.  We're sure this huge attendance got the attention of one Mr. Bernie Ecclestone. The IRL does not have any races, sans the Indy 500, that gets an attendance even close to these numbers.  Mexico City is in three weeks time, where it's predicted CART will top 500,000 for the weekend.  While we think that is a bit high, one never knows, as a Mexican, Mario Dominguez,  won the Australia race. 10/26/02 - A massive crowd of 81,048 watched Saturday qualifying bringing the weekend total up to 194,457.  A race day crowd of 116,000 would bring the total to over 300,000.  Stay tuned....  10/25/02 - A Friday crowd of 60,340 brings the weekend total attendance to 113,409 with the two biggest days yet to come.  10/24/02 - A crowd of 53,069 come through the gates on Thursday in Surfers - a number that was an 11 percent increase from last year's opening-day crowd.   Considering Thursday is a work day and the Champ Cars were not on the track yet, the weekend goal of topping 300,000 looks assured.

10/27/02

First Red Bull driver already in Europe  Grant Maiman, one of the four drivers chosen for the inaugural Red Bull F1 Driver Search, left for Zurich, Switzerland, Thursday, Oct. 24 to join Jenzer Motorsport GmbH, a leading Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup team, to begin testing over the next several weeks. (Go to their website for team history.)   Seat-fitting will happen over the weekend, and Maiman will be on track by Monday. With the Jenzer deal done, Red Bull Energy Drink is in the process of negotiating the other deals with teams in other European championships for the addition winners, Paul Edwards of Santa Maria, Calif., Joel Nelson of Reno, Nev., and Scott Speed of Manteca, Calif.; an announcement identifying these teams will follow shortly. Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup is a single-marque series. All cars are the same Tatuus chassis powered by Renault 2.0-liter engines making 180h.p. Formula Renault has recently produced such drivers as McLaren¹s Kimi Raikkonen. (The website). Maiman was driving from his hometown in Wisconsin to Daytona Beach, Fla., where he shares an apartment with another racer, when he got the call from Maxim Sports Management about the Jenzer deal getting done: "You¹re headed to Switzerland Thursday, break out the passport again!" Maiman said, "Great, I¹m ready to rock. FedEx me some clean underwear, okay?"

10/27/02

Williams for ballast, BMW against it  UPDATE It appears Williams engine supplier, BMW, does not agree with Frank - BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Theissen, has said he opposes the idea of success ballast as team bosses prepare for the FIA showdown tomorrow. But Theissen disagrees. "We want to beat Ferrari because we perform better and not because our opponent is slowed down by putting led at their cars," he told a German newspaper. However, he agrees that change is needed to improve ‘the show’. "An upvalued Friday, more excitement, passing maneuvers and spectacular racing scenes, a view behind the scenes – some suggestions go in this direction, we support that."  10/27/02 -  Talking to British tabloid The Sun, Frank Williams now says that perhaps adding a leader penalty ballast could be the answer, if only as a last resort, to improve the show in F1.  Previously he was against making changes.  "As a last resort I would agree to the adding of ballast for success," he says. "But only if it was demonstrated this was the only element which would save Formula One."  The handicap idea is Ecclestone's brainchild, while Mosley is the man behind the 'driver swap' proposal.  "Max and Bernie are harrying the teams like a pack of hounds terrorizing a flock of sheep," adds Williams. "I just hope there will be plenty of clear thinking."

 10/27/02

Fernández to miss Fontana  UPDATE Fernández was transported to Gold Coast Hospital for precautionary x-rays after experiencing pain in the base of his neck. Although an initial CT scan came back negative, additional tests were performed due to Fernandez's discomfort. Per Dr. Steve Olvey, CART Director of Medical Affairs: "After further CT scanning, Adrian has two thoracic fractures at T-2 and T-3 [below the neck]. They do not require surgery and there is no risk to the spinal column. He will be wearing a cervical collar for comfort and will keep his flight [to the United States] tomorrow. "He will not be able to drive [next weekend] at Fontana, and the question of Mexico City will determined later in the week." Fernandez has been released from the hospital. "It's unfortunate that once again I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Fernandez. "The visibility was zero and everyone was being extra cautious. I was hit from behind and Tora's car landed on top of my head. It could have killed me. It was one of those things. It is unfortunate about Fontana, and I hope that I will feel a lot better and will be able to race in Mexico City. That decision will be up to the doctors and we won't know until next week."   We wonder if Max Papis will be called upon to replace Adrian at Fontana.  10/27/02 - Adrian Fernandez has been released from the Surfers Paradise hospital where all X-Rays proved negative.  He was involved in the big accident at the start of the CART FedEx race in Surfers Paradise.

 10/27/02

Tora Takagi fractures hip  UPDATE  Takagi suffered minor fractures to his pelvis but will be able to race in Fontana if his comfort level allows him to get in the car. 10/27/02 - Tora Takagi has a fractured pelvis from the Surfers Paradise  accident at the start of the CART FedEx race in Surfers Paradise.  He is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

 10/27/02

Toyota wins Manufacturers championship  Kenny Brack finished fourth at Surfers to give Toyota it’s first CART Manufacturer’s Championship to go along with the Driver’s Championship already won by Toyota driver Cristiano da Matta. With two races remaining, Toyota holds an insurmountable 45-point lead, 300-255 over Honda. On the way to clinching the title, Toyota has won a series-high nine races to go along with 11 pole positions. The manufacturer also has led a series-leading 1075 laps - more than 50 percent of those run this season. Every Toyota-powered driver has earned at least one fourth-place finish or better this season. Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: “We’re thrilled to win the CART Manufacturer’s Championship against some fierce competition. I can’t say enough about all those involved in the effort – everyone at Toyota, TRD and our teams and drivers.”

10/27/02

Irvine's solutions to F1 woes   Jaguar Racing driver Eddie Irvine gave his opinions on how to improve the sport. Many radical ideas have been suggested in the wake of Ferrari's dominant season but not all of them have met with positive responses. "They have to do something fairly quickly and they have to overrule the interests of the big teams," said Irvine. "But I don't agree with the weight penalty. Why give Ferrari $30 million of the TV money compared to a team like Minardi which they then spend on testing and aerodynamics to make their car go quicker, and then put 30kg of lead in to take away that $30 million of investment? It's just stupid." Irvine suggests that the best way of evening up the playing field would be to limit the amount of money that the leading teams receive through television coverage, at the same time limiting their airtime thus forcing the sponsors to rethink their levels of investment. "Spreading the TV money more evenly would help," explained Irvine. "Why give Ferrari most of the TV money? It doesn't make sense. They are only one eleventh of the show or whatever. The whole thing is about making the rich richer and the poor poorer and wrecking the TV show as much as possible. It's not just a case of reducing costs, it's reducing the amount of money that certain teams have. "The TV show could be better if you just ignore Ferrari, because they're not racing, and concentrate on the guys who are racing -- McLaren, Williams, Jordan, Jaguar. Forget about Ferrari, they're about trivializing F1.  Just take them off camera and Marlboro, Vodafone and all those people will soon alter the team policy. Probably within an hour you'll get results!" The outspoken Ulsterman is also of the opinion that the sport badly needs a big personality to draw in the crowds in the mould of a Senna, Alesi or even an Agassi! "A lot of the drivers don't have anything to say. When you think about last year, F1 got rid of Jean Alesi, who was one of the biggest names in F1 ever, even though he'd only won one race. He was a huge draw and they just let him go and recruited a whole load of youngsters who don't really do a lot for the sport. Some of them are good, but who's going to go to Wimbledon if there's no Pete Sampras or Andre Agassi? It doesn't take a lot of working out. People are interested in names." Another possible way of evening things up is, according to Irvine, by limiting teams to one tire formula over a race weekend with all teams using the same tire manufacturer. "Maybe there should be a one tire formula, although in a lot of cases the racing might be better with two because sometimes one company has a big advantage in the race compared to qualifying," said Irvine. "It can spice the racing up. But it would be more of a level playing field if one tire company pays to supply the tires for all the teams and the money is divided. Taking off the electronics won't make any difference because it didn't help the racing before. The big problem is you can't follow the guy in front because of the aerodynamics." Irvine's final suggestion is to restrict the amount of testing that teams are allowed to do, limiting everybody to the same mileage. "I would give everyone 3000km of testing, or some other agreed figure, and that's for the year. Ferrari did three times as much testing as us this year, so you take away the advantage of someone being able to run three test teams. Limiting testing reduces their ability to buy performance. I would also limit the number of people teams can bring to a race. If you do that you also limit the amount of stuff they bring, because there's not the people to operate it." -jaguar-

 10/27/02

Big accident stops Honda Indy 300  2nd UPDATE The rain has stopped temporarily and the race cars are back on the track for a restart.  The race will restart under the caution.  10/27/02 - CART is deciding whether or not to restart the race because the rain is falling heavily and lightening has begun.  Dr. Steve Olvey reported that Takagi may have a fractured pelvis and Fernandez is also going to the hospital for X-Rays. 10/27/02 - A big accident at the start line of the Honda Indy 300 under heavy rain has caused a red-flag.  About 8 cars were involved with cars flipping and spinning everywhere.  Adrian Fernandez was taken to the hospital complaining of slight pain in his neck, though he said he was OK.  Tora Takagi is trapped in his car upside as the medics work on him.  Reports are that his injuries are not life threatening, but he is complaining of pain in his pelvic area and has been transported to a nearby hospital for X-Rays.

10/27/02

Summary of F1 Hot News, week of October 21st  Here is a summary of the F1 Hot news items from the past week.

10/27/02

Hornish & Lazier test 2003 Chevy  Days of rain at Kentucky Speedway were followed by the roar of Chevy thunder as drivers Sam Hornish Jr. and Jaques Lazier successfully completed the first track test of the all-new 2003 Chevy Indy V8 engine. Hornish, the two-time and reigning Indy Racing League champion, ran more than 208 trouble-free miles in Pennzoil Panther Racing's Chevrolet Dallara. Lazier completed 82 laps on the 1.5-mile superspeedway in Team Menard's Johns Manville Chevrolet Dallara before darkness ended the test.  Story

 10/26/02

Hayner takes pole in Virginia   Stuart Hayner made his last lap his best one Saturday when he claimed the pole position for Sunday’s final round of the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup at Virginia International Raceway (1 p.m. ET, live, SPEED Channel). Hayner (#02 Trenton Forging Chevrolet Corvette) knocked 2002 Trans-Am Series champion Boris Said off the pole when he recorded a lap of 107.675 miles per hour (1 minute, 49.329 seconds) on his final trip around the 3.27-mile permanent road course. Hayner’s time was just 19 one-thousandths of a second better than that of Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Ford Mustang), who will join Hayner on the front row following a lap of 1:49.348 (107.656). “This [Revolution Motorsports] team has grown so much, especially when you consider that one year ago we didn’t even have a team,” said Hayner, who earned two championship points and the Jaguar Pole Award after collecting his second pole of the season. The two points pulled Hayner within four (237-233) of Johnny Miller for fourth place in the championship, and the Jaguar Pole Award gave him a second opportunity at a two-year lease on a Jaguar XKR Sports Coupe when the Jaguar Pole Award Giveaway takes place here Sunday morning. “We keep getting better and better and better,” Hayner added. “I can’t say enough for this team. They have so much faith in me, and I in them. It’s been a great relationship and you can see it in the results we’re producing on the race track.” Hayner has been remarkably consistent since late June, posting top-five results in seven of his past eight starts, including podium performances of third at Cleveland, Denver and Road Atlanta. He will be seeking his first victory of the campaign this weekend, but has come close twice, most recently earlier this month at Miami, where he held the lead going into the final lap before encountering a suspension failure. “We’ve had a lot of disappointment this season, but this isn’t my first year of doing this, and I know those kinds of things happen,” Hayner said. “When they do, you pull together as a team and come back even stronger.”

 10/26/02

Surfers race name change  UPDATE We now believe "CART" is being removed from the name of the Surfers race even though they just extended the contract through 2008 for one very simple reason - it's because CART is going to be changing its name soon - this is what we hear (perhaps this should be on the rumors page). In fact, as CART aligns with F1 (yes, we believe it may happen despites Pook's denials, read this) you will see the word 'Indy' removed from all the Canadian race names as well. CART is going to totally disassociate itself from Indy Car racing and the IRL.  Why use the word "Indy" and give the IRL free advertisements?  We have a hunch CART will change its name to something that includes the words F1 in it. F1A is our favorite - Formula 1 Americas.  Stay tuned....As for F1 running a race at Surfers, yes, in the form of a new CART/F1 series, because we don't see the Australian F1 race moving out of Melbourne anytime soon.  10/25/02 - This article in an Australian newspaper says, glamour motorsport Formula One may be brought to Surfers Paradise as part of a long-range plan by the series owner, British billionaire Bernie Ecclestone. Mr. Ecclestone is in talks with the motoring organization (which Pook has since denied), Championship Auto Racing Teams, which stages the Surfers Paradise Indy event. Yesterday, Gold Coast councilors were briefed by the city solicitor on a planned change to the Indy Act, which would remove all mention of CART. The revised Act will allow for the running of a 'Gold Coast motor race', not a Gold Coast CART race. This change will smooth the way for the entry of Formula One, which is keen to acquire 51 per cent of CART to use it as a breeding ground for future F1 drivers. Gold Coast Indy bosses have lauded the possibility of a strategic alliance with Formula One. Honda Indy 300 chairman John Cowley said that, if a Formula One deal came across the table, 'we'd certainly have to look at it'. "Our aim is to give the fans the best and we're continually improving this race," he said. Mr Cowley said the spectacular Surfers Paradise track was often compared to Monaco as a street circuit. "It could host a Formula One . . . no doubt about that," he said. In Quebec, Canada, the Molson circuit is used for both CART and F1.

10/26/02

1027TracyAirborne.jpgCART's new Mr. Excitement  Move over Michael Andretti, CART has a new Mr. Excitement.  Whereas Michael Andretti used to be the most aggressive driver on the CART, attacking curbs and letting it all hang out, while becoming CART's winningest driver in history, Paul Tracy has taken over the role of Mr. Excitement.  Here he flies over the curbs in Surfers Paradise, not unlike Michael Andretti used to do when he was capable of winning races on the CART circuit.  Unfortunately Andretti's winning ways on road circuits are long behind him, and he's heading to the IRL where whether you win or lose has more to do with what you are driving than how you are driving it.

10/26/02

Final Martinsville TV rating  The final rating for NBC's coverage of the Old Dominion 500 from Martinsville yielded a 4.4 rating and 10 share, reaching 4,722,000 households, up sharply from the overnight rating of 3.9. The Martinsville rating built steadily throughout the telecast, peaking with a 5.0/11 from 3:30 - 4 p.m. ET. There is no comparison to last year, which was rain-delayed on TNT on a Monday. The race was the 9th ranked sporting event on over-the-air TV for the week. Overall, NASCAR ratings on NBC & TNT are up 13 percent from last year's 3.8 rating to this year's 4.3 national rating and 10 share.

10/26/02

Remainder of 2002 testing schedules 

Ferrari
November 26-28th Barcelona
December 3-5th Barcelona
December 12-15th Jerez
Williams
November 26-30th Valencia
December 3-5th Barcelona
December 12-14th Jerez
McLaren
November 26-28th Valencia
December 3-5th Barcelona
December 10-14th Jerez
Renault
November 26-28th Valencia
December 3-5th Barcelona
December 10-14th Jerez
Sauber
November 26-28th Valencia
December 6-8th Jerez
December 11-13th Barcelona
Jaguar
November 26-28th Valencia
December 3-5th Barcelona
December 10-14th Jerez
BAR
November 26-28th Barcelona
December 3-5th Barcelona
December 12-15th Jerez
Toyota
November 26-28th Valencia
December 2-5th Paul Ricard and Barcelona

 10/26/02
Industry News

Nazareth downsizes staff  A consolidation of operations of Nazareth and Watkins Glen speedways has resulted in four Nazareth employees, including general manager Bill Darcy, losing their jobs. But Craig Rust, who serves as president at both Nazareth and Watkins Glen, said that even behind the dark cloud of downsizing is a silver lining that can mean a more efficient and streamlined operation at both facilities. ''It's unfortunate that we brought him all the way back up here for only six months,'' Rust said of Darcy, who will be assigned to another position in International Speedways Corp., which owns 12 tracks and has a controlling interest in another. Darcy, for whom the April 1 move from the ISC corporate marketing department in Florida to the G.M. spot in Nazareth was a kind of homecoming — he graduated from Moravian College — will be at Nazareth for about two more months in the transition period. His future assignment is undetermined. Mike Preston, senior manager of public relations at Nazareth, will remain and may see his duties increased. At the same time, Tim Coleman, general manager of operations at Watkins Glen, also will take on those responsibilities at Nazareth. ''This is a business decision that makes a lot of sense, especially considering the close proximity of the two tracks,'' said Rust, who took the Watkins Glen presidency in the spring of this year. ''I have been overseeing Watkins Glen for six or seven months now. We wanted to see if we could make work on a sales and marketing level. That was successful. Now we are moving forward. We have a good staff between the two tracks, and we have resources we didn't have before.''.

10/26/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

A Crucial Day For Formula One
Da Matta Set For F1 Switch
Axe Falls On Historic Spa
CART Deny Formula One Merger
All Is Rosy At Jordan?
F1 News In Brief

 10/26/02

Michael Andretti feeling his age  Michael Andretti was shocked when he heard the fast laps some of the best drivers in the world were turning at Surfers today, namely Bruno Junqueira and Cristiano da Matta.  He was overheard on his radio saying, "wow, I can't go that fast." He ended up a whopping 2.2 seconds off of pole  We have long maintained that road racing is all about fast reflexes and 40-year old Michael Andretti appears to have lost them, consistently qualifying in the back-half of the field at all the road courses.  He should fare much better in the 100% throttle racing in the IRL, where the car is far more important than the driver.

 10/26/02

CART surpasses 2 millionth fan for 2003  The two-millionth fan to attend a CART FedEx Championship Series event in 2002 came through the gates of the Surfers Paradise street course Saturday, but the experience was nothing new for Nives Ceccato. Ceccato, a resident of Mermaid Waters, a suburb of the Gold Coast, came through the front gates at approximately 12:06 p.m. Saturday to raise the season's attendance count to 2,000,000 through the first 17-plus events of the year, and was immediately met by CART CEO and President Christopher R. Pook along with delegates from this weekend's Honda Indy 300. Ceccato has been to every running of the Honda Indy 300 on the Gold Coast of Australia, but will see this one from an entirely different light after being named the year's two-millionth fan. Ceccato and her family will get VIP treatment for the weekend and will be included in selected race ceremonies, such as participating in the Pole Award ceremony after Saturday qualifying. The Ceccato family will have access to CART and Honda Indy 300 suites, will receive pace car rides as well as CART and race merchandise. The family will also receive a free trip to a North American CART event of their choice next season. "I had to call my husband John and tell him about it because he had to work and he didn't believe me," said an excited Ceccato. "My brother-in-law had to call him back and tell him that we had really won." This year's Honda Indy 300 has already drawn 113,436 fans to the first two days of the event, with Saturday qualifying and Sunday's 70-lap race to follow.

 10/25/02

Loss of FedEx no big loss at all  We have long maintained that FedEx is the wrong sponsor for CART.  CART needs a series sponsor that sells to consumers/fans, not 99% business-to-business.  They need a sponsor who will use the series to market their products.  CART President Chris Pook had this to say - “The relationship was wonderful—they shipped a lot of stuff out of our paddock,” Pook said. “As a series sponsor, we loved them. But the fact of the matter is in these sort of series, you have to have a series sponsor who activates to the retail market. That was not FedEx's game plan, that was never their game plan. “I hope they will continue to work with us, but I must say that other freight companies are talking to us pretty rapidly. We need to activate a series sponsor who can reach our retail audience.”   Oh, and if the IRL gets FedEx, same problem.

10/25/02

Atlanta qualifying rained out  NASCAR Winston Cup Bud Pole Qualifying for Sunday's NAPA 500 was rained out. The decision ended a daylong battle in which the opening of track activity was delayed six hours and NASCAR Busch Series qualifying for Saturday's Aaron's 312 was also canceled. The 43-car Winston Cup lineup was set according to the rulebook, with point leader Tony Stewart starting on the pole in the No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac, next to second-place Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet.

 10/25/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $4.90 Up $0.16 on Volume of 69,400 shares.
$4.23 Bid - $5.25 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $4.70 / $4.92
MPH Value Change Up 3.38%
MPH’s value is Up 48.5% since hitting it’s 52 week low of $3.30.
DOW Jones Up 127.06 or 1.53% on Volume of 1.6 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 32.41 or 2.5%
S&P 500 Up 15.15 or 1.72%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

10/25/02

Brand new design for Jordan  After ending the 2002 season on an upbeat note, Jordan is already busy preparing for next year and is on track with plans for an all-new design for 2003 -- the EJ13. The car will not be an evolution of the 2002 EJ12, but will instead feature an entirely new look. Built around the Ford Cosworth RS engine, the EJ13 has been evolving since the early summer, when the team negotiated a deal with Ford of Europe to secure the new engine supply. Henri Durand, Jordan's Director of Design and Development, said, "We have created a brand new design concept for the EJ13. In addition, the Ford Cosworth engine is comprehensively different from the Honda we used this year, so there will have to be an entirely new chassis and a new gearbox before we can run it." "Since June we have been planning a mid-January launch and to date everything is on schedule. When you have a radically different package, it's irrelevant and impractical to build an interim car -- something that is only done when you are keeping the basic ingredients the same." "Also, teams generally build an interim car to test an engine which has got some risk of not performing adequately or reliably. We are totally confident that the Ford Cosworth engine we have next year will be one of the best on the grid and one of the most reliable. As a result we simply do not have any technical reason to build an interim car." Jordan

 10/25/02

Confusion over Pook and Ecclestone talks  This Planet F1 article pretty much sums up the confusion that the media is having over trying to make heads or tails about whether something is up between Pook and Ecclestone regarding CART's future.  However, where there's smoke....there's fire.

10/25/02

NASCAR drivers appear in Playgirl  Larry Foyt, the 25-year old Busch driver of the No. 14 Harrah's Chevrolet, is single and possesses "smoldering good looks". He is one of the 10 Hottest Hunks of NASCAR according to Playgirl Magazine. He is featured in the November issue. Since there was no formal photo shoot (he was unaware of the "honor"), we are assuming he appears in his Harrah's Racing uniform.  Other drivers included were Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmy Johnson and Ryan Newman.

10/25/02

Cheever to semi-retire  Eddie Cheever Jr. a 44-year-old Phoenix native, said Tuesday that he likely will become a part-time Indy Racing League driver next season and possibly will enter only the Indianapolis 500. "I seriously doubt I'll be doing a full season next year," said Cheever, an IRL owner/driver who won the 1998 Indy 500. "I would put the odds at no more than 30 percent that I'll be doing a whole season, but I'll probably do Indy. After working with Buddy (Rice) and Tomas (Scheckter) this year, I see I don't have the same enthusiasm for a whole season as they do. "But I also have just too many other business interests that I can't take care of when I'm required to race a full season. I have spent the last three weeks on airplanes going back and forth to Europe, and I have nine hours of meetings every day. There's just not enough time to do everything." So something has to go, and it's likely the amount of days Cheever spends behind the steering wheel. "I definitely have a great passion for Indy and I still feel like I can drive a race car," Cheever said. "But driving a race car is not the issue. The issue is how I can continue to grow this racing team. The racing team needs to be successful and it needs to be winning races."

10/25/02

Bruton Smith supports lawsuit against NASCAR  According to this Dallas Forth Worth Star-Telegram article, A month after its chairman and chief executive officer said he was in favor of the lawsuit that could yield Texas Motor Speedway a second NASCAR Winston Cup date, Speedway Motorsports Inc. confirmed that support in documents filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Sherman. SMI acknowledged and clarified facts of the case in its answer to the lawsuit filed by Plano resident Francis Ferko, an SMI shareholder, against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., a Daytona Beach, Fla.-based company that operates tracks that host NASCAR events. ISC and NASCAR are jointly owned. SMI is a nominal co-defendant in the case. SMI's answer comes nearly three weeks after U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell denied motions by NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. to dismiss Ferko's suit. Replies from NASCAR and ISC are due next month. Ferko attorney Samuel A. Cherry Jr. said he considers SMI's answer an endorsement of the case. "We're pleased to receive their answer, which, in our opinion, validates the underlying factual premise upon which the litigation was originally filed," Cherry said from his office in Dothan, Ala. "After some minor factual clarifications, they agree with the lawsuit."

10/25/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Williams Chase Aero Improvement
F1 News In Brief (1)
Villeneuve Slams Oval Series IRL
Beijing Build Own F1 Circuit
F1 News In Brief (2)
F1/CART Alliance Heats Up
No More Testing For Jordan
Pedro Urges: Ban Team Orders
Formula One Welcomes Chinese Move
F1 News In Brief (3)

10/25/02

A 2nd China F1/CART track begins construction  UPDATE  The track would be 13 to 18 meters wide (i.e. very wide) and 5.9 km long, 450 meters longer than Shanghai’s.  10/24/02 - Hmm, F1 in Shanghai and CART in Beijing?  The city of Beijing has started construction of an F1-standard circuit to rival the venue in Shanghai which was approved last weekend to stage the Chinese GP, reports China Daily. The first foundations of the $121m project were laid in a Beijing suburb on Wednesday after the FIA approved the design. Chu Zhaoge of Beijing International Circuit Co said he was confident that the new track would be suitable for F1 racing. Beijing Circuit Boss Chu George told the China Daily that the circuit’s backers, though not revealing their identity, were already heavily involved in Formula One. ‘Our international partners are major sponsors of F1 and other international racing competitions and they promise to bring high-level racing games to Beijing in the near future,’ he said.  This is another example where Bernie Ecclestone can use CART to fill in the gaps where F1 can't meet the demand.

10/25/02

CARA auction website opens  The popular ‘runway madness Viva Las Vegas’ charity extravaganza set for Friday, Nov. 1, has already opened its doors for participants with the annual online auction of valuable racing items and ‘one-off’ products for CARA Charities. The auction website, featuring a variety of racing collectables and entertaining specialty gifts, will be found on www.auction.caraux.org. This year’s charity event, a kickoff for the Nov. 3 The 500 presented by Toyota at California Speedway, will feature a Las Vegas theme and will have four continuous activities including a Lounge Stage, a full casino, special VIP (high roller) gambling room and a silent auction. The online auction will be a separate portion of the charity event. “Runway madness Viva Las Vegas” is an annual benefit dinner and party held prior to the CART race at California Speedway and is a primary fundraiser for CARA Charities to assist worthwhile causes on a national and international scope.

10/25/02

Montoya does not invite Ralf to wedding  UPDATE Ralf didn't invite Juan to either of his TWO wedding ceremonies. Considering that Chicken Ralf was scared about coming to the USGP last year after 9/11...I don't think he would have been too keen to travel to the kidnapping capital of South America. cheers, Graham Brown Sacramento, Ca  10/24/02 - Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya will marry long time girlfriend Connie Freydell on Saturday the 26th of October after a two year engagement, in a church at the seaside resort in Northern Cartagena. The religious ceremony, for which many security measures have been implemented, will proceed in the presence of more than 300 guests. Included in the guest list is new Colombian president Alvaro Uribe and his predecessor Andres Pastrana,. Juan Pablo's boss and team owner, Sir frank Williams, will also be in attendance along with Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello. Ironically Juan's teammate Ralf Schumacher was not invited to the ceremony.

10/25/02

Scenes from opening practice in Australia 


(L) Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani sits in the pits while his teammate Patrick Carpentier returns to the pit after some hot laps. (C) Patrick Carpentier hops over a curb. (R) Patrick Carpentier watches a model pose for pictures in front of his Ford/Reynard. 
Photos by Paul Strak

 10/25/02

Da Matta paces opening practice  Cristiano da Matta set the pace in opening practice for Sunday's Honda Indy 300, Round 17 of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series. Driving the Caltex/Havoline Toyota/Lola, da Matta toured the 2.795-mile temporary circuit with a top time of 1:32.977, good for average speed of 108.220 miles per hour. Adrian Fernandez was second fastest in the Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola and Jimmy Vasser was third in the Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola.  Qualifying is up next.

10/25/02

Da Matta sports #1  Cristiano Da Matta of Brazil and the Newman Hass Racing team unveils the number one on his car after he recently became the Cart Fedex champion, as he prepares for round 17 of the Cart Fedex Championship Series, Gold Coast, Australia on October 27, 2002. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

10/25/02

Pook: IRL drivers headed down or sideways  Chris Pook says in a Press-Enterprise article, "If you're talking about people/drivers going sideways to the IRL, I think that's a different series completely. What we're interested in doing is developing young racing car drivers so they can go up in their careers, not down in their careers or sideways."

10/25/02

CART extends Aussie contract through 2008  As yet another of the wildly successful CART FedEx Championship Series events on the Gold Coast of Australia gets underway this weekend, CART and the organizers of the event in Surfers Paradise today announced the signing of a new contract to bring the high-speed Champ Cars back to the Australian streets through the year 2008. This year's Honda Indy 300 marks the 12th season that CART will race in the streets of the Queensland resort town and the event has been breaking attendance records nearly every season of its existence, cementing its status as one of the highest-drawing events on the CART schedule. The contract, announced today by the Hon. Peter Beattie, Premier of the State of Queensland, John Cowley, Chairman of Gold Coast Motor Events Company, the organizer of the event and Christopher R. Pook, CART President and CEO, will keep the event in its late October time frame for five more years following the current term which was to expire in 2003. "The event in Surfers Paradise has long been an example of how a race should be run and we are very pleased to be able to continue our relationship," said CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook. "The event is extremely popular with our drivers, teams, sponsors and most importantly the public. The event is a very important part of our ongoing strategy to deliver key markets to our constituents and this agreement reflects the value that our series can deliver into a vital market such as the State of Queensland." The four-day event is expected to draw over 300,000 fans this year, and saw a crowd of 53,069 come through the gates on Thursday - a number that was an 11 percent increase from last year's opening-day crowd. "This event injects an estimated $50million into Queensland's economy each year and we're well on target to attract record crowds of more than 300,000 over the four days of racing for the first time - double the original attendance in 1991," Beattie said. "Breaking the magical 300,000 mark will be a great achievement. It would also be a testament to the excellent cooperation between the State Government, private enterprise, the local community and the motor racing organizations.

10/25/02

Ecclestone the most feared of all  In his latest article, Ed Hinton says, Riding to CART's rescue may be the only racing czar in the world who is even richer, more powerful and more controversial than NASCAR Chairman Bill France Jr.    Formula One chieftain Bernie Ecclestone reportedly is close to acquiring a controlling interest in CART........Ecclestone is the most feared individual in all of motor racing. The diminutive Englishman singularly transformed F1 from an aristocratic playground of gentlemen drivers into the world's most ruthless and lucrative motor sport.    Food for thought - Ecclestone is reportedly worth around $5 billion and the Hulman George family about $1 billion.  If true, Ecclestone could force Tony George into a battle for open wheel supremacy in the USA that would see George forced to deplete his entire family fortunes before the dust is settled.

10/24/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $4.74 Up $0.30 on Volume of 153,400 shares.
$4.11 Bid - $5.09 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $4.44 / $4.91
MPH Value Change Up 6.76%
DOW Jones Down 176.93 or 2.08% on Volume of 2.1 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 21.52 or 1.63%
S&P 500 Down 13.64 or 1.52%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

10/24/02

GP of the Americas good for Miami  After years of obeying a posted 45 MPH speed limit, some 85,000 spectators saw cars racing down Biscayne Boulevard at speeds close to 180 MPH during the inaugural Grand Prix Americas, held October 4 – 6, 2002 in the streets of Downtown Miami. Fans witnessed local Brazilian driver Cristiano da Matta clinch the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series, enjoyed concerts by Grammy Winners Nestor Torres and Train and were able to catch glimpses of stars such as Grand Prix Americas Grand Marshall Sofia Vergara, Boys II Men, Mike Piazza and Lenny Kravitz. “The event was a huge success,” said Chuck M. Martinez, president and general manager of Grand Prix Americas. “Three days of racing, two concerts and a host of performers and celebrities all helped this international celebration in Downtown Miami live up to its Blast by the Bay moniker. We could not have hoped for a better start for our event.” In addition to attracting thousands of spectators to downtown Miami, the final television rating for Sunday’s CBS broadcast of the Grand Prix Americas was 1.4 with a 3 share, reaching 1,449,000 households. This was the largest television share for any CART race this season. “This is the caliber of event needed in downtown Miami,” said Rodrigo Trujillo, director of marketing for Hyatt Regency Miami. “Even our guests who were not here for the race were asking us how they could get tickets. People are already asking us about next year’s event. Our goal this year is to market the Grand Prix Americas to our international clients.” According to Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau officials, downtown hotel occupancies were slightly above 90%. This was up significantly from last year's average occupancy of the same hotels at 64% and still up considerably from the 72% during the same time period in 2000.  The event will only get bigger and better as time goes on.

10/24/02

Don't write CART's obituary just yet  This article in the Portland Oregonian says don't write CART's obituary yet. Formula One's top man, Bernie Ecclestone, apparently is poised to become the majority owner of CART and will turn it into a development ground for his international series. "If it happens, it will bring a huge amount of energy to the series," said Mike Nealy, who promotes Portland's G.I. Joe's 200 CART race with the Portland Rose Festival Association.  That's an understatement.

10/24/02

CART engines to mirror F1 V-10's  UPDATE AR1 was recently told (but could not be confirmed) that a 16,000 RPM limit has been discussed for 2005.  That's down 3,000 RPM from the current F1 engines, and since by 2005 the F1 engines might be close to 20,000 RPM, that would mean a 4,000 RPM drop.  Capped at 16,000 RPM, the engines would still scream, but the cost to build such an engine would be significantly reduced.  More importantly, there would be more parity between manufacturers, giving even a team such as Minardi a fighting chance.  Since existing CART engines reach 17,000 RPM with just 8 cylinders, getting to 16,000 RPM with 10 cylinders (smaller pistons) can be attained with less exotic materials and less technology. 10/24/02 - The CART series is heading towards an engine rules package to mirror the power units used in Formula 1, according to a story in this week's AUTOSPORT.  CART boss Chris Pook has admitted privately that he favors introducing an engine formula which uses three-liter V10 powerplants when the series' new regulations package comes into effect for 2005.  This would bring Champ Car engine configuration into line with F1. Pook is known to have entered into talks over the past month with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to bring an entente between CART and grand prix racing.  Speaking at a press conference ahead of this weekend's CART race at Sufers Paradise, Australia, Pook admitted that he thinks a closer link with F1 would be good for motorsport.  He said: "If there's a possibility to work out a relationship whereby we can help develop Formula 1 drivers or some of the guys over there on the back end of their careers, they can come and run with us," he said. "I think that would be very positive for motor sports."   As was suggested in Mark Cipolloni's the Phoenix is about to rise article, a detuned lower cost F1 engine, common to both series, is a win-win for all party's.  F1 costs are driving teams to bankruptcy.  It's time to reduce the technology and cost and focus on better racing and healthier teams.

10/24/02

The name game  So how did MK Racing decide upon the name Falcon Cars for its new Indy Racing League chassis for 2003? The 7-year-old grandson of co-owner Ken Anderson named it. “That was a funny story,” co-owner Michael Kranefuss said. “Actually we had to buy it from Ken’s grandson. He came in one day and said the fastest animal in the world is the peregrine falcon. In order that I wouldn’t run into any legal problems from him, we did a contract, and I bought the rights from him for $100.”

10/24/02
Industry News

Indy grandstand gets facelift  Sections of the Southwest Vista grandstand at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are being dismantled and rebuilt as part of the Speedway’s normal offseason maintenance program. The Southwest Vista, located outside the exit of Turn 1 and the first part of the south short chute between Turns 1 and 2, was constructed in three parts in the late 1960s. Approximately one-third of the Southwest Vista was dismantled and rebuilt between October 2001-May 2002. “It is simply part of the normal, periodic refurbishment and renovation of our older grandstands structures,” said Kevin Forbes, director of engineering and construction for the Speedway. “It is time to take them apart and virtually make them new again.” The stands will be rebuilt exactly as they appear now, with no seats removed or added. “The whole thing comes down a piece at a time, it gets shipped off to a facility where it is completely sandblasted down to bare metal,” Forbes said. “Then at these facilities, the whole completed piece will be hot-dipped galvanized and brought back for reassembly.” The same process was completed in past years to the South Vista on the outside of the short chute between Turns 1 and 2 and to the H and J Stands on the outside of the exit of Turn 4. Parts of the C Stand underneath the Hulman Terrace Suites on the mainstraightaway also were refurbished in previous years. “There are a couple of things that some spectators may notice,” Forbes said. “They (stands) will have a much more pleasing appearance, there will be no signs of rust, no signs of peeling paint and no signs of different colors of paint. “Also, the majority of the Southwest Vista still has wooden seats – they will be replaced with aluminum seats.” The project will not affect seating for any IMS event and will be complete in time for the 87th Indianapolis 500 on May 25, 2003.

10/24/02
Industry News

Dover issues dividend  UPDATE Dover also issued a press release saying they are buying back 2 million shares of stock on the open market.  10/24/02 - Dover Motorsports - owner and promoters of tracks used by NASCAR, CART, the IRL and NHRA - has declared a quarterly cash dividend on both classes of common stock of $.01 per share. This represents a reduction in the dividend rate from the previous $.02 per share. The dividend will be payable on December 10, 2002 to shareholders of record at the close of business on November 10, 2002. Dover Motorsports' owns and operates Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware; Nashville Superspeedway near Nashville, Tennessee; Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, Missouri; and Memphis Motorsports Park near Memphis, Tennessee. It also organizes and promotes the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in California, the Shell Grand Prix of Denver in Colorado and the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida.

10/24/02

Gordon and Earnhardt miles ahead  While the NASCAR Winston Cup Series has enjoyed increasing popularity over the last few seasons, only four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. possess broad national commercial appeal, according to the results of a new survey by The Sports Business Daily, which show that Gordon and Earnhardt Jr. are by far the most marketable drivers in NASCAR. The rest of the top five, which includes Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Dale Jarrett, may be household names within the NASCAR community, but our survey suggests that they still lack national appeal outside of the sport. The Sports Business Daily surveyed close to 100 marketing, advertising and PR execs, sponsorship consultants, sports business journalists, NASCAR analysts and other experts over the past month. All were asked: “In your opinion, who are the five most marketable drivers in NASCAR?” Drivers were awarded points on a sliding scale – with five points given for a first-place vote down to one point for a fifth-place vote. The survey results for the top ten drivers are:
Driver Team Sponsor Total Points Ballots Left Off
Jeff Gordon DuPont 417 2
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Budweiser 401 1
Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s 164 37
Tony Stewart The Home Depot 162 35
Dale Jarrett UPS 96 56
Michael Waltrip NAPA 44 75
Rusty Wallace Miller Lite 31 80
Ryan Newman Alltel 22 82
Kyle Petty Sprint Dodge 18 84
Jeff Burton Citgo 16 86
Mark Martin Pfizer/Viagra 16 87

10/24/02

2003 #45 car to be unveiled  Executives from Georgia-Pacific and Petty Enterprises will mark Georgia–Pacific Qualifying Day at Atlanta Motor Speedway with the unveiling of the 2003 #45 G-P/Petty Enterprises Dodge at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25 at Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Infield Media Center. A. D. (Pete) Correll, Georgia-Pacific chairman and CEO; Richard Petty, seven-time Winston Cup champion and Petty Enterprises chairman; and Kyle Petty, Petty Enterprises CEO and the driver of the #45 car, will unveil the new design. In September, Georgia-Pacific and Petty Enterprises announced plans to shift G-P’s NASCAR sponsorship to the #45 car in 2003, with Petty Enterprises’ lead driver, Kyle Petty, behind the wheel. This will be the first look at the 2003 #45 car and the new identity created to launch the relationship between Kyle and G-P. After a long history of motorsports involvement, including a past sponsorship in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series working with Petty Enterprises and Dodge, Georgia-Pacific joined the Winston Cup circuit two years ago as a primary sponsor with Petty Enterprises.

10/24/02

F1 principals hail Chinese GP  We have been saying it for a long time.  Now F1 folks are tripping over themselves saying what a great idea it is to be going to China.  Of course CART, worried about appeasing all the sponsors and teams who ended up deserting them anyway, didn't understand the significance, and lost China as well as those they were worried about appeasing.  We find that quite ironic.  As an example of what the F1 teams think  - Williams commercial director Jim Wright believes that there will be tangible benefits from the fact that F1 will become one of the few international sports to gain exposure within the Chinese marketplace. "Potentially it is an enormous breakthrough," he said, "because it opens up whole new possibilities for us – there is not a single one of our sponsors who feel that they do not want to be marketing in China."

10/24/02

Da Matta calls proposal insulting  Reports of CART being a feeder series to F1 have been met with criticism by some members of the CART community currently in Australia. The 2002 series champion, Cristiano da Matta, was one of those people labeling the idea as insulting.  “There's a bunch of guys over here that are a lot better than a lot of the guys that are in Formula One,” Da Matta said when asked of his thoughts on the idea. “So it'd be strange to have a training series where you have guys that are better than the other side.”  AR1 has heard rumors, which we are not sure we can believe, that the feeder series ideas are just a smokescreen right now, and that Bernie may have bigger plans for CART.  Let's see how it all plays out.

10/24/02

Paul Tracy shaves his head  Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani spent some time relaxing on the beach at Surfers Paradise with fiancée Bronte Kok (a BarterCard girl) and fellow Canadian CART driver Paul Tracy before Friday's first practice sessions for the CART Australian Indy 300. The Canadian driver hopes for a repeat performance of the podium finish he had in Australia in 2001.  Notice Paul's shaved head.

10/24/02

BAR to resume testing  Young BAR tester Anthony Davidson will kick off the Brackley team's testing efforts on November 26 at the Barcelona circuit. The 23-year-old will be on track for three days as the team starts work on research and development for next season's BAR005 chassis. The 005 will be the first BAR that former Williams aerodynamicist Geoffrey Willis has been fully responsible for.

10/24/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Schumacher Not Ready To Quit
All-American Dream Called Off
Raikkonen: France Was Tough
Future Of Formula One Looms
Massa Ponders Testing Roles
Bitter-Sweet For Ralf And Williams
Burti To Lose Ferrari Seat?
Dennis Remembers Ayrton Senna
F1 News In Brief

10/24/02

Da Matta switches to car #1  2002 CART FedEx Championship Series title winner Cristiano da Matta (#6 Caltex/Havoline Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone) has earned the right to wear the champion's digit by virtue of a dominating campaign that has seen him win seven races, and will take full advantage of the opportunity starting in Surfers Paradise. Da Matta today removed the No. 6 from the front of his Newman/Haas Racing machine in a brief ceremony on Pit Lane and replaced it with the No. 1, which he will wear on his car starting with this weekend's Honda Indy 300 and for the remainder of the CART season. "It's a pleasure to drive the car with the number one because I've been running after it all year," da Matta said. "All of the times that I have won championships before, I have moved up to another series the next year so I never actually got to run it on my car." Da Matta becomes the first driver since Gil de Ferran to wear the No. 1 plate on his Champ Car, de Ferran having earned the honor by winning the 2000 series championship. "I'm not a superstitious guy and I don't expect changing our number to have any effect on how we perform," da Matta said. "I think it's a fitting tribute to our team and the season that we have had so far."

10/23/02

CART Stars of Tomorrow karting event gets TV coverage  The CART Stars of Tomorrow national office has announced several new developments regarding the Grand National event to be held in Las Vegas November 7-10, 2002.  The Grand Nationals will be televised by Speed Channel in a one-hour broadcast on the following dates (all times Eastern Standard Time):

Friday, December 6 7:00 pm
Friday, December 6 12:00 am
Saturday, December 7 5:00 pm
Friday, December 13 1:00 pm
Friday, December 20 5:00 pm

Stars founder Bryan Herta was excited. “We are very proud to again bring the CART Stars of Tomorrow series to television and give our sponsor, Snap-on.com the exposure they deserve. Bringing our show to Speed Channel’s 64 million subscribers is a big step forward in our continuing efforts to showcase this great sport.” Herta also was enthusiastic about the time slots of the shows; “These airtimes are unprecedented for a kart race, with prime-time and sporting-friendly days and times, we stand to expose more people to kart racing in two weeks than at any other time in its history.”  To complement the TV package, Stars has announced several offerings to permit karters the opportunity at exposure. Foremost among these is the opening of entries to all karters for the Grands. “We have decided to open the Grand Nationals up to all comers” said Herta. “With what is developing for this event and 2003, including the TV deal and other exciting opportunities, we felt it best to let everyone participate at the earliest possible moment. There are many ICC, 80cc Junior, Rotax, ICA, and other karters who should realize the benefit of racing with this sort of exposure.”  To support those racers that have supported the series in 2002, all drivers on the Stars eligibility list will have a guaranteed starting position for the main event in their class. The list can be found at www.cartstars.com.  Additionally, Stars is proud to announce an offer in conjunction with fuel sponsor VP Fuels which will supply five gallons of free fuel to the first 75 paying entrants (the top three in each region already get free fuel). “We said at the beginning that we wanted to get away from financing a racing series on the backs of the karter, and this is one more way we can do that. We know every little bit helps the racing budget, and fuel will be one less worry for these entrants” concluded Herta.  The CART ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ karting series is the official first level in CART’s driver development system. Specifically designed as a driver development series, Stars focuses on recognizing the skills of the drivers rather than the technology development within the machines, using FIA/CIK international standards. More information can be found at www.cartstars.com.

10/23/02

If it ain't broke, don't fix it  To some, that NASCAR's points system was born amidst beer and peanuts in a bar says much about the sanctioning body. To others, it's only fitting that paper napkins and the Boot Hill Saloon contributed to what has grown into a multibillion-dollar business.   Story

10/23/02

Biffle in #44 at Rockingham  Greg Biffle will be substituting in the #44 Petty Enterprises entry at North Carolina Speedway on Nov. 3

10/23/02

Australia ticket sales burst through 330,000 barrier  An IMG representative in Surfers has said that they have broken the 300,000 weekend goal, having sold more than 330,000 tickets for this weekends CART and Supercar V8 races.  In fact, the tickets are selling at such a hot pace, the promoter is now worried how they are going to handle all the traffic.  Is a weekend attendance of 350,000 now a reality?  Stay tuned....

10/23/02

NASCAR leader bonus pool grows  The reward is handsome but time is running out for the front-runners of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series to capture the NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus. Tony Stewart leads three drivers with an opportunity to capture the most lucrative NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus in program history. This weekend, the Leader Bonus is worth a record $280,000 to any driver that can win at Atlanta Motor Speedway and leave the track with the Series point lead. Stewart picked up the first of his three victories this season in the MBNA America 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March. It’s been 28 races – and seven months – since Sterling Marlin took home the most recent Leader Bonus payout at Darlington Raceway. Entering this weekend’s Napa 500 at Hampton, Ga., Stewart leads the NASCAR Winston Cup standings by 82 points over second-place Jimmie Johnson. Mark Martin sits in third place following the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway and trails by 123 points. Any of this trio of drivers can unseat Bobby Labonte, who won $190,000 at Indianapolis in 2000, as the owner of the largest Leader Bonus check to date. The current Leader Bonus total is greater than the season earnings of every NASCAR Grand National champion from 1949-70, as well as the total year-end earnings of 1972 Winston Cup champion Richard Petty ($227,015) and 1973 champion Benny Parsons ($114,345).

10/23/02

CART stock watch - final closing

MPH closed at $4.44 Up $0.09 on Volume of 214,600 shares.
$3.78 Bid - $4.74 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $4.32 / $4.52
MPH Value Change Up 2.07%
DOW Jones Up 44.11 or 0.52% on Volume of 1.8 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 27.44 or 2.12%
S&P 500 Up 5.98 or 0.67%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

10/23/02

Trading in CART stock gets interesting 

As of 02:33PM EST – MPH - 190,600 shares of MPH have traded.
$4.43 Bid / $4.45 Asked
$4.32 the Low & $4.52 the High trades of the session.
Last Trade $4.45 up $0.10 per share or 2.30%
In the first two hours of the session there were 6 individual trades in excess of 10k shares,
2 trades in excess of 20k shares.
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

10/23/02

Gurney puts F1 plans on hold  Despite a concentrated effort by a dedicated group of individuals, efforts to establish an American Formula One Team with Dan Gurney as the catalyst have not succeeded in the short term. Though the conditions to enter F1 at this particular moment in time are in some ways more favorable than in the recent past - grid spots, engine availability, purchase of existing teams and technology - other circumstances relating mostly to the economy and the availability of multi-year sponsorship look less promising than only a short while ago. Some uncertainty in the future direction of Formula One racing does not help either. The deadline we set for ourselves which was dictated by the amount of time required by Ford Cosworth to put together their engine build and trackside support package, has not been met. We were not prepared to commit to a situation which was not properly funded for at least three years. Judging from the response we received since the news of our plan filtered out during the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, interest in such an endeavor is high among fans, corporations and the motor racing community in general. The vast majority seems to agree that it would be an enormous boost to open wheel racing in America. An American Formula 1 team would not only be a showcase for American sponsors but for new American technologies and untapped engineering capability as well. Just below the surface there is enormous pressure to see this happen. It has been a long time since the American public has had a home team to cheer for in Grand Prix racing, and for now, it appears they will have to wait a little longer. AAR

10/23/02

Marco Andretti wins regional championship  Marco Andretti, son of CART driver Michael Andretti, wrapped up the end of a long season with the Stars of Tomorrow Regional Champion in Oakland Valley, New York last weekend. With a strong field of competitors, the championship came down to the final race of the season. Andretti started the day by putting his CRG kart on the pole by 0.01 of a second. He jumped into the lead of the 15 lap main event, then extend his lead over subsequent laps. Near the halfway point of the race, the second place car began to close the gap, and with two laps to go, Andretti was passed for the lead and remained in second until the end of the race. By finishing second, Andretti secured the championship by two points. "The car got a little tight towards the end, but I had a good race and am very happy for the overall championship. I knew by finishing second I had won the overall title”, commented Andretti. “I would like to thank Motorola, Archipelago, J N Racing, and SSC Racing for their support this year.” To get extra seat time and additional testing before the upcoming CART Stars of Tomorrow Grandnational Championship in Las Vegas, Andretti competed in the Oakland Valley Club race the same day. The same competitors who raced in Stars competed in the club race. He started from 8th place and moved up to second in the semifinal race. On the start of the last race, Marco started in second and by the second lap had drafted by the leader. He was able to maintain that lead to win the race. "It was a great race,” exclaimed Andretti. “We went back to the pits and made some changes to the car for the club race. Marco did a great job,” said Jon Nevoso, operator of JN Racing. “It was a fun race no pressure, just testing.” Andretti’s final event of the season is the CART Stars of Tomorrow Grandnational Championship in Las Vegas Nevada on November 8-10, 2002.

10/23/02

CART drivers frolic with Aussie babes  The CART drivers were out on the beach with the Aussie babes in preparation for this weekend's CART race that is expected to draw over 300,000 on Australia's Gold Coast.  See this photo page from Sutton Images.

10/23/02

Early trading heavy in CART stock 

Today's NYSE Trading In MPH
As of 11:40AM EST MPH 132,000 shares of MPH have traded.
$4.40 Bid / $4.41 Asked
$4.38 the Low & $4.52 the High trades of the session.
Last Trade $4.40 up $0.05 per share
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

10/23/02
Industry News

Fiat in very deep trouble  It is expected that after an October 31st board meeting, Ferrari's parent company Fiat will report loses of more than $1 billion through the first 9-months of the year, or about 1/3 of its capital. Under Italian law, that means Fiat and its 20% partner, USA's General Motors, will have to recapitalize the company. Ferrari does not make enough profit to continue to fund its lavish F1 program by itself. It relies on some help from Fiat. One has to wonder if their money pit is about to dry up.

10/23/02

Ganassi announces 2-car IRL effort  Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced today their plans to run two cars next year in the Indy Racing League. Signed to drive next year for the team are two of the sport’s finest young drivers - current Team Target pilot Scott Dixon and second-year IRL driver Tomas Scheckter. Team owner Chip Ganassi is looking forward to the challenge of competing full-time in the IRL.  Full Story

10/23/02

Montoya eyes CART return  Juan Montoya has come out publicly and stated he will return to race in the USA when he finishes his F1 career.  "One day I will get bored with F1 and I will probably go back to America," stated Montoya to Autosport.  "I had a great time there, although I am happier in F1 right now."

10/23/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Yoong Focuses On CART Career
Gascoyne Dilutes Button Farewell
Webber: Minardi Made Me Stale
Another Radical Ferrari On The Way
McNish Contemplates IRL Switch
Skepticism Over Radical Reform
Vote Of Confidence For Coulthard
One Grand Prix To Get The Chop
Mosley Defends Outlandish Plans
Ecclestone Gears For CART Take-Over
Manufacturers Offer F1 Escape Route
Happy Birthday Alex Zanardi
F1 News In Brief

10/23/02
Karting

Shifter karts catching on worldwide  It can go from zero-to-60 and back to zero in six seconds. Speeds during a race exceed well over 100 mph. And during it all, the driver is only a few inches off the ground. It's more than a souped up go-kart, it's a shifter kart. Shifter karts have been around for some time but are relatively unknown to most people. In fact, several websites on shifter karts call them "the best kept secret in motorsports."  Read full story in Montgomery Advertiser.

10/23/02

Burton penalized for illegal springs  NASCAR officials announced that Winston Cup owner Bill Davis, along with crew chief Frank Stoddard and driver Ward Burton, received penalties for an infraction that occurred at Sunday's Old Dominion 500 at the Martinsville Speedway. Ward's No.22 Dodge was found to have unapproved front springs during post-race inspection. Davis was penalized 25 championship car owner points; Burton was penalized 25 driver points; and Stoddard was fined $10,000. The penalty results in Burton dropping from 24th to 25th in the drivers standings.

10/23/02

Wilson thinks CART about to bounce back  With rumors of Bernie Ecclestone buying CART, everyone is starting to believe CART's future is secure.  We can tell by how many teams and drivers are scrambling to get a deal together before CART closes the door shut.  Justin Wilson recently tested for Newman Haas at Homestead and the popular Brit is one of many angling to land a ride.  Wilson, talking to Autosport at Valencia after claiming his first Dallara Nissan World Series win of the season, stated,  "there's a lot of talk going on at the moment about CART and people saying it's on its way out, but I still feel there's a lot of enthusiasm and I reckon that it's at the bottom of its lull," he said. "There's been a lot of negative talk, but I believe next year it will be strong, especially as everybody will be using the same engines. There are a lot of teams talking about going to CART, but these words just need to be put into action."

10/23/02

McNish speeds around Fontana in IRL car  Allan McNish, Toyota 2002 Formula One driver, was given his first taste of a high speed Indy Racing League car yesterday as he took to the 2 mile oval Superspeedway track at the California Speedway in Fontana. Driving the new 2003 spec Toyota Dallara IRL car, prepared for this session by Penske Racing, McNish completed 175 laps with an average speed of over 210 miles an hour. McNish's efforts were impressive, standing up well to this year's qualifying lap time for the IRL event earlier in the season. "It was a great experience" said McNish after completing 350 miles in the car. "I'm pleased to have run speeds that would have been competitive during last March's event, especially as I had the 2003 engine spec and chassis set up on the car." "At the end of the day I completed a 35 lap stint in which I was consistently lapping between 216 and 218 mph. It's quite a physically and mentally demanding track, but I enjoyed the fast pace and the flow of driving on the oval. The Penske team were extremely supportive and gave me plenty of encouragement. We completed a short test program as well giving me a chance to run at speed, so overall it was a very productive day. I enjoyed my time in the car and it's fired my enthusiasm - I think it would be fun to experience IRL in race conditions! I must thank everyone at Penske and Toyota for giving me this great opportunity." McNish, 32, is enjoying a successful motor racing career which has included wins in International F3000, the traditional preparing ground for Formula One, and second place in the British Formula Three series with five wins. In recent years, Allan has been dominant in Sportscar racing winning the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hour race and notching up a second place finish at this unique event in 2000, in addition to pole position and fastest race lap. Allan also won the American Le Mans Series in 2000, with six victories and a total of ten podium appearances in 12 rounds of the Championship. His achievements have been recognised with a succession of trophies including, the John Cobb Trophy for Best British Driver, British Racing Drivers Club Graham Hill Trophy and Autosport's National Driver of the Year award. Allan's Formula One experience includes test driving for McLaren, Benetton and Toyota F1 teams and a full year of racing with Toyota F1 Racing in 2002.

10/23/02

Roberto Guerrero to drive Busch race  The first Hispanic-owned and -sponsored team will field its first Hispanic driver in this weekend’s NASCAR Busch Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The HRT Motorsports No. 09 CICLÓN Energy Drink Chevrolet will be piloted by Roberto Guerrero, a Colombia native with vast open wheel racing experience. The pairing is the first of its kind in NASCAR, where Hispanics make up 10 percent of the fan base. Guerrero’s stock car racing debut comes in the team’s third race of the year with CICLÓN. The team previously charted two top-20 finishes at Charlotte and Chicago. Former Busch Series champion David Green had been handling driving duties for the team, which is also scheduled to compete at Phoenix and Homestead. HRT has had tremendous success introducing NASCAR to the Hispanic community since they teamed up in April with CICLÓN, a Panama-based energy drink company that distributes throughout the United States. Co-owners Rudy Rodriguez and Mike Vazquez expect that Guerrero will strike a chord with the growing Hispanic fan base as someone they can relate to.

10/23/02
Fran-Am

Two Fran-Am drivers get tests  Two drivers presently competing in the Fran-Am Championship series are involved in testing situations with a Toyota Atlantic and Indy Racing League team. One driver from the Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship series has been invited to test with a front-running Toyota Atlantic team in the near future. Meanwhile, a driver currently competing in the Fran-Am 1600 West Coast Championship series will test with an Indy Racing League team. One of Fran-Am’s primary objectives is to help propel drivers to the top levels of motorsport. “We are obviously achieving our goals of allowing our best drivers to be noticed,” said Arden Weatherford, Director of Operations for Fran-Am Sport. “Although the Fran-Am driver development system is designed to equip all of our drivers with the necessary tools to excel in the sport, some of them already possess many of those skills. Above all we are proud to see any of our drivers get testing opportunities in such well-respected series.” Unfortunately, the names of the drivers can’t be released since the tests are private and Fran-Am respects their rights to confidentiality.  The trend of increasing car counts will continue in the Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship series with the addition of an expected 6 new cars to the starting grid for rounds five and six at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 26 and 27. The Fran-Am 2000 series has consistently enjoyed larger fields at every event in their inaugural season. “The continuously expanding car count is just another sign that the Fran-Am professional series is progressing in the right direction,” said Arden Weatherford, Director of Operations for Fran-Am Sport. “It shows that people are noticing us and buying into Fran-Am. They know we have a first rate program, are serious about our racing series in North America and are here to stay.” American team Gelles Racing has expanded to a five-car team for Las Vegas after starting out with just one at the inaugural race in Vancouver. Team owner Robert Gelles announced last week that American Barber Dodge Pro Series driver Tom Dyer and Brazilian Formula Renault standout Danilo Durval will join Uruguay native Pedro Larriera, Canadian Michael Brooks and a still to be named driver behind the wheels of Gelles Racing entries. Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Atlantic Racing Team has added one more car to their team for Las Vegas. The yet-to-be announced driver will pair with current driver Lucas Strackerjan who sits fifth in the points standings. Other expected additions to the field include Dino Bruno from Los Angeles, California, a 2-car team from Houston, Texas and Sandy Dells Racing making their series debut.

10/23/02
Industry News

Walter auction turns up interesting stuff  Went to the George Walther Sr. auction last Saturday in Dayton Ohio. They had quite a bit of rolling stock, most all of it damaged in some form or another. My coworker wrote the prices down for most of the stuff. A Duesenburg went for the most money, around $600K. George had three, all in various stages of teardown. Someone paid $200K for a large cache of Dusey parts (with engine and tranny). They offered a 68 SS Nova minus engine and rear end which went for $7500. Salts '68 big block 'Vette which looked pretty ratty went for $9500. They sold a very nice looking Packard which went to the Packard museum (I gather it's in Dayton) and they got a pretty good price for this car as well. Rolling stock accounted for just at $2 million dollars (they had a lot of cars) including a '61 E type Jag, several Lincoln's and Caddy's. Most all these cars had a broken something or another (windows mostly). Salt Walters ex racecars? Salts rookie car was complete with short track goodies, Fresh DOHC Ford. Sold for $62,000. This was a car built by George Morris and called a Marauder. This seemed like a high price to us, but it came with everything (pit equipment, wheels, wings, etc.). They had a tub in which Greg Weld ran the 500 (?) number 33 which was a heap and it sold as well for around $8K. The ex Penske PC5 in which Tom Sneva first broke 200 mph at Indy sold for around $60K. This car was really ratty, all the aluminum parts were corroded very bad and the car had been stacked up. A Lola Phil Kruger drove into the wall at Pocono was also sold, completely trashed. When they crashed a car, they just unloaded the wreck into a huge building and threw a tarp over them. There they sat....... The star of the show as far as we were concerned was a 1961 Wally Meskowski built Champ Dirt car with a 220 cubic inch Offy. It sold for just under $50K. This car blew a rear end at the Hoosier Hundred in 1970 (with Salt aboard). They never even cleaned it up, just put it back in the garage and there it sat. Salt must have been real hard to please...... They had 6 complete Cosworth engines, plus many, many spares. This stuff all sold at various prices. It is interesting to note that the same guy bought all the Offy stuff they had. Five complete motors, and tons of other assorted goodies for Offy's (turbo and non turbo) This is why the Dirt Car was a good deal, just the running Offy Motor alone is worth $25K...... They had two small block Gurney Westlake motors, one was super complete. They brought big money. They had tons of new Chrysler Hemi stuff (from the boat racing days) and this all sold at pretty low prices. One brand new fresh Hemi marine motor went for $5900...... which is very cheap. A new Hemi from Mopar Performance will set you back $30K.......

10/23/02

Poor Dario  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, if all these rumors are true that CART may be aligned very tightly with F1 and owned by none other than Bernie Ecclestone, one would think that CART is where a driver will want to be if he has any F1 aspirations whatsoever.  I have to feel for poor Dario Franchitti, he's dying to get into F1 and it looks like he may have picked the wrong horse again.  Dave Turner, Atlanta, Georgia.  Dear Dave, Well, if the rumors turn out to be true, than most certainly Dario must be kicking himself right now.  However, we're sure he is getting paid well by Andretti Green Racing to drive in the IRL, though we do have some concern he will be labeled an oval track racer henceforth, and not really get a shot at a top F1 ride. The IRL is slated to be a healthy series in 2003, so he'll definitely get his share of wheel-banging action, although that close racing comes at a price because data shows you are 436% more likely to get injured in an IRL race than a CART race because of all the ovals they run on.  AR1 Staff

10/22/02

F3000 to SPEED  We reported this awhile back, but here is the official press release - SPEED Channel has reached an agreement with the FIA Formula 3000 International Championship to air the entire 2003 racing season live or on same-day tape. In addition, the 2002 F3000 season will be aired on SPEED on a tape delayed basis this fall. One of the world's premier junior series to F1, F3000 is one of several feeder series to the FIA Formula One World Championship. "As part of SPEED Channel's motor sports programming, it's always great to be able to give our viewers a peek at the stars of tomorrow in any series," said SPEED Channel President Jim Liberatore. "Our Formula One viewers are some of the most passionate fans in motor sports and F1 racing has long been a part of SPEED's racing lineup, so adding F3000 gives SPEED viewers a more complete package in that arena."

10/22/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $4.35 Up $0.10 on Volume of 61,800 shares.
$3.69 Bid - $4.71 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $4.10 / $4.40
MPH Value Change Up 2.35%
DOW Jones Down 88.08 or 1.03% on Volume of 1.8 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 16.87 or 1.29%
S&P 500 Down 9.56 or 1.06%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

10/22/02

Pook visits Mexico City track  BY Ricardo Roura/El Norte (Mexican Newspaper - translated to English by Ed McFarlane)  The reconfiguration work at The Hermanos Rodriguez Autodrome has produced a circuit of sufficient international quality to host Formula 1, said CART President Chris Pook.  In the course of a visit to the circuit of Magdalena Mixhuca, where the 4.75 km track runs, Pook declared that he was satisfied with the remodeling work being done to host the last race of the Champ Car season next 17th November.  ”Incredible, this circuit of the Rodriguez brothers is historic, it holds the history of the two brothers, and they have made a modern circuit of amazing quality, up to the level of Formula One” said Pook.  One month from the race that will mark the return of CART to Hermanos Rodriguez, Pook stated that there was enough time to finish the works at the circuit, which includes the resurfacing of the whole track and then it remains to finish the installation of the sears in the permanent stands on the main straightaway and those of the temporary stands.  ”There is work to do, but it is not a lot for 30 days, the circuit is almost ready, it just remains to finish some seats they’re making, and it can be done in 10 days,” said the CART boss.  Pook said that the Autodrome Hermanos Rodriguez is one of the best circuits CART has on its calendar, because of its unique features compared to other tracks, especially the curve which runs through the Baseball Stadium, with stands for 25,000 fans.  ”Here the cars pass through at a low speed, and people will be able to see the cars better, but they have all the modern facilities a stadium could ask for, and I think it will be a very interesting place.  The CART President thinks that the first cars ought to run for the first time on the circuit in the days before the Grand Prix, when the free practice of the support series, like Reto Dodge, which has its first practice scheduled for Wednesday 13th November.  Concerning the championship, Pook emphasized the importance CART places on racing in big cities, like Mexico, Denver or Miami, which helps bring in the fans.  Concerning the departure of drivers next year, like the current Champion Cristiano da Matta, who has a foot in Formula One, the CART President says that the export of drivers like the Brazilian will benefit the series, and that it will help the emergence of new stars.

10/22/02

Musgrave to drive for Petty  Ted Musgrave, a front-running veteran of NASCAR Winston Cup racing, will drive Petty Enterprises’ #44 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge in Sunday’s NAPA 500 at the 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway. "We talked with a lot of drivers in a short period of time," said Petty Enterprises CEO Kyle Petty, "and we knew we needed someone who could come in, adjust quickly and give us solid experience behind the wheel. Ted has done a lot in Winston Cup and in the Truck series, and he is going to do well for us too." Musgrave replaces Jerry Nadeau, who was injured in a personal accident last week and is not expected to return to driving until next season. "I was really honored Kyle asked me to drive for him, especially at Atlanta," Musgrave said. "With Georgia-Pacific’s headquarters right there, the fact they are sponsoring Georgia-Pacific Pole Night, and the fact they are unveiling their 2003 car this weekend, it means a lot to me that they would want me to be part of it." Petty will drive with the Georgia-Pacific sponsorship next season. Musgrave is currently third in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship chase, and has won twice in the first 19 races this season.

10/22/02

Bankers and carmakers could unite  According to this Daily F1 article, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported yesterday that creditor banks of fallen media conglomerate Kirch are closing in on a new agreement with the consortium of European carmakers. The banks, Bayerische Landesbank, Lehman Brothers and J.P. Morgan & Chase, are trying to broker a deal with the powerful consortium of manufacturers all involved in Formula One including BMW, Ford, Renault, DaimlerChrysler, and FIAT, which could prevent the damaging 2008 GPWC breakaway Championship from going ahead. The newspaper report suggests that there is a way in which the Concorde Agreement, the secret covenant that controls F1, could be extended to 2017 through a cooperative deal between the financial institutions and the carmakers. Ostensibly, both the banks and the carmakers would take a stake in SLEC, the F1 commercial trust, and work towards a common cause: establishing a more favorable distribution of commercial rights to the competitors. A new Concorde Agreement would be written to replace the current edition, which expires in 2007, that would include the terms and conditions and how funds would be paid. The carmakers have long objected to how Formula One’s commercial income is paid out under the current regime. They believe the teams should receive bigger cuts and under the proposal of the breakaway Championship slated for 2008, the trust set up to hold the rights would see the lion’s share paid to the participating teams. The establishment of a working relationship would provide stability for Formula One after such unstable times over the past two years while for the banks, the incentive to work with the carmakers would significantly boost the value of their investment in the Formula One business.  From AutoRacing1's perspective, we believe Ecclestone's rumored buy into CART fits into this picture somehow.

10/22/02

Brabham to drive 24-Hours of Daytona  Multimatic announced that David Brabham would be joining Scott Maxwell and David Empringham in one of its two Ford Focus Daytona Prototypes that will run in the 2003 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Drivers Scott Maxwell, David Empringham and David Brabham will pilot the Ford Focus Daytona Prototype in the classic twice-around-the-clock race. Canadian Maxwell will lead the driving lineup for the team. Although he currently competes in the Grand-Am Cup Series, where he is in a heated battle for the team and driver championships, Maxwell also has extensive experience in prototype racing. While running a limited Rolex Series schedule in 2001, Maxwell garnered a SRPII podium finish at Mid-Ohio and pole position at Road America in Multimatic's Nissan Lola. Australian Brabham, who now resides in Florida, is one of the most noted sports car racers in the world. A factory Panoz Motorsports driver for five years, Brabham just recently was given his release from Panoz as Panoz plans a development season in 2003. Brabham has also had two stints in Formula 1 racing. Multimatic is expected to announce the Rolex 24 At Daytona driver lineup for its second Ford Focus Daytona Prototype in the coming weeks. Maxwell and Empringham will continue with Multimatic throughout the 2003 Rolex Series season as part of the manufacturer’s effort. However, Multimatic will sell its second factory team Ford Focus Daytona Prototype following the Rolex 24 At Daytona and continue to campaign the car for a private owner during the remainder of the season. Multimatic will also be building additional cars for customers throughout the 2003 season. Persons interested in additional information about the Ford Focus Daytona Prototype and its availability to run in 2003 should contact Barry McSherry with Multimatic at 905-470-0025 or via email at bmcsherry@multimatic.com.

10/22/02

Ecclestone echoes Mosley's comments  FIA President Max Mosley said it last week at the Shanghai groundbreaking and today Bernie Ecclestone has also stated that one of the current races on the 17-race F1 calendar will need to be dropped by 2004 in favor of the Chinese Grand Prix, which was confirmed as part of the 2004 F1 Championship Monday. "We have 17 races on the calendar," Ecclestone told a press conference earlier today. "Regrettably one of them will have to go to make way for Shanghai. "Don't ask me which one," he added. but AR1 hears it will be Imola.  AR1 hears there is a chance that CART, or whatever it is called by then, may be offered to the Imola promoter as an alternative.  With China and Bahrain both due to host rounds of the World Championship in 2004, this means that two races will need to be dropped from the current calendar. However with next year's Belgian GP already very much in doubt because of tobacco laws preventing tobacco ads on cars, it appears that Ecclestone has given up on Spa Francorchamps hosting an event beyond 2003. In fact, if next year's event is to take place all the teams have to agree to run without tobacco advertising. "I will guarantee we will be here in 2004," Ecclestone told reporters in Shanghai. "The circuit will have been finished, and it will be one of the best circuits in the world. Hopefully Shanghai will be able to hold Formula One™ even after 2010."

10/22/02

McNish enjoys first taste of IRL  Former Toyota F1 driver Allan McNish had his first taste of IRL yesterday when he ran the Penske at Fontana in California. There is still confusion as to whether this test could lead to McNish getting an IRL drive in a swap for Helio Castroneves, or whether it's simply a 'thank you' following Helio Castroneves' test with the Toyota F1 outfit last month. "So far, I've enjoyed it quite a lot," he told Racer magazine. "I've enjoyed it more than I thought I would, in reality. And I've got a feel for the information the car is giving, and also what the changes we've made to the car are doing." "I'm pleased by the speeds we've been able to run straight away," he added. "Considering it's the 2003 spec lower engine revs, and all the other rule modifications they've made to try and slow the cars, I think I've adapted to it well." "The most nervous moment of the running was on the first actual run," he continued. "I didn't know how to do it, where to go, or what to look for," added the Scot. "Rick Mears took me out this morning and showed me what to try and do to get acclimatized to it."

10/22/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

BMW Threaten To Quit F1
Fisichella Hails Incoming Ford
Formula One Future Looking Up?
Russia Points Finger At Bernie
Bridgestone: Our Tires Favor Ferrari
McLaren Promise To Catch Up
Alonso Targets The Top With Renault

10/22/02

Did you know?  Did you know that Jaguar F1 team boss Niki Lauda's son Mathias competes in the 2.0 liter category of the Iberian single seater series?  Now you do.  His sponsor is Red Bull.

10/21/02

Motorsports and Begley back in St. Pete  This Tampa Tribune article states that the most persistent motorsports force the Tampa Bay area has known, Tom Begley has resurfaced as general manager of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The Feb. 21-23 race will bring CART champ cars to the area for the first time. They'll scream around a 14-turn street circuit that shows off the St. Petersburg Harbor and Marina and uses part of Albert Whitted Airport. Construction is going full- throttle. Road crews are tearing up corners to improve ingress and egress. They're putting in infrastructure for the pit lane. They're milling another road. The circuit is supposed to be ready by Dec. 13, minus, of course, grandstands, staging and nearly four miles of safety barricades. "Out of the box, we're going to have the most beautiful course CART runs on,'' Begley was saying. "Other courses have water, but none of them have the circuit that we do.''  Full story...

10/21/02

Moscow Mayor says Bernie wanted too much  The mayor of Moscow feels that Bernie Ecclestone is to blame for Russia not finding a place on the Formula 1 calendar. Mayor Yuri Luzhkoy said the conditions that would have been imposed on the Russian capital made the prospect of a race unworkable. "We also wanted to stage the Formula 1 Grand Prix," Russian news agency RIA quoted him as saying. "But he (Ecclestone) wanted to keep all the rights for the event - ticketing, television, advertising - which would leave us with only engine smoke. That's why the negotiations failed."  Engine smoke?  What about all the money spent by visitors on hotels, food and entertainment?  Would the city not have benefited from that?

10/21/02
Industry News

Front straight seats almost gone  After a record-setting day of individual ticket sales on Saturday, only a handful of individual frontstretch tickets remain for the March 30, 2003 Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race. As of today, less than 1,000 individual and obstructed view seats were available on the frontstretch. "The remaining Season Tickets are somebody's best shot of getting a good frontstretch seat without going to a ticket scalper," said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage. "Saturday was just a record-setting day for us. The value of tickets on the backstretch, in the Victory Lane Club and to the March 29 O'Reilly 300 NASCAR Busch Series race just went up, too. Clearly the fans are anxious for the 2003 season to start." Season Ticket sales were brisk throughout the weekend as well. "We are ahead of our pace last year at this time," said speedway ticket director Kevin Camper. "In fact, our new Season Ticket sales for 2003 have already surpassed where we were in January of this year for 2002 Season Tickets. That's the same number three months earlier. Fans clearly see the value in buying Season Tickets." In addition to the Samsung/RadioShack 500, tickets also went on sale for the March 29 O'Reilly 300 NASCAR Busch Series race; the June 7 Bombardier 500k and October 12 Chevy 500k Indy Racing League events and the June 6 O'Reilly 400k and October 11 Silverado 350k NASCAR Craftsman Truck races. Ticket sales for 2003 races will continue 24 hours a day on the website. The speedway ticket office and hotline of (817) 215-8500 will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Noon-5 p.m. on Sunday. Fans may also purchase tickets through Ticketmaster.

10/21/02

Forsythe authorized to buy more CART shares  Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH - News) announced today a second amendment to its stockholders rights plan; the first amendment was adopted September 12, 2002. At the request of Gerald R. Forsythe, the amendment permits Forsythe and his affiliated entities to increase their aggregate ownership of CART stock to 3,664,782 shares, or 24.9%, without triggering the stockholders rights plan. In consideration for this amendment, Forsythe has agreed to vote and exchange all shares acquired in excess of 15% of the outstanding stock consistent with the recommendations of the Board of Directors of CART on all strategic matters for a period of three years. The same restrictions were also agreed to in the first amendment. The stockholder rights plan was established to ensure that CART shareholders receive fair value and equal treatment in the event of any proposed takeover of the company or other strategic actions. The Board of Directors believes that this amendment is in the best interest of CART and its shareholders. The amendment is being made at the request of Forsythe, and not being made in response to any proposal to acquire CART. Under the amended plan, if a person or group, other than Forsythe, acquires or commences a tender offer to acquire 15% or more of CART's common stock, except pursuant to a tender or exchange offer which is for all of the outstanding stock of the company at a price and on terms approved by the Board of Directors, the other stockholders will be entitled to purchase shares of CART stock at a purchase price equal to 50% of the then current market price.

10/21/02
Industry News

Octagon WSJ story  Today's Wall Street Journal has a front page story on what a negative impact Octagon is having on its parent company Interpublic.  This is the same Octagon that is supposed to sign up all the overseas markets with TV deals for CART.  Octagon is losing their shirt, and given their performance with CART (or shall we say non-performance), we're not surprised.

10/21/02
Industry News

Simple Green signs on with TMS  Simple Green has signed a multi year sponsorship deal with Texas Motor Speedway. SG will be the Official Cleaner of TMS and will be a part of all races at the facility...these of course include NASCAR WC, Busch, Craftsman Trucks and IRL. The Dallas/Ft Worth market is very important to Simple Green and their retailers and they are looking forward to some very productive promotions around these events.

10/21/02

Atlantics: Velofuro Motorsports to run 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Series  Returning to the CART Toyota Atlantic Series is a familiar face, last seen steering the PPI Motorsports Atlantic program to the championship title in 1999 with Anthony Lazzaro and second and third in points in 2000, with Dan Wheldon and Andrew Bordin. Nick Harvey spearheaded that program for four seasons for Cal Wells and is now returning as team owner of Velofuro Motorsports. After spending the past two years as General Manager with PPI's Winston Cup operation, Nick is ready to pick up where he left off in Atlantics - out in front. The team is currently talking to an impressive list of sponsors and drivers and is looking to open their shop doors at the beginning of November and start testing shortly after. The driver line up is expected to be announced by the end of October. For more information on Velofuro Motorsports check back at the team website.

10/21/02

Pook reassures Long Beach media, IRL would love to get LB  This Long Beach Press Telegram article says -  despite all those factors working against him, Pook spoke extensively at the press conference about 2005 a year that some of CART's drivers don't think the series will even reach. "We have set a very clear path on where we want to take this company,' Pook said. "Our plan is to stabilize the company and have it stable for two years. We want to maximize our strengths on street and road courses. Then, in 2005, we will move to a V-10, normally aspirated engine.' Both Christian Fittipaldi and Dario Franchitti have gone on record recently saying their decision to leave the series was motivated by the fact they don't believe CART will survive past next season. Fittipaldi will race in the NASCAR Busch Series and Franchitti was one of three CART drivers to commit to the IRL next season. The possibility of not having CART around has caused many to speculate on what will become of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. CART has run on the temporary street course since 1984 when Pook spurred the shift from Formula One to cut costs. Indy Racing League spokesman Fred Nation told the Press-Telegram in a phone interview Friday that if CART were ever to cease operation, the IRL could step in and fill the void. "The IRL really has no interest right now in running on temporary street courses, though the Long Beach facility is in a class by itself,' Nation said. "Running in Long Beach is not a priority for the Indy Racing League and to this point it was not even possible.' The IRL was developed by Tony George, the president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in 1996 as a cheaper alternative to CART. The series has run exclusively on ovals since its creation. But starting next year, a change in chassis design will allow the cars to be fueled on either the right or left side. That would make racing on street courses possible. Another thing holding the IRL back from racing on street and permanent road courses is CART, which has dominated those venues for two decades. Nation said if CART were ever to cease to exist, the IRL would considers having "a couple' road races a year and said that Long Beach could be one of those races. "Long Beach is one of the premier events in motor sports,' Nation said. Long Beach Grand Prix Association President and CEO Jim Michaelian refused to comment on the possibility of IRL coming to town. CART is signed through 2005 and Michaelian said he said he's focused on making next year's race, scheduled for April13, a success. "There will be a Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach through 2005 and we have an agreement with the city until 2010,' Michaelian said. "We are focused on CART and we aren't worried that they aren't going to be there. I don't have any comment on the other stuff.' Michaelian said last April that the Grand Prix Association had contingency plans in place if CART were to cease to exist. Those plans started while Pook, one of the Grand Prix's founders, was still president of the association. Many, like Mum's owner John Morris, would like to see Formula One return to town if CART couldn't. His business like most of the restaurants on Pine Ave. see twice as much business during the Grand Prix weekend. "It's our biggest weekend of the year so I don't know how you would replace that race (financially),' Morris said. "If CART falls apart, I can't imagine somebody out there not wanting to step right up and pick up the slack.' It's estimated that the Grand Prix gives Long Beach a $39 million boost to the city's economy. But to bring F1 back would be very costly. F1 ran in Long Beach from 1976 to 1983 and the race forced the Grand Prix Association to operate at a loss most of those years. Bernie Ecclestone, the head of F1, said if his series were to return, changes need to be made. "As much as we would like to return to Long Beach, the circuit would not meet our criteria both for the length and safety standard,' Ecclestone told the Press- Telegram. "If the circuit could comply, we would love to return.' Permanent structures would likely need to be built to accommodate a F1 race, a cost the Grand Prix would not likely take on. There was speculation that F1 would run here in the fall in addition to the April CART race, but Pook said there was no chance of that happening. "Where does that (stuff) come from?' Pook asked. "Who is going to spend $16-or $18 million to put on a F1 race here?' The answer is probably nobody. CART has exclusive rights to the city until 2005 anyway. Formula One has been a hot topic in regard to CART in recent weeks. ESPN.com reported that Ecclestone is in discussions to invest in CART and make it the main feeder series for F1. Pook didn't deny that a deal was in the works, but said no agreement was imminent. "It would be incorrect not to say we have an interest (in F1),' Pook said. "Is there a special plan afoot? Well, we are just busy going about our business.' And Pook is busy trying to keep that business viable.

10/21/02

Cope to drive #49  Derrike Cope will take the wheel of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge for the rest of the season, beginning with this week’s Atlanta 500 at the 1.522-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway. Beth Ann Morgenthau, owner of the NASCAR Winston Cup team along with her husband Tony, made the announcement. Cope will be returning to NASCAR competition for the first time since he was injured in a violent crash during a Busch Grand National race in September at Richmond, Va. The former Daytona 500 winner had been talking with Morgenthau about finishing this season with the team at that point. "Derrike did a tremendous job for us at Michigan, the first time he had driven our equipment," Morgenthau said, "and continued to run well at Bristol the next week. We were off for two weeks with our partial schedule and had decided at that point to have him in our car for the rest of our year.

10/21/02

Bombardier to sponsor Texas IRL race  Texas Motor Speedway today announced Bombardier as the new sponsor of the June 7, 2003 Indy Racing League event. The Bombardier 500k is the first race following the famed Indianapolis 500. "Bombardier is a world class company," said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage. "We are pleased to have them sponsor 'The Original Nighttime Indy Race' here at Texas Motor Speedway. It is one of the largest sporting events in the country." Bombardier, a diversified manufacturing and services company headquartered in Montreal, is a world leading manufacturer of business jets, regional aircraft, rail transportation equipment and motorized recreational products. The company manufactures brands such as Bombardier Learjet®, Challenger®, CRJ®, Sea-Doo®, Ski-Doo®, Evinrude® and Johnson® outboard motors, and has offices around the world. "This sponsorship is an extension of an already successful relationship with the IRL," said Peter Edwards, president, Bombardier Business Aircraft. "We are excited to be part of the world of motorsports. Our participation at the Texas Motor Speedway is a further expression of our company's passion for performance, precision and innovation." Bombardier has been an official sponsor of the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since March 2002. The Texas race sponsorship will run through the 2005 season.

10/21/02

BMW could quit F1  Dr. Mario Theissen, the boss of BMW Motorsport, said in an interview with the German news agency SID "The options are building our own Formula 1 car, continuing our collaboration with Williams in a more appropriate form or quitting F1." "We're too far behind Ferrari. We want to become World Champion by 2004 but we can only do that with perfect collaboration in all areas and that includes the exchange of all data and the common use of computer simulations and research facilities." Their current contract expires at the end of 2004, and 2005 CART starts with less expensive V-10's. Hmm......Related story.

10/21/02

News on Mexico City  Dear AutoRacing1.com, Thanks for the great information from your trip to Mexico City last week. I live in Brownsville, Texas on the border and often listen to Mexican radio. Yesterday in a sports news segment, it was mentioned that an official from the Gran Premio de Mexico stated that the inaugural CART event in November is expected to bring in anywhere from $60-70 million dollars into the local economy. Additionally, this official was asked about the possibility of F1 coming back to the same circuit of years past. The official responded by saying that they are interested in attracting the top levels of worldwide motorsport, however, for now they were focusing on CART. There was no mention of the ALMS. Thanks again AR1. Reggie Corona, Brownsville, Texas

10/21/02

Big entry for inaugural Bathurst 24-hour race  Monaro, Porsche, Lamborghini, Mosler, Viper and Ferrari will lead the chase for outright honors in a field featuring some of the world¹s best GT sportscar and production touring car teams. The internationals will bring more than 30 drivers from Germany, Britain, New Zealand and Austria for a crack at the famous Mount Panorama circuit, 210 kilometers west of Sydney. The line-up includes two of the biggest names in international sports car racing, Australian David Brabham, who has driven this season for the Panoz team in the American Le Mans Series, and Le Mans 24-Hour winner Stephane Ortelli, of France, who recently clinched the 2002 Porsche Supercup and FIA N-GT championships. Australian-based front-runners will include two Ferrari 360GT coupes and a Porsche GT3 RS from PHR Scuderia, the factory-backed 7.0 liter Holden Monaro, Paul Stokell¹s Lamborghini Diablo and the 8.0-litre Chrysler Viper of D¹arcy Russell. Announcing the entry list today, Ross Palmer, Chairman and Chief Executive of organizer PROCAR Australia, said he was delighted so many cars had been secured for the inaugural event. ³We¹re working on a multi-year plan to build the Bathurst 24-Hour and to have such a strong entry for year one is a terrific achievement, Mr. Palmer said.

10/21/02

Button no superstar  Renault technical director Mike Gascoyne is adamant that outgoing pilot Jenson Button will never hold world championship spoils aloft. After a two-year stint for the Enstone-based team, 22-year-old Button - from Frome in Bicester - heads for the British American Racing outfit. But Gascoyne warns the BAR team not to get their hopes up for a young superstar driver in Button. 'I honestly don't think Jenson has the spark of a real Formula 1 megastar,' Gascoyne said. Button, indeed, was out-qualified 11-6 by 28-year-old Trulli this year. 'We didn't give him a very good car at the start of 2001 but we stuck by him when he wasn't performing while Giancarlo was doing a fantastic job,' Gascoyne stated. Renault, then, have no regret as they welcome young Spaniard Fernando Alonso to the second blue and yellow seat. 'If Jenson had out-qualified his team-mate by half a second everywhere it might have been different,' says Gascoyne. 'But he hasn't.' Gascoyne says: 'We stuck with his contract but we had a long-term plan and we believe his replacement Fernando Alonso is very special.' As Renault revealed that Button would not play a part in their 2003 campaign, however, BAR boss David Richards admitted his 'amazement' that the young sensation had been ousted. Button's next challenge, then, is at BAR alongside his fourth team-mate in four years of Formula One racing. This time, though, his cockpit cohort is a world champion: 'But that doesn't faze me,' he says.

10/21/02

Ecclestone makes China official  Hot on the heels of Max Mosley's visit for the groundbreaking, Bernie Ecclestone has made it official.  China became the latest destination on the Grand Prix calendar after officials in Shanghai signed a deal with Formula One president Bernie Ecclestone today, bringing the sport to the city from 2004.  The large eastern China city has won a seven-year contract to host races.  The track expected to be completed in March 2004, just ahead of the start of that year's Formula One season.   The circuit on the western outskirts of Shanghai, planned as the largest in Asia, will cost an estimated two billion Yuan ($240 million dollars) to build. "I'm very pleased that we've decided to wait to come to Shanghai," said Ecclestone after a signing ceremony with city and sports administration officials. "I sincerely hope that Formula One coming to China will breed enthusiasm for motor sport in China."  The Shanghai Grand Prix joins a series of high-profile sports events the country has been recently named to host. Shanghai itself will next month hold the ATP Tennis Masters tournament, the climax to the men's season, while Beijing last year won the biggest prize of all, the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Aside from the new Formula One commitments to China and Bahrain, Russia is also building a circuit while India, Dubai, Turkey and Egypt are bidding to convince Ecclestone and FIA president Max Mosley of their ability to stage races. Currently, the Formula One season is made up of 17 races, 11 of them in Europe. It is still unclear which, if any, of those venues will be dropped in favor of Shanghai, but AR1 expects races will be dropped and CART will take over those events.

10/21/02
F-3000

American Giebler to get testing shot  Racing Engineering is having its first round of driver tests for the 2003 season today in Valencia. The following drivers get a chance to drive Racing Engineering’s Nissan V6 F3000 car:  1) F3000 driver Patrick Friesacher (AUT),  2) Racing Engineering’s young and very talented F3 driver Alvaro Parente (POR), 3) Felipe Silva (POR),  4) Borja Garcia (ESP) and  5) Philip Giebler (USA).  Yesterday, Ricardo Zonta moved a step nearer to claiming the Dallara Nissan title after taking victory at Valencia, while championship rivals Bas Leinders and Franck Montegny hit trouble. Justin Wilson, driving for Racing Engineering,  took advantage of the melee to move into third and the top three pulled away from the rest from there on.  This new highly competitive European-based series is based on a Formula 1 dimension Dallara body, Nissan V6 450 hp powered engine, and is governed by FIA F3000 regulations, but should not be confused with the International F3000 series, considered the official FIA sanctioned F3000 series.
1 Ricardo Zonta Gabord 24m53.260s
2 Ander Vilarino Epilson by Graff +1.051s
3 Justin Wilson Racing Engineering +1.690s
4 Jonathan Cochet KTR +2.768s
5 Narain Karthikeyan Tata RC +5.033s
6 Rodrigo Sperafico Repsol Meycom +6.833s
7 Franck Montagny Racing Engineering +10.737s
8 Felix Porterio Vergani +10.911
9 Tuka Rocha Gabord +12.103s
10 Rafael Sarandess Zele +12.568s

10/21/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Honda Target 2003 Race Wins
Rubens: Massa Is A Champion
Williams Urges Caution Over Reform
Panis Remembers Monaco Victory
Montoya The Family Man
Bahrain Welcomed To F1 Calendar
McNish Describes Suzuka Horror
Bernie To Bail Out CART?
Gascoyne: Button's No Super-Star
Verstappen: F1 Or Nothing
F1 News In Brief

10/20/02

David Watson Joins Fernández Racing  Former Sigma Autosport chief engineer David Watson has joined Fernández Racing for the final three events of the 2002 season, and will serve as race engineer for Adrián Fernández. Watson handled race-engineering duties for Max Papis and Oriol Servia during his tenure at Sigma Autosport, a team that ceased operations after five races this season. Prior to joining Sigma in 2000, Watson was the chief engineer at Mo Nunn Racing and the race engineer for Tony Kanaan. He began his Champ Car career with Lola Cars International Ltd., and moved to Team Rahal in 1996 as an aerodynamicist and race engineer. Watson hails from England, and his extensive Formula One background includes both aerodynamicist and design engineer positions.

10/20/02
Industry News

Paralyzed Jason Watt wins Danish Touring Car Championship   UPDATE Former Formula 3000 Danish star driver Jason Watt, who was paralyzed from the waist down following a motorcycle accident in Europe, has made a successful comeback in racing, just winning the Danish Touring Car Championship in a specially equipped Peugeot 306 GTI.  As far as we know, Watt is the first ever driver to win a major championship using hand controls.  Watt is counted among Copenhagen's famous people including supermodel Helena Christensen and the pop group Aqua. Prior to his tragedy, Watt was on course to become the first Black driver in Formula One. Watt is Black and Danish. He traveled from the cobblestone streets of Denmark to the spotlight of international racing prominence. He was a star in Formula 3000, comprised of a pool of the best young drivers from around the world... just one step from Formula One. Watt's racing resume is most impressive having won races and championships at every level from Karts-to-Formula Ford-to-Formula 3-to-Formula 3000. Blessed with good looks, a fun-loving laissez-faire attitude, and tremendous abilities as a race car driver, he is a sponsor's dream. Den Bla Avis, a Danish company, sponsored Watt who signed with motorsport giant Super Nova Team Ltd. Jason had driven Formula Opel/Lotus in 1995, came to Alfa-Romeo in the German Touring Car Championship 1996 and to F3000 in 1997 for the new team Den Blå Avis setup for Jason and stayed there for 1998. In 1999 he went to SuperNova where he finished 2nd to Nick Heidfeld (The 1999 F3000 International Champion, Nick Heidfeld, is currently in Formula One and considered one of the best.). The same team that Sebastian Bourdais just became champion with and young Danish driver Nicolas Kiesa just signed for. Jason became a father of twins this year and married Majbritt Wingsøe, a former model and now TVhost on Danish TV3. A channel that Jason had been working for before, and he just got a TV-show called "Next game" where he reviews console games. Interestingly, Jason Watt, Jan Magnussen and Nicolas Kiesa all come from the town Roskilde less than 30 miles from capital Copenhagen.  8/23/00 - Word from our Danish sources has it that Jason Watt is set to enter an event at the Nürburgring driving a Panoz LMP-1 partnering Karsten Ree and sponsored by Ben Blå Avis (a Danish publishing concern) in the Sports Racing World Cup series. For those who don't know, Jason Watt was a contender in the International F-3000 series (winning at Spa-Francorchamps in '99) but was paralyzed from the chest down after a tragic motorcycle accident in Copenhagen which occurred during a photo shoot last Fall. The amiable black Dane was being considered for CART and F-1 rides before the horrible accident sidelined his racing career.  Jason has recuperated extremely well and has been taking part in Danish Touring Car Championship (DTC) events driving a Peugeot 306 GTI with an articulated throttle/shift/brake mechanism with some very good results, inspiring Danish racing enthusiasm and aspiring young black drivers Internationally.  Criticism of Jason Watt's re-entry into racing has come from Danish racing veteran John Neilsen who has voiced open concern regarding Watt's race fitness and what may happen in the case Watt's car is involved a racing incident or catches fire as it takes several minutes to remove Jason from the car.  Ironically, John Neilsen co-drives the sister Ben Blå Avis Panoz LMP (to the) car Watt is scheduled to drive at the Nürburgring. Interesting enough, Watt's times are usually within .001/second of Neilsen's in nearly identically prepared cars at their DTC appearances.  For more information on Jason Watt have a look at his website (in Danish with some English text.

10/20/02

Zanardi targets Lemans 24-hour return  It was reported in Autosport magazine that Alex Zanardi is targeting the Lemans 24-hour race (not sure what year) for his return to the cockpit.  He said he wants to do that race with his friends Max Papis and Jimmy Vasser.  The car would have to be equipped with hand controls and feet controls to accommodate both drivers.  Think it can't be done?  Read the Hot News story about Jason Watt.

10/20/02

Montoya values family, tells of horrors in Colombia  "I've always had and I'm still having a very close relationship with my family," Juan Pablo tells the BMW Motorsport website. "My father, my mother, both of my sisters and my brother. My family, some very close friends and, of course, Connie always enjoy coming to the races." "My father and my uncle raced as well," he adds. "That's why motor sport has become more or less a part of the family. I have always been enjoying full support. That's the reason why I dedicated my life to racing." However there's one part of his life that has changed dramatically, Juan Pablo no longer lives in, or even returns to, Colombia, instead he resides, along with most of his rivals, in Monaco. "For me there is a difference between my home country and the place where I live," he says. "At present my home is Monaco since I live there. "I haven't been living in Colombia for seven years," he adds. "Nevertheless it will always be my home country." And why doesn't the WilliamsF1 star return home between races or at the end of the season? "There is too much kidnapping," he replies. "I'm the least in danger of all of my family's members," he adds. "For the Colombians I'm really an important figure I'm a very, very famous person there. Whoever intended to do something to me would be weary of life. But I could hardly live a normal life or simply go to a restaurant or go shopping. "I'm an ambassador," he continues. "Have a look at the Colombian flags waved at the stands. At some Grand Prix races there are quiet a lot of them. I think that I can give something to my country I can make the people happy. When I'm racing they are almost paralysed, then everything is stands still."

10/20/02

Petty tells Nadeau to stay home  Jerry Nadeau, injured Thursday while riding go karts, will not drive the #44 Dodge again this season, team president and CEO Kyle Petty said Friday. "He called me, said he was riding go-karts and was in the hospital," said Petty just before qualifying at Martinsville Speedway. "Then he called back later and said it was probably going to be (out) four to six weeks. Jerry's not driving for us next year, so the best thing for him to do is sit at home and do his stuff so he can come out strong next year. If he's smart he'll sit out the rest of the year. I think he will sit out the rest of the year. He hurt his shoulder and I think he tore some ligaments or some tendons or muscles. So it's going to have to repair itself. I think the doctors can do something for him, rehab and stuff. But it's a time thing. When you look at that, he should just take his time and heal himself." Nadeau is rumored to be taking over MB2 Motorsports' #36 Pontiac in 2003. Petty is uncertain whether Steve Grissom will drive the car in the coming weeks, due to his obligations with Jimmy Spencer's #34 BGN team. He was elated Grissom could drive this weekend.  NASCAR.com

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