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DATE

News (chronologically)

12/13/02

Heitzler scores court victory  UPDATE  We forgot to mention, these are just procedural issues, and not substantive issues.  The real case is yet to be heard.  12/13/02 - According to the an article written by Steve Mayer in the December 11th issue of NSSN, former CART CEO Joe Heitzler prevailed again last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Judge Ronald Lew denied a motion to disqualify Championship Auto Racing Teams' former law firm Thelen Reid & Priest (TRP) from representing Heitzler. Last March 26, CART sued Heitzler, in U.S. District Court in Detroit, alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties and fraud. Two days later, Heitzler sued CART in Los Angeles alleging breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing. On April 1, Heitzler sued CART directors/team owners Pat Patrick and Carl Haas, as individuals, alleging defamation, interference with contractual relations, and infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy. In September, Judge Patrick Duggan in Detroit granted Heitzler's motion to move CART's action to Los Angeles. Judge Lew allows Heitzler to retain TRP in the Patrick-Haas matter where his attorney for the past 20 years, James Turken, is based. In addition, Judge Lew denied the motion of both CART and Patrick-Haas to consolidate the pre-trial proceedings. Patrick-Haas and CART objected to Turken and Los Angeles-based TRP from representing Heitzler. CART and Patrick-Haas's attorney's contended, among other arguments, that since Turken and TRP were privy to confidential CART information, there could not be impartial representation. Judge Lew did not concur. "Defendants point to billing statements from TRP," Lew wrote, "and argue that these `clearly show that (TRP) received confidential information from CART.' An examination of the statements does not, by itself, indicate either a substantial relationship or that confidential information was actually passed to TRP."........Should Heitzler be awarded a judgment against Patrick and Haas, CART shareholders may be in for a surprise. In a declaration by CART Chief Financial Officer Tom Carter stated, "CART's corporate bylaws provide that CART will indemnify board members for lawsuits such as the Plaintiff's suit."........One Heitzler attorney Eric Diamond stated, "We're pleased with the judge's decision. We now look forward to proceeding, now that the pre-trial procedural motions are out of the way." Attorneys for CART and/or Patrick-Haas, however, have not indicated whether they will appeal Judge Lew's ruling.

12/12/02

Petree seeks investors  Andy Petree said he is seeking investors for his NASCAR Winston Cup race team, and still has plans for a full schedule in 2003. "Investors with existing business relationships can find a home with a top stock car racing team," Petree said. "I’m looking for someone who can partner with me and help us continue the success this team has enjoyed over the years." Petree, the only hands-on car owner with a recent championship in a leadership role, has two race victories in the past two seasons, and is perennially a challenger on a weekly basis. Bobby Hamilton and Joe Nemechek were the most recent drivers to win with the team. "For someone who is looking to be part of a traditionally winning team in the most popular form of motorsports, we have a tremendous opportunity," Petree said. "The missing piece of our puzzle is a business savvy investor with ties to corporate America." A proven winner, Petree has found victory lane in everything he has attempted. In fact, his most recent victory came with 2003 Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart behind the wheel of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entry, taking a victory at Richmond, Va. Stewart said Petree had one of the best organizations for which he had driven in his career, and noted that Petree’s truck team won in just four starts. "We’ve done everything you can do on the race track. I don’t think anyone disputes that we have a strong program here," he said. "Someone who can come in as an investor and help us bring the final part of the sponsorship situation together is going to find tremendous rewards. The way this sport is booming right now, once the economy does come back - and it is showing every sign of doing that - an established winning NASCAR Winston Cup team is going to be at a real premium."

12/12/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $3.74 Down $0.01 on Volume of 10,800 shares.
$3.08 Bid - $4.04 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.63 / $3.77
MPH Value Change Down 0.27%
DOW Jones Down 50.74 or 0.59% on Volume of 1.64 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 2.96 or 0.21%
S&P 500 Down 3.38 or 0.37%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

12/12/02

Jordan renews with sponsor  Jordan Grand Prix is pleased to announce a renewal of its sponsorship agreement with Imation Corporation, one of the world's leading manufacturers of removable data storage products including CD-R, DVD and data storage tapes. The agreement takes the two companies into the fifth consecutive year of their association. In addition to sponsorship investment, Imation will continue to supply a range of data storage media to Jordan for use across a wide range of IT applications including the storage of telemetry data generated at races and tests, plus data generated by the team's windtunnel and design office. In 2003 Imation will be known as an 'Official Technology Partner' to Jordan Ford. “We look back on four exciting years of building our relationship with Jordan Grand Prix. Since 1999 we have been working closely with Jordan to capitalize on our unique relationship. We have been able to take advantage of the many opportunities that our relationship offers to us, both for marketing and communication purposes. Jordan has allowed us to demonstrate the capability of our technologies to viewers of Formula One racing,” Brian J. Plummer, Executive Director Imation Europe commented. “The partnership, initially geared towards technical co-operation, provides an outstanding forum for showcasing our technological competence as a world leader in IT storage applications.” “It's very satisfying to maintain our association with Imation into a fifth season as it demonstrates the strength of our partnership and their commitment to Formula One with Jordan,” added Eddie Jordan. “The use of Imation's technology within the team show-cases its capabilities and demonstrates the quality of their products in terms of speed, reliability and performance.”

12/12/02

Trans-Am to race at CART venues  It was announced today that Trans-Am will race with CART at the three Dover Downs promoted races in St. Petersburg, Denver and Long Beach in 2003.

12/12/02

Scheckter tests Toyota for Ganassi  Tomas Scheckter and Target Chip Ganassi Racing continued the fast-paced Indy Racing League off-season by testing Dec. 11 at Phoenix International Raceway. The test marked the third consecutive day that the historic 1-mile oval was used for tests by IRL teams. Two-time reigning IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. tested the new 2003 Chevy Indy V8 engine with Team Menard driver Jaques Lazier and Vitor Meira on Dec. 9-10. Scheckter, winner of the Michigan Indy 400 in July at Michigan International Speedway, turned approximately 150 laps with the new Toyota Indy V8 engine. “It went well,” Scheckter said. “The relationship between me and the team is building up well. What we developed in the test at Homestead, we brought here. With every lap, we’re getting better and better, and we’re heading in the right direction.” Scheckter finished 14th in the 2002 IRL point standings, competing in the first 12 races of the season with Red Bull Cheever Racing before leaving the team. Target Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi announced Oct. 23 that Scheckter and Scott Dixon will drive for the team exclusively in the IRL in 2003. Target Chip Ganassi Racing won four consecutive CART titles from 1996-1999 and captured the 2000 Indianapolis 500 with Juan Pablo Montoya. “It’s a very professional team,” Scheckter said. “They are very aggressive and want to win. I’m building a good relationship with my engineers. They understand what I need, and I’m understanding what they need from me. “We’re learning more with every lap we turn.”

12/12/02

Irvine may drive for Bentley, but wants F1 ride  UPDATE Irvine has turned down the offer from Bentley to drive at LeMans for them  12/10/02 - The Bentley sports car team have offered Eddie Irvine a drive in next year's Le Mans 24-hour race. The Ulsterman is still waiting to see if there is a chance of securing the remaining Jordan-Ford formula one drive alongside Giancarlo Fisichella.

12/12/02

German drops Arrows  The German news agency DPA is reporting this morning that Oliver Behring, the man who was going to invest in the Arrows F1 with his German Grand Prix Racing GmbH company, has told them that the contract with the team has been cancelled. Behring was surprised when Arrows did not receive an entry for the 2003 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. He had previously said that he had been told that an entry had been organized and that there was "a 99.95% chance" that the team would be present at the first race of 2003.

12/12/02

Salo bitter over Toyota treatment, says da Matta will struggle  Mika Salo, the Finn who was unexpectedly dropped after a single season at Formula One newcomers Toyota, hopes the Cologne-based outfit will falter next season. Toyota's decision to recruit an all-new driver line-up of Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta next season took many by surprise and although Salo feels Panis will fair reasonably owing to his wealth of experience in the sport, he is less than optimistic over da Matta's prospects when he makes his F1 debut in Australia next March. "Panis can handle it well because he's got experience from other teams. But I think da Matta will struggle a bit," he remarked of this season's CART champion. "When he tested for us in the summer he was driving the same day as Allan [McNish] and he was two seconds slower. And Paul Ricard is the easiest circuit in the world. I'm happy I'm not there. I couldn't take that any more, one more year of the same thing."

12/12/02

F1 considers tobacco U-Turn  This Ananova article talks about how F1 might drop its self-imposed ban on tobacco after 2006 because the EU has reneged on its agreement and moved the ban up to 2005.  The thought now is to move most F1 races out of Europe to other countries where tobacco advertising is allowed.

12/12/02

Petty employee dies  Charles B. "CB" Lee, a veteran of NASCAR Winston Cup racing and most recently with Petty Enterprises, passed away Tuesday night at his home. Lee, 57, had been a mechanic at Petty Enterprises since 1999. A Texas native, Lee originally worked with A.J. Foyt’s Indy car team in the 1970's and early 80's, moving to North Carolina to work on stock cars with Foyt. When Foyt first left stock car racing in the late 80's, Lee moved to Stavola Brothers Racing, and also worked for Bobby Allison Motorsports and Bahari Racing. It was at Bahari he met Doug Hewitt and Gary Putnam, Hewitt bringing Lee to Petty Enterprises. He is survived with his wife, Trudy, a son, Charles, Jr., 22, and daughter Megan, 14. The family lives in Asheboro. A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, at Hartsell Funeral Home, 460 Branchview Dr. NE, Concord, N.C.

12/12/02

Ferrari test news  First day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the Circuit de Catalunya, near Barcelona. Luca Badoer was driving Wednesday, with two F2002 at his disposal. The Scuderia official test driver’s program covered tire and electronics testing. A total of 96 laps was completed: 71 with chassis 217 and 25 with chassis 220. The best time of the day was 1’19”162. The Sauber team was also present at the test: Heinz-Harald Frentzen covered 83 laps (best time 1’20”350,) Nick Heidfeld, 28 laps (1’20”944.) Thursday, the Scuderia will be testing at two circuits: Luca Badoer and Rubens Barrichello will be in action in Barcelona, while Luciano Burti will be at Mugello.  Ferrari

12/12/02

Pook takes CART into quiet mode  In his latest article for National Speed Sport News, Steve Mayer writes - CART will no longer directly communicate with shareholders and analysts.  Last week, Championship Auto Racing Teams CEO Chris Pook told the Sports Business Journal that it was discontinuing quarterly teleconferences where institutional investors and analysts quiz management about operations and future prospects.  "The Q speaks for itself," Pook told the SBJ. "This is the position of our company each quarter."  Pook will not hold any teleconferences until after "rebuilding the brand of this company and relaunching the company back on the road to success."..........Since taking the reins a year ago, CART, under Pook has lost $160 million in shareholder value.  Pook's motivation in terminating relations with Wall Street is hard to understand. Pook may be fearful if the actual "burn rate" is uncovered the stock price could fall sharply.  "I'm not sure its that, or that he doesn't want to answer questions he doesn't have answers for," opined analyst Dennis McAlpine of McAlpine Associates.  "The basic questions get to the viability of CART, over a long period of time, such as where's the 18 cars, where's the TV ratings, where's the attendance?  "None of these things he has any response to."  McAlpine is the only analyst left covering CART.   Analyst Glen Reid of Bear Stearns discontinued coverage last week. Analyst Tim Conder of A.G. Edwards dropped coverage of CART in September, issuing an e-mail which stated, in part, that since neither Pook nor Chief Financial Officer Tom Carter answered questions, much less punctually returned phone calls or emails, no point was served in continuing the relationship. A.G. Edwards was one of the original CART's IPO underwriters......CFO Tom Carter may be unaware that he may be fired and a new Chief Operating Officer may be appointed .........Bud Stanner, the President of IMG Motorsports, promoter of Cleveland and Surfer Paradise CART events, is very optimistic.  "I am very confident that they're going to grid 20 cars," stated Stanner.  "I went to a promoters meeting in Miami, and everyone is very supportive. It was one of the best meetings of its type ever.  "From an operating standpoint, they're doing it right. They haven't made any mistakes."  Rumors continue to circulate that if commitments for 18 cars are not soon announced, CART will declare bankruptcy [Bankrupt with $100 million in the bank?  Some people have no clue]. 
Charting CART Stock by CEO
CEO Term First Day Last Day Gain/Loss
Andrew Craig 03/13/98-06/16/00 $16.00 $23.00 43.8%
Bobby Rahal 06/16/00-12/04/00 $23.00 $20.75 -9.8%
Joe Heitzler 12/04/00-12/04/01 $20.75 $15.00 -27.7%
Chris Pook 12/19/01-Current $15.90 $3.83 -74.5% "

12/12/02
Russell Racing

Mandarino wins Russell Racing runoffs  The speed and consistency of Lorenzo Mandarino earned him overall honors in the 2002 Jim Russell Graduate Runoffs presented by RACER Magazine and Yokohama Tires Dec. 3-8. Mandarino took home the Jim Russell/
RACER Trophy by proving to be the most promising talent among the twelve finalists in this subjective competition and will race for free in the 2003 USAC Formula Russell Championship. Of the 60 entrants, 26 advanced to the Sunday finals where a dozen drivers were chosen to run two final sessions on different configurations of Infineon Raceway to determine the podium spots. Ever driver was evaluated on factors including consistency, improvement, and outright speed. These were weighed against their amount of karting and open-wheel racing experience throughout the competition. Eight judges observed the drivers during the Sunday finals. John Zimmermann, Editor at Large for RACER Magazine, joined Jeremy Shaw, broadcast journalist and Team USA Scholarship founder with Lynx Racing team manager Steve Cameron and CART Champ Car driver Memo Gidley in assisting Jim Russell instructors Mark Wolocatiuk, Ric McCormick, and John Knoedler in making the hard choices. Also assisting in judging duties was Jason Kritikos, newly crowned champion of the 2002 USAC Formula Russell Championship. Kritikos was a finalist in last year's Graduate Runoffs. Mandarino will race all 17 rounds of the USAC Formula Russell Championship for free next year with an eye towards that title prize which would earn him two free races in the 2004 FF2000 Zetec Championship pro series. Mandarino started racing karts at the age of 8 and has run extensively in the SKUSA series over the last three seasons. He also earned the first ever ICC track championship at the Infineon Raceway Karting Center. Second spot in the Jim Russell Graduate Runoffs went to David Whitelaw who receives a scholarship for eight free races next season. The final podium spot and four free races next year went to Kris Shaw. Although not one of the finalists, Jerry Anderson earned a free season as well as the top driver over the age of 40. The nine drivers who made the final cut but didn't earn a spot on the podium will each receive two races in next year's USAC Formula Russell Championship. They are:
-Alexandre Albiero
-Erik Bartolero
-Nick Bussell
-Miguel Grillo
-Shane Howe
-Scott Meadow
-Brett Monetti
-Alex Navejar
-Pieter Rossi

12/12/02

New British team to snub CART for the IRL  New British Formula 3000 team Brand Motorsports has announced that it will race in the European CART Champ Car rounds next season before snubbing CART and targeting a full campaign in the Indy Racing League for 2004 instead.   Martin Kendrick, Team Principal of Brand Motorsports, has confirmed that the team's 2003 racing program will include the two planned European rounds of the 2003 CART FedEx Championship. The decision to race in CART follows a three month feasibility study that identified the huge marketing potential of U.S. Championships and Brand will use these European races as preparation for a full seasons campaign in the 2004 North American Indy Racing League. Martin Kendrick, Team Principal: "We are assembling a race team with the technical and engineering expertise to enable Brand Motorsports to compete in top level racing program in Europe and beyond and have already identified drivers to compete for us in the European CART rounds." "The Brand Group is already very active in North America and IRL in 2004 will present us with a powerful marketing platform from which to further grow our business." "A key element in the success of our communications business, which is now a global leader, has been strategic foresight and a discipline for long term planning. Our short term goal on the track is to establish ourselves at the front of the 2003 FIA International F3000 Championship grid. However, that is just the beginning." "Brand is not a racing competitor but a motorsport business and has made a significant investment in top caliber engineering personnel, state-of-the-art premises and equipment. As part of a planned growth strategy the IRL represents an opportunity to further develop our business in 2004 whilst next year's proposed European CART races will provide excellent preparation."  Brand bought out the Red Bull F3000 team in October.

12/12/02

Barber Dodge Pro Series testing  Burt Frisselle, a 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series Scholarship Run-Off invitee, spent this past week in Sebring, Florida at a Barber Dodge Pro Series test in the Dodge Reynard 98E. The Barber Dodge Pro Series is the entry level professional series in the CART development ladder and Frisselle’s target for the 2003 season. The test was an opportunity for Frisselle to continue his preparation for the run-off in which he hopes to win the top prize of a $100,000 scholarship for the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series. Over the course of the five days of testing, the young rookie from Hawaii was among the top two in times in every session as he worked to find the speed necessary to be competitive in the run-off. Throughout the tests, Frisselle had the opportunity to try a variety of set-ups in an effort to determine what will work best for him. After turning a lap time of 1:07.46, Frisselle was very pleased with the progress he made and feels he will be very competitive in the run-off.   “This week went extremely well. I had the opportunity to concentrate 100% on my racing and car set-up. I was very pleased with my times, and I was really able to get a good feel for the car. I feel very confident as I look ahead to the upcoming run-off and I hope to capitalize on the opportunity that the Barber Dodge Scholarship and CART ladder system provide” said Frisselle.

12/12/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Stoddart Sheds No Tears For Tom
Dutch Sponsors Line At F1 Door
Thumbs-Up On New BMW Powerplant
Jacques And Michael At Ferrari?
Stoddart: Safety Concern For Slicks
Wet-Dry Session at Barcelona
Sponsor Change For Renault Team
F1 Needs Characters, Urges Jacques
Webber To Follow Brabham's Footsteps?
Pole-Position King Under Threat
Emerson Fittipaldi Turns 56
Privateers Struggle On For Survival

12/11/02

No F1 at Spa until at least 2007  In this DailyF1 article, any hopes of the Belgium Grand Prix being reinstated on the Formula One calendar in 2003 have been dashed with a vote in Belgian government ratifying the sweeping no-exemptions tobacco advertising ban to come into force in August next year. The ban had been passed provisionally earlier this year but another vote was called after government officials realised the impact it would have on major events, none more so than the Belgian Grand Prix, held at the great track Spa-Francorchamps. The F1 Commission ruled in late October to have the race dropped from the calendar because the tobacco-backed teams, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari, and BAR would not agree to run compromise liveries. They already make that move for the British and French Grands Prix but their agreements with backers would not allow for a third race. The FIA and Formula One in general was hoping Belgium would push ahead with the dropping of a regional ban in favour of following the rest of Europe which will adopt the EU/FIA ban in 2006. The news means the Belgium Grand Prix will not have a chance to host a race on the calendar until at least 2007.

12/11/02

Earnhardt behind big tournament  Dale Earnhardt, Jr., one of NASCAR's brightest stars, is using his interest in the sport of Jiu Jitsu to create the premier Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grappling Classic. Organizers say this tournament has the potential to be the largest Jiu Jitsu tournament in the world. "I'm happy to be a part of something that will surely impact the sport of Jiu Jitsu," Earnhardt, Jr. said. "What started out as conversation between me and a couple of buddies has turned into a huge competition that will bring a ton of exposure to this exciting, unique sport." The tournament is the brainchild of Joe Hurst, 2001 Jiu Jitsu World Champion, and Garrett Barger, North Carolina state trooper and Jiu Jitsu student. It will include Ultimate Fighting champions from around the world in a competition open to the public, to be held at the brand new Cabarrus Arena in Concord, N.C. on January 25, 2003. Competition begins at 10:00 am and will continue throughout the day. Tickets for the this awesome event are available through Ticketmaster and will go on sale starting December 12. Adult admission is $20.00 with tickets for children 3-12 selling for $10.00. Children two and under will be admitted free. Attending the inaugural Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grappling Classic will be top names such as current Heavyweight Champion of the World, Ricco Rodriquez and nationally ranked Tito Ortez. Also on hand will be three-time World Champion Royce Gracie, whose father created the Brazilian form of Jiu Jitsu that is used in international competitions today. Gracie will also hold a seminar, open to the public, on Friday night prior to the Classic. The Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grappling Classic will consist of competition in both amateur and professional divisions, including women and children as well as Gi and No Gi divisions for men. And through a process of elimination, the fighters will be dismissed one by one as they lose fights. The professional fights and the "super-fight" will begin around eight p.m., with a grand prize of $2,000 going to the winner, as well as a trophy and gift packs from sponsors. Earnhardt Jr. will be the host of the event and other NASCAR Winston Cup Series notables and local celebrities will be on hand to observe the competition. "I've become such a huge fan of this sport that I can't wait to see how it all goes down," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Joe and Garrett have taught me a lot about what takes place at this type of tournament. It'll be cool to see the different fights that go on throughout the day and who makes it to the end. That will be the best part when the top people compete for the title. That's when the competition will be intense. "I'm glad to be a part of the program," Earnhardt Jr. continued. "I thought these guys needed someone to help them along with a little notoriety. The point is to get the word out about Jiu Jitsu. It's about people who train and compete in intense settings like we do on the racetrack everyday. I hope to convert another group of fans by doing the Grappling Classic. We also hope to do more of these every year." On top of the noteworthy athletes who will be on hand at the arena, there will be many of the Dale Earnhardt, Inc. team Chevrolets, including the No. 8 Budweiser Chevy, which Earnhardt Jr. drives, on display. Many Cabarrus County companies will be associated with this event to welcome the guests from all over the country, as well as many from other countries. As well, the primary sponsor for this event will be named in a press conference to be held at a later date. For more information about the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Inaugural Grappling Classic, log on to www.dalejrgrapplingclassic.com

12/11/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $3.79 Down $0.05 on Volume of 1,200 shares.
$3.75 Bid - $3.80 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.76 / $3.83
MPH Value Change Down 1.30%
DOW Jones Up 14.88 or 0.17% on Volume of 1.64 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 5.83 or 0.42%
S&P 500 Up 0.51 or 0.06%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

12/11/02
Industry News

Catch AR1 live in St. Louis tonight  AutoRacing1.com's President Mark Cipolloni will be live on St. Louis Radio Station KFNS 590AM/100.7FM tonight at a little past 8:00 PM Eastern Time for a 10-15 minute chat about auto racing.  Be sure to catch all the action.

12/11/02

Dominguez has shoulder surgery  Herdez Competition driver Mario Dominguez underwent surgery last Wednesday (December 4) in Indianapolis to repair damage to his shoulder caused during this season. The injury, not caused by a single incident but rather by repetitive use, was originally diagnosed during 2002 pre-season testing. Dominguez was treated during the 2002 season with a combination of physical therapy and customization of the HANS (Head and Neck Support) device, supervised by CART’s Chief Orthopedic Consultant, Dr. Terry Trammell. However, after review by Dr. Trammell, Dr. Scott Lintner of Orthopedics Indianapolis and a orthopedic specialist in Houston, it was determined that Dominguez required surgery to completely correct the problem. Outpatient arthroscopic surgery was performed on Dominguez in Indianapolis by Dr. Lintner and, after post-operative checks, he was released to return to his home in Mexico City for recovery. His recuperation program will include a rigorous physical therapy program, which will begin in the next week. Dr. Trammell is confident of a complete recovery in time for the beginning of the 2003 testing season in early January. “We’ll be monitoring his rehabilitation program by phone over the next month”, Trammell said. “Unless he develops any sort of unforeseen problem, I expect to see him next at CART’s Sneak Preview test in early February.” “I’m a little sore”, Dominguez said on Friday, “but nothing more than I expected. This injury has been an issue all year long and I’m really pleased to complete the surgery and be on the road to recovery. My shoulder caused me quite a lot of pain during this season and I’m confident that this procedure will restore the range of motion as well as the strength that I need in that joint.”

12/11/02

Ganassi announces #42 entry  Texaco Havoline Racing together with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that rookie sensation driver Jamie McMurray will pilot the No. 42 Havoline Dodge in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series with veteran Donnie Wingo performing the crew chief duties. While the initial announcement was made back in September, today's statement confirms car number and paint scheme design for the Havoline Dodge. For Texaco Havoline Racing, the new car number signifies a "new beginning" for the long-running NASCAR sponsor. ChevronTexaco's Vice-President North America Lubricants Craig Duncan said, "We are very excited about our new partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing and Jamie McMurray. We see this as a remarkable opportunity to re-energize our Havoline brand, in driving it towards our goal of being the brand of choice among the motoring public in the USA." Talking about Havoline's Global winning proposition, Craig Peterhansen, vice president for ChevronTexaco Global Lubricants Solutions said, "Havoline racing is synonymous with different forms of the sport, worldwide. For us the racing tracks have become virtual laboratories all over the world and help us to provide superior performance and protection to our loyal customers day in and day out. We are very excited about Jamie and Chip and are certain that our winning tradition will continue for years to come." "I feel honored to be chosen as the driver of the Havoline Dodge," McMurray said. "When you look back on the list of drivers that have been behind the wheel of the Havoline car, it's very impressive. I look forward to being able to carry on the tradition."

12/11/02

Karting

Rahal makes big jump in karts  Graham Rahal knows he’ll have some tough competition this weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway. The 13-year-old son of three-time CART champion Bobby Rahal makes the big move into karting’s toughest division – 125cc Shifter Karts – this weekend (Dec. 12-15) in the opening race of the five-race SKUSA Florida Winter Series. Rahal, an eighth grader at New Albany (Ohio) Middle School, showed his medal last year on the national karting series by placing seventh in the final standings for the 80cc Junior Shifter division including scoring a victory in Portland, Ore. The 5-foot-11, 140-pounder just missed an opportunity to place in the top three in his rookie season on the national circuit when he suffered through a tough weekend at the SKUSA World Finals in Norman, Okla., in September. “This move to the 125cc Shifter class is a big move for me,” said Rahal, who currently holds down a busy school schedule with eight classes. “I’ll be one of the youngest in the country in this class and I’m racing against some of the top karting drivers right now. Guys like Bobby Wilson, Kyle Martin and Preston Peebles are some of the top drivers in the nation. Now I’ll be going against them. It’s a challenge.” Rahal’s father, the 1986 Indy 500 winner believes Graham has shown his abilities in the smaller class and deserves this new opportunity. “Graham has learned a lot in the karts in the past year,” said Bobby, who’ll field cars in CART Champ Cars, Indy Racing League and Toyota Atlantic in 2003. “He is growing too and needs to be in the bigger and more powerful karts. I think he knows this series is very competitive and he’ll need to be ready both mentally and physically.” Graham Rahal has already been training hard this winter. “It’s been a little tough staying off soda pop and pizza right now,” said Graham. “But I am stronger and I have been training every day. I feel very good right now.” Rahal, who turns age 14 on January 4, will be joining one of karting’s top teams in 2003 with the Montreal-based PSL Racing, a racing operation that has produced numerous karting champions. “Going with PSL is a great deal for me,” said Graham, who starts the Florida Series this weekend by competing in the Homestead Miami Speedway parking lot. “We have CRG chassis and strong 125cc motors. This class is just like the one in Europe and it’s very tough. I know I’ll learn a lot in this division.” The Homestead round is the opening event of the SKUSA Florida Winter Karting Series that also includes rounds at Ocala (twice), Gainesville and Jacksonville. Last year at Homestead, Rahal won the Rotax Junior class and placed second in the 80cc Junior division. “The Homestead is shorter than many of the other Florida tracks,” said Rahal. “But it’s pretty fast and I expect some good racing there. I’m anxious to get started.”

12/11/02

Sauber test news  Team SAUBER PETRONAS began its final test of the year in Barcelona, at the Circuit de Catalunya today, running the SAUBER PETRONAS C21 cars for Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Nick Heidfeld. Heinz-Harald Frentzen completed 83 laps and set the best time of 1m.20.351s while Nick Heidfeld, who was not feeling very well, managed 24 laps with a best time of 1m20.882s. Jacky Eeckelaert (Head of Vehicle Engineering): "The weather was not good and the track was wet until lunch time. We have therefore adapted our program to cater for this. This morning, Heinz-Harald Frentzen ran a wet tire program for Bridgestone and concentrated on aerodynamic in the afternoon. Nick felt better in the afternoon and conducted a program of damper development." Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "We had not expected it to be wet today, but we made the best of the conditions and thanks to the reliability of the car we were able to get plenty of data." Nick Heidfeld: "I felt slightly feverish this morning, which made it uncomfortable to drive the car. I was better this afternoon. I'll feel fit for the rest of the test."
Names Chassis Laptime Laps
Luca Badoer Ferrari 1m19.148s 96
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber Petronas 1m20.351s 83
Nick Heidfeld Sauber Petronas 1m20.882s 24

12/11/02

Octagon denies reports CART at Brands Hatch is dead  Octagon Motorsports has denied claims in the UK press it has scrapped plans to stage a CART race at its Brands Hatch circuit in England due to costs. Speculation has mounted the Kent track is favorite to stage next year's UK race, after Rockingham pulled the plug after just two years. In a report in today's Daily Telegraph newspaper, it claims Octagon Motorsports said they could not afford to stage the race.   But an Octagon spokeswoman denied that was the case. Speaking to sportbusiness.com, Ruth Wicks said: "CART is looking and talking to a number of sites at the moment and no decision has been made as to where the race will be staged. "The costs to stage just one race in Europe would be high because of the freight costs, but who supports that cost will be negotiated between the promoter and CART. "We have certainly not ruled anything out. A bigger concern would be if there was enough time to actually promote and organize the race in the time left." The race is penciled in to take place in May and if no deal is signed until the new year, it will give promoters of the race a small window in which to promote a race, at a new venue. Hopes are that CART will secure a second European race, thereby spreading the costs involved for both CART and the local promoters.  As we reported on our rumors page, CART will only have two European races in 2003, not three as originally rumored by many.

12/11/02

Another victory for anti-tobacco  UPDATE  The restriction, which will come into force from October 2003, will affect the Renault F1 Team’s main backer Japan Tobacco, which markets its double-blue Mild Seven brand in Formula One and has done so since 1994 when it first became associated with Benetton. Although this will only apply to races within the EU, it will likely mean Japan Tobacco will have to market a different brand in Formula One. ‘JT and JTI maintain a continuous corporate objective to cooperate with governments and authorities around the world,’ said Hideo Katsuura, Chief Communications Officer for JT. ‘However, we believe that the Directive has exceeded the EC Treaty. Despite today's decision, JT and JTI will consider opportunities to protect our fundamental and legitimate property rights.’   12/10/02 - According to this PitPass article, The European Court of Justice has today ruled that cigarettes can no longer be described as 'mild', 'light' or 'low tar', meaning for example that Marlboro Lights will need a name change before September 2003. As a result of legislation introduced earlier this year, two of the tobacco giants British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco took the matter to the European Court of Justice. The tobacco companies claimed that it was illegal to make them change the name of their brands. Clearly it wasn't. This particular issue, the naming of brands, has no real relevance to F1, but it does give a clear indication of how the European Union views tobacco and tobacco advertising. As previously reported the European Union wants to see all tobacco advertising banned by July 2005, despite the fact that it was originally agreed to give F1 until the end of the 2006 season to 'kick the habit'. At what is already a difficult time for the sport, the last thing it needs is added pressure from the anti-tobacco lobby, which is clearly gaining strength. "The tobacco industry took us to court as usual and yet again has had to bite the dust," said Julian Maaten, a member of the European Parliament. "From today onwards, Europe is more advanced than any other part of the world in combating tobacco addiction." Which is great news for F1 fans in China, Russia, Vietnam, Kuwait..

12/11/02

Dutch TV may back Verstappen  Holland Media Group (HMG), which owns three television stations and one radio station in the Netherlands including TV network RTL5 which broadcasts Formula One racing in Holland, has admitted it is in negotiations to sponsor Jos Verstappen for 2003. Verstappen is rumored to join Minardi next season but will need to put together a sponsorship budget to contribute to the cash-poor team for a deal to be completed. ‘It is true we are negotiating with Jos Verstappen,’ an HMG spokesman said. ‘We are only talking to Verstappen not to Christijan Albers or KL Minardi. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal more at this moment, but we will make an announcement as soon as we know more. ‘I cannot say anything about the financial worth of the deal we are negotiating, so this is still unknown. There's no deal yet, nothing has been signed; we are just talking.’ Lost Boys, the Dutch internet business group, said through a spokesman that it was looking at new opportunities relating to Minardi but that unlike HMG, it was focusing on a team backing deal. ‘We are not negotiating with Jos Verstappen or Christijan Albers,’ a representative explained. ‘We are talking with KL Minardi, but the deal is not done yet. I cannot say anything else at this moment because the deal isn't completed. ‘However, the negotiations are faring well and we will announce more shortly.’ He added that Lost Boys would look favorably on an all-Dutch driver line-up. ‘We aren't in talks with a driver,’ he added, ‘but that doesn't mean we don't want to see Dutch input in the team.’

12/11/02

IRL set to introduce new gearbox   [Editor's Note:  Sounds like a perfect gearbox for road course racing] According to this IRL article, Marlboro Team Penske and two-time reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves recently tested the new XTRAC gearbox that will be used in all Indy Racing League cars from 2003-05. The tests were conducted Nov. 16-17 at the Toyota Technical Center, USA, Inc., also known as the Toyota Arizona Proving Grounds, located west of Phoenix, and Nov. 20-21 at Phoenix International Raceway, where the IRL will compete for the eighth time on March 23, 2003. “The IRL was looking for someone to test the ’03 gearbox,” Penske Racing President Tim Cindric said. “Our approach to it was to take the 2002 Toyota test car and convert that, through a lot of effort, to accept the 2003 gearbox. “What we have is what we refer to as the mule car now because it’s not really relevant to anything because the underwing’s changed, the bodywork’s changed, and we’ve essentially put an ’03 gearbox on an ’02 car.” And while the “mule car” won’t qualify for any races, it served the purpose of testing the new gearbox so that cars can safely compete in many races over the next three years. The new gearbox is a longitudinal transmission in the same way as the 2002 transmission. But it’s perhaps one of the most compact and easy-to-service longitudinal installations possible, said Andrew Heard, manager, U.S. engineering and track support for XTRAC. The shorter gearbox means a safer gearbox, Cindric said. “It’s a progression in safety to add a much bigger crushable structure to the rear of the car so that the rear attenuator or rear crash structure is much, much larger than in previous years,” Cindric said. “It actually incorporates the mounting of the rear wing. (The wing) is actually on the attenuator itself. “The best way to describe it is that it’s a crushable structure very similar to the nose of the car. So in rear impacts, the idea is for it to absorb a lot of the initial impact.” The new XTRAC gearbox also incorporates a feature Cindric describes as “shift without lift.” “Basically, with both the ’02 and ’03 being sequential gearboxes, they are very similar to a motorcycle where you are just going forward and backward to shift rather than an “H” pattern of some kind. What “shift without lift” does, it actually has sensors within the gearshift mechanism that sensors a load on the gearshift – in other words a load sensor, and a position sensor on the gearbox that basically times the ignitions of the engine. So when you shift, you can continue full throttle with your foot and upshift the car. “So from a driver’s standpoint, he’s always full throttle, which is the ‘without lift’ part. So you’re shifting, and the electronics sense when the shift is being made, and they instantaneously shut off the various parameters in the engine while the shift occurs. Then it basically turns the engine back on so many milliseconds apart. So the shift is made, and the driver continues at full throttle, whereas before the driver would have to lift out of the throttle, shift the gear and then get back on to the throttle. This is all in an upshift situation, downshifting you still lift."

12/11/02

Bryan Sellers to test Champ Car  Bryan Sellers, the 2002 Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Champion, recently began preparations for his upcoming test in a CART FedEx Championship car. Sellers, traveled to Lincolnshire, Ill., early in the week to become acquainted with Newman/Haas Racing. In addition to meeting the engineers and mechanics, Sellers became acclimated to the 800 horsepower car. While similar in size to the 2002 CART Champion, Cristiano da Matta, a new seat was made for Sellers, to ensure he was comfortable and had the proper driving position for the upcoming test. "It's pretty incredible to sit in a CART car," said Sellers. "It's a whole different world to what I've done thus far, but everyone at the shop has been very supportive." The 20 year-old will conduct a full-day's worth of testing over the course of three days from Dec 16-18, at Sebring International Raceway using the Paddock course. The Centerville, Ohio native will drive the No. 11 Lilly Newman/Haas Racing Toyota Lola, previously driven by Christian Fittipaldi. Providing feedback and guiding Sellers through the test will be Newman/Haas Senior Engineer Peter Gibbons. "I'm really looking forward to getting on track," said Sellers. "The chance to drive one of the best cars in the world in front of some of the most influential people in racing is a dream come true. I am going to make the most of this rare opportunity and make sure I enjoy every minute of the test." Thanks to Newman/Haas Racing, Dynamic Suspensions and Carl Haas Automobile Imports Inc., Sellers earned the test after dominating the 2002 Zetec Championship. Sellers captured a record-tying eight wins, seven pole positions and lead the championship from start to finish.  Formula Ford

12/11/02

Anderson's views on CART 2005  In this CART.com article, Fernández Racing's Tom Anderson has some very interesting ideas on what CART should do with their new 2005 rules package, many of which we at AR1 agree with, some of which we don't.  A must read for many.

12/11/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Jordan Settles With Frentzen
Brawn: Full Of Praise For Schu
GP Testing To Get The Nod
Rising Star To Grace '03 Minardi
Schumacher Dangles Carrot Of Hope
Wet Weather Progress At Fiorano
Arrows Saga Back In High Court
No Engine Subsidy, Says Minardi Chief
Head Talks Up Williams' Chances
Hopes Dashed For Belgian Grand Prix
Arrows Peril Saves Tomas Scheckter
Stock Markets And Clay Pigeons
Minardi Live To Fight Again

12/10/02

Court action begins for Arrows  According to this grandprix.com article, Morgan Grenfell's case against Arrows and Tom Walkinshaw began in the High Court in London on Tuesday to decide whether or not a financial guarantee made by the team is still valid despite a restructuring of the company which was supposedly agreed in July 2001. The claim is that Arrows and Walkinshaw diluted the bank's investment with a restructuring which was not agreed by the bank. Morgan Grenfell won a High Court injunction last May to prevent the restructuring and Arrows and Walkinshaw failed to have the injunction lifted in July and were heavily criticized by the judge in the case. The outcome of the case, expected in around eight days, will almost certainly decide whether or not the Arrows company will go into liquidation.

12/10/02

Ferrari workers strike  UPDATE  This grandprix.com article says that the announcement on Tuesday that the Fiat chief executive Gabriele Galateri is to resign has caused more worries down at Maranello where the future of Ferrari remains linked to the crises going on at Fiat. Galateri had been in charge since June. There is increasing pressure from the banks that Fiat should split the Alfa Romeo brand away from the main Fiat Auto company and create a new company with Alfa Romeo joining luxury brands Ferrari and Maserati. But such a deal could result in General Motors refusing to take up the option it has to buy the entire company in 2004. There was speculation in Italian newspapers on Tuesday that the new luxury group could involve the Volkswagen group having a 49% shareholding in the new company. If that was to happen Fiat would lose control of Ferrari as 10% of the company belongs to the Ferrari Family and with Volkswagen holding 49% the Fiat control would be broken. Maserati reacted to the leaks saying that there had been talks with Audi about "possible technical and commercial cooperation" but did not confirm a bigger deal. The VW deal does not seem very likely as the company already controls a number of luxury brands, notably Lamborghini, Bentley and Bugatti.  12/9/02 - This note at Autosport.com says that workers at Ferrari in Maranello, Italy, are on strike today in protest at plans to restructure parent company Fiat Auto with the possible loss of up to 8000 jobs, reports The Times. There were also protest demonstrations over the weekend at the Alfa Romeo factory at Arese. Fiat Auto is seeking to recoup one billion euros (approximate $1 billion US) of debt by the end of 2003.

12/10/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $3.84 Up $0.13 on Volume of 40,600 shares.
$3.18 Bid - $4.15 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.63 / $3.85
MPH Value Change Up 3.5%
DOW Jones Up 100.85 or 1.19% on Volume of 1.64 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 23.62 or 1.73%
S&P 500 Up 12.45 or 1.4%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

12/10/02

Jordan and Frentzen settle  Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jordan have settled their legal dispute over the unexpected sacking of the German during the 2001 season. Frentzen was controversially notified of his sacking just a few days before the race at Hockenheim in Germany which infuriated him and the German fans alike. He immediately launched legal action against his former employers and it’s been ongoing for the past 18 months. However a settlement seems to have been reached. BBC quoted Frentzen’s manager Monte Field as saying: "We have reached a settlement".

12/10/02

Pollock wants to see Villeneuve on good team  A Canadian Press article says - Placing Jacques Villeneuve and Ferrari ace Michael Schumacher on the same Formula One team is no longer an unthinkable notion, Villeneuve's agent Craig Pollock said Tuesday. That is one of the scenarios Pollock will explore when looking for a new team for his client after Villeneuve's contract with underperforming British American Racing ends following the 2003 season. "Jacques belongs on one of the top four teams," said Pollock at a news conference to promote a charity ski marathon in which he and Villeneuve will take part on the weekend. "What I'd like to see is Schumacher and Villeneuve together - not for Jacques or for Schumacher, but for the sport. They did it in the era of (Ayrton) Senna and (Alain) Prost. The only way when there's one team so far ahead is to have two drivers battle each other on the same team." It's unlikely ever to happen, but internal competition on Ferrari was a hot topic this season when the Italian team ordered second driver Rubens Barrichello to pull up in order to ensure that Schumacher won his third consecutive championship.  Villeneuve has one year remaining on his contract with BAR, which he joined when the team was formed in 1998 by Pollock, businessman Gerald Forsythe and others with backing from British American Tobacco. The struggling team dropped Pollock in a management sweep this year and new boss David Richards has questioned the benefit of keeping Villeneuve, who reportedly earns $15 million US per year. Pollock said Villeneuve would stay put for 2003, but that it would be his last year with BAR. "I'm sure they'll respect the contract just like we will respect it," said Pollock, who met with the media at Villeneuve's downtown restaurant Newtown. BAR has been a financial bonanza and a competitive disaster for Villeneuve, who was world champion with Williams in 1997, when he survived a bump from Schumacher in a nasty head-to-head duel in the season finale to secure the title. The two drivers are not friends, but with Schumacher dominating the grid and Villeneuve sputtering in an uncompetitive car, there have been no one-on-one battles since. Despite the acquisition of Honda engines in 1999, BAR has been unable to keep up to the top teams, any of which Pollack would like to see Villeneuve drive for starting in 2004 - Ferrari, Williams, McLaren or Renault. Pollock said BAR tried to be too good, too soon. "You always have regrets, but when we started BAR, it was a dream," he said. "We made mistakes. "Our expectations were too high. . . If we could do it again, the first thing would be to keep expectations down. Walk before you run. You can't build a team like Ferrari in one year. You have to work at your own level." Villeneuve was testing the BAR-Honda in Spain this week but is to arrive on Saturday for his second annual ski marathon at Mont-Tremblant, which raises funds for juvenile diabetes. Pollock and Villeneuve have organized a similar charity event in Switzerland since 1999. Villeneuve is spending Christmas in Montreal, where he has an apartment, with his fiancee, American ballet dancer Ellie Green, a report said this week.

12/10/02

Mathews/Riley Scott go with Michelin  Riley & Scott Racing LLC and Jim Matthews Racing announced today an agreement with Michelin North America to use Michelin Pilot racing tires in its 2003 American Le Mans Series campaign. The RS/JMR Riley & Scott LMP 900, powered by an Elan Power Products 6.0 L V8, will make its debut on Michelin tires at the 51st Annual Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring March 12-15, 2003. Team Technical Director Bill Riley sees the agreement as another step in the progress of the team and the car. “Michelin’s results in sports car racing speak for themselves”, Bill noted. “We are very pleased to have been chosen as one of their teams for 2003. Jim Matthews deserves a great deal of credit for establishing and maintaining a strong team worthy of this kind of support.” Bill also thanked the team’s 2002 tire partners. “We had a great relationship with Goodyear and Dunlop. Both are excellent companies to work with, and I’m sure we’ll see great competition in 2003”. Team Owner Jim Matthews said, “When I started this team with Riley & Scott in 2000, our goal was to compete to win, regardless of the competition. I’ve tried to assemble the right elements, and Michelin tires are certainly the best option if winning is your goal. We’ll start testing soon and we look forward to our best year yet in 2003”.

12/10/02

Dale steps down from Barber Dodge  Jeremy Dale announced today that he has stepped down as Managing Director of the Barber Dodge Pro Series after three years in the position. Dale cited present strength and stature of the series as an opportune time to make the move. Although Dale has been at the helm of the Barber Dodge Pro Series for the past three years, his involvement with the Skip Barber organization dates back to 1983 when he graduated from a Skip Barber Three Day Racing School and began racing in the Skip Barber Race Series. He went on to compete as a driver in the then named Barber SAAB Pro Series before advancing on to race professionally in sports cars garnering class wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona among others. He returned to the Pro Series as Senior Driver coach before being named Managing Director in December of 1999. "I have very much enjoyed my time with Barber Dodge. I think that in terms of credibility, visibility and quality of competition, this was the best year yet for the series. For that I must thank all of the individuals that work so hard to make the program a success, " said Dale. "Collectively we have a great deal to be proud of and I know that the series will continue to grow and prosper. Drivers like Michael Valiante, Jon Fogarty, Ryan Hunter-Reay and A.J. Allmendinger are proof that what we are doing is really working. With the continuing support from CART and the commitment from the Barber Dodge staff, the series will continue to be the best training ground for the future stars of CART."

12/10/02

Cheever statement on Scheckter lawsuit  "The contract dispute between TWR Group and Tomas Scheckter was due to be heard in English court on Dec. 9, but because of financial entanglements surrounding the Arrows Formula One team, TWR principles have decided to withdraw from the lawsuit. TWR has much larger problems to take care of with the troubles facing their Formula One team. I respect their decision."

12/10/02

Chevy testing continues  Preparations for the 2003 Indy Racing League season continued Dec. 9 at the 1-mile Phoenix International Raceway as two-time IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr., Jaques Lazier and Vitor Meira tested the new Chevy Indy V8 engine. Hornish tested with Pennzoil Panther Racing, while Lazier and Meira tested for Team Menard. The 2003 Chevy Indy V8, which made its on-track debut Oct. 26 at Kentucky Speedway, will compete in its first race in less than 90 days on March 2, 2003 in the IRL’s season-opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “We put some more miles on the engine,” Hornish said. “They are trying to learn as much as they can and change what needs to be changed.” Hornish has won the last two IRL championships, each time with a General Motors engine, Oldsmobile in 2001 and Chevrolet in 2002. The off-season testing with the new Chevy engine has given him confidence he can make a run for three consecutive championships. “We’ve run I don’t know how many miles on it without any problems,” Hornish said. “We ran at Kentucky and Texas and now here without any problems. We’re optimistic for next year and for Miami.” Testing will continue Dec. 10 at Phoenix and then move to California Speedway on Dec. 12.

12/10/02

Burti tests on wet track  Second day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the Fiorano circuit. Once again, Luciano Burti was driving today. The Brazilian worked on a wet weather tire program for the 2003 season. Burti completed a total of 61 laps, all on an artificially watered track. The best time of the day was 1’04”728. Tomorrow, the Scuderia will be testing at two circuits: Luca Badoer will be on track in Barcelona, while Luciano Burti continues running at Fiorano.

12/10/02

Hendrick hires Vickers for Busch  Car owner Ricky Hendrick today announced the signing of driver Brian Vickers to pilot the No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division in 2003. "We're excited to have a talented young driver like Brian," said Hendrick, who assumed the role of team owner immediately following the 2002 season. "I've always been impressed with his attitude, personality and ability on the race track. "Brian has the potential to be a great race car driver. He's bringing the kind of energy and desire it takes to be successful in this sport and I have no doubt that he'll be a winning addition to Hendrick Motorsports and Team GMAC." The 19-year-old Vickers made his Busch Series debut at The Milwaukee Mile in 2001 and ran the majority of the circuit for BLV Motorsports the following season, starting 21 of 34 events. As a rookie in 2002, the Thomasville, N.C., native earned one top 10 and six top-15 finishes in the No. 40 entry while qualifying in the top 10 on three occasions, including an outside pole position at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. "This is an awesome opportunity for me," Vickers said. "I just graduated from high school in May and now I'm continuing my education with Hendrick Motorsports -- it's unbelievable. "This is a top-notch team with the best possible equipment and a great sponsor in GMAC. I can't imagine a better way to develop, both personally and professionally. Joining Hendrick Motorsports is truly an investment in my future." Vickers, who graduated with honors from Trinity (N.C.) High School in May, began his racing career in 1993, earning 83 World Karting Association victories before competing in the Allison Legacy Race Series, NASCAR Weekly Racing Series and USAR Hooters ProCup Series, where he finished second in championship points in 2001 with two wins and three pole positions.

12/10/02

Friday GP qualifying set to get go-ahead  In this Autosport.com article, the proposal for a two-hour test session on Friday mornings of grands prix looks sure to be introduced for 2003, according to Minardi boss Paul Stoddart. At least three teams must nominate the option by December 15 for the new cost-cutting measure to become reality. By doing so, they would limit their testing time away from races to just 10 days for the rest of the season. While Formula 1's top teams wish to continue with heavy test schedules throughout the year, leaving them just an hour's free practice before qualifying, the option would in theory save money for smaller outfits. They would also benefit from more track time than the frontrunners over GP weekends. Stoddart claims that "four, maybe even five" teams will go for the Friday testing option. "I have a commitment from one other team, certainly, and three others possibly, so I would say, yes, it is going to go ahead," he said. "I think it's incredibly important for journalists, as well, that we have more to write about on the Thursdays and Fridays. At some of the Grands Prix not much happens on a Friday and the press do really struggle for things to write about." Stoddart is likely to embrace the chance to run local test drivers in the two-hour sessions at each race. For example, Australian James Courtney has been suggested as a candidate for the race in Melbourne. :I have had a phone call from James' management," said Stoddart. "I have to be honest, we make no secret of this, we are looking to get revenue out of Fridays. The way it's shaping up at the moment is that we will most likely take a test and reserve driver who will participate for some of that period at all 17 grands prix and we will take local drivers, where available with budget, to compete in also those Friday morning sessions." Jordan and Sauber are the other teams thought to be in favor of the idea, while it has been said Jaguar and Renault could sign up for it too.

12/10/02

Brands Hatch to become housing estate  Looks like CART won't be racing at Brands Hatch very long.  According to Pitpass.com, Octagon the company that lost roughly £38m in the first nine month of this year - after being in profit the previous year - is looking to tighten its belt, and the sale of Brands Hatch to property developers seems like a good way of reducing the deficit. Octagon, a subsidiary of Interpublic one of the biggest advertising companies in the world, bought Brands Hatch in 1999 from Nicola Foulston for £120m. The deal included several other British race tracks including Snetterton and Oulton Park. At the time Foulston had been 'given' the rights to the British Grand Prix by Bernie Ecclestone, but as part of the sale of Brands Hatch Leisure these were passed on to Octagon. It's not just F1 that is going through as bit of a crisis at present, most branches of motorsport are suffering, as Octagon will readily tell you. The news that Octagon is in trouble isn't merely bad news for British race fans in respect of the British GP, the company's financial crisis, and the fact that it owns a large number of British tracks, will have an adverse effect on British motorsport in general. When Octagon bought Brands Hatch, together with the British GP rights, it was hoped that the British round of the F1 World Championship would return to the Kent venue. To meet current F1 standards however a major upgrade was needed, an upgrade that was eventually blocked by environmentalists and local planners. The planners objected to major work being carried out on a circuit that is built on the so-called 'green belt' that surrounds London, while environmentalists were unhappy that a vast area of ancient woodland would need to be destroyed. There was also an issue with rare frogs. Octagon has revealed that it has already had offers for Snetterton and Oulton Park, and it's believed that both circuits could be sold off at a loss. Property developers that wish to purchase Brands Hatch will of course face the same problems - planners and environmentalists - that the circuit faced a couple of years ago. However with the current housing shortage in the region, politicians could well give the go-ahead. More....

12/10/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Allan's Plans Unveiled Soon
Jacques: Schu Isn't A Nice Guy
Walker Dismayed At Arrows Demise
Paragon Welcomes New Partner
BAR Boss: Button The Next Champion
Snow And Strikes At Maranello
GPWC Threatens Motorsport: Mosley
Early Victory For EM.TV
McNish Defends Rookie Efforts
Villeneuve Promises BAR Race Wins
Murray Mourns Loss Of Spa

12/10/02

NASCAR shortchanging drivers  According to this Newsday article, NASCAR drivers aren't collecting nearly as much of their sport's revenues as athletes in other sports. The story by Ken Berger says drivers received about 18% of the $1.869 billion generated this year in NASCAR's top three series [Winston Cup, Busch and Truck], while the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB pay athletes at least 50% of revenue in salaries governed by collective bargaining agreements. The story says that most of the 27 drivers who started all 36 Winston Cup races are believed to have collected $4 million to $5 million. It estimated that the average for Busch Series drivers was $250,000, while Craftsman Truck Series drivers were estimated to average about $100,000. The paper says Tony Stewart was the highest paid driver this year, collecting a $3 million base salary and $4.23 million for his share of the team's winnings [50%]. It estimated the average salary for drivers in all three divisions was $1.17 million. NASCAR Vice President for Corporate Communications Jim Hunter told the paper that comparisons can't be made with other sports: "Our drivers shouldn't compare themselves, because you're comparing apples and oranges. Everybody in our sport is an independent contractor and can go out and cut the best deal that he can."  But there is so much money being generated, and so many companies willing to pony up sponsorship dollars, that hardly anyone is making waves. Drivers complain, but they haven't tried to organize against NASCAR over labor issues in more than 40 years. "The drivers have no horsepower," said three-time Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip, now an analyst on Fox's NASCAR telecasts. "If a driver says, 'We're not going to race,' they say, 'Good, we'll get somebody else.'" In a business model unlike any other in sports, one family - the family of NASCAR founder William H.G. France - controls NASCAR's TV contracts, races and most of the racetracks. It makes all the rules and divides the money. It's as if one family owned the entire NFL and more than half the stadiums. Nobody outside the France family's inner circle has any idea what NASCAR makes. As a privately owned business, NASCAR is not required to open its financial books. But NASCAR chairman William C. France, son of the founder, and his brother and board member Jim France, are listed among the 400 richest Americans by Forbes magazine. Each has a net worth of $1 billion. "There's not a business in the world that's run with as stiff a fist as theirs," said Junior Johnson.

12/10/02

Bernie and Max cut legs out from under manufacturers  UPDATE  Did you know that Ecclestone and the bankers handling the affairs of Kirch share 53% of all commercial revenues from the grand prix business. The teams share 47% and get nothing from circuit advertising or ticket sales. Max Mosley, the FIA president, has written to all formula one team principals warning of the problems a breakaway world championship could impose, namely uncertainty with sponsors and an absence of an administrative body. In a leaked memo Mosley warned: "In the unlikely circumstances that GPWC succeeded in this unilateral approach it would inflict serious damage to the sport as a whole. It would undermine motor sport safety by creating a precedent for a proliferation of other series running at less than internationally agreed standards. Governments could legitimately claim that the sport was irresponsible and insufficiently regulated."   12/7/02 - So the F1 manufacturers think they want to start a breakaway series do they?  It was revealed on Friday that the FIA would veto the establishment of an “alternative World Championship”. President Max Mosley said the Governing Body would agree to back a racing series set-up by the manufacturers by acting as the sporting overseer, which would include writing rulebooks and scrutineering cars, but would not endorse the series as an official World Championship.  Bernie has also taken the gloves off.  Bernie called off an important upcoming meeting with the firms in Germany. Ecclestone circulated a memo announcing that the meeting had been cancelled because the carmakers had not responded to proposals put to them earlier this year with detailed ways of giving them greater control of F1, a traditional bone of contention for the auto consortium. By failing to respond to proposals put to them earlier this year, the carmakers have missed the opportunity to discuss a new financial structure for F1 that was to integrally involve them. A meeting at the headquarters of DaimlerChrysler in Stuttgart was to be attended by Ecclestone, who owns a 25% stake in commercial trust SLEC, the carmakers including DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Renault, and FIAT, and German banks that own the remaining shares in SLEC having taken them over from collapsed media company Kirch Group. The idea was to make some progress in the negotiations to achieve stability for Formula One by offering the carmakers the chance to acquire a major part of SLEC and become integrally involved in the running of the sport, particularly in areas such as income distribution. It is believed that Bernie will declare CART the new FIA F1 World Championship if the manufacturers decide to start their own series. CART (the new F1) would be THE FIA sanctioned World Championship and the manufacturers will be left 1) without Bernie 2) a series that has no world championship status, 3) a series that will fail in several years from all the in-fighting among the manufacturers, each trying to maneuver for an advantage. It's going to get ugly, but in the end, Bernie will prevail......he always does.

12/10/02

Irvine may drive for Bentley, but wants F1 ride  The Bentley sports car team have offered Eddie Irvine a drive in next year's Le Mans 24-hour race. The Ulsterman is still waiting to see if there is a chance of securing the remaining Jordan-Ford formula one drive alongside Giancarlo Fisichella.

12/10/02
Industry News

BMW sales up  BMW had a sales increase of 17% this year, the delivery of 905,700 cars by the end of November which is more than all the cars sold in 2001. In November alone, BMW saw sales increase by 4%, delivering 85,100 cars compared to 81,600 a year ago.

12/9/02

Ferrari testing hit by snow  Today was the first day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the Fiorano circuit. On a day affected by a morning snowfall, Luciano Burti began a program of electronics development. Burti completed a total of 15 laps, the quickest in 1’05”692. The Brazilian driver continues testing there tomorrow.

12/9/02

RCR orders drivers to the doctor  According to this Sporting News article, Richard Childress is requiring his drivers to undergo medical examinations before the start of the season to establish a baseline for their health. "We want to make sure that if they get hurt, we can compare 'A' to 'B,'" he says. Childress didn't find out until after the season that Johnny Sauter, his Busch Series driver, raced hurt for part of 2002.

12/9/02

Ralf could lose license  German Formula One driver Ralf Schumacher was caught speeding by Austrian police and could lose his driver's license, the Bile am Sonntag newspaper and Austrian radio reported. Schumacher was on the way to a party given by his BMW-Williams team when he was stopped. He was going 30 m.p.h. over the 50 m.p.h. speed limit, according to reports. The Austria resident already lost his license for two weeks after getting caught for speeding in April 2001.

12/9/02

Siemens joins Evernham as sponsor  Staying ahead of the pack means presenting yourself as a leader and innovator. Siemens realizes this and Ray Evernham has proven himself in this role as a premier NASCAR Winston Cup Team Owner. Today, announcing their Associate Sponsorship and Technology Partnership with Evernham Motorsports, Siemens combines their innovative technologies with a proven leader. “Evernham Motorsports and DaimlerChrysler are a force in racing and bring Siemens the exposure and platform for further development of technologies within NASCAR”, said John Dimmerling, director of Corporate Marketing Communications for Alpharetta, GA-based Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc.  “Racing sponsorship provides a unique opportunity for a company as diverse as Siemens. In addition to brand exposure, NASCAR has been a great place for us to showcase our broad range of products and services, build relations with our customers and discover new business. We are excited about the opportunity to continue this relationship with NASCAR through Ray and his team.” “At Evernham Motorsports, we are committed to being technological innovators in the sport,” said Ray Evernham, President and CEO of Evernham Motorsports. “That’s why our new partnership with Siemens is such a perfect match. Their resources will prove invaluable as we continue our pursuit of remaining on the cutting edge of technology. We are pleased to have them as a valued partner and are looking forward to working with their more than 3,000 distributors nationwide.

12/9/02

CART stock watch  MPH closed at $3.71 Down $0.12 on Volume of 10,000 shares.
$3.08 Bid - $4.11 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.68 / $3.82
MPH Value Change Down 3.13%
DOW Jones Down 172.36 or 1.99% on Volume of 1.6 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 55.35 or 3.89%
S&P 500 Down 20.23 or 2.22%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

12/9/02

2002 Toyota Atlantic schedule  The 2003 edition of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, the 30th year in the prestigious open-wheeled development series, will once again open its season in Monterrey, Mexico on March 23rd. Jon Fogarty kicked off his 2002 Championship run last year with a victory at the 2.1-mile permanent road course at Fundidora Park. Along with the long time traditional featured stops such as the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres, the series will return to the famous 2.258-mile permanent road course at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The Atlantic Championship last competed on the circuit in 1999 where Kenny Wilden won from the pole. In addition, the Championship will conclude the 2003 season with a return to the streets of Miami for the first time since 1995 where current Champ Car World Series star, Patrick Carpentier, captured the win from the pole. “The 2003 schedule is an excellent mix of road, street, and oval courses - all of which are necessary ingredients for a driver and team to develop in a series such as the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship which holds the role as the top rung on the CART Ladder System,” said CART Toyota Atlantic Championship President, Vicki O’Connor. “The series will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary this upcoming season which is a great testament to the Atlantic series and to the many drivers it has graduated over the past 29 years.” The 12-race schedule features events at a variety of venues, including permanent road courses along with tight temporary street circuits. The schedule will also feature one oval event when the series makes its eleventh stop at the famous Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin.
2003 SCHEDULE (races added to our 2003 CART Schedule)
March 23 Fundidora Park Champ Car World Series Monterrey, Mexico
April 13 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Champ Car World Series Long Beach, California
June 1 The Milwaukee Mile Champ Car World Series Milwaukee, Wisconsin
June 15 Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca Champ Car World Series Monterey, California
June 22 Portland International Raceway Champ Car World Series Portland, Oregon
July 6 Burke Lakefront Airport Champ Car World Series Cleveland, Ohio
July 13 Molson Indy Toronto Champ Car World Series Toronto, Ontario, Canada
August 3 Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres American Le Mans Series Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
August 17 Mid-Ohio Race Course Champ Car World Series Lexington, Ohio
August 31 Grand Prix of Denver Champ Car World Series Denver, Colorado
September 7 Molson Indy Montreal Champ Car World Series Montreal, Quebec, Canada
September 28 Grand Prix Americas Champ Car World Series Miami, Florida
*Actual race dates – i.e. Saturday or Sunday – to be confirmed.

12/9/02

Rahal lands new sponsor - Argent to sponsor Patrick in Atlantics  UPDATE We have added a photo of Danica in her new Argent uniform.   12/7/02 - Team Rahal, a franchise member of Championship Auto Racing Teams ("CART"), and Argent Mortgage Company LLC, announced today a partnership for Argent Mortgage Company LLC to be the primary sponsor for the Team Rahal Toyota Atlantic program. The cornerstone of the partnership will see the logo of Argent placed on the car of Team Rahal's newest driver, Danica Patrick. Patrick, the 20-year-old native of Roscoe, Illinois, ran five Barber Dodge Pro Series events in 2002. She is slated to run Team Rahal's inaugural entry in the Toyota Atlantic Series in 2003. "The opportunity to partner with a world-class racing team, like Team Rahal, and a talented young driver like Danica is a one of a kind opportunity for Argent Mortgage Company," said Wayne Lee, President of Argent. "Danica certainly is a unique individual in the world of motorsports and we are looking forward to having her represent Argent both on and off the track." "We are pleased to join in this partnership with Argent for the upcoming season," said three-time CART champion and Team Rahal co-owner Bobby Rahal. "In my conversations with Wayne Lee (President of Argent) and his people, I have found them to be a dedicated and driven group of individuals that have formulated aggressive plans for the continued growth of their company. These are the kind of like-minded partners that we seek here at Team Rahal." "The chance to drive for Team Rahal has allowed me to advance my career as a driver," said Patrick. "Certainly being able to work with a great champion like Bobby and to be part of a championship caliber team is a dream come true for me. Now I have a chance to work with another world-class organization in Argent Mortgage Company. Being able to represent both Team Rahal and Argent on track and as a corporate spokesman is a wonderful opportunity for me both professionally and personally." Argent Mortgage Company provides the most competitive non-conforming mortgage loans nationwide.

12/9/02

Patrick Racing to run Lola's, Challis joins team  UPDATE  Here is the official press release from the team - Visteon/Patrick Racing confirmed today that Steve Challis will assume the responsibilities of Chief Engineer and that the team will campaign Lola cars in the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. “Steve Challis is someone who has a lot of experience in the CART Series,” Visteon/Patrick Racing General Manger Jim McGee said. “He has a tremendous background and a lot of experience with the Lolas, which is a big plus for our team. Steve is a very practical engineer and someone, we feel, can put a competitive racecar on the track,” McGee noted. Challis began his career as the owner/operator of an automotive shop specializing in racing and high-performance vehicle modification in Vancouver, Canada. He was an automotive consultant to the Player’s Challenge Series, IMSA GTO and Trans-AM from 1987-1991. In 1991, Challis also became the Race Engineer for Greg Moore Racing in Formula Ford. He moved with Moore to the USA F-2000 West Series in 1992 and continued to be the Race Engineer for Greg Moore Racing in Indy Lights during the 1993 and 1994 seasons. In 1995, Challis, as Chief Race Engineer, and Moore joined the Player’s/Forsythe Racing Indy Lights program. Challis remained in the same position when both he and Moore stepped up to Champ Cars for the 1996 through 1999 seasons. Challis moved to Team Kool Green and was the Chief Race engineer for Dario Franchitti in 2000 and Paul Tracy in 2001 and 2002. “I am very happy to be joining the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team,” Challis said. “Mr. Patrick has a long and successful history competing in this series and I am looking forward to working with Jim McGee, Oriol Servia and the entire Visteon/Patrick Racing organization.” Regarding the switch from the Reynard chassis that Visteon/Patrick Racing has run for several years to the Lola, McGee said, “One of the main reasons for the switch to the Lola is that we weren’t sure there would be any development with the Reynard, or that parts would be available. We would have changed to the Lola during the 2002 season, but we hung in there with the Reynards hoping that someone would come along, take over the reins and do more development or at least make more parts available. When that didn’t happen we made the decision that we would switch to the Lola for this year.”  12/7/02 - Patrick Racing has ordered four new Lola's indicating they will be a 2-car team in 2003.  In addition, former Chief Race Engineer for Paul Tracy, Steve Challis has quit Andretti-Green Racing and moved to Patrick Racing along with several other crew members.  We also heard rumors of Tony Cottman trying to quit and start his own CART team.  Few Andretti Green crew members want to go work in the IRL we are told, preferring the venues CART races at, as well as the challenge of the variety of circuits.  It gets boring watching cars going around in circles every week, and when they hit those hard concrete walls, the crew members have to work long hours with no extra pay to fix the mess.  CART may be 100% Lola/Ford in 2003 and 2004.  However, 2005 is a totally different story

12/9/02

Sun Trust renews with Richmond  SunTrust Bank will return as the title sponsor of the Indy Racing League event in 2003 at Richmond International Raceway, as the company has sponsored the race for each of its three years. The third annual SunTrust Indy Challenge is scheduled for Saturday evening, June 28, 2003. “Having continuity with our race sponsors and other marketing partners is very important to us,” said Doug Fritz, Richmond International Raceway president. “The name ‘SunTrust’ has quickly become synonymous with our IRL race, just as Chevrolet, Pontiac and Hardee’s come to mind when thinking of some of our NASCAR events.” Said Michael Newbrand, director of marketing for SunTrust Mid-Atlantic: “SunTrust is pleased to extend our sponsorship of the Indy Racing League event at Richmond International Raceway for the third consecutive year. The SunTrust Indy Challenge gives people in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond the opportunity to see the stars and cars of the Indy 500 in their own backyard. The race provides a major economic boost to the greater Richmond area, the headquarters city of SunTrust Bank Mid-Atlantic.” The SunTrust Indy Challenge is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. (EDT) start under the lights on the exciting, ¾-mile oval at RIR. The race also will be broadcast live on ESPN. It’s the only IRL race to take place on an oval shorter than 1 mile.

12/9/02

Stiffer penalties in store fro NASCAR  NASCAR President Mike Helton says the sanctioning body may increase the penalties handed out to those found guilty of cheating, the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press reports. Reporter Al Pearce says Helton "raised some eyebrows when he suggested that if fines and point penalties don't impress cheaters, maybe losing finish positions will." After his annual state-of-the-sport speech in New York yesterday, Helton said it's possible that a driver might lose a victory if it's determined he and his team blatantly and willfully broke the rules to their benefit. "If it's something way out of character, we might start with more than 25 points," Helton told the paper. "If it's premeditated and intentional, we might take more points. If necessary, we'll even consider taking away a victory. We want our events to be over when they're over, so intent would have to be a major factor. We'll start with taking away finish positions (by imposing a post-race lap penalty) and see what that does."

12/9/02
Industry News

Study - Race Car drivers comparable to other athletes   Professional racecar drivers demonstrate physiological responses during competition similar to those reported by elite athletes participating in traditional team sports, according to research published in the December issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. Data from the study, performed by researchers at the University of Miami, indicates drivers qualify as elite athletes, possessing great physical and mental stamina, similar to energy requirements in sports including football, baseball and basketball.  More......

12/9/02

TV Guide produces 2002 NASCAR collector editions  2002 Winners Tony Stewart (Winston Cup), Ryan Newman (Winston Cup Rookie of the Year), Greg Biffle (Busch Series) and Mike Bliss (Craftsman Truck) Each Featured On Separate Cover In its December 14 issue (on newsstands Monday, December 9), TV Guide® magazine honors four 2002 NASCAR title holders with four collector's covers available on newsstands in selected markets and available nationally online and by phone at the TV Guide Store (See below). Tony Stewart (Winston Cup), Ryan Newman (Winston Cup Rookie of the Year), Greg Biffle (Busch Series) and Mike Bliss (Craftsman Truck Series) each adorn a cover in the special series. In a feature story on the four drivers that runs nationally, NASCAR bad boy Tony Stewart reflects on his passion for racing. "It amazes me how people want to make more out of it than what it is," he says. "It's a fascinating sport, and it always boils down to one thing: trying to be faster. To me, that's enough." As for Newman, Fox Sports analyst (and three-time Winston Cup champ) Darrell Waltrip says that after a tight win over Jimmie Johnson for rookie honors, all eyes will be on him next season. "Repeating is the most difficult thing," says Waltrip. "Just look at [2000 Rookie of the Year] Matt Kenseth. His second year, he was dog meat. But younger guys can carry that intensity of wanting to get started again into next year. All they live for is to race." Biffle, who will break into the Winston Cup freshman ranks next season, had to overcome a 262-point deficit early in the year, and says his 2002 tribulations made him physically ill at times. "Any time you wreck, it hurts you so bad in the points - I go to the next race with cramps in my stomach," he says. "You're thinking, 'Gosh, if that happens again, I'm doomed.'" Bliss, who steps up to the Busch series next year, enjoyed a dream 2002 after hooking up with old rival Steve Coulter's no-frills Xpress Motorsports team. "I never ran this good with anybody else," Bliss says. "It's all about having the right people in the right places and a driver that really wants to win."

12/9/02

At least 2 teams without sponsorship  Both the Andy Petree and Haas-Carter Winston Cup teams are without a sponsor heading into the Christmas break.  Times are tough for sponsorship right now, and when it hits NASCAR you really know it must be bad.

12/9/02

What is really happening with the GPWC, FOM and the FIA  This Grandprix.com article says - The last few days have seen a variety of stories about the problems that exist between Formula One Management, the FIA and the Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC) organization. The news was triggered when FOM boss Bernie Ecclestone called off a meeting with the GPWC's Jurgen Hubbert, which had been scheduled to take place in Stuttgart this week. The intention had been to try to negotiate a settlement between the two parties. What has emerged since is that Ecclestone is the GPWC has not only upset Ecclestone but has also upset the FIA. The result of this is that the GPWC has in effect pushed the FIA and FOM together in opposition to the new series, which creates a very powerful enemy, even for the automobile manufacturers, which are behind the GPWC.  As you read the entire article, keep in mind that 1) Bernie and Max have already moved to cut the legs out from under the breakaway series by declaring it will not be recognized by the FIA as the "World Driving Championship" which has 52 years of tradition behind, and 2) you can bet that the FIA is prepared to declare the CART series the new FIA sanctioned World Driving Championship should the manufacturers decide to go forward with their plan.  A manufacturer run series has never succeeded, and, in the long run, never will.  Where will Bernie get engines from if this were to happen?  John Judd, Cosworth, or even a manufacturer waiting in the wings to come into F1......someone will always supply engines......and in the end, Bernie will ALWAYS win.

12/9/02

Yoong to star in China  The Minardi F1 team have postponed their historic Thunder in China event, sponsored by BSA International. Instead the track at Beijing's Goldenport Motor Park will host the F1 machines on Sunday, December 15, one week later than planned. The team has also confirmed that Alex Yoong and Christijan Albers will handle the driving duties at Thunder in China. It should be noted that Yoong is of Chinese descent and has a number of relatives who live in China. “Thunder in China is both a very important, and a very special event for all of us at KL Minardi,” says Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, “as it will mark the first time a Formula One car has been fired up in mainland China and driven on a Chinese race circuit. It's certain that the sight and sound of a pair of two-seater Formula One cars in action will make a lasting impression on the fans present at the Goldenport Circuit, as well as on the consciousness of all those watching the live television coverage of the event.” “Just as we have done in Malaysia while cultivating commercial partnerships that are of mutual benefit to the team and to the companies concerned, we are going to assist China and the Chinese people to fire up their interest in Formula One. We would particularly like to thank Dato' Dr Cam Soh, the Executive Chairman of BSA. His company is a valued commercial partner of Minardi and he is one of the main instigators and backers of Thunder in China. It is also highly significant that BSA is now moving aggressively into the dynamic Chinese market, a strategy that will allow BSA not only to increase worldwide market share for its high-quality products, but also to increase the foreign exchange and export earnings of this highly successful Malaysian company.” “Thanks are also due to the staff at the Goldenport Circuit and the Federation of Automobile Sport of China. Without their invaluable support, Thunder in China would not have been possible,” concluded Stoddart. “Everyone at Minardi is very proud to be involved in this important event.”   F1 will race in China in 2004 at a new circuit being built near Shanghai, and CART is rumored to be eyeing a race in 2005 in Beijing.

12/9/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Michael A 'Schu-In' For 2003
Albers Favorite For Minardi Seat
Villeneuve Slates Jag Pilots
Panis Steers Toyota Development
Breakaway Dispute Grinds On
Frentzen Down To Work For Sauber
The Pilots Queue At Jordan's Door
Renault's Fresh Approach For '03
Webber: 2005 World Champion?
Minardi Delay Thunder In China
Dennis Lauds Formula One Reform
Speedy Ralf Caught Out Again
Jordan Admits To Thoughts Of Quitting
F1 News In Brief

12/8/02

Advice for CART  A reader writes,  Dear AutoRacing1.com, I am impressed with the F3000 Racing Engineering Team and drivers Justin Wilson and Frank Montagny.  I am also rather impressed with Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan, as well as Ricardo Zonta.  CART would be well served getting any or all of them into the series next year.  It will be great to be able to see how well Europe's best does against the 4 or 5 young American drivers in CART next year, all driving identical Ford powered Lola's.  Some of the Europeans mentioned are F1 material, so if the Americans show well, it will increase their chances of someday landing a F1 ride.  Dave Culver, Miami, Florida  Dear Dave, I agree with everything you say, with all the new young blood in CART next year, it is shaping up to be one of the most exciting years in a decade.  It would be interesting to get Karthikeyan in the series.  It's about time a driver from India gets a shot at the big time.  The way to F1 in the future, won't be through the Red Bull program, it will be through the CART series where the cars are as big as F1 machinery and almost as powerful.  Mark C.

12/8/02
F3000

Wilson wins race 2 in Brazil  Justin Wilson won the final race of the inaugural Telefonica World Series at Interlagos. The 2001 International F3000 champion took the checkered flag over 20 seconds clear of nearest challenger Antonio Garcia, with Racing Engineering teammate Franck Montagny sealing second in the championship with third place. "After qualifying I was hoping for rain because we are strong in the wet," said Wilson. "And when it started during the warm-up we were very pleased." Indian Narain Karthikeyan finally converted his practice pace into a good result with fourth place, ahead of Zonta, who was also hit with a stop/go penalty and Frenchman Jean-Chrsitophe Ravier.
Race 2 Results
1 Justin Wilson (Racing Engineering)
2 Antonio Garcia (Campos Motorsport)
3 Franck Montagny (Racing Engineering)
4 Narain Karthikeyan (RC Motorsport)
5 Ricardo Zonta (Gabord Competition)
6 Jean-Christophe Ravier (Epsilon by Graff)
7 Ander Vilarino (Epsilon by Graff)
8 Paul Edwards (KTR)
9 Rodrgio Sperafico (Repsol Meycom)
10 Tuka Rocha (Gabord Competition)

12/8/02
F3000

Montagny wins race 1 in Brazil  Racing Engineering (the team rumored headed to CART in 2003) teammates finished 1-2 in today's Formula Nissan/F3000 race at Interlagos, Brazil. Franck Montagny took the initiative in his battle for the championship runner-up spot with Bas Leinders with victory at Interlagos. A massive downpour before the start of the race left the circuit almost undriveable, and even as the field cruised around behind the safety car several drivers spun. Pole man Ricardo Zonta took the lead at the start proper after several laps under the safety car. However, he fell foul of the river of mud which covered the circuit at the exit of Turn 1 and crashed, handing the lead to Belgian Bas Leinders. The Racing Engineering pairing cruised away from the field with ease and Wilson kept up the pressure on his team-mate, never dropping more than one second behind.
Race 1 Results
1 Franck Montagny (Racing Engineering)
2 Justin Wilson (Racing Engineering)
3 Polo Vilaamil (Campos Motorsport)
4 Bas Leinders (KTR), 1m25.781s
5 Jaime Melo (Zele Motorsport)
6 Antonio Garcia (Campos Motorsport)
7 Narain Karthikeyan (RC Motorsport)
8 Tuka Rocha (Gabord Competition)
9 Wagner Ebrahim (GD Racing)
10 Andre Couto (Vergani Racing)

12/8/02

Schumacher will cruise to 6th world title  Michael Schumacher will cruise to a sixth world title - and his fourth in a row - next year, Jaguar driver Mark Webber told the BBC. The Australian, who says he hopes to be in a position to win the title with Jaguar by 2005, predicts none of Ferrari's competitors will catch them by next year. Another win for Schumacher would make him the first man in history to win both six career world titles and four in a row. The German shares the current records of five in total and three in a row with Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio. Webber said: "Michael is far and away the number one driver. He's so dominant, he's F1's Tiger Woods. "He's pretty awesome and a worthy world champion - I can't see anyone else but him winning the championship again next year. "But he's earned it by sheer hard work. Remember when he first joined Ferrari it didn't all happen for him overnight, it took time before he started winning races, and then world titles."  Webber hopes to follow the same route to success as the German, putting in the hard work before achieving world championship success. "That's how I see things at Jaguar," said Webber. "It's tough times there, we've had a few changes since I joined last month, and some tough decisions have been taken recently." "There's still more decisions to be made, and no-one involved with the team doubts there's lots of work to be done to make the team go forward," said Webber. "But I hope all the decisions taken will be the right ones, and that everything that happens now will be done in the long-term interests of Jaguar. "What I can tell you is that there's a great team spirit, we're all hungry and fresh, and hopefully the future for Jaguar will be a successful one. "But it won't happen overnight, first of all you have to work very hard, then you have to start getting podium finishes, then win races - and only then can you start thinking about winning championships. "Obviously I have my own ambitions to win the world title, and realistically I've set myself the target of achieving that in 2005 or maybe the following year. "But I've only completed one full season, and I've still got a lot of stripes to put on my sleeve in terms of reputation."

12/8/02
Industry News

Zanardi shows well in two kart races  Alex Zanardi, appearing on the opening day at the big auto show this weekend in Bologna, Italy, has revealed that he has not lost the will to race.  Using a go-kart equipped with hand controls, the former CART and F1 driver finished 4th and 6th in two recent go-kart races.  Also on-hand was Luciano Burti doing demo runs in the Ferrari F2002, as well as the Minardi two-seater doing laps for special quests.

12/8/02
F3000

Karthikeyan surprises at Interlagos, but Zonta takes pole  Narain Karthikeyan set an impressive pace to emerge at the top of the timesheets at the end of the three free practice sessions at the Interlagos circuit in Brazil where the final round of the Telefónica World Series by Nissan is taking place this weekend. Polesitter for both races, Ricardo Zonta, finished in second, a mere 0.023 behind the Indian driver while Antonio García put in a valiant effort to finish the day third, .63 behind Karthikeyan. Teams are working hard to find the perfect car set-up, just five days after the demanding Curitiba round and it is posing problems, not only for technical reasons, but also due to the heat and changing weather, common for this time of year. Air temperature has been 35ºC and almost reaching 50ºC on the circuit.   Soon to be Champ Car driver Roberto González was a disappointing 17th out of 19th, but his teammate at GD Racing was just one notch higher indicating the team is not the best.  Below are practice times followed by the grid for both races
Free Practice
1.Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Tata RC Motorsport 1:26.748
2.Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Gabord Competición 1:26.771 / 0.023
3.Antonio García (SPA) Adrián Campos Motors. 1:26.881 / 0.063
4.Justin Wilson (GBR) Racing Engineering 1:26.836 / 0.088
5.Polo Villaamil (SPA) Adrián Campos Motors. 1:26.905 / 0.157
6.Jaime Melo (BRA) Zele Motorsport 1:26.910 / 0.162
7.Ricardo Sperafico (BRA) Repsol Meycom 1:27.095 / 0.347
8.Ander Vilariño (SPA) Epsilon by Graff 1:27.096 / 0.348
9.Tuka Rocha (BRA) Gabord Competición 1:27.097 / 0.349
10.Bas Leinders (BEL) KTR 1:27.138 / 0.390
11.Jean C. Ravier (FRA) Epsilon by Graff 1:27.190 / 0.442
12.Franck Montagny (FRA) Racing Engineering 1:27.302 / 0.554
13.Rodrigo Sperafico (BRA) Repsol Meycom 1:27.601 / 0.853
14.Peter Sundberg (SWE) Tata RC Motorsport 1:27.797 / 1.049
15.Andre Couto (MAC) Vergani Racing 1:28.147 / 1.399
16.Wagner Ibrahim (BRA) GD Racing 1:28.411 / 1.663
17.Roberto González (MEX) GD Racing 1:28.504 / 1.756
18.Paul Edwards (USA) KTR 1:28.580 / 1.832
19.Milka Duno (VEN) Vergani Racing 1:31.747 / 4.999

Grid for race 1
1.Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Gabord Competición 1:25.823
2.Jean C. Ravier (FRA) Epsilon by Graff 1:26.139 / 0.316
3.Bas Leinders (BEL) KTR 1:26.162 / 0.339
4.Jaime Melo (BRA) Zele Motorsport 1:26.186 / 0.363
5.Franck Montagny (FRA) Racing Engineering 1:26.262 / 0.439
6.Antonio García (SPA) Adrián Campos Motors. 1:26.281 / 0.458
7.Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Tata RC Motorsport 1:26.332 / 0.509
8.Tuka Rocha (BRA) Gabord Competición 1:26.447 / 0.624
9.Polo Villaamil (SPA) Adrián Campos Motors. 1:26.477 / 0.654
10.Ander Vilariño (SPA) Epsilon by Graff 1:26.596 / 0.773
Grid for race 2
1.Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Gabord Competición 1:25.479
2.Justin Wilson (GBR) Racing Engineering 1:25.625 / 0.146
3.Bas Leinders (BEL) KTR 1:25.781 / 0.302
4.Ricardo Sperafico (BRA) Repsol Meycom 1:25.786 / 0.307
5.Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Tata RC Motorsport 1:25.863 / 0.384
6.Jaime Melo (BRA) Zele Motorsport 1:25.880 / 0.401
7.Jean C. Ravier (FRA) Epsilon by Graff 1:25.993 / 0.485
8.Franck Montagny (FRA) Racing Engineering 1:26.040 / 0.514
9.Polo Villaamil (SPA) Adrián Campos Motors. 1:26.112 / 0.561
10.Tuka Rocha (BRA) Gabord Competición 1:26.122 / 0.633

12/7/02

Beer could flow again at MIS  Beer could again flow from the taps at Michigan International Speedway next racing season, after the state Legislature this week gave its approval to the idea. House legislators Thursday voted 101-3 to support a bill from Sen. Philip E. Hoffman that would let the racetrack sell beer, ending a one-year break in the practice. The speedway stopped selling beer this year after state officials began enforcing a law that bars alcohol sales at venues where customers also can bring in alcoholic beverages. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission ruled last year that the rule had to be enforced, so the speedway opted to let fans continue bringing in their own beer. "It was a big gap for a long time, and this makes it right now," Hoffman, R-Horton, said Friday. Speedway officials referred questions Friday to President Brett Shelton, who was in New York and couldn't be reached for comment. Hoffman's bill, which passed the state Senate in September, still needs the signature of Gov. John Engler. The bill is drawn narrowly enough that it applies only to MIS, allowing such beer sales only at a "motorsports entertainment complex" with at least 70,000 seats. MIS, which has 136,373 fixed seats, is the only venue in the state that meets the description.

12/7/02

Fox to hit '03 Speed Week hard  Fox will carry virtually all of next year's Speed Week '03 activities from Daytona International Speedway. All told, Fox, FX, Fox Sports Net or Speed Channel will broadcast 75 hours of practice, qualifying and racing, more than 50 of it on-track and 25 more from studios. Among the events scheduled: the Bud Shootout, the ARCA, Busch, Craftsman and Goody's Dash races, the twin-125s, Busch and Daytona 500 qualifying, the final pre-Daytona 500 practice session, and the Daytona 500 itself.

12/7/02

Danica Patrick - the real deal  Danica Patrick, beat all her male counterparts last week during Toyota Atlantic testing at Firebird Raceway.  CART's John Lopes called her the "Real Deal" and stated "She will win races" at the PRI show in Indy this week..

12/7/02

Hogan wins Herbert's search  19-year-old Patrick Hogan has won ex-F1 pilot Johnny Herbert's 'Search for a Star' competition. At the Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, 43 finalists battled it out in multi-discipline driving activities in saloon, sports and single-seat racing cars. Two drivers stood out from the pack, Paul Wilson and Dublin-born Hogan; with the latter storming the win in a last-day shoot out. Patrick's victory has won him a fully funded drive in the 2003 Avon Junior Formula Ford Championship, valued at over £60,000. 'I'm really delighted for Patrick,' Herbert concluded. 'I know from my own experience just how much of a difference it will make to his future career.' 

12/7/02

Arrows last gasp  Arrows Grand Prix are hanging on by a thread after investment consultant Oliver Behring secured a meeting with the FIA. Early this week, the governing body denied Arrows its 2003 championship entry, with investors German Grand Prix Racing confirming they would not conclude a company-saving deal unless they are cleared to race in '03. Behring told the German media yesterday that a meeting would be held 'within the next seven days.'

12/7/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Sauber Land 'Active 02' Sponsor
Trulli Impressed With R23
Six Teams Sign Up For Test Ban
Schu Remembers First F1 Blast
Childhood Dream For Romain Dumas
Bridgestone Ignores Michelin Pace
Feathered Headache For Heidfeld

12/6/02

Roush best kept secret  Jack Roush remains one of the industry's best-kept secrets, and that's just fine with automakers who happily take credit for work done on their cars, trucks, engines and numerous parts and pieces by nearly 2000 engineers and craftsmen employed by Roush Enterprises and subsidiaries. As shown in this AutoWeek article, the company's scope extends far beyond automakers, too. But Roush calls motorsports "the lifeblood" of Roush Enterprises, the spirit that flows through every aspect of his businesses.

12/6/02

Sauber announces new sponsor  Sauber announced Friday the beginning of a partnership between the team and German drinks company Adelholzener Alpenquellen. Starting in January, the Swiss team's transporters and pit box partitions will bear the logo of Adelholzener's Active 02 brand, an oxygenated mineral water designed to provide internal organs with extra oxygen. The company's Managing Director, Stefan Hoechter, said of the deal, "By entering the fascinating world of Formula One, we would like to create a connection between our oxygenated mineral water 'Active O2' and the attributes of Formula One: high-technology, innovation and emotion. Formula One and, in particular, Team Sauber Petronas will play an important role in our future marketing strategy".

12/6/02
Industry News

GM to have 4th plant in China  General Motors and China's largest carmaker plan to buy state-owned Yantai Body, which would give the world's biggest carmaker its fourth manufacturing plant in China. GM spokeswoman Daphne Zheng said: "We are in talks with Yantai Body. The rapid expansion of China's automotive industry has created new opportunities." The two companies will sign an agreement with the provincial government by December 20 to buy Yantai Body. The accord will give each partner a quarter stake, with the remainder to be held by a venture both own, the official said. Yantai Body was established last year, with an initial annual production capacity of about 50,000 vehicles, said company official Tang Weidong. General Motors now makes Buick sedans and wagons and Sail cars in Shanghai in a US$1.5 billion venture with Shanghai Auto.

12/6/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $3.83 Down $0.06 on Volume of 7,600 shares.
$3.20 Bid - $4.16 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.79 / $3.92
MPH Value Change Down 1.54%
DOW Jones Up 22.49 or 0.26% on Volume of 1.59 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 11.69 or 0.83%
S&P 500 Up 5.68 or 0.63%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

12/6/02
Russell Racing

Sears Point to host Russell Racing Grad Runoffs  There will be four days of open-wheel excitement this week as Infineon Raceway hosts the Jim Russell Graduate Run-Offs on the 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course. The event will span from Thursday-Sunday (Dec. 5-8), culminating with two 25-minute lapping sessions on Sunday to determine Best Overall Driver and Top Masters Driver (ages 40-plus). Winners will receive a free season of racing on the 2003 USAC Formula Russell Championship Series, plus Jim Russell/RACER Magazine trophies. Preliminary action will take place Thursday-Saturday, as competitors will receive two practice sessions and two judged sessions each day. There will be up to 30 different drivers on the track each of the three days with seven-to-10 each day being chosen to run for free on Sunday. After two sessions Sunday morning, the panel of Russell instructors and guest judges from the racing industry will trim that group of 21-30 drivers down to 10 for the finals. This year's quartet of guest judges are local CART Champ Car driver Memo Gidley, Lynx Racing team manager Steve Cameron, and RACER editors John Zimmermann and Jeremy Shaw. Competitors must be graduates of one of the Jim Russell Racing School’s three-day programs on the 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course. They also must not have more than one year of road-racing experience. All racers will drive equally prepared Formula Russell cars, featuring Mazda Rotary power. Average speeds for the top drivers should be in the 85-90 mph range. [Editor's Note: Having gone through both their TRC and Advanced Racing Course we can attest to the level of talent that comes out of this school.  Some of the best, including two of the four Red Bull drivers chosen this year, have come out of this school.]

12/6/02

Elliott most popular again  Continuing his dominance of fan popularity, Bill Elliott edged out fellow racer Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to win the Grands!® Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award for 2002. Elliott and Earnhardt battled for the leader position in recent months as fans across the country placed more online votes than ever before as part of the only fan-based NASCAR award. The announcement was made today during the National Motorsports Press Association’s (NMPA) Myers Brothers Awards Breakfast at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Elliott, a 27-year racing veteran who drove for Dodge this season, has won the Most Popular Driver Award more times than any other driver – this marks his 16th victory. “Everyone knows that the fans are the real heart of NASCAR. I owe many thanks to them because my fans have stuck by me and kept me going all these years,” said Elliott, a Dawnsonville, Ga., native. “I am so fortunate to be part of this great sport and be recognized by this award.” More than 3 million votes were cast by thousands of NASCAR fans, shattering all voting totals posted in previous years. Earnhardt, Jr. actually led much of the season with Elliott’s votes coming on strong in the final months. Jeff Gordon and 2002 Winston Cup winner Tony Stewart were a distant third and fourth respectively. More than 40 drivers received fan votes. “It is fitting that the most popular driver in NASCAR history wins the award in the year it was the most popular ever,” said Kenny Bruce, president of the National Motorsports Press Association, which administers the award. “Bill Elliott leads past award winners, including Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip and David Pearson, among others. That says a lot about his popularity, not just in a single year or even a single decade, but for all time.” “Bill Elliott has obviously distinguished himself both on and off the race track,” said Phil Shaw, marketing manager for Pillsbury® Grands! Biscuits. “It’s been a great honor for us to celebrate this award with the fans and recognize Bill as their favorite driver. We’ll continue to share the excitement of this announcement with fans by posting award ceremony highlights on www.mostpopulardriver.com.”

12/6/02

Servia and Visteon back with Patrick Racing  U. E. “Pat” Patrick announced today that Visteon Corporation will continue as the primary sponsor for the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry and that Oriol Servia will drive for the team during the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. “I am pleased to announce today the continuation of Visteon Corporation’s sponsorship of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry in the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford,” Patrick began. “I am also happy to say that Oriol Servia will drive for our team. “Visteon has been a tremendous sponsor and outstanding partner over the past five years and we look forward to continuing the relationship through the 2003 season,” Patrick said. “I am also excited about having Oriol driving the complete season for our team. He did a fine job for us after taking over at mid-season last year and is a tremendous talent. We are pleased to be able to give him the opportunity to continue to race with our team and are looking forward to challenging for the championship in 2003,” Patrick concluded. The 2003 season will be the sixth year of Patrick Racing’s alliance with Visteon Corporation. Visteon Corporation is a leading full-service supplier that delivers consumer-driven technology solutions to automotive manufacturers worldwide and through multiple channels within the global automotive aftermarket. Visteon has approximately 79,000 employees and a global delivery system of more than 180 technical, manufacturing, sales, and service facilities located in 25 countries. “I am very proud and happy that Mr. Patrick has the confidence to allow me to continue racing with the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team and I want to thank him for this opportunity,” Servia began. “I also want to thank Visteon Corporation and the entire Visteon/Patrick Racing Team for their support. We didn’t achieve all of our goals last year, but we worked hard and made a lot of progress during the second half of the season. I am looking forward to continuing to develop with the team and contending for the championship in 2003,” he concluded.

12/6/02

Badoer fast in Jerez again  Today, was the second day of testing for Ferrari at the Jerez circuit on Spain’s south coast. Once again Luca Badoer was driving today, using two F2002s. The Scuderia’s official test driver continued with a tire development program aimed at the 2003 season. He covered a total of 101 laps (36 with chassis 220 and 65 with chassis 221.).  Also running at the track was Nick Heidfeld in the Sauber-Petronas. Today's Times Luca Badoer Ferrari 101 laps 1:18.392 126.334 mph, Nick Heidfeld Sauber 66 laps 1:19.736

12/6/02

Marlin being sued  According to this Nashville City Paper article,  A Middle Tennessee NASCAR driver is facing legal action this week after an alleged brawl on a Jamaican beach last December. A Massachusetts man filed a federal lawsuit last week in Middle Tennessee’s U.S. District Court against professional NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin, a resident of Maury County. Joel Whitcomb, a native of Pittsfield, Mass., is seeking damages in the amount of $350,000 for injuries allegedly sustained in a beachfront brawl last year during the fourth annual Race Fans Beach Bash in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The Beach Bash invites NASCAR fans to attend a multi-day event in which they participate in recreational and leisure activities with various professional drivers. Whitcomb claims Marlin assaulted him during a women’s tug-of-war match in which Whitcomb, Marlin and their spouses were taking part during the Beach Bash. Whitcomb alleges that Marlin, who was coaching the team opposing that of Whitcomb’s wife during the tug-of-war game, physically attacked him during the match after Whitcomb accused Marlin of cheating and helping the women on his team. Whitcomb’s suit claims that he suffered extensive physical injuries after being thrown into shallow water by Marlin, including a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder and torn ligaments in his knee. He claims medical expenses that amount to nearly $34,000. Marlin led point standings for the NASCAR Winston Cup series this year, winning the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 and the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 in March, before breaking a bone in his neck at a September race in Kansas City. He was reportedly cleared by a physician Wednesday to participate in future races after recovering from his injury.

12/6/02

SPEED Channel to air ALMS review  The SPEED Channel will review the 2002 American Le Mans Series season in a special program to be aired on Wednesday, December 11. The one-hour television program will begin at 9 p.m. (EST) and will be hosted by Rick Benjamin, the anchor for all American Le Mans Series television race broadcasts in 2002. SPEED Channel televised six of the 10 races held for the sports car endurance racing series in the 2002 season. The cable network will continue its association with the series in 2003, beginning with live, flag-to-flag coverage of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 15. The Sebring telecast will be preceded by a 30-minute program previewing the race and the 2003 season.

12/6/02

IRL announces tire allocation rules  Officials from the Indy Racing League announced Dec. 6 the Firestone Firehawk tire allocation for the 2003 season. Full-time entrants in the IRL will receive 153 sets of Firestone Firehawk tires per driver for use during the 16 events in 2003, with 35 sets allocated for use during the month of May at the 87th Indianapolis 500. Nine sets will be available for race weekends at Michigan International Speedway and California Speedway, while eight sets will be allocated at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Twin Ring Motegi, Kansas Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, Gateway International Raceway, Kentucky Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and both races at Texas Motor Speedway. Seven sets will be allocated at Phoenix International Raceway, Pikes Peak International Raceway, Richmond International Raceway and Nazareth Speedway. Full-time entrants also will be allocated 24 sets of Firestone Firehawk tires per driver for use at Indy Racing League Open Tests. Six sets will be allocated at Phoenix and Homestead, which are two-day Open Tests, while three sets will be available for one-day tests at California, Nashville, Richmond and Kentucky. The tires for Open Tests may be used only at an IRL Open Test on the scheduled days at the designated facility. For private testing purposes, full-time entrants will be permitted a maximum of 21 sets of Firestone Firehawk tires for use between Jan. 1, 2003, and Dec. 15, 2003. Any tires from the 2002 season must be returned to Firestone by Dec. 31, 2002, or the remaining tires will count against the 2003 allotment. “This is a continuation of a policy implemented in 2002 that helps control costs for the teams participating in the IRL as well as controlling costs for Firestone,” said Brian Barnhart, IRL senior vice president of operations. “It also helps create and maintain a level playing field for competition by restricting testing to a point that is equal for all. “It is very consistent with the founding principles of the IRL in that it controls costs and provides equal opportunity for everyone to compete against each other. The policy was regarded as being very successful in 2002, and I expect it to continue to be a useful tool in 2003. The numbers for 2003 were chosen as a result of balancing the need to control costs and making sure there is adequate track time available for the teams to test the new chassis, engines, and gearboxes for the next generation of IRL racing.” Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota, the three engine manufacturers for the IRL, are each permitted 30 sets of Firestone Firehawk tires for use in private testing beginning Jan. 1, 2003 and ending April 30, 2003. No engine manufacturer or entrant may sell, trade, or otherwise reassign the Firestone Firehawk tires to any other engine manufacturer or entrant. Firestone has supplied tires for every IRL race since the league’s debut race in 1996. In 2000, the company became sole tire supplier of the IRL and in 2002 became the exclusive tire supplier through 2005.

12/6/02

Fogarty impresses in Champ Car test  AR1 has learned that 2002 Toyota Atlantic Champion Jon Fogarty's recent Champ Car test with Dale Coyne at Firebird saw him as the quickest of any of the youngsters who they tested at a 48.2 sec. lap time. There are conflicting reports as to how quick veteran Roberto Moreno ever went...some say he did a 48.48 but Roberto has said elsewhere he went as fast as a 48 flat. We hear people looked at his data and only found a 48.48 during his 3 days of testing and others who were there with stop watches had him at a 48.4 as his best time...so we actually believe that the quickest he went was a 48.48......and even if he did a 48.0, for Jon Fogarty to do a 48.2 is very impressive.  We look for Fogarty to land a Champ Car ride in 2003.

12/6/02

NASCAR has another banner year on TV  All the heads of NASCAR's television partners were on hand Thursday for a special press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria. In attendance was FOX Sports Television Group Chairman and CEO David Hill; NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol and NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer; Turner Sports President Mark Lazarus; FX Networks President and CEO Peter Liguori; Speed Channel President Jim Liberatore as well as NASCAR Broadcasting Vice President Paul Brooks. The group discussed its involvement with NASCAR and riding the crest of its success. They also discussed how well they work together on the NASCAR coverage despite being competing networks. "It's beneficial. We challenge each other and take things from each other," Schanzer said. "It's a healthy dynamic." Added Hill: "The partnership has been fantastic. We have the highest praise for the team Ken has put together." The two networks' willingness to work together also has helped NASCAR in another area. "There is not any other sport that gets this type of promotion," Ebersol said. Some of the highlights from the conference: FOX debuted its NASCAR promo, an action-packed piece powered by Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Fire." FOX will televise next season's Daytona 500 and the network will have plenty in store for the fans. "We can't wait for Daytona," Hill said. "The biggest thing will be our [expanded] coverage of Speed Weeks. We've been working on this for six or seven months already." Schanzer said that NBC enjoyed a "spectacular year" with NASCAR. He also said ratings for the NASCAR events were up 13% and that two consecutive years of increases marked the "first back-to-back increases for a major sport since 1994-96 with the NBA and that was with Michael Jordan." He also mentioned that seven of eight races that went head-to-head with the NFL drew a 4.0 rating or better and Sunday's pre-race show ranked second among Sunday pre-game shows. Lazarus of Turner Sports said the NASCAR coverage has resulted in new business over the past year, with 40 new sponsors coming aboard. He also praised the ratings and was impressed by the dedication of the NASCAR fans. Lazarus: "When a three-hour race has a rain delay and turns it into a seven-hour event, we don't lose our audience. July [the start of the NASCAR Winston Cup season for TNT] can't come fast enough for us." Liguori said that FX, in its third season of NASCAR coverage, has increased its overall viewership by 21 million homes since NASCAR came aboard and are nearing 80 million homes. Liguori: "NASCAR has had a major impact in growing our platform." FX will be the broadcaster of next season's Twin 125 races during Speed Weeks at Daytona International Speedway. Liberatore said that SPEED Channel plans to expand its coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and several of NASCAR's touring series. SPEED also is planning its most comprehensive coverage of Speed Weeks, roughly 70 hours worth of coverage. Liberatore said SPEED has seen an increase of 23 million homes, including nine million last year.

12/6/02

Marlin cleared to drive  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 Wednesday, December 5. Dr. Petty and Dr. Coric have cleared Marlin to begin racing again. Today, Marlin's CAT scan clearly showed healing of the C2 vertebra. Marlin will begin testing the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge at Talladega Superspeedway on December 9 and 10. During this time, Marlin will be fitted for the HANS device. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates certified athletic trainer, Al Shuford M.Ed,A.T.,C.-L, will continue working with Marlin on a stretch / strengthening program. Marlin suffered a non-displaced fracture of the #2 cervical vertebra as a result of his accident at Kansas Speedway on September 29. Due to the injury, Marlin was sidelined for the remainder of the 2002 season and Jamie McMurray took over driving responsibilities in the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge.

12/6/02

NASCAR may start new TV program  NASCAR is in discussions with cable network FX with regard to the creation of a reality TV series based on the US motorsports franchise. The Fox-owned cable network is finalizing a proposal for a weekly primetime reality TV program which would go behind the scenes of NASCAR. With reality TV proving a popular draw with TV audiences, it is thought that the combination of the NASCAR proposition in a reality TV format would prove compelling viewing - once more indicating the growing proximity of sport and entertainment programming. Another reason for Fox's proposals stems from the need to bring in more revenue from NASCAR. While ratings for the series are defying expectations, the advertising revenues for all of the host broadcasters are still some way below meeting the combined $2.8billion cost of the rights. Sportsbusiness.com

12/6/02

SPEED Channel to air karting extravaganza  The 2002 CART Stars of Tomorrow presented by Snap-on.com Grand Nationals broadcast on SPEED premieres today with two showings in prime time to the channel’s 63 million subscribers nationally.  “This will surely be the largest viewing audience for an American kart race in recent history” said Stars founder Bryan Herta. “With SPEED’s growing subscriber base and the coveted time slots we are eager to expose a new audience to this exciting motorsport and to the excellent drivers we have in the series.”   Full Story

12/6/02

Coup d'Spa: CART to go continental next spring  In this Racingpress.com article, author Tony Johns says that "the three-pronged assault on Fortress Europe in May 2003 will put Champ Car racing into direct competition with Formula One racing, and I'm certainly not alone in saying that, when all is said and done, CART's product -- while not as glamorous as Formula One's -- will prove more competitive, entertaining, and accessible than the overhyped World Championship. Don't be surprised, too, if you see some famous F1 names showing up at these races, much in the same way that famous drivers come out of the woodwork for the Daytona 500 or Indy 500. With all of the glowing reviews of CART from its former champions in recent months, it would be a logical assumption that, barring any F1 schedule conflicts, guys like Jacques Villeneuve, Juan-Pablo Montoya, and Cristiano da Matta might make guest appearances in Champ Cars during the month of May. If I were Chris Pook, I'd already be on the phone with their agents. After all -- for Pook and CART's loyalists, anyway -- having the likes of Montoya and Villeneuve race a Champ Car at Spa would be more than enough to make up for Michael Andretti and Dario Franchitti racing an IRL car at Indianapolis." More . . .

12/6/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Wilson Lines Up CART Option
Cosworth: We Can Handle The Load
Arrows Lay Off Remaining Staff
Ralf Schumacher Wants To Win
Ferrari: Team Orders Will Stay
McLaren and CA Step Up Sponsorship
Wholesale Change At Jaguar Ranks
New Lap Record At Barcelona Tests
BAR To Launch While Jaguar Delays
BMW Discover P83 'Weak Points'
Firman Makes BAR F1 Debut
Da Matta Tries New '03 Engine
F1 News In Brief

12/6/02

Dyson announces two cars, four drivers for ALMS  The Dyson Racing Team, one of America’s most successful sports car racing teams over the past 15 years, has announced a two-car, four-driver lineup for the 2003 American Le Mans Series season. The team will field a pair of Lola EX257-MG machines in the LMP 675 class for Prototypes in the sports car racing series. James Weaver of England and Butch Leitzinger of State College, Penn., will be paired in one of the Dyson cars, while Andy Wallace of England and Chris Dyson of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., will steer the other. Weaver, 47, has been a driver for the Dyson team since 1987. “James is uniquely talented,” said team owner Rob Dyson. “He’s probably one of the best racers there is and we’re lucky to have him with us. I think we’ve got a great group of drivers lined up for next year.” “The MG is a gorgeous little car, and everyone is working really hard to develop it,” said Weaver. “I can’t wait to get stuck into it over the winter (in testing). I think it will be a strong package heading into next year. “It’s terrific to be back with Dyson Racing,” he said. “Driving one of Rob’s cars is always a privilege and we’ve had a fantastic relationship over the years.” Leitzinger, 33, has raced with the Dyson team since 1995 and has scored 25 victories and two driving championships. He drove for the team in selected races in 2002 while running a full schedule on the Trans-Am Series and driving for the Bentley team in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but will concentrate on the Dyson effort in the American Le Mans Series in 2003. “It’s great to be back fulltime with the Dyson Team,” said Leitzinger. “We’re all very excited about next season and the MG is really coming along quite nicely.”

12/6/02

CART's recovery appears on track  Much of the doom and gloom about CART that has been perpetuated by many newspaper writers this year may be wearing off. In this article in The Oregonian, author Jerry Boone writes about CART's turnaround from a realistic and positive viewpoint. Boone starts his article by saying that Jeff McComb doesn't have much time to worry about CART's future. He is too busy preparing for it. The 2003 season begins in less than 90 days, and last week, McComb, team coordinator for Fernandez Racing, shipped a third chassis from the Fernandez shops in Indianapolis to England to be modified to accept a Ford Cosworth engine. With luck, one of the team's two Lolas, already there, will be back within a month. With a bit more luck, he will have an engine to go in it. For the past two years, Fernandez Racing's cars were powered by Honda engines. Next year, all CART cars will use Ford Cosworth engines. "Right now, we've got nothing," McComb said. "The cars are gone. The engines haven't arrived. It's pretty bare in the shop." Adrian Fernandez was the first team owner to commit to CART next year, so at least McComb knows where he will be in February. Other teams that have committed for next season include Team Rahal, Players/Forsythe, Newman-Haas and Patrick Racing. Paul Gentilozzi, a multiple Trans-Am champion, will join CART next year. Former Formula One driver Stefan Johansson also is expected to commit to the series. Others are unsure. There still are drivers looking for rides, teams searching for drivers and a few of each looking for sponsorship. How it comes together will dictate how CART survives. A year ago, critics were writing CART's obituary. Now it appears Chris Pook, hired last December to run the series, has made good on his promise to save it. Pook hasn't solved CART's problems -- and maybe he has created a few -- but for the first time in the past three seasons, CART looks as if it has a future. "I really didn't have a full appreciation of the job when I took it," said Pook, an English-born promoter who founded the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and made it one of CART's premier events. "There was a lot more to do than I realized at first." More . . .

12/6/02

Teams wrap up testing at Homestead  Four teams fielding five drivers finished two days of testing Dec. 5 at the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway in preparation for the 2003 IRL season opener March 2. Target/Chip Ganassi Racing driver Tomas Scheckter, Andretti Green Racing test driver Dan Wheldon, 2002 Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series champion A.J. Foyt IV and teammate Airton Dare of A.J. Foyt Racing, and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves of Marlboro Team Penske participated in the final day of testing. Scott Dixon, Scheckter’s Target/Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, turned his first laps in an Indy Racing League car Dec. 4 at HMS. Dixon, 22, previously spent two years competing in CART. “I thought that the test went very well,” Dixon said. “We ran 250 miles and didn’t have any problems whatsoever. The Toyota engine ran flawless all day, and I was happy with how competitive we were right out of the box. “The conditions weren’t ideal as it was pretty windy, so it took a little bit of time to adjust to the car. The Target guys made some adjustments for me during the day to make it more comfortable for me to drive. The IRL car is different than the CART car in that everything happens just a little bit slower. It’s not easier to drive, just a different feel. I’m happy that we were so quick, being that it was my first time ever in the car.” Scheckter, 22, turned laps Dec. 5 at HMS for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing. “It was good,” Scheckter said. “We messed around with some stuff. It’s just me getting used to the team and working on the engine. It’s quite preseason now, so we’re just setting things up for the future. It was a good day today. I learned a lot.” Scheckter made his IRL debut at Homestead-Miami in March 2002, starting third and finishing sixth. “It (HMS) is tough,” Scheckter said. “It’s not an easy circuit, that’s for sure. But it’s a good circuit, and I look forward to it. We just need to get our stuff sorted out here to make sure that we are up front in March.”  Another driver looking forward to the season opener is Miami resident Castroneves, who tested both days with the Toyota engine. “First of all, we don’t need to take a plane to someplace else before the championship starts,” Castroneves said. “It’s great to be over here in Florida and close to my home. “So far we are testing a lot of the gearbox. We want to make sure that we run a lot and make sure we don’t have any kind of issues when we start running with the new car. Also, we’re testing the engine, which is new for us and new for them, so we want to make sure that we keep running and fine-tuning as much as we can before we start the championship.” Foyt, who crashed in testing Dec. 4 at Homestead-Miami, returned to the cockpit of an A.J. Foyt Racing car. “I was pretty screwed up this morning,” Foyt said. “I didn’t have any confidence in the car or myself. I was getting frustrated, but my grandfather (four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt) was patient. He explained I wasn’t going fast enough to use all the downforce. To me, it felt like the car was skating all around. “After Airton got in it and I saw the times he turned, I knew the car was OK. I got back in the car and got back up to speed. I learned a lot today, maybe more than I wanted to, but now I feel good about coming back here.” The Indy Racing League season starts March 2 at Homestead-Miami.

12/6/02

Bernie close to ending rift with manufactures  This Autosport.com article says that the stand-off that has threatened Formula 1's future for more than two years could be resolved soon, according to this week's AUTOSPORT magazine. Five of the major car manufacturers involved in F1 have been threatening to set up a rival series, but they are now close to a deal that will give them a greater role in the running of the sport. Sources have said that a meeting is scheduled for next week between GPWC, the company set up to represent the car makers, Bernie Ecclestone, three privateer team owners and the banks that own the majority of the sport. Any deal would have to secure a redistribution of the wealth generated by F1, producing a bigger share for the teams and manufacturers. This would require a redrafting of the Concorde Agreement, the secret document which governs the sport.

12/6/02
Industry News

China overtaking the US as VW's No 2 market  Volkswagen's sales in China this year increased nearly 40 per cent over last year and will exceed those in the United States for the first time. Robert Buchelhofer, a member of the German vehicle-maker's management board, said his company would sell 500,000 vehicles in China this year, accounting for 40 per cent of the passenger-car market, and aimed to double that by 2007. "So China has become the second-biggest single market for Volkswagen worldwide, after Germany, but ahead of the US, Brazilian and Italian markets," he said. VW was the earliest foreign manufacturer to come to China, setting up two key joint ventures, in Shanghai and Changchun, which produce a wide range of upmarket and middle-range passenger cars, including the Santana, Audi, Passat and Polo. Car ownership, once reserved for the political elite and big state-owned companies, is spreading to families in China as disposable income rises and credit financing is opened to consumers, according to Bloomberg.  And you wonder why CART needs to be in China?  It's not a matter of why, but how soon.

12/6/02
Industry News

BASF gets green light on Shanghai plant  German chemical giant BASF expects the green light this month for a US$1 billion joint-venture plant near Shanghai. The project will see the construction of an integrated plant complex for chemical components used in the production of cars, construction materials, refrigerators, upholstery and footwear. Speaking after an investment promotion presentation by the Jilin municipal government yesterday, the company's group vice-president of East Asia, Johnny Kwan, said the business license for the project was expected before the end of the year. The project, at Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park on the southern outskirts of Shanghai, has already been approved by Beijing. The complex's construction involves three joint ventures, whose investors include United States-based Huntsman Polyurethanes, China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec), Sinopec Shanghai Gao Qiao Petrochemical, Shanghai Hua Yi and Shanghai Chloro-Alkali Chemical. BASF is also building a US$3 billion petrochemical complex - including a 600,000-tonne a year ethylene plant - with Sinopec. Completion is expected in 2005.

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