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Happy Holidays   The staff at AutoRacing1.com would like to thank all of our subscribers for being part of the AutoRacing1.com family and wish all of you and your families a great Holiday Season. 

12/26/02

Schumacher shunned in Germany   Michael Schumacher finished only third in the German Sportsman of the Year awards after clinching his fifth F1 world championship. Despite being voted European Sportsman of the Year, Schumacher's countrymen think otherwise as German journalists cast their votes elsewhere. Ski-jumper Sven Hannawald finished first and basketball player Dirk Nowitzki second.

12/26/02

Bruce McCaw's brother found dead  Keith McCaw, the billionaire brother of longtime CART team owner Bruce McCaw, was found dead in a hot tub at his Seattle mansion on December 15th, according the the AP.  Keith McCaw was 49, the youngest of four brothers. Police said there was no indication of foul play.

12/26/02

Mexican fan pans Fernández  Dear AutoRacing1.com, I hope you can include this on your Hot News page so other fans can see what is going on with racing drivers that try to take the sport to another level.  It is a big disappointment to see how our favorite CART driver has become a better business man rather than a good driver.  I am referring to Adrian Fernandez.  I have to admit that in all these years he has never been an outstanding car racer but as a Mexican I feel proud of what he has done for the sport and for other Mexican drivers. For the last nine years we (my family and friends) tried to support him and his team as much as possible by going to all three California races and by bringing more fans to CART and in the last two years of course to Fernandez Racing.  However, Adrian Fernandez as driver leaves a lot to be desired on every race and it is frustrating to find other fans at the races complaining about his driving performance to the point of make fun of it rather than to get more frustrated.  And in top of all that, now he will be running a car at the IRL with a Japanese driver in the 2003 season and probably competing at the 2003 Indy 500. We his fans believe that by trying to sell more T-shirts, signing autographs and other merchandise and not performing as he should as a race driver, he will no longer be popular in a few years.  And now he is damaging the sport of racing by going to the IRL and possibly competing in the Indy 500.  My family and I will not support Adrian Fernandez and Fernandez Racing anywhere else but in a real racing sport. (NEVER in the IRL) Do not take me wrong Adrian is an incredible guy, but I believe his bank account is more important than us the true racing fans that filled the grandstands every race.  With respect to CART, it is a matter of loyalty to the sport of racing.  Like I said, Adrian is more worried about selling merchandise and signing autographs rather than putting in a good race. Ivan Arias

12/26/02

Imrie wins US$50,000 at Barber-CART Runoff  Aspiring race driver Ward Imrie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, arrived home this week with US$50,000 towards next year's racing budget after finishing third in the Barber-CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) Scholarship Runoff. The former kart racer who just turned twenty, is hoping to compete in the Barber-Dodge Pro Series in 2003 and says his prize will make up about one-third of the budget. The competition saw invited drivers head to Sebring International Raceway in Florida where the crop of young hopefuls were scrutinized for everything from racing skills to public speaking abilities. The highlight of the runoff came when the drivers climbed into Barber-Dodge Pro cars and took them out on the famous Sebring circuit. On a wet, but trying track, drivers were observed and examined as they were put through a series of challenging exercises. The asphalt gradually dried and the speeds increased. Imrie was running well, posting the second-quickest lap times and comfortably outpacing third place. Then, his car suffered transmission problems. He'd lost third gear. Following a precautionary pitstop, he was given the okay to continue, but without third gear it was tough going. "It was very difficult because I had to skip third gear three times a lap," reported Imrie. "It really hurt me through an 'S' section where I had to use second (gear) instead of third. My lap times suffered, but not as much as I expected. Unfortunately, with the track drying, everyone else got quicker at the end of the session and I ended up fifth fastest." The panel of judges had much to weigh and, after careful consideration, Imrie was awarded third place, behind Colin Fleming of North Hills, California, and Scott Poirer of Deerfield Beach, Florida. Fleming and Poirer won U$100,000 and US$70,000 respectively to put toward a campaign in the 2003 Barber-Dodge Pro Series. Imrie was disappointed about his bad luck, but took it in stride acknowledging, "It's part of the sport, sometimes things happen that are out of your control. If you can't accept that you'll drive yourself crazy. "I really appreciate having the opportunity to participate in this runoff," he continued, "And I would like to thank everyone from Skip Barber, Dodge, Michelin, and Quaker State for making this event happen. I also want to thank my family for all their effort and support. Now its off to the drawing board to find the other two-thirds of the budget needed to race next year!"

12/26/02

IRL stalwart Boat, can't find sponsor  According to this SPEEDTV.com article, Billy Boat has admitted that he is a long way from having firm plans for the 2003 Indy Racing League. None of the sponsors the team were chasing have come up with the goods, and Boat says in his Christmas message that time is running short. "We had many people working on major sponsorship and I was confident at least one of the three or four deals we had in the works would come to fruition," he says on his website. "At this time Curb Records is still our only source of major funding." The arrival of Toyota and Honda for the 2003 IRL, standards are being raised significantly, forcing some of the IRL’s regular teams into difficult positions: "We still have many associate sponsors on board," continued Boat, "but with the costs of new cars and the engine program, we are unable to commit to a full season program at this time. We are constantly exploring new ideas and looking at all of our options, but obviously March is just around the corner and time is running short." One option the team has is to switch to the Infiniti Pro Series.  [Editor's Note: As the CART teams move into the IRL, many of the IRL regulars are being forced down to the junior series, which is where they were when they were in CART].

12/26/02

CART stock watch  UPDATE 

MPH closed at $3.73 Up $0.03 on Volume of 76,400 shares.
At 10:40AM EST 29,000 shares traded at $3.65
$3.04 Bid - $4.05 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.65 / $3.78
MPH Value Change Up 0.81%
DOW Jones Down 15.5 or 0.18% on Volume of 0.987 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 4.58 or 0.33%
S&P 500 Down 2.81 or 0.31%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

12/26/02 - A reader reminds us that volume the day before Christmas was also higher than normal and the market was opened just a few hours.  12/26/02 - As of 11:09AM EST MPH off $0.05 p/share or 1.35% to $3.65 on sizeable early volume of 73,100 shares traded, especially for a slow business day right after Christmas. C3I.AndersonGroupe – Chicago

12/26/02
Industry News

GM launches new car in China  As GM eyes F1 and possibly CART if the cost of the V-10's can be made reasonable, the company has revamped its mid-sized sedan for China, launching the Buick Regal yesterday in the world's fastest growing car market. Priced from $41,000, the top-of-the-line Regal comes with a 2.98-litre engine and electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission, GM says. It is the first vehicle built in China by an original equipment manufacturer to include a DVD entertainment system. It also offers three 5.8-inch liquid crystal display screens and a six-disc CD/VCD/MP3 changer. The Regal's price tag is similar to that of the original Buick mid-size sedans made by GM's Shanghai plant, and competes with Honda Motor's popular Accords.  Reuters.

12/26/02

Industry News

Bridgestone to scrap Firestone brand  Bridgestone, Asia's biggest tire maker, will scrap the Firestone brand and apply the Bridgestone name for its tires sold worldwide. The company will use the Bridgestone name in all new contracts to be signed with carmakers in North and Latin America, Europe and other regions starting next year, the Japanese Nihon Keizai newspaper reported on its English language wire service. It will keep the Firestone brand only for existing contracts and replacements in the United States, the report said, citing unidentified company officials. Bridgestone official Setsuko Ozaki denied the report, saying the company will continue to promote Firestone as "a prime brand". The company earlier this month said that it would remove Firestone from two subsidiaries' names in the US and Europe next month but would keep the Firestone brand. Bridgestone is struggling to bolster its profitability and reputation that were hurt by a recall involving 6.5 million Firestone tires and Ford Motor in the US two years ago.  Shares in Bridgestone rose 3 per cent  in afternoon trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange today. The Nihon Keizai published the report during the markets' lunch break.

12/26/02
Industry News

Extensive driver list  Looking for a driver?  Wonder where they want?  Can't remember the guys name?  This website maintains the most extensive list of road racing drivers we have seen yet.

12/26/02

CART moves could go further to enhance identity of series  This Portland Oregonian article says, In the 12 months that Chris Pook has been president and chief executive officer of CART, he has changed just about everything simply to keep the series alive. The 2003 season opens in Florida in about six weeks. It will feature new engines, new sponsors, new teams, cheaper racing and some new tracks. That's not a bad record of change for a freshman. But, by now, Pook has to be running out of ideas. There are only so many changes you can expect one guy to come up with. So indulge me as I make a few suggestions about some of the things I would like to see changed before the season begins: The fields: CART has to come out strong when the first green flag drops, but given the state of the economy, it might be hard to get a full 18 to 20 cars early in the season. It already has the answer. CART has been buying used cars from teams defecting to the IRL, and because development on the cars has been frozen, a year-old car is pretty much the same as a new one. So bring along a couple of extras whenever CART shares the track with the Toyota Atlantics. Reward the winner from the previous Toyota Atlantic race with a seat in the next Champ car event. The plan does three things. It gives the youngsters some experience in a Champ car, fills out the field and further exposes emerging talent to the fans............ The start: Road courses need standing starts [Editor's Note: Amen]. The rolling start is a holdover from the days when all Champ car events were on ovals. Standing starts are exciting, they are the norm all over the world, and they are something that the oval-only Indy Racing League can't do. That in itself makes it worth doing. As CART becomes an American-based international series, it seems only logical to adopt this world standard. Envision the crowd along the front straight at Portland International Raceway next June as 20 Ford Cosworths spool up their turbos awaiting the green flag. The sound and sight would be incredible, and the size of the crowd would impress, too.

12/26/02

Lavín not a done deal yet  Although Rodolfo Lavín held several press conferences in Mexico, and ALL the Mexican newspapers ran the story announcing that Corona would back Lavín for a 2-year deal with Walker Racing in Champs Cars, AR1 has learned that the contract is not yet in place with Walker Racing and until it is, nothing is official.  One would expect it to be just a matter of time, however.  We pulled our story on this from our front page until Walker Racing confirms the deal is done.

12/26/02

Derrike Cope notes importance  True, there is next-to-no ‘off-season’ in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, but even diehards in the garage seem taken aback at the thoughts of Daytona testing starting in two weeks. The most oft-heard line seems to be, "You gotta be kidding! We just finished Homestead!" but the fact remains: Speed Weeks at Daytona is just around the corner.  The importance of off-season testing isn’t lost on Derrike Cope, who is scheduled to run good-sized partial NASCAR Winston Cup schedule in 2003. Sponsorship plans will be announced in early January. With that set, however, Cope and his Quest Motor Racing Chevrolet team know they will need a good testing session at Daytona in January - not necessarily showing speed as much as gaining the knowledge they need. That, he says, will be crucial for every team.  More......

12/26/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Minardi Benefit From Arrows Demise
Andersson Honored By Native Sweden
Montoya Targets The Top For 2003
Aussie Expectation For Justin Wilson
Dr Palmer And Wilson Conquer F1
Coulthard's Gift Fit For A Queen
Hill Worries For Formula One Future
Off The Track: Juan Pablo Montoya
Mark And Justin: No Hard Feelings

12/25/02

Fittipaldi to run Daytona 24-hours race  Petty Enterprises NASCAR rookie driver Christian Fittipaldi will compete in the 2003 24-hours of Daytona for Bell Motorsports teamed with Didier Theys.  The race is set for February 1-2 on the 3.56-mile Daytona Road Course course.

12/25/02

Villeneuve pans the IRL...again  Former Indy 500 winner, CART champion and now F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve tells Autosport Magazine (December 19-26 year-end issue) Dario Franchitti is going to be bored in the IRL next year.  He paints a bleak picture for the oval-based series that he claims "single-handedly destroyed open wheel racing in America."  He says, "the level of the IRL championship is not even at F3000, and the F3000 cars are more professional than the IRL.  I was talking to IRL drivers who were driving in the Indy 500 this year and they said within two laps they were driving flat-out the full lap (we call that 100% throttle racing).  There's no skill involved."  "Purely on driving, I was speaking to a few ex-CART guys at Penske who have already moved to the IRL and they hate it.  They really find it boring - it's dangerous and they're not having fun."  "But hey, that's where the contract is and, at the end of the day it's a job that has to be done.  If that's all you can get, then that's what you do."  [Editor's Note:  Ouch]

12/25/02

FIA approves race weekend testing  The FIA will go ahead with its proposed two-hour Friday Formula One test sessions, which will start at 9 a.m. on all 2003 Grand Prix weekends. In October, the governing body offered these new sessions exclusively to any teams committing to run fewer than 10 days of independent testing between March 1 and Nov. 1. At least three such commitments were required by Dec. 15 to activate the new sessions, in which the eligible teams will be free to use spare cars and test drivers. BAR, Jordan and Minardi are said to be the three teams that have agreed to the dispensation. Most of the poorer teams see the test sessions as a cost-saving opportunity, but inevitably, there seems to be no interest from the better-funded teams. Autoweek

12/25/02

Interview with Juan Montoya   In an interview with BMW, Juan Pablo Montoya reviews a successful season and speaks of his goals for 2003.  He says marriage won't soften him.   Transcript

12/25/02

Interview with Justin Wilson   Following is a transcript of a telephone conference between Justin Wilson and Australian media on Thursday, December 19, 2002, organized by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation.   Transcript

12/25/02

Ford Cosworth engine testing process  This CART.com article says, Last week, Cosworth's CART program director Bruce Wood walked us through the engineering, budgetary and logistical maze that the race engine building company had to negotiate to produce CART's new Ford-Cosworth XFE engine. This week, Wood describes the engine testing process and looks ahead to 2003 and the future in 2005 and beyond.  More.....

12/25/02

CART Mustang Pace Car poster  Dick Pong submitted this Supercharged Ford Mustang CART pace car poster for your enjoyment.  Merry Christmas everyone, from the staff at AutoRacing1.com.

12/24/02

CART Stars regional news  CART Stars Of Tomorrow Operations Director Paul Zalud announced today that Speed Eventz, LLC will be the regional directors for the CART Stars of Tomorrow Northwest region. As a part of the new joint regional operations with the World Karting Association, the Northwest region for Stars is the first to reflect this new structure for 2003.  More......

12/24/02

Villeneuve says to bar CART traitors  Former CART Champion Jacques Villeneuve tells Autosport Magazine (December 19-26 year-end issue) that teams who have defected from CART to the rival IRL series this year should be barred from returning.  "I just hope that when they want to come back, the doors are slammed in their face," he said.

12/24/02

Ress leaves Sauber for Honda   Leo Ress, the man responsible for the construction of Sauber's cars from the C7 to the C19 (next year's car will be the C22) has left the Swiss outfit and is reported to be heading for Honda, F1Racing.net has learned. Ress, a long time friend of team principal and owner Peter Sauber started working on the Swiss team's F1 cars officially from 1985. Previously he worked for Mercedes, and worked partially on the 1984 Sauber C6 in his spare time. He masterminded championship victories in the Sportscars World Championship in 1989 and 1990, and also the double win at the Le Mans 24 hours race in 1989. The official reason behind Ress' departure is that the German, after being moved to the research and development side of the Sauber team, did not receive as large a budget for projects as he had anticipated and decided to move onto pastures new. Our sources indicate that Ress' relationship with Sauber reportedly turned sour in 2000 when he was blamed for the team' withdrawal from the Brazilian Grand Prix when rear wing failures in practice gave the team safety concerns, and since then he had been sidelined to some extent. Ress also reportedly had some friction with former designer Sergio Rinland, which resulted in Rinland's departure from Sauber. Ress will join Honda, although what capacity he will take up has yet to be confirmed. It is an interesting move for Honda given that Ress is not an engine man - his specialty lies in aerodynamics and car design. This could mean that Honda is still considering options to build its own car at some point in the near future...

12/24/02

Hill warns manufacturers   "Manufacturers are in the car business," Damon told Autosport. "They have not spent their life in the sport. They know how to run huge companies and what they try to do is produce a better product than their competitors and try to capture the minds of potential customers. This sport is not about that." "This sport is about people escaping - it should be an escape, an entertainment. It's an arena, no different from ancient Rome when they had Circus Maximus. It's a place where people let off steam." "They come and they forgot. We all work hard these days, and we want our leisure time. We don't want to sit down on a Sunday afternoon and see a race manipulated because a car maker needs to feel that its brand is successful every time." "Somebody has to draw that line, and whether that's Max Mosley or Bernie Ecclestone or whoever, I don't know, but someone has to." "It's good that the sport is getting more professional, it's good that there's more investment, but I would ask the manufacturers not to play with the sport. There has to be a line drawn where the manufacturers realise that they came in because of the popularity of the sport. And they are not the sport."

12/24/02

Irvine predicts 2003 will be another Ferrari year   "The guys at Ferrari are telling me that they've made bigger steps for next year than they've made between last year and this, already," Eddie Irvine told Reuters. He joins the long list of F1 folks saying the same thing.

12/24/02

IMG selling off motorsports unit  According to this Cleveland Plain-Dealer article, CART race promoter IMG, the Cleveland-based sports management firm, has agreed to sell its North and South American motor sports business to Elevation Motorsports, a newly formed - yet IMG-affiliated - company. Elevation will be run by Denny Young, president, and Steve Lindecke, managing partner. Details of the deal were not divulged. Young, senior vice president of IMG Motorsports, and Lindecke, vice president of IMG Motorsports, together have 27 years of experience with IMG. Elevation will be launched Jan. 2 with 20 employees, some of whom are coming from IMG. Elevation will be based in Cleveland and have offices in Charlotte, N.C., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. By the end of January, Elevation is expected to move into about 3,000 square feet of office space in the Hoyt Block above Blue Pointe Grille in Cleveland's Historic Warehouse District. Also joining Elevation as chief financial officer is Jim Lasher, who is now with Clear Channel Entertainment, formerly Belkin Productions. Young was director of marketing for Belkin before joining IMG. IMG will use Elevation as its exclusive motor sports arm but will continue to promote CART's Cleveland Grand Prix and a CART race in Australia and will represent NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon. Bud Stanner, an IMG senior corporate vice president, will run IMG's remaining motor-sports division. Elevation will take with it the marketing and management services for drivers Dale Jarrett, Steve Park, Gil de Ferran and Jason Leffler, Mo Nunn Racing and clients such as Albertson's, General Mills, UPS, AT&T Broadband and Pioneer Electronics. "We believe running this business as an independent company offers the best future potential for our motor-sport interests to grow and that this transaction will allow both IMG and Elevation to achieve the best possible results," Bob Kain, president and chief operating officer of IMG Americas, said in a statement.

12/24/02

Zanardi races hard again  UPDATE In this Daily F1 article, Zanardi says ‘To have so many people cheering me and to feel all that affection was very emotional,’ Zanardi said. ‘I can only say ‘thank you’ to all the fans for their support. ‘When I climbed into my race suit again and zipped it up, I saw myself in the mirror. That was an intense moment. Luckily, I was alone so I could really enjoy it. ‘It was great to see my entire body in the mirror. Then climbing into the kart was just incredible.’ Zanardi led the race of capable kart pilots before spinning, but that not detract from the experience. ‘I’m not disappointed I didn’t win - just extremely happy to be there,’ he beamed, before adding that he still had a strong desire to race again professionally.   12/22/02 -  This is the amazing photograph Alex Zanardi thought he would never live to see. The courageous Italian makes an emotional return to motor racing — just 15 months after losing BOTH his legs in a horrific 200mph smash. Hundreds of fans wept openly as Zanardi defied the incredible odds to get back behind the wheel at the Bologna Motor Show. Even more remarkably, the former Williams driver led this go-kart Race of Champions ahead of ex-Formula One star Stefano Modena, Superbike ace Troy Corser and a host of rising kart stars before spinning off near the end. It is little more than a year since Zanardi lay critically injured on Germany's Lausitzring track after his CART car exploded like a grenade when it was hit leaving the pits.  More....from News of the World

12/24/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Wilson: Height Shall Not Hinder
Incomplete Grid As Christmas Looms
Good News For Aussie F1 Fans
The First 2003 Preview: Part One
The First 2003 Preview: Part Two
Villeneuve Buoyed For Last BAR Year
F1 Rookie Welcomes Shoot-Out

12/23/02

2003 CART Stars of Tomorrow schedule  The CART Stars of Tomorrow national series in association with the WKA/SCCA has been announced. The schedule is largely adopted from the previously announced WKA/SCCA Constructors Cup schedule, which has now been merged with the CART Stars series.  More.....

12/23/02
Industry News

Hyundai revs up car sales in China   Hyundai Motor rolled out its first China sedan yesterday and raised its sales outlook for the country by half as South Korea's top carmaker revs up in one of the world's fastest-growing car markets. Executives said Hyundai would make about 3,000 of its Sonata sedans this year at its joint venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings, which is located on the edge of the Chinese capital. "In 2003 our production and sales will reach 50,000 passenger cars, and in 2005 will reach a scale of 300,000 vehicles, and we will ascend into the ranks of the top domestic automakers," Beijing Hyundai chairman Xu Heyi told reporters. Reuters

12/23/02

CART stock takes upward spurt   UPDATE The final price was $3.75, up just 0.13 or 3.59%.  12/23/02 - MPH UP more than 13% on NYSE trading this morning. Last Trade at $4.12 Up $0.50 per share on Volume of 30,400 shares. High Trade for session as of 12:40 EST is $4.20.  Courtesy C3I.AndersonGroupe, www.andersongroupe.com

12/23/02

NASCAR safety news  According to this Sporting News article, NASCAR is in the process of conducting safety discussions with the owners and principals for each of the tracks on the Winston Cup schedule. Topics include access plans and safety and security measures to be instituted in 2003. Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president of communications, says NASCAR will be "very sensitive to the tracks' needs, but we want to make the garage a more secure area than it has been." Although pit tours still will be available, garage passes are expected to be limited to 25 to 30 per team and to about 75 per track for Winston Cup events. That does not include firefighters and safety personnel. In the past, there were no uniform rules involving issuing passes that covered the entire Winston Cup schedule. The garage also is expected to be closed to those without hard cards (season-long access passes) or garage passes during hot times: practice, qualifying and races..

12/23/02

Jasper teams adds 6 members  The #77 Jasper Motorsports team has added six new team members for the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, including four crew members who will augment the team’s existing pit-stop unit for it’s over-the-wall efforts in support of driver Dave Blaney. The new members of the #77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Ford team include Pat Marshall, the new Foreman of the team’s Fabrication operations and a recent employee of Hendrick Motorsports in its aerodynamic engineering department; Josh Watkins, an recent engineering graduate of UNC-Charlotte and the team’s fifth engineer; Aaron Piernatt, an addition to the team’s finish-fabrication area in-shop and a former tire-carrier for the #97 Roush Racing Team; the tire changer/carrier combination of Clay Robinson (body shop) and Mike Houston (suspension) and jackman Greg Pasi, all from the #40 Ganassi Racing Team’s pit-stop lineup during the 2002 WC season. The four new additions to the #77 Jasper Ford pit-stop crew join returning tire changer Rich Macco—who will work with Piernatt—and veteran gasman Dennis Cabe in a revised lineup that deepens the team’s roster of over-the-wall athletes. "As we moved toward the close of last season, we looked as all teams do at what we might do to strengthen our program for the coming season, and we feel we’ve addressed two areas with the addition of (Crew Chief) Bootie Barker last month and the addition of these talented guys to our in-shop and race-day roster," said Mark Harrah, Co-Owner and Team Manager for Jasper Motorsports.

12/23/02

New races for Barber Dodge Pro Series   The Barber Dodge Pro Series announced today that it will visit two new venues during the 2003 season, supporting the CART Champ Cars World Series at the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida on the weekend of February 21-23 and then following the series to Monterrey, Mexico to race at Fundidora Park on the weekend of March 21-23. The remainder of the 2003 schedule is in the final stages and will be announced after the New Year. The 2003 season will be the 18th year of the Official Entry Level Professional Race Series of CART. The race in Monterrey, Mexico will be the first ever race for the Pro Series in Mexico, and represents the increased interest and participation from Mexican drivers in the Series. Mexican racers Memo Rojas, Piero Rodarte, German Quiroga, Aurelio Lopez, and Jose Antonio Ramos all raced in the Pro Series in 2002, and the Series is currently in discussions with a number of talented drivers from Mexico about participating in 2003. Actual race dates are still to be determined, as some races will be featured on Saturday with other races taking place immediately before the Champ Cars take to the track for battle on Sunday. "We couldn't be more pleased over the addition of St. Petersburg, Fla and Monterrey, Mexico to what is shaping up to be a very attractive 2003 Barber Dodge schedule. The diversity and strength of our venues continues grow each year, putting our drivers before larger audiences and on the tracks that matter most to them as they ascend the CART Ladder. Thanks goes to the respective promoters for the diligence in making us a part of what we know will be a wonderful show for the fans of these events," said George Tamayo, Director of Marketing & Communications for Skip Barber.

12/23/02

CART announces Champ Car rules changes for 2003   A Championship Auto Racing Teams Franchise Board meeting at CART's Indianapolis headquarters Tuesday resulted in a number of positive rule changes for 2003, and also established the members of the 2003 Technical Advisory and Safety Advisory committees.  "As has been the case with all of our Franchise Board meetings in 2002, Tuesday's meeting was another productive outing for everybody involved," said CART Vice President of Racing Operations John Lopes. "We were able to agree on many changes that will enhance our race weekends throughout the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, and we are confident that these changes will lead to better competition for our fans to enjoy in the coming year."  More...

12/23/02

Zanardi hints at possible CART return   Alex Zanardi was quoted in Britain's News of the World newspaper over the weekend, "And if you ask me whether or not I can compete in CART again, that depends on two things. First they would have to change the rules to allow power brakes, then I could brake with my hands. Your hands have much more sensitivity than your feet, so I can do very well with a hand brake. If you ask me is the desire still there, yes it is."

12/23/02

Fittipaldi like a grape in a stack of raisins  This Daytona Beach News-Journal article says, let's face it, Christian Fittipaldi looked a little more than a little out of place at this weekend's ARCA test over at the big track. The nephew of Brazil's greatest driver (answer: Emerson Fittipaldi) was like the lone grape on a stack of raisins. No offense to the ARCA boys, but this guy has striking good looks, an easy manner and a foreign accent. Every move he made looked like a pose for the camera. The 31-year-old driver probably should be working with Ralph Lauren rather than Richard Petty, but for the love of the sport, he ended up with the King of speed rather than the Prince of Polo. Fittipaldi is an open-wheel guy who signed on with Petty Enterprises Inc. He's in Petty training camp for stock cars. The game plan has Fittipaldi making his stock-car debut in the ARCA 200 during Speed Weeks at Daytona International Speedway. From that point, Richard and his son Kyle will enter Fittipaldi in a tumble of stock car events.  More....

12/23/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Irish Trio Battle For Jordan Seat
Williams Praise For Sensible Change
McNish Still Unsure About Future
Another Accolade For F1 Champion
Renault Eye Return To Big-Three
McLaren Defend Old Car Philosophy
Irvine Applauds Wilson's F1 Rise
Former F1 Ace Loses House To Fire
Alex Zanardi Returns To Racing
Stoddart: Don't Call Him A Pay-Driver
Irvine Still Targets Jordan Drive

12/22/02

Lavín deal for two years   Rodolfo Lavín signed for two years with Walker Racing, not one, and the team will campaign Ford powered Reynard's.  Testing for the team begins the 2nd week of January.  Full report from yesterday.

12/22/02

Haberfeld raring to go   CART Brazilian rookie Mario Haberfeld expects his first real Champ Car test to be on January 25 and 26 at Laguna Seca. "Our car is the one that Patrick Carpentier took to third place in the 2002 Championship. As the rules are frozen, hardly anything can change the aerodynamics, so we should maintain the competitiveness for 2003. There will be a lot of new drivers in 2003, and my goal is to win "Rookie of the Year"—it’s a valued title in American racing."

12/22/02

McLaren to start 2003 with 2002 car   McLaren is using a 're-vamped' version of its 2002 car for the opening rounds of the 2003 championship.  However they are adamant that the car used in Australia will be significantly different to the MP4-17 used in Japan. "We are certainly not taking this year's car and engine to next year's Australia Grand Prix," the team's managing director Martin Whitmarsh told the BBC. "The MP4-17 package has already undergone considerable change from the start of this year to the end," he added. "But we felt there is still a lot more we can exploit from it.   "The monocoque will be the only carry-over from the 2002 season with substantial changes to all areas beneath the skin. We feel this is the best long-term strategy for us to be able to reclaim the drivers' and constructors' championship. "We are not in Formula One just to win the first race of the season, although we would love to win it," he added. "But we are there to win the world championship." McLaren enjoyed unprecedented domination of the sport in the late eighties before Williams got a stranglehold on the drivers' and constructors' titles in the early nineties. In the late nineties the pendulum swung back in the Woking outfit's favour, until Ferrari got its act together after twenty-one years of trying. "There has been no single 'eureka' factor that has got Ferrari to the front of the grid," says Whitmarsh. "They've just got the job done in a variety of disciplines which brought together, make a strong package. "Ferrari can be beaten," he added. "As we have shown many times before and most recently with our victory at this year's Monaco Grand Prix. "But for us to be able to beat them consistently we have to do more. It's not just about trying harder, it's about doing a better job in all areas." It's understood that the MP4-18 will make its debut at Imola, the first European round of the World Championship.

12/22/02

SPEED TV Profile - Derek Daly   Over the next several months, SPEED Channel will profile members of its on- air team as well as key figures behind the scenes at the nation's fastest growing sports cable network. The fourth profile in this series highlights veteran racer Derek Daly, SPEED's pit reporter for CART racing coverage and a two-time winner of the 12 Hours of Sebring. Daly showed tremendous versatility during his racing career, making nearly 50 Grand Prix starts and racing in the Indianapolis 500 six times.   More....

12/22/02

Karting

Baltzer and Welk win SCCA Pro Racing/WKA Constructors Championship Shootout   Craig Baltzer and Steve Welk out dueled three other drivers from the 2002 SCCA Pro Racing /WKA Constructors Championship to claim two fully-funded rides in the new Formula SCCA North American Championship for 2003. Inviting the top five drivers in the 2002 Constructors Championship point standings to Roebling Road Raceway, in Savannah, Ga., the two-day shootout included a test day on Monday and two separate shootouts on Tuesday, all held in 2002-spec Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship cars provided by Cape Motorsports. The drivers in the shootout were awarded points based upon two on-track criteria, with 60 percent based on fastest lap and the other 40 percent for consistency over the course of their run. The drivers in the shootout were also told that dropping four wheels off course would end their run and disqualify them from the shootout, forcing them to not only consistently put in quick times but also not put a wheel wrong.  More....

12/22/02

Monterrey tickets on sale in January   Tickets for the third CART Monterrey, Mexico GP will go on sale in early January, less than three months prior to the race.  This past year November and December were slow sales months because of the Christmas season, so this year the race organizers decided to wait until after the holidays.

12/21/02

Rodolfo Lavín to drive second Walker Racing entry   Rodolfo Lavín will be the fifth Mexican driver to contest the 2003 CART Champ Car Series driving a second Walker Racing entry alongside fellow Mexican Roberto Gonzalez.  The final agreement was reached Friday.   See story on our Home page.  We have updated our 2003 CART Silly Season Page.

12/21/02

Sponsor troubles for Foyt  2nd UPDATE A.J. Foyt has learned that his Conseco, which recently filed for bankruptcy, will not return as his primary sponsor in 2003.  Instead of a two-car operation, Larry Foyt will drive the #14 with Harrah's Casinos as the sponsor.  12/18/02 - AJ Foyt’s primary Winston Cup sponsor, Conseco, files for bankruptcy. Conseco struggling under more than $6 billion in debt, became the third-largest U.S. bankruptcy Wednesday, as the insurance and loan firm sought protection from creditors while it sells its finance unit and tries to restructure itself. Conseco's filing, made in bankruptcy court in Chicago, is the third largest in U.S. history. Conseco has assets of $52.2 billion, according to recent financial reports, putting the firm behind only WorldCom Inc. and Enron Corp. The bankruptcy filings cover Conseco Inc. -- the holding company -- and its troubled loan operation Conseco Finance and some related units. Conseco's insurance units, under the close watch of state insurance regulators, are not affected. While the immediate impact on Foyt’s racing team is unclear, one only has to think back to last year when Kmart filed for bankruptcy and promptly canceled their Winston Cup program..  10/11/02 - We reported previously that Foyt's sponsor Conseco, was close to bankruptcy.  Now comes word Foyt has lost the Harrah's sponsorship as well.  It may be that Foyt will fund his grandson's ride out of his own pocket.  As for his other cars - Driver wanted, bring checkbook.  Foyt said Salazar doesn't have enough money to make a difference. "He's been super to us," Foyt said. "But if I'm going to run out of my own pocket, I'm going to do it with my own family."

12/21/02

Another Hendrick team  According to ThatsRacin, Hendrick Motorsports will field a fifth Winston Cup team next season in at least four races, team owner Rick Hendrick said Friday. Hendrick made the announcement at the company's year-end gathering at its shops in Harrisburg. David Green, who drove several races for one of Hendrick's Grand National teams this season, will drive the #60 Chevy [Jack Sprague's team will run the #0 Pontiac in 2003] in at least the four superspeedway races in 2003, including the season opener at Daytona. The new team will be led by Gary DeHart, who heads Hendrick's research and development program and is a former crew chief for Hendrick driver Terry Labonte. "You know, every year I've tried this and it has ended up turning into a new team because somebody has come along and it's worked out," Hendrick said. "But we thought about it this year and all the crew chiefs talked about it. Gary started our first R&D department. He built our first chassis back in 1988 and he's always built a really slick car. We felt like that's where we would dedicate our efforts, to the superspeedways." Hendrick already fields four full-time teams, with drivers #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #5-Terry Labonte and #25-Joe Nemechek.

12/21/02

TV broadcasters snub Ecclestone vision   According to this Planet F1 article, It may not be headline news across the motorsport press this week, but the decision by some host broadcasters not to give TV coverage rights back to Bernie Ecclestone means that the 'new, improved TV coverage' promised for 2003 might not happen. The majority of F1 fans watch the free TV coverage of the races produced by the host broadcaster from the nation that is holding the race. These cameras are completely different to those used by Bernie Ecclestone's digital TV service, which sometimes set up cameras right alongside those used by the host broadcaster. The difference between the broadcasts, apart from the fact that Bernie's service has many more cameras and provides all the in-car footage, is that the race coverage is directed by a full-time F1 director. The host broadcasters often have directors who like to show Michael Schumacher circulating around the front on his own - or in the case of France a few years ago, everyone on their slowing down lap during qualifying. Ecclestone, in response to demand and overwhelming support from Planet-F1 readers, wanted to take control of each race and use his own, experienced TV director to present the best F1 show possible. However news has emerged this week that he has been unable to secure the hosting rights from all the local TV companies and has had to rethink his plans. Before Christmas the 300 staff working at Formula One Management's TV headquarters at Biggin Hill were given paid leave while Bernie worked out what to do with the television coverage in what will be a critical year for the sport. In 2002 viewers were given a glimpse of what was possible when Ecclestone provided his 'Super Channel' signal from the US Grand Prix. This depth of coverage will not be available next year when 70% of the F.O.M. TV staff expect to be made redundant.

12/21/02

Fiat sells its share of GM   Financially strapped Fiat has sold its $1.1m share in General Motors for much needed cash. The six percent shareholding in the world's biggest car maker is believed to have gone to the investment bank of Merrill Lynch. The sale of the shares should not in theory have any effect on the option that Fiat has to force GM to buy the remaining 80% of subsidiary Fiat Auto in 2004 but the Americans are no longer very keen on the idea as the Italian car maker is losing a great deal of money and being stopped from restructuring by the Italian government.

12/21/02

BAR to keep name   BAR boss David Richards has said the team will not be changing its name next season. Rumors have circulated ever since Richards took over a year ago that the team would be renamed – with Prodrive and even Lotus suggested as alternatives. He explained: "The name is only one part of the brand identity and when the time is right we may consider changing it to reflect what we believe in. "For 2003 we will introduce a new corporate identity to signify a fresh start and to provide a focus for the organization. These changes will have minimal impact upon the race team livery." The team will launch its new car, the BAR Honda 005 in Barcelona on January 14.

12/21/02

Franchitti tests Dallara   Dario Franchitti tested a 2003 Dallara IRL car for Andretti Green Racing at Phoenix International Raceway Friday.  It was a private closed test and no times are available.  We assume Franchitti may have been testing the new Honda IRL engine.

12/21/02

More trees may fall in Denver for race   According to this Rocky Mountain News article, the Shell Grand Prix of Denver may have to cut down more trees for next year's race, a move that outraged some residents during last year's event. Race officials removed 29 trees during Labor Day weekend but paid the city $35,000 to plant 87 new ones. John Frew, vice president and general manager of the event, discussed the situation Wednesday with City Council members at a Special Projects Committee meeting. He noted that tickets for next year's grand prix will go on sale Friday, and fans need to be assured they will be able to see the race. Raising the stands above the trees won't work, he said, because they would have to be 30 to 40 feet high. This year, the stands already were 10 feet higher than they normally would be because of the trees. Frew said he would like to "have a dialogue" with the city as soon as possible, so more trees can be planted in the spring, if necessary. The grand prix, in its second year at the Auraria/Pepsi Center location, already has spent about $100,000 on trees and landscaping and is willing to spend more, Frew said. City Councilwoman Susan Barnes Gelt said there are various stories of why the trees were cut down this year, but Frew said the grand prix never tried to "sandbag" anyone on the issue. "As important as the grand prix is, the trees are as equally important, if not more important, to a broader spectrum of citizens," Barnes Gelt said. Frew said he realizes that and wants to be especially sensitive to the issue. Councilman Ed Thomas said that during the grand prix, "every hotel room was full, every restaurant was full," and Denver was showcased to 85 countries. He called it an "economic windfall" during a "down economic time." Earlier, Mayor Wellington Webb estimated the economic impact of the grand prix at $200 million, and Frew said based on other cities, the direct impact was likely at least $30 million.

12/21/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

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12/21/02
Industry News

GM pushes further into China market  General Motors (GM) is in talks to buy a mainland engine plant partly owned by bankrupt Daewoo Motor, it was revealed yesterday - just as it signed an agreement to invest in a fourth joint venture in the country to tap the booming car market. The talks mark the latest move by the world's largest carmaker to pick up ailing car and car parts plants in Asia's emerging markets. Earlier this year, GM bought a 34 per cent stake in mini-car maker SAIC-Wuling, which is based in Guangxi province. In October, GM completed the US$1.17 billion acquisition of factories and other assets from South Korea's Daewoo by forming GM Daewoo Auto & Technology. Yesterday, GM, Shanghai Automotive Industry (SAIC) and their 50-50 joint venture, Shanghai GM, signed an agreement to buy Yantai Body Work for 900 million yuan (about HK$843.3 million), making it the United States car giant's fourth car plant in the mainland. GM and SAIC will each take 25 per cent of Yantai Body Work, while Shanghai GM will take the remaining 50 per cent. Shanghai GM will relocate its Sail compact car production to Yantai Body Work, which has an annual production capacity of 100,000 units.

12/20/02

CART stock watch  

MPH closed at $3.62 Down $0.08 on Volume of 36,700 shares.
$2.99 Bid - $3.93 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.52 / $3.90
MPH Value Change Down 2.16%
DOW Jones Up 147.21 or 1.76% on Volume of 2.16 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 9.03 or 0.67%
S&P 500 Up 11.51 or 1.3%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

12/20/02

Haberfeld confirms he will drive for Conquest   According to this translated formulanews/Crash Brazil article, Brazilian Mario Haberfeld confirmed today that he will compete next season in CART for the Conquest Racing team. The team competed in last year's championship in the rival Indy Racing League and made Frenchman Laurent Redon the rookie winner in 2002. Negotiating with the Walker team and with time running out, Haberfeld disclosed that he accepted Conquest's proposal after making plans with its owner, Belgian Eric Bachelart. "It (Conquest) wants to be successful. One of the reasons I decided was the European races. Eric ran there before moving to the U.S.A. in 1991. He was Indy Lights series champion in 1992, raced in CART in 1993, and ran the Indianapolis 500 twice. The team manager is English Chris Mower, former owner of the Nordic team that won the international F3000 championship in 2001 with Justin Wilson. The Nordic veteran and Chris came to U.S.A.. One of the engineers will be the Andy Miller, with whom I won the English Championship of F3000 in 1998 and came back to work with me in 2002, my best year in F3000", he affirmed. Haberfeld, 26 years old, competed the last the four seasons in F3000, but it did not get any victories during that time. Conquest will run with a package formed with Reynard chasses and Cosworth engines. "I find that we should work well together beginning with the first tests on the 25th and 26th of January in Laguna Seca. Our car is the same one that took Patrick Carpentier to third place of the 2002 championship, and we have all the things that they used. With the rules, we can change almost nothing in the aerodynamics, so we must keep the competitiveness of our car in 2003. My plan is not to compete at the level of Newman-Haas or Forsythe, but with a number of new drivers, my objective is to be the rookie winner of the year which very is valuable in American motoring ", concluded Haberfeld.  We have updated our 2003 CART Silly Season Page.  The team will use Reynards leased from Forsythe.

12/20/02

Clare appointment draws praise from Mario Andretti   This speedtv.com article outlines why the David Clare/COO announcement is so good for CART.  ......The announcement that Bernie Ecclestone’s former right hand man whose sports marketing and administration resume stretches from Asia to Europe, from Formula 1 to the Motorcycle World Championship has joined CART is being greeted with hurrahs rather than raspberries. Clare will assume the role of chief operating officer on January 6 and will be responsible oversee the promoter relations, marketing/sales, racing operations and communications departments. Clare will report to CART president and CEO Chris Pook, who will continue to be responsible for the operation of the entire company while concentrating on the areas of finance/administration, joint venture operations and legal affairs. "Its totally a positive in every way that I can see," says Mario Andretti, who was elected to the CART Board of Directors earlier this year. "Number one, it will take operations away from Chris (Pook), which is not his forte. You need to free him up to do what he does best and leave David (Clare) to the nuts and bolts." Clare most recently served as director of sports marketing Asia/Pacific for Merit/Burson-Marsteller based in Seoul, South Korea. Prior to his tenure at Burson-Marsteller, Clare was managing director of his own Event Promotion International Ltd, which specialized in international motorsport projects in Formula 1, CART and NASCAR, as well as projects with automotive companies and suppliers, soccer, and sailing. From 1987 through 1996, Clare was a direct deputy of Bernie Ecclestone with the Formula One Constructors Association, where his responsibilities included financial control, promotion and administration of FOCA and Ecclestone's corporations. .......... "David has a dimension in that side of the business that is very rare," observes Andretti. "He’s seen it all. He knows the international scene very well and he’ll grasp on the national scene very quickly because there’s no mystery there. We (the Board) pondered this (appointment) quite a bit and there wasn’t a single individual who, after learning more about him, didn’t agree with the move. I’m extremely happy to see this come together." "His experience bodes well," says Keith Wiggins, of Herdez Competition. "Like all those positions you have to wait and see, but I think it’s a big positive for CART to get more people on board that have been in those type of environments. So I think it’s good." One man who has direct personal experience with Clare is Carl Haas. During 1984-86 Clare worked for Haas as accountant/administrator on the Team Haas USA Formula 1 project. Like Andretti and Wiggins, Haas is a strong supporter of Clare. "I’ve known him," says Haas. "He’s a very knowledgeable guy about racing. He knows the scene. He worked with Bernie Ecclestone for quite a while and I think he’ll be a really good asset to CART." The rumor mill worked overtime last summer with stories of purported linkages between CART and Formula 1 and/or Ecclestone. And while everyone is careful to stress Clare’s mission will be to manage CART’s racing operations, promoter relations, marketing and communications, at a moment in time when CART appears poised to develop a strong presence in Europe in 2003, his background can only help the organization’s integration into the international motorsports fabric. "It’s going to create harmony," observes Andretti. "Not only David but Chris is a good friend with Bernie Ecclestone… and I would certainly rather be friend than a foe with him! To be able to plug up some holes in Europe that Bernie cannot do because of the Formula 1 commitments like at Brands Hatch and Estoril is good. You need to keep those venues alive and CART would be the perfect agent to do that. As long as they work in harmony and don’t step on each other - which they’re not going to do - then it’s a plus. I remember when CART first starting venturing abroad several years ago. The FIA was ordering its officials to threaten officials and corner workers with sanctions and drivers with the loss of their international licenses if they participated in the races. Now look what it’s come to. Little by little a lot of pieces are coming together. The interesting part about it is that there are some other good things that are going to come out eventually that are real positives for the future as far as outside interests. The main thing now is to get the next season going, keep our venues happy and then go from there."

12/20/02

Lauda rejects Ford offer to stay  This canada.com article says that three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda has rejected Ford's offer to continue working with the Jaguar Racing team. Lauda told Austrian state broadcaster ORF he preferred to look for new prospects. "We have agreed to dissolve the contract," he said. Lauda had taken over as Jaguar's team boss from American Bobby Rahal in February 2001, but he failed to make an impact as his drivers scored just 17 points in 34 Grand Prix races. Ford, which owns the Jaguar racing team, replaced Lauda on Nov. 26 with Richard Parry Jones of Britain. Ford said Lauda lacked the necessary technical knowledge. Lauda, who has been in motor racing since 1971 and recorded three F1 titles and 25 GP wins, was offered to stay in the team as Parry Jones' adviser. "I couldn't see any reason why I should stay. There was nothing left for me to do," Lauda said Friday. Lauda is said to receive a six-digit euro compensation sum and has announced he will not be at the 2003 season openers in Australia and Malaysia. "I am basically a free man now, but with a few restrictions," he said. "I am not allowed to help another F1 team next season." Lauda said he plans to return to his TV commentator's job with German channel RTL.

12/20/02

Villeneuve pans Schumacher  In this WayMoreSports.com article, former world champion Jacques Villeneuve has launched a scathing attack on Michael Schumacher and Ferrari, accusing them of making a mockery of Formula One. Villeneuve described Schumacher's behavior during the Ferrari team orders controversy as "really stupid" and said he "turned the sport into a joke." The Canadian's attack referred to the way Schumacher, teammate Rubens Barrichello and their Ferrari team orchestrated results last season. Incidents at the Austrian Grand Prix in May and the U.S. Grand Prix in September caused the most controversy within the racing community. In Austria, Barrichello was ordered to let Schumacher pass him meters from the line to win the race. In Indianapolis the German tried to engineer a dead heat with Barrichello. "The antics in Austria and at Indianapolis this year involving Michael, Rubens and everyone behind the scenes at Ferrari were embarrassing," Schumacher said. "Rubens was stupid to wait until the last 10 meters to gift Michael the win in Austria," he said in an interview with Autosport magazine. "Then Michael was really stupid when he pushed Rubens on to the top step of the podium because he was embarrassed and worried about the booing (from the fans). "That just turned the sport into a joke. It was an insult to all of us who work really hard. "You would think someone would have the guts to tell Michael: `Don't do that kind of stuff any more.' But he goes to Indianapolis and he thinks he's capable of doing something he thinks is very clever and tries to engineer a dead heat. "It turned into a real mess. F1 needs America, so Indianapolis was really bad and the whole of Europe was really mad anyway, so single-handedly he hurt F1 a lot." Villeneuve and Schumacher have had bad relations since the German tried to barge his rival off the track while they were disputing the 1997 world title. Nevertheless, Villeneuve said he believes Schumacher will be able to cruise to a record sixth world championship in 2003. "As long as he doesn't break a leg or Ferrari doesn't make a huge botch of the 2003 car, then there's nothing to stop him." Villeneuve, who has not won a race since 1997, said his BAR team may end years of underachievement in 2003 and "surprise a few people. I'm confident we'll be racing wheel-to-wheel with the McLarens and Williams next year." (Editor's note: Jacques sense of timing wasn't too good when he made these comments, considering his manager, Craig Pollock, would like to see him at Ferrari in 2004.).

12/20/02

Colin Fleming wins Barber-CART Scholarship Runoff   After three days of intensive competition at Sebring International Raceway, the Barber Dodge Pro Series announced the winners of the Barber-CART Scholarship Runoff today, with Colin Fleming, North Hills, Calif. taking the top prize of $100,000 in funding towards the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series season.   More.....

12/20/02

Schrader to drive for BAM  Ken Schrader, arguably the most experienced driver in major league motorsports, will drive the #49 BAM Racing Dodge in 2003. Beth Ann Morgenthau, who owns the team with husband Tony, made the announcement today. "We’re very excited that a driver of Ken Schrader’s abilities and experience will join us in 2003," Morgenthau said. "His expertise as a driver, and his faith in us as a race team, will combine to make our first full season as a team a memorable one." Schrader, a 47-year-old native of Fenton, Mo., who is known for never having met a car he didn’t want to race, has a list of NASCAR Winston Cup records. His 554 career starts is eighth among active drivers and 19th among all-time drivers. He races virtually every kind of car imaginable, and runs in hundreds of events nationwide each year. "Like a lot of drivers, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to what Beth Ann and Tony have been doing with BAM Racing, and the strides they have made," Schrader said. "And like most drivers, I’ve been able to see what is going on with this team, and cut the truth out of what has been a lot of talk. "Frankly, I like what I see at BAM and I like the direction they are headed. There is a tremendous amount of potential with this race team," Schrader said. "They have good people in place and good leadership. I’m excited with the future." BAM Racing began operations as a NASCAR Winston Cup team just over a year ago. Owned by south Florida investors, the team attempted a partial schedule in 2002, meeting with some success. "Everything we did and everything we went through in 2002 was to put us in a good position for 2003," Beth Ann Morgenthau said. "We made tremendous strides last year. When you take into account that eight weeks before the Daytona 500 we decided we were going to enter it, we came a long way in a short period of time. "Our goal all along has been to make consistent progress. There have been occasional setbacks along the way but, all along, we knew where we wanted to go and knew we had to work hard to get there," she continued. "Ken Schrader is another piece of that puzzle, and someone who will help this BAM Racing team reach its goals."

12/20/02

Barber-CART Scholarship Runoff Puts Over $300,000 Up For Grabs  UPDATE Rain is the great equalizer, and it's raining today in Sebring for the runoff, so things should be quite interesting.  We will have a full report later.  12/17/02 - The Barber-CART Scholarship Runoff will take place this week, December 18-20 at Sebring International Raceway as six aspiring racers vie over $300,000 in scholarships to compete in the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series. Colin Fleming, Burt Frisselle, Ward Imrie, Scott Poirier, Al Unser and Robbie Montinola will participate in two days of intensive evaluation on and off track to secure the top scholarship valued at $100,000. The Barber-CART Scholarship has been the launching pad for the careers of drivers such as Michael Valiante and Ryan Hunter-Reay, both of whom will join an illustrious panel of judges that includes Bobby Rahal, Chris Kneifel and Tommy Kendall.   More.....

12/20/02
Industry News

Give blood, ride with Mario  Legendary driver Mario Andretti could be your guide for high-speed tours of the 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course at Infineon Raceway in January, and all it will cost you is a pint of blood. Andretti, the only driver in history to win races in five different decades, will be part of Infineon Raceway's 2nd annual "High Speed Blood Drive" on Tuesday, Jan. 21, from noon-6 p.m. Race fans are invited to the raceway to help the American Red Cross meet its growing need for blood donors, and at the same time, they can meet the 1978 Formula One world champion, four-time CART champion and former winner of both the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500. In addition to the American Red Cross, Infineon Raceway also partners with The Bone 107.7 FM on this worthwhile event. Community hospitals use more than 450 units of blood every day, and the need for donations continues to increase. To help get hearts pumping before giving blood, those who visit the raceway between noon and 5 p.m. will be treated to a rare "hot lap" around the Infineon Raceway road course. Andretti, as well as professional drivers from the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School, will administer the laps at speed around the 2.52-mile circuit. Because of an anticipated high donor turnout, Andretti will give hot laps to the first 50 donors who SIGN UP FOR AN APPOINTMENT ON www.beadonor.com. An additional 25 people will receive hot laps from Andretti through a promotion with 107.7 The Bone. Andretti will be available for autographs and photos for everyone who donates most of the day. To make an appointment on www.beadonor.com simply:
1. Click on "Appointments" (left-hand side)
2. Enter your e-mail address to create a personal profile
3. Select "Donate Blood at a Mobile Drive"
4. Enter the sponsor code "Infineon."
4. Select your appointment time.
"I am looking forward to giving people a thrill ride around one of my favorite tracks, Infineon Raceway," Andretti said. "I'm happy to be part of such a great cause."
After a lap around the track, participants will complete a brief health history questionnaire with a Red Cross representative to ensure eligibility. For information on donor eligibility, please visit www.beadonor.com. Complimentary cookies and juice will be available following the blood donation. For more information on this community event, please contact Diana Rose by e-mail at drose@infineonraceway.com or at (707) 938-8448, ext. 118.

12/20/02

Panic time for Petree  According to a story by Fox Sports, First he was forced to lay off employees, now he's looking for investors for his team. Times are tough for car owner Andy Petree, still scrambling to keep his Winston Cup team afloat. Petree let the word out last week that he'd be willing to take on a partner for his Winston Cup operation, which is still looking for sponsorship for the No. 55 Chevrolet with less than two months to go before the season-opening Daytona 500. It's as close to rock-bottom as it gets for the once thriving two-car operation. "The last two years, we really haven't hit the right buttons when it comes to locking up long-term sponsorship," Petree said. "So I'm at a point where I'd like to have a partner that could help me with that side of the business, maybe has some ties to corporate America and relationships that I don't have." Petree fielded the No. 55 Chevrolet all of last season, and the No. 33 ran a limited schedule. Both cars ran full seasons in 2001 - with each winning a race - but sponsorship woes have crippled the operation. Square D said it can no longer afford to run an entire schedule on the No. 55, but could put up about $3 million in associate sponsorship money. So Petree lined up Ken Schrader to drive the car and tried to find another company to back the rest of the year. When he couldn't line anyone up, Petree had to let Square D out of its promise and is now back at square one. After laying off 25 employees last month, Petree is hoping an outside investor can step in and keep things running. He has enough employees left to send Schrader to the Daytona 500, but more money will have to appear before he can plan for any more races.

12/20/02

ISC Antitrust lawsuit court date set  The suit that could bring a second Winston Cup race to Texas Motor Speedway appears headed toward trial in 2004. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the two sides tentatively agreed to a January 2004 trial date in court yesterday. Francis Ferko, a Speedway Motorsports Inc. shareholder, is suing NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. and claiming that Texas Motor Speedway, which was built by SMI, was promised a Winston Cup date that it has never received. Jim Cowles, a Dallas attorney who represents SMI in certain matters, told the Dallas Morning News that it may be later in 2004 before the trial actually begins, according to today's Sports Business Daily.

12/20/02

NASCAR promotions  The Board of Directors for NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) has announced promotions for two members of its senior management team. Executive Vice President Brian France has been named vice chairman, a title he will share with current Vice Chairman Jim France, and Senior Vice President George Pyne has been named chief operating officer (COO). Pyne has also been named to NASCAR's Board of Directors. "These promotions ensure our organization will continue to benefit from the best and brightest people under the leadership of our President, Mike Helton," said NASCAR Chairman William C. France. "NASCAR's success and tremendous growth is the result of cooperative teamwork and leadership of all of our executives. As I've said many times before, in order for this sport to continue to succeed, a multi-talented team must carry out the many responsibilities." President Mike Helton added, "These promotions reflect the hard work and success of two key members of our team and essentially aligns their titles with the respective jobs both Brian and George are already performing. Brian France has been a key player in all of NASCAR's major strategic initiatives. His vision and comprehensive knowledge of NASCAR will serve as an invaluable asset for the sport in years to come. Pyne's promotion is a reflection of the duties he has essentially taken on over the past year. As COO, he will be responsible for day-to-day operations of all of NASCAR's departments. "These promotions reflect the depth of talent NASCAR has," said Helton. "Brian has been instrumental in the development of a number of crucial initiatives that have made NASCAR what it is today. And George's leadership and successful execution of many of our programs has helped change the face of NASCAR in a positive way. "The Board welcomes their continued input and leadership."

12/20/02
Industry News

Moët & Chandon Tour 2002  This Road&Track article describes an anniversary celebration of the Ferrari GTO that recently took place in France with 20 pristine vehicles. Moët & Chandon helped celebrate the 40th anniversary of the GTO with a special tour through the countryside of Burgundy, France. 23 owners from around the world converged on the famous wine region to sample the local vintages, visit historic sites and of course, drive their cars. Their tour started with a special welcome ceremony at Moët & Chandon's Chateau de Saran where owners were joined by Jean Todt, director of the Ferrari Scuderia. The prestigious Chateau de Gilly served as their base of operations with each new day bringing a different, site-filled route through breathtaking Burgundy. Over the course of five days, participants visited famous chateaus and vineyards — Epoisses, Bazoches, Clos Vougeot, Montrachet and Arlay. Along the way, they were treated to gourmet dining from the country's best chefs and sumptuous feasts each evening. Click here for photos.

12/20/02

Unique opportunity for Honda F1 fans  Honda's Formula One website, www.hondaf1.com, was relaunched today in conjunction with a fantastic competition to win one of the most exciting and unique on-line competition prizes ever given away. To celebrate the relaunch of HondaF1.com and mark the culmination of Honda's two team engine supply, Honda is offering F1 enthusiasts the opportunity to win the prize of a lifetime. Four genuine Honda-powered F1 driver race suits will be given away, as worn and signed by B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis and Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella and Takuma Sato in the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship. This exclusive competition is open to everyone who visits HondaF1.com before Monday 13th January 2003. The winner will be notified by email and the results announced on HondaF1.com on Friday 17th January 2003. HondaF1.com continues to be the only six language Formula One website, keeping fans up to date with the latest information from Honda's F1 activities in English, Japanese, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The site has been completely redesigned and rebuilt using advanced Flash 6 web technology to increase interactivity and provide a faster, more innovative site and interface with more editorial and pictorial content. Over a thousand Honda F1 images can now be downloaded in three different sizes to desktop and visitors will be able to view almost instantaneous streamed video footage, even on a low bandwidth. The site is adaptable to suit each fan's personal tastes thanks to the 'My Honda' feature, which allows individuals to personalize their own homepage. Fans can interact with circuit graphics in the dynamic all-new 'Circuits' section and the 'Ask Honda' feature provides fans with the opportunity to submit questions to Honda personnel on a monthly basis. Otmar Szafnauer, Vice President, Honda Racing Development, commented: "We believe HondaF1.com to be one of the most innovative and informative websites available to F1 fans. The site is regularly updated throughout the year with news and information direct from the heart of Honda's F1 challenge. Furthermore it is fully translated into six languages to communicate with fans around the world and enable them to share Honda's Formula One spirit. Our exclusive on-line competition is the perfect platform to relaunch HondaF1.com and will make one fan very happy."

12/20/02
Industry News

Motorola to buy back $825 million in debt  Motorola, the world's No 2 mobile phone maker, said on Wednesday it would take a US$98 million fourth-quarter charge as it moves to slash its debt load by 10 per cent and cut interest payments.  Motorola, based in Schaumburg, Illinois, said it would take the charge after agreeing to buy back US$825 million of debt from Goldman Sachs on February 3. The company also said it bought back US$84 million of long-term debt this quarter. "The buyback is a good decision," said Bruce Hyman, a director at Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, which rates Motorola debt "BBB", its second-lowest investment grade. "Motorola has sufficient liquidity, has been generating free cash flow and is buying back debt that would have become significantly more expensive next year." Mr Hyman estimated that Motorola will save about US$60 million of interest next year from the agreement with Goldman Sachs. Chief executive Christopher Galvin said Motorola is using some of its US$6.4 billion of cash and cash equivalents to cut debt maturing within one year by more than half. Motorola said it had US$7.45 billion of long-term and Us$1.46 billion of short-term debt at the end of the third quarter.

12/20/02
Industry News

Tobacco giants must exit racing  According to Grandprix.com, It is a little-known fact that on September 11 2001 representatives of Philip Morris (which funds Ferrari and Penske), British American Tobacco (BAR and Players Forsythe) and Japan Tobacco (Renault) met in New York and agreed on a document called International Tobacco Products Marketing Standards which defined the minimum restrictions which the companies agreed to place on themselves worldwide. They created a common code of advertising and sponsorship standards which included an agreement to end sports sponsorships on December 1 2006 on the understanding that the sport involved requires "above-average physical fitness for someone of the age group of those taking part". The aim of this is to prevent youth smoking while ensuring that cigarette advertising and promotion is directed at informed adult smokers. Philip Morris USA has already committed to voluntarily discontinuing its Marlboro sponsorship of automobile racing by December 1 2006. This date was chosen as it allowed the company "time for an orderly transition away from our racing sponsorship and event organizers with whom we may have contractual commitments". The announcement of the new standards was completely lost in the media coverage of the terrorists attacks on New York and Washington that took place on the same day. They have committed themselves to trying to convince other tobacco companies to join the agreement.

12/20/02

Melling Racing closes doors  Owner Mark Melling announced on Thursday that his No.92 Winston Cup team was suspending operations. "Due to the current economic environment, we're forced to suspend operations until the business climate improves," said Melling. "We will continue to work with several potential sponsors, and I hope to get a Melling car back on the track sometime in 2003 or 2004. "It is hard to believe there will not be a Melling car in the Daytona 500 this year. We've had a car in each Daytona 500 since 1982, and only three other teams currently have a longer streak. I want to thank all of our employees for all of their dedication and hard work." Melling Racing earned 34 'Cup' wins in 558 races dating back to 1982. Veteran Bill Elliott, who was Melling's driver from 1982 through 1991 was behind the wheel for all 34 victories along with 40 of the team's 42 pole wins. Since 1992 the team's best finish was 23rd by Lake Speed in 1995 and 1996.

12/20/02
Industry News

Papis trying to land 24-hour seat  Max Papis, was on hand for last week's AMA motorcycle tire tests at Daytona International Speedway. Papis particularly enjoyed conversations with Honda's Ben Bostrom, who returns to the U.S. series this year after a three-year stint in Europe. Papis is hoping to land a ride for the upcoming Rolex 24 At Daytona -- a race he candidly admits helped launch his career in U.S. racing in 1996. "The players have changed so much this year with the new (Daytona Prototypes)," Papis said. "But I love this track and the Rolex 24. I will find a ride." Papis said he has had preliminary talks with Darius Grala, who tested a Toyota-FABCAR Daytona Prototype earlier this month at DIS. Daytona Beach News Journal

12/20/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Jacques Despises Five Times Champ
BAR To Lose Owner And Backer
Stoddart: Wilson Can Be World Champion
Red Bull and Jordan To Hook Up?
Sato And Jenson For 2004-Spec BAR?
No Friday Testing For Leaping Cat
The Final Seats In Formula One
Brief: Montoya, Turner And Wendlinger
Villeneuve: Ferrari Pilots Stupid in '02
No Qualifying Special, Says BMW
BAR Boss Admits Sato-Honda Influence

12/20/02

Yoong confirms test role talks with Minardi  Alex Yoong has confirmed that he has been in talks with Minardi boss, Paul Stoddart, about a continuing testing role for the young Malaysian driver with the Italian-based Formula One team for whom he raced during the past year and a half. "This is in addition to doing a full season in the Champcars World Series in 2003," says Yoong. "It does make sense for all parties if Malaysian companies were to continue the Kuala Lumpur campaign that ran very successfully with Minardi in 2002." Earlier this week, Stoddart praised Yoong during a Minardi press conference held in London to announce Justin Wilson's appointment as a driver for the team next year, saying, "I'm proud of the way Alex did those last three races for us this season. He drove incredibly well in each of them." Stoddart also confirmed that he would be flying off to Kuala Lumpur in the near future to speak with the team’s Malaysian sponsors. "I'm funny with drivers," says the Australian team boss. "Once a driver has raced for us, he becomes part of the family." Stoddart adds, "We certainly hope to see Alex continuing to work with us as an official test driver for Minardi in 2003." Yoong confirmed last weekend that the deal with a Champcar team has been done and is simply awaiting formalization. "We never spoke to Paul about a race seat in 2003,” he revealed, “because I felt it would be better for me to gain different experience in America with a chance to be able to run in the top half of the field. Champcar allows me to do that, as all the cars are of a similar specification. As a result, getting on the podium or winning a race is not impossible, unlike Formula One, where you need to be in one of the top three teams to accomplish that.” Stoddart says of Alex’s performance in the final three Formula One rounds of 2003, "Frankly, with Alex's end-of-season drives in Italy, the United States and Japan, I would have given serious consideration to him continuing with the team as a driver next year. As it happens, though, Alex chose to have a change of motor racing environment in the US, and I can quite understand that." Yoong, who was given the chance to break into Formula One in the last three races of 2001, views his friendship with Paul Stoddart and the good working relationship with the Minardi team as the prime reasons for continuing to work with the Faenza squad. "Paul gave me the chance to realize a dream, and I will always appreciate what he has done for me," he says. "A test role with Minardi will also ensure that my plan to return to F1 will be made a little easier."

12/20/02
Industry News

Gorne takes on young Brazilian  Brazilian driver Jonatan Jorge (Pitbull Energy Drink / Montoya Racing) has formalized a representation agreement with former BAR Formula 1 team Co-Founder/Race Operations Director and former partner of Reynard - Rick Gorne - to his management company GOMAN, in a long-term contract effective imediately. Jorge, who has come from an impressive performance in the Southern Series of the Formula Dodge Championship, which included the "Rookie of the Year" title, is looking to compete in a British Formula series in 2003. "We were successful in achieving the goals set for Jonatan's career up to this point," said the driver's brother Jeff Jorge Jr. "The management agreement with Rick Gorne, of GOMAN, comes at a very special time for those of us involved in Jonatan's career. Rick has an outstanding background as a driver manager, particularly as denoted by his work with renowned drivers such as Gil de Ferran, Max Papis, Luciano Burti, Anthony Davidson, and recently Alex Yoong, just to name a few. His ability to manage and leverage successful settings in the international motorsports arena is extraordinary, and we feel very privileged to have Jonatan under his care." "There was great affinity regarding work ethics and interpersonal aspects, which facilitated our talks. The qualities that Jonatan has demonstrated on the track, and his solid performance in the Formula-3 event in Turkey, are in line with a project that Rick and GOMAN have been devising, aimed at Formula 1. There has been a shared vision of Jonatan's talent and his potential in the world of auto racing, and we are all very confident that such vision has the potential of becoming a reality," Jeff Jorge concluded. "I am very happy and fortunate to be managed by Rick. His knowledge and experience in Formula 1, and racing as a whole, are key to the continued development of my career. I look forward to what we can accomplish together in times to come," said the driver.

12/19/02

Some opposition to Vancouver race  This Vancouver Sun article says, A city councillor is calling for an end to Vancouver's Molson Indy following a park board colleague's comments that some residents don't like the annual event's high-octane mix of beer, fast cars and scantily clad women. Coalition of Progressive Electors Councillor Ellen Woodsworth believes the race should be discontinued after its contract with the city expires in 2004. But her views are in the minority. All eight other council members who could be contacted on the issue said the economic benefits generated by the annual auto race make it an important event for the city. Several said the contract should be reviewed when it comes up. Only COPE Councillor Anne Roberts and Mayor Larry Campbell couldn't be reached for comment. Woodsworth, a member of the COPE majority on city council, lives within earshot of the Indy race that takes place at the Concord Pacific site surrounding False Creek. "I think that a number of the concerns that have been raised are valid. It's not something I would consider an ideal sport to highlight Vancouver." Some of her concerns are personal ones, she said. Her house shakes for the three days during the Molson Indy and she also objects to using beauty contestants to help market the event. "I think that's pretty appalling." Earlier this week, Lyndsay Poaps, a newly elected COPE commissioner on the park board, told reporters she has heard from community residents who are concerned about the noise from the Molson Indy, the use of park space, the promotion of drinking and speeding, and the portrayal of women during the event. At the first meeting of the new COPE-dominated park board Monday, Poaps asked staff for a detailed report on the board's relationship with Molson Indy. The issue came up during a discussion of licences for 320 events on parks property. Each year, the park board and city council are asked to approve a license that allows the Indy event to close Creekside Park to everybody but paying customers for three days in July. After the meeting, Poaps said she just wanted to know more about the event because she is new to the job. The Molson Indy's Vancouver race is one stop on the circuit of the Championship Auto Racing Teams. CART spokesman Merrill Cain said Wednesday the organization is keen to continue its association with Vancouver. "We've been very happy with all of our [Canadian] venues," he said. "They have proved to be some of the most successful venues on the CART schedule year in and year out in terms of popularity with fans, driver popularity and revenue." Last year, 60,000 people bought tickets for the final day of the race in Vancouver. Molson estimates the economic benefit to the city at $30 million. Tourism Vancouver says the number was closer to $23.8 million in 2002, including $6.7 in wages and salaries and $5.2 million in taxes. Between the city and the park board, event organizers pay about $23,000 in fees to hold the race in Vancouver. Molson has also invested $3 million into improving the False Creek area over the past five years, said David Jones, the company's spokesman. Molson will continue to support the event in Vancouver as long as it's successful, said Jones, but he admits the future of CART racing is uncertain. The international circuit has been having problems in terms of viability -- the number of cars, sponsorship, that kind of thing. In Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal there is still a lot of support. In Canada, the series is still strong."  More....

12/19/02

Fran-Am

Fran-Am support race at GP of Denver  The Shell Grand Prix of Denver announced today that round seven of next year’s Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship Series will be contested during its race weekend, August 29-31, 2003, as a support race to the CART Bridgestone Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford event. The Fran-Am 2000 Series, sponsored by Michelin International, will race six times prior to the Denver event, at venues such as Formula One’s Grand Prix of Canada at Montréal, Watkins Glen (with Grand-Am), Toronto and Vancouver (both with CART). "We are proud to be part of the second Shell Grand Prix of Denver,” said Fran-Am President and CEO Thierry Burckhart. “We couldn’t hope for a better setting to showcase our series, plus it is next to our home office in Aspen, so it just couldn’t be better. We are convinced that spectators will greatly appreciate our fiery young talents. Fran-Am is very serious about developing new American racers and we are doing everything we can to make easy, affordable and to provide the right rewards and incentives."

12/19/02

St. Pete to host Barber Dodge Pro opener  The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg announced today that it will host the season opener of the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series during its inaugural race weekend, Feb. 21-23, supporting the CART Bridgestone Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford event. The Barber Dodge Pro Series, now in its 18th year, is the Official Entry Level Professional Race Series of CART, where up-and-coming drivers can hone their skills and receive a good amount of media exposure in the process. Drivers in the Barber Dodge Pro Series compete in front of a total audience of over one million people, and its races are televised on the SPEED network to over 60 million homes.  “We’re excited to start our season in St. Petersburg and support the Champ Car World Series,” said George Tamayo, director of marketing and communications for Skip Barber Racing School, which runs the series. “We’re going to have a strong field in 2003 and looking forward to putting on a good race. The St. Petersburg track should suit our cars very well.”

12/19/02

Tagliani endures long wait  This Toronto Globe and Mail article says, It's not everyday that a professional race-car driver offers to show off his bruised and purple behind, but after spending a weekend fighting an unco-operative snowboard, Alex Tagliani was ready to bare all. Tagliani, 30, was taking part in Formula One star Jacques Villeneuve's 24-hours of Tremblant charity ski event, and losing a battle with a fancy plank of wood normally wouldn't have the Lachenaie, Que., native feeling so sensitive. But landing on a sore backside helped remind the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) driver of a few too many kicks lately. "I was already getting ready for next season thinking the [Player's] team was changing to the Lola chassis and will probably be more competitive, and then all of a sudden, four races before the end of the season the team doesn't want me to stay there," he said. "They way things turned out, they put me in the worst position possible and it makes it very tough to sleep at night -- there's a lot of stress and it's not fun." Player's dropped Tagliani at the end of the 2002 CART season to sign veteran Paul Tracy of Scarborough, Ont. Tagliani finished eighth in the drivers' standing with 111 points, while Tracy was 11th with 101. "My agent and I met with Player's in Las Vegas Dec. 5 and that's the last I've heard from them. I don't know how to look forward [to the season], not knowing where I'm going to race and who I'll be racing with," he said, after taking one more shot at taming the snowboard." Tagliani suggested he's getting the cold shoulder because Player's parent company, Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., was concentrating on a Quebec Superior Court challenge of laws heavily restricting the marketing, advertising and sponsorship of cigarettes. Along with Rothmans Inc., Benson & Hedges Inc. and JTI-Macdonald Corp, Imperial tried to argue that Canada's Tobacco Act was unconstitutional because it limited its right to do business and sell a legal product. The cigarette companies lost the challenge last week. Court case aside, part of his trouble stems from CART's desperate need for teams after a number of defections to the Indy Racing League after the 2002 season. Player's allowed Tagliani to talk to other teams after efforts to find money to run a third car in 2003 fell through. Under Canadian tobacco advertising legislation, the cigarette company must find another sponsor in order to add a third car to its lineup. "CART put pressure on Player's to keep Paul [Tracy] in the series because he had an offer to go somewhere else and it was the same with Pat [Carpentier]," he said. [Player's] thought by helping it keep veterans and build credibility for the series, CART was going to help them out with a three-car Canadian team, but they didn't get the money they were expecting." Tagliani believes other team owners are using CART's plight to negotiate a handout from the series before adding another car, which makes the opportunities slim for drivers. When Player's announced its 2003 drivers, Bob Bexon, chief executive officer of Player's Ltd., said losing Tagliani was a difficult decision but assured the driver that the team would do everything in its power to help him find a new team for 2003. "Running a racing team is a delicate balancing act and you try not to let emotions influence your decision-making process," he explained. "It's always difficult to part ways with a talented driver like Alex, who has achieved great success in his three seasons with Team Player's, and we are working diligently to help him secure a ride with another team in the CART series." Since rumours of Tracy's signing began to surface in October, Tagliani has been linked to the Newman/Hass team. But nothing has progressed on that front, Tagliani said. "My first option is to get a phone call from the guys at Player's who say they're going to go all the way with three cars and be in a team where I wanted to be a championship contender since I arrived in CART," he said. "I'd be back as a teammate with Pat [Carpentier of La Salle, Que.] because I like him a lot and we work well together and I'd be back with my mechanic that I've worked with since racing in Formula Atlantic."

12/19/02

De Ferran puts new Dallara to test at Fontana  Gil de Ferran and Marlboro Team Penske tested the 2003 Dallara chassis equipped with a new Toyota Indy V8 engine Dec. 18 and 19 at California Speedway. It marked the first time the 2003 Dallara had been on track. The new 2003 Panoz G Force made its debut on Dec. 17 at Texas Motor Speedway with Target Chip Ganassi drivers Scott Dixon and Tomas Scheckter. de Ferran, 35, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, was pleased to test the chassis and engine combination he will be competing with in 2003. “We have been able to get out in the new car prior to Christmas break,” de Ferran said. “We are well on schedule and maybe even ahead on preparation plans for next season with the new engine and car. We haven’t fallen behind at all, which is good. We have been concentrating on completing our own plan and hope it is good enough and that we did our homework.” de Ferran finished third in the 2002 IRL point standings after capturing consecutive CART titles in 2000 and 2001. “Our goals are no different from what they have been in the past and that is to win the championship like everyone else,” de Ferran said. “We have done everything we think is correct. I think as far as we are concerned, we need to get our heads down and get on with the job at hand.” Although both the chassis and engine are new for 2003, Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing, is confident the team’s preseason testing has prepared them for their second season in IRL competition. “It’s been a bit different with IRL being a new series for us,” Cindric said. “Last year, we didn’t know what to expect. We’ve had since September to plan for the (season opener) in March. We have the new gearbox that was introduced in November, and now we have put the whole package together. We will know whether it has paid off when we put our cards on the table in January. “The key is continuity for us. We have changed engine suppliers for next year but have the same team, same driver and same goals. For the most part continuity is there.”

12/19/02

European road racer finds oval racing easy  Darren Turner set a blistering pace Tuesday on his debut test with Infiniti Pro Series team Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Within four laps of the 1.5mile Texas Motor Speedway, the former DTM star set a time good enough for the front row of this year’s Infiniti Pro grid. And within just twenty laps he had dipped under the equivalent pole position time (that's how ridiculously easy the cars are to drive -- high downforce 100% throttle parades). Turner, who had been invited over to test by team boss and former IRL race winner Sam Schmidt, enthused: “It’s been a great opportunity to come over and test for Sam, and at such an impressive venue. We had limited running on the day, but I acclimatized to the car pretty quickly and was able to post some good times. It was a real pleasure to work with Sam and his team – they made me feel totally at home and I was able to thoroughly enjoy the whole experience.” Sam Schmidt, who runs successful teams in both the Infiniti Pro series and the Indy Racing League (IRL), added: “Darren did a fantastic job immediately. I have a tremendous respect for the European formulas; therefore, he had been within my radar screen for some time. With his experience and talent, I have no doubt he could come to the series and immediately compete for victories and the season championship. He would be a huge asset to the team and I hope that we will be able to put something together over the next couple weeks.” Turner is working hard to secure a drive in the 2003 Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, which is acknowledged to be a direct feeder into the IRL and the spectacular Indianapolis 500.

12/19/02

Drivers and officials happy with new Infiniti engine  Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series veterans Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Gary Peterson successfully completed the first test of the new specification Infiniti Q45 engine Dec. 17 and 18 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Developed by TWR Group in conjunction with Infiniti Pro Series officials, the new “C” spec engine is the second evolution of the 450-horsepower powerplant, which debuted in April 2002. Luyendyk and Peterson completed more than 700 miles of testing at the 1-mile desert oval under the supervision of Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of operations for the Indy Racing League, and Roger Bailey, executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series. “This is the right package,” said Bailey. “The internal modifications we’ve made over the winter, which include new pistons, front engine cover, timing-chain configuration and camshafts, performed flawlessly. Those revisions, coupled with a new airbox to regulate inlet temperatures, give us the consistent package we’ve been looking for. “The reliability we saw during the testing at Phoenix bodes extremely well for a strong and successful 2003 season.” Luyendyk, 21, from nearby Scottsdale, Ariz., was equally impressed with the performance of the “C” spec engine. “The engine felt great right off the bat,” said Luyendyk, who finished second in the 2002 Infiniti Pro Series standings. “It definitely had more power than the engine from last year. Where you could feel it was off the corners; it just felt more powerful. I’m looking forward to having that engine behind me next year because I think it will be a reliable, strong engine.” Peterson, from Long Beach, Calif., agreed.  “The engine was real strong,” Peterson said. “You could feel the power in the corners; it would accelerate out of the corners better than the previous engine we had. It ran flawless. I think they made some good headway, and we ran strong for 500 miles flat-out.” The second season of Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series competition begins March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

12/19/02

McGehee to tie knot  McGehee to tie knot: Indy Racing League veteran Robby McGehee became engaged last weekend. McGehee, a private pilot, flew to Bloomington, Ind., where his girlfriend, Norma Oteham, lives. He took Oteham for a secret flight that ended up in Chicago. Once on the ground, 1998 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year McGehee popped the question during dinner at the Everest restaurant on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange.

12/19/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $3.70 up $0.20 on Volume of 55,500 shares.
$2.98 Bid - $4.08 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.41 / $3.75
MPH Value Change Up 5.71%
DOW Jones Down 82.55 or 0.98% on Volume of 1.75 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 7.39 or 0.54%
S&P 500 Down 6.87 or 0.77%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

12/19/02

Newman Haas close to naming 2nd driver  Newman/Haas Racing is moving closer to naming a second driver to team with Brazilian Bruno Junqueira after a recent test at the 1.65-mile road course at Sebring International Raceway. The team won their fourth CART Championship this season with driver Cristiano da Matta and will attempt to repeat the feat in the CART 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Four drivers amassed a collective total in excess of 1,000 miles behind the wheel of two 2002 Lilly Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone race cars during the three day test that began on Monday, December 16. 2002 FIA F3000 Champion Sebastien Bourdais (French, 23), 1997 F3000 Champion and former Formula One driver Ricardo Zonta (Brazilian, 26), and 2002 Toyota Atlantic Champion Jon Fogerty (American, 27), shared the bulk of the testing duties while 2002 FF2000 Champion Bryan Sellers (American, 20) earned the test by virtue of an agreement between Carl Haas Automobile Imports, Dynamic Suspensions and Newman/Haas Racing. "We are very pleased with the performance of all four drivers as well as the fact that they were able to collectively log more than 1000 trouble free miles in the Toyota-Lolas," said Brian Lisles, general manager of Newman/Haas Racing. "It was imperative that we focus solely on the drivers over the three days and having the cooperation of Toyota enabled us to concentrate on the outcome of each run in a racing package that we had existing knowledge with. All of the drivers showed that they are worthy of consideration for a position at our team."  NHR

12/19/02
Industry News

Judge slashes tobacco ruling  A California judge on Wednesday slashed a record $28 billion jury award against cigarette maker Philip Morris Cos. to a comparatively paltry $28 million, calling the punitive damages "legally excessive." Philip Morris, the No. 1 tobacco company, said it still planned to appeal the verdict and expects the process to take several years. A jury ordered the company in October to pay $28 billion in punitive damages to 64-year-old Betty Bullock, a woman suffering from terminal lung cancer who blamed the company for failing to warn her of the risks of smoking. In a written ruling, Judge Warren Ettinger, of California Superior Court for Los Angeles County, slashed the damages, but turned down the company's bid for a new trial. He said a new trial on punitive damages would be ordered if Bullock refuses the reduced judgment. The jury had also awarded Bullock $750,000 for compensation of medical expenses and loss of earnings and $100,000 for pain and suffering -- but the punitive damages were 33,000 times those amounts, a ratio deemed by Ettinger to be excessive.

12/19/02
Industry News

ISC profits trimmed by lawsuit and insurance costs  According to the Daytona Beach Journal, Legal battle and insurance costs will trim International Speedway Corporation profits in 2003. An expensive legal battle in Texas, coupled with soaring insurance costs, will slow profit growth at International Speedway Corp. next year, company executives said Tuesday. The motorsports company predicted its earnings in the coming fiscal year will be in the range of $2.13 to $2.21 per share, up only 6 to 11 percent from the $2 per share level analysts expect for this year. Over the previous five years, Speedway profits have grown an average 18 percent a year. Susan Schandel, Speedway Corp.'s chief financial officer, presented the 2003 forecast in a conference call with several investment analysts. She said the $2.13 figure is more likely than the $2.21. Schandel said Speedway Corp. in mid-January will report "the strongest financial results in the company's history" and is on track to keep growing in 2003. However, she cautioned the company will have to spend "in the low seven figures" - in other words, $1 million-plus -- to continue fighting a lawsuit brought by a Texas-based investor in Speedway Motorsports, a rival race track operator.

12/19/02

Hamilton out of options?  According to this article in the Tennessean, Bobby Hamilton might have run out of Winston Cup options for 2003. He had his eyes on two potential rides, but both have now been taken. John Andretti last week re-signed to drive the #43 for Petty Enterprises. Earlier, Casey Mears landed the #41 Target Dodge with Chip Ganassi Racing. Hamilton had expressed an interest in both jobs. Hamilton's name has been linked with #49 BAM Racing, but that would hardly fit his definition of ''competitive ride,'' which he has said is a requirement. The veteran driver said last month that if he cannot land a competitive ride in Winston Cup, he will spend next season racing in the CTS"

12/19/02

BAT to BAR, we could pullout early  Last week the EU revealed that it was effectively reneging on a previous agreement whereby F1 would be exempt from the ban until the end of 2006. "We planned to stay in F1 until the end of 2006," BAT's deputy chairman Kenneth Clarke told Bloomberg. "Now we'll have to change our focus if we can't go on promoting our products. "The tobacco ban will damage the sport,'' he added. "It's already become more difficult to get other sponsors.'' Of the ten teams currently participating in F1, five are funded (in part) by tobacco money, however even teams that are no longer 'hooked' on tobacco revenue are unhappy with the EU's decision. Last week, following the announcement, FIA President Max Mosley sent a strongly worded letter to the commissioner responsible, warning that F1 could be forced out of Europe by the early introduction of the ban.

12/19/02

Audible alert system tested by Craven  After the final Cup race in November at Homestead, #32 PPI Motorsports conducted a private test of the Audible Alert driver notification system. The Audible Alert System is the first ever sound-based track warning system. A short audible alert tone is used to notify every driver of changing track conditions and associated flags at exactly same time. This could potentially reduce the dangerous multiple car accidents that occur when one driver reacts to a caution while the car behind is still racing at full speed. Driver Ricky Craven voiced his support for the Audible Alert system following testing, stating "The product has lots of potential. The idea of having a closed system to alert each of the 43 drivers at the same time is a great idea. Hopefully this is a product that will make Winston Cup racing safer for all of us drivers."

12/19/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Wilson Defends Minardi Decision
Sato Disappointed With Jordan Exit
Jordan Farewells Rookie Sato
McLaren Buck Trend With Strong Support
BAR Stay Away From Friday Testing
Jordan Deny Irvine Speculation
PS03 Will Make Melbourne Debut
Ralf To Get Upper Hand At Williams?
Williams Scotches Championship Hope
Nigel Mansell Eyes Pitlane Return
Flying Finn Enjoys Cockpit Return
Jacques Severing Ties With BAR
Davidson's Racing Dream Still Alive
Hopes Persist For Jos Verstappen
Ferrari Boss Urges Radical Reform
Brief: TV, Champcars And Argentines
Shoestring Living For F1 Rookie

12/19/02

Changes at Yates  According to this Thats Racin article, Robert Yates Racing [RYR] announced wholesale organizational changes Wednesday, including naming Doug Yates, owner Robert Yates' son, general manager over both Winston Cup teams. Effective immediately, Doug Yates will assume the role of general manager for both the #38 M&M Ford driven by Elliott Sadler and #88 UPS Ford driven by Dale Jarrett, overseeing the daily operations of both teams. Yates will continue to work closely with Yates Racing Engines, which has a strong lease program in addition to supplying engines for Jarrett and Sadler. Todd Parrott, Jarrett's crew chief for seven years, has been named director of competition for Robert Yates Racing. Parrott's new role allows him to focus on "big picture" projects for both the #88 and #38 teams. His responsibilities include overseeing chassis design, car construction and development and testing. Additionally, he will provide technical and race support to RYR's crew chiefs at Winston Cup races. Brad Parrott, Todd's younger brother, returns to RYR and will assume crew chief duties for Jarrett [#88]. A 17-year veteran of the sport, Parrott worked for Robert Yates Racing for six seasons from 1996 through 2001. During his tenure with RYR, Parrott began as a chassis specialist and later worked as assistant crew chief for the #88. Parrott most recently worked at Roush Racing as crew chief for Jeff Burton's #9 BGN team, which won five of the 13 races in which the team entered in 2002. Raymond Fox III has been named crew chief of the #38 team with Sadler. A longtime employee of RYR, Fox has worked full time as a mechanic for Yates since 1990, turning wrenches under such drivers as Davey Allison, Kenny Irwin, Ernie Irvan, Jarrett and Ricky Rudd.

12/19/02
F3000

Giebler blazes in F3000 test  American Phil Giebler spent all of Wednesday testing for Vincenzo Sosriri's Euro F-3000 team, outside of Nice France. The test came as a result of Phil's fantastic showing last month in Italy, where Giebler was the fastest of 36 hopefuls during an open F-3000 test for top flight junior drivers from around the world. "This was my first full day in the car and I loved it". The team is fantastic and I really felt comfortable right out of the box. Said Phil. Sospiri stated: "We knew he was good from the fifteen laps he did with us at Vallelunga. I saw everything I needed today. He got on very well with our engineering staff and his feed back was near perfect. He is very fast and an excellent communicator. We continue to be impressed by this young American driver and really hope to be able to run him in next years championship".

  Much More...click on 2002 archives button below

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